A study a couple of years ago found that 63% of executives were making fewer business trips because of technology.
Instead of a plane trip, face-to-face meetings and a plane trip back, they used email, videoconferencing, or online meetings, according to Accountemps study.
If you're a manager who's spending less time with a suitcase and more with a mouse, you'll want to pay attention to nature of media we use, and especially when sending important messages.
A few years ago we heard a lot about etiquette in electronic messaging (netiquette) on Internet, about needing to be conscious of how messages might be misconstrued by receivers. One of ideas to come out of that effort was emoticons, little text symbols that aimed to make up for loss of facial expressions and body language.
Emoticons and netiquette have pretty much disappeared, but world of electronic communication still can be a dangerous place.
And especially dangerous if stakes are high, as they're likely to be when managers communicate this way. So, let's further explore some issues that arise when we communicate electronically, rather than face-to-face.
In my limited experience with videoconferencing, for example, I found I had to work harder just catch words, which reduced amount facial expression information I took in. And, if camera adjusted to take in more facial expressions, then some body language was lost.
Think, too, about differences in messages sent by email versus those sent as conventional printed letters. Email certainly leads to faster responses and greater efficiency. However, when sending a printed letter we proofread it both on screen and in print. And, time between our initial thoughts and sending letter is longer. That provides time for second thoughts, sober or otherwise, thoughts that might be wiser or better expressed.