Facing the Challenges of a New Communication Era

Facing the Challenges of a New Communication Era

James M. Goodwin (Georgetown University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4168-4.ch006

Abstract

Interpersonal deception, issue acceptance, privacy and control of information, and relationship building are key challenges people face each day in their quests to communicate effectively. Conquering these challenges is important in achieving shared understanding and making interactions flow smoothly and contain feedback and communication adjustments. Uncertainty is a risk to effective communication, so this chapter offers methods to adjust behaviors, solve problems, and build trust to create and nurture communicative relationships. The literature addresses the various ways that communicators have attempted to achieve success over the years. This is followed by an explanation of the key challenges and how to address them. A flexible, full-cycle examination indicates ways to energize effective communication in both face-to-face and online interactions.
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Literature Review

This chapter addresses four key challenges – interpersonal issues, issue acceptance, privacy and control of information, and relationship building. We face these challenges during interactions as we seek ways to communicate effectively.

We will focus first on an examination of the types of communication and comprehension, which continue to evolve. Taking advantage of full-process communication that is available in face-to-face interactions can suggest ways to improve digital interactions.

Full-process communication requires sender, message, receiver, and feedback. On the other hand, evaluating ongoing changes in the way people communicate digitally can lead to solutions that alleviate the current misperceptions and conflicts in face-to-face communication. However, the most effective communication strategy delivers the potential for success whether it is used in a face-to-face or online conversation.

One way to address communication is to master electronic technology. But electronic technology is “impoverished in social cues and shared experience” (Sproull and Kiesler, 1991). No one believes that technology can fully replace the human moment created by face-to-face interaction. Electronic communication is not the best method for building long-term trust among strangers, or a true team out of people who have never met (Olson and Olson, 2000). Experts believe it is important that people who form teams meet face-to-face first; then electronic communication can assist the process of team-building (Olson, 1999).

Social media and digital conversations are powerful activities, but they do not do enough in terms of taking advantage of the full range of the communication process. Face-to-face interactions can create stronger bonds over time than those of electronic communication. There are growing challenges in interpersonal interactions caused by the evolving intergenerational use of social media and the need to reintroduce face-to-face communications. We cannot discount social media as it defines important cultural, social, and work environment considerations. However, this power can also create a cross-cultural and cross-generation communication problem because the full range of the communication process is limited or absent.

In many cases, managers dealing with the growth of the cyber workplace cannot recognize or find adequate tools for building virtual teams. One problem is that virtual teams may struggle to find common ground if they have never met. A good face-to-face meeting allows the leader to assess the group’s collective ability to employ the full communication process of sender, message, receiver, and feedback. If this need for connection is not successfully addressed, there is a likelihood that the team will not function as efficiently as possible (Brown, 2017). The danger is that there may never be a meeting of the minds, which is crucial to team and culture building.

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