Technology continues to change the way we communicate with one another. While there can be benefits to sending a quick text, this method of communication simply doesn’t compare to talking face-to-face. Studies have shown that the actual words of a conversation only make up about 10 percent of communication. Vocal tone and pitch, body language and other nonverbal gestures play a key role in how we communicate and interact with each other. Without in-person chats, we’re unable to fully connect with family and friends.
Here are the benefits to putting down the phone and engaging in direct conversations instead.
You Can See Body Language
Observing how people react during a conversation helps you understand how they feel. Yawning and a slouched posture may indicate boredom, while animated facial expressions and attentiveness imply excitement. Personalities shine through nonverbal gestures and emotions. Because texting lacks this vital visual feedback, it’s more difficult to make and maintain genuine, lasting relationships without face time.
You Can Be Better Understood
Vocal tone and word emphasis can alter the meaning of what is said. For example, the simple sentence, “She isn’t flying to Hawaii tomorrow,” can mean different things depending on which word is stressed. Emphasize “she” and it implies that someone else is flying to Hawaii; emphasize “flying” and it suggests that she is getting to Hawaii by some other means. These vocal cues reduce the chance of your words being misunderstood.
You Can Build Lasting Relationships
It takes a second to send a text, but when you make the effort to get together for conversations, it shows that you value the other person. Actively listening to friends and family makes them feel important and appreciated. Texting can reinforce relationships, but the foundation of these connections is created with direct interactions and talking.
You Can Have Serious Conversations
While it may be tempting to avoid having a serious conversation by sending a text, sensitive topics should be addressed in person. Private matters can be openly discussed without the fear that someone else may accidentally read your text message thread. It’s easier to show respect to others about sensitive situations when you’re with them. And disclosing personal feelings and emotions to another is a sign of trust. It may be awkward at first, but serious talks with friends and family can create lifelong bonds.
So the next time you start to text someone, invite them out for coffee and have a device-free conversation instead. You won’t regret it. And if you’re unsure how to have a more meaningful discussion, check out the post From Small Talk to Medium Talk.