We are now living in the world of real time communication, instant notifications and everything you could possibly want at the end of your finger tips. So many of us are living lives dictated by social media and our mobile phones. This alone makes it harder and harder to get away from our devices. Knowing how and where to contact someone is also becoming more and more difficult.
If your anything like me, your probably finding it hard to keep up with the method of communication in your network. Yet at the same time you want to stay in the loop or at least hold an account with the main communication channels. Phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Skype and Viber are just a few ways we deliver our messages. There are literally millions of different ways we can reach someone. Think of all the forums, social media platforms, meet up apps, dating sites, events and webinars. We only need to look to our iphone contact cards to see a few options. I can reach my brother in four different ways at a glance - phone call, text message, facetime and email and probably more if I programed all his social profiles. Does this make your mind hurt just thinking about it?
No wonder our communication styles are changing. As an example, a close friend of mine connect in person, with phone calls, texts, Facebook, Messenger, Snapchat, emails and Skype and all for different purposes. Can see how a small message may get lost along the way?
You might also be familiar with people missing your message as 'I don't go on facebook much anymore.' Then there are the people that wont answer a phone call or 'are never on their emails' More and more now, we are asking...'did you get my text?', 'did you get my email?' of simply 'did you get my message?' Our messages are getting lost in the abundant communication channel network.
So how do we manage this?
Do we need to keep track of everyone's best method of communication? Which I'm sure it changes depending on the time of day, what they are doing, the day of the week or perhaps if there on a digital detox? How exhausting! We also need to think of who we are communicating with. The channels may change if its a friend, work colleague or someone with a high profile that were trying to reach.
Ultimately your behavior will determine your best method of communication. e.g. if your always on messenger, responding instantly, people will always contact you there, same goes for calls, text messages and emails.
Create some boundaries for yourself so you find it easier to manage.
- Priorities calls and responding to voicemails.
- Respond to your text messages within the day if possible.
- Turn your phone off if you don't want to be reached
- Turn off your instant notifications, they will only distract you.
- Wait to open messages if you often forget to respond.
- Close down social media accounts if you no longer use them.
Here are my guidelines for reaching others.
Family, Friends and Work Colleges
- If the message is urgent or I want to know the answer now, Ill always call on the phone. In my mind, this is simply the fastest and most effective way to reach someone that's not present with you. You can communicate back and forth without having to wait. If there is no answer Ill leave a message with details. I may also send a text message as I know some people cant 'talk' at certain times but may be able to respond to a message.
- If there is lots of details but its not urgent emails or Facebook messenger seems best to get all the information across.
- For casual and fun communication Texts, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram generally work well.
- If I'm travelling internationally with wifi connection only, Ill mostly use Facebook, emails, Skype and Viber.
- Specific communities most often have forums, membership sites or Facebook groups for connecting with a wider group of people in one go.
Other, more formal connections
- Emailing and potentially a letter depending on who your trying to reach. I'm also inclined to follow up with a phone call if I had their number.
- Reaching out over social media may also be acceptable if you know that person spends a lot of time there.
Wow, as you can see, even my guidelines can go on and on. Ultimately, if we can aim for 'mindful' (being consciously aware) communication, we will have a much better chance of receiving, responding and delivering our messages. Think about these questions.
- Whats your message?
- Who is it for?
- Why are you sending it?
- How will you you deliver it most effectively?
Be clear, set your boundaries and honor them. Respect other peoples boundaries and you will find it easier to navigate the ever abundant communication channel network and effectively get your message to where it needs to go.
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