We have become a society of wanting things too quickly and avoiding face to face interaction. We text or email and expect immediate results. We use our smartphones to order food, go shopping, and view social media sites but rarely use the same phone to call someone. In our work environments, we send emails to co-workers down the hall instead of getting up from our desks and talking to the person. It is not my belief that technology cannot aid in communication. Indeed, in certain circumstances, it is the best method But, when technology inhibits you from connecting with someone on the most basic level, there is a breakdown.
As an organization, we primarily use technology to exchange information. Using these methods to convey news is easier and more efficient, and cheaper than calling or mailing each member. It also provides members with an access point to meeting dates, organizational guidelines, membership directories and so on. During meetings, we communicate by listening to and learning from presentations given by speakers and members. While these presentation oftentimes shed new lights on a topic or explain how to better the organization or us individually, I have found that there is little time for talking about what we have heard.
In the seven years I have been a member of this organization, my most memorable moments come from one on one conversations. It is during these times that I can really listen to what a member is telling me, asking meaningful questions, argue about a topic and truly understand what life experiences have shaped that person. I have learned that regardless of a women's age, occupation, socioeconomic status or political views, there are common themes that each of us finds important. If we don't stop and take the time to have actual discussions with one another, we will become an organization without focus and purpose.
Is our over reliance on communication technologies due to laziness? Do we avoid in person communication out of fear? Whatever reason, I challenge you to start talking and listening to each other. Don't be afraid to ask questions that might elicit a negative response. While the truth might initially hurt, it will make is a stronger organization in the long run.