The speed at which technology is constantly changing makes virtual communication necessary in all settings, including the business setting. I can’t imagine a business, organization, or institution that’s successful these days without it. It allows for instant delivery and response, whether it’s through emails, inter-office memos, text messaging, or even in-network instant messaging (like Google Chat, for example). There are benefits to the speed and convenience of it, as it’s common for us to get into a mindset at work of marking everything off our to-do lists by the end of the day. Virtual communication makes it easy to mark those things off faster, or even quickly defer it to the next day without the risk of forgetting the task completely (I don’t know how many times I’ve sent myself an email as a reminder to come back to a certain task later).
With all the benefits it offers, though, there are plenty of negatives to it as well. I always try to be intentional with my word choice with virtual communications so there’s less room for misinterpretation of my tone. Since it lacks the personal element, it’s also impossible to read someone’s initial reaction to your words and thoughts, so it’s important to choose your medium wisely when you have something sensitive to communicate. (Ferrazzi, 2013)
One of the most important pitfalls for us to be on guard against, in my opinion, is its ability to affect our work-life balance. Since our email can be easily accessible from our phones and laptops, it can be distracting and take us away from being present with others in either social or family settings if there’s something pressing going on at work. As we learn to steward these advances in technology, we must also make sure it doesn’t detract from our ministry.
Ferrazzi, Keith (2013). How to Avoid Virtual Miscommunication. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/04/how-to-avoid-virtual-miscommun (Links to an external site.)
Having dependable communication will increase the productivity and efficiency of the business overall. There are many different methods of virtual communication such as instant messaging, group chats, and video conferencing. These methods make virtual communication the more efficient. The advantages of virtual communication is the convenience. Employees and customers can interact with each other wherever they are. You do not have to worry about take flights or dealing with traffic. Virtual communication takes no time to connect with the other person. It is only a click away and you get to convey what you have in mind. Another advantage is it promotes flexibility. Flexibility is essential for busy people who are struggling with work and life balance, for example working moms like me. I can take a conference call in the morning while talking my son to school. Just like any where there are advantages there are also disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is technical problems. Virtual communication relies on software, machines and the Internet, which can malfunction at any time. This affects ongoing and scheduled virtual communication. Another disadvantage is the unintentional reality of miscommunication that can occur. Some virtual communication techniques, like voice calls do not accommodate faces of people. Therefore, it is easy to mistake a sarcastic comment for a genuine one, unless you are very keen. The last disadvantage is the absence of face to face communication. Interacting virtually does not solve all communication needs, for instance during crisis. That is why face-to-face conversations will never get outdated.