The Modern Civil War; Fought in the World of Digital Communication

The digital world can be a hostile one. Business communications can almost exclusively take place through digital platforms, which has not only increased our efficiency, but also our passive aggressive tendencies.

Has anyone else noticed this?

A majority of the time, I find we misinterpret what one another is trying to convey when a screen is in between us. I think the miscommunication comes from two things: First, there are times face-to-face communication is required to see what the other parties’ body language is, because  90% of the time, it speaks louder than words. I have worked on deals where clients were too polite to say their honest opinion, but their body language couldn’t be hidden — and it said it all.

Then there are the instances where things are said, or alluded to, in text or email that would NEVER be said face-to-face or over the phone. I strive to live by this motto: Don’t type and send something you wouldn’t directly say a person or group of people. Generally, in an effort to keep emotion out of the picture, I’ll type an email or text I want to send and then edit it removing all the emotion. In many situations, when emotions enter a conversation, the solution to the problem becomes more difficult to see — Especially in disagreements that need to be kept in writing.

Ultimately, we have to remember that in most cases we are all on the same side, specifically in the business world. So, using digital communication as a weapon of passive aggression is just starting a civil war against a shared goal. For me that’s getting the deal done.