Walk and Talk

Mobile technology has made communicating with one another much easier. However, it has also made us lazy. Nowadays, people will take ages to type an email rather than simply get up and walk over to their colleague's desk and discuss in person. This needs to be fixed!

Richie Frieman
3-minute read

As a tech geek, I love the flexibility of all the quick communication modes available to us today  texting, tweeting, email, etc. The key word here is "quick."  Sometimes if I’m multitasking and only need a fast answer, these are my go-to actions. However, there are times when emailing or texting can get way out of hand, like when you spend an hour exchanging cryptic one-word messages about something which could have easily been resolved by walking over and talking to someone in person. You know, face to face, human interaction! Shocker, I know.

In a past article called Smile While You Work, I encouraged Modern Manners Guy readers to smile and greet your coworkers when you see them in the hallway. Many of you emailed, tweeted, and posted Facebook messages agreeing that this small gesture makes a world of difference.

But today, I want to take that idea one step further by asking you to actually get up from your desk, use those long things underneath your rear to walk over and...talk to someone rather than constantly emailing them back and forth. We've all had those interminable email exchanges where it's a ping pong match of, “What did you mean by...?" "I’m still not following?" "I need more information…” and yet no one walks over to clear up the issue. Why is this?

At work, I’m known to walk around a lot and not because I’m trying to knock off a few calories thanks to the cupcake truck parked outside the office (which I will say is like heaven on wheels), but because I like to talk to people face to face. I’m not saying that I don’t do the majority of my conversing through email – I do – however there are those times when only human interaction will do. I can save myself a world of trouble, a massive headache, and a wicked case of carpal tunnel by just walking over and hashing things out.

Talking to someone face to face not only makes communication much easier, it also avoids the perils of “cyber world limbo.”  After all, if the accounts manager never emailed you back, that must mean the issue is resolved, right? Could be they were just annoyed? Or thought you would handle it? Who knows?

Do yourself a favor, step out of the box and talk to people. The extra two minutes it takes to walk to someone’s desk will trump the next hour or so of you waiting for an email or banging your head against your desk because they don’t get what you're trying to say. Plus, when you say hello to a colleague, maybe they’ll even join you at the cupcake truck!

You can find more tips like this in my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career. It's available for pre-order now! Also available as an audiobook, read by me!

I love to hear from readers and listeners, so post your thoughts in comments below or send me an email at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.