Gen Wise Perspective

Gen Y's perspective (pun intended) on our journey through work, life, and everything in between.

When is it necessary to communicate face-to-face?

As digital natives, Gen Y-ers have less of a tendency to communicate about things in person. Kim and I work in the same office but still email and tweet at each other instead of just getting up and talking face-to-face (although we do that too—she’s my girl!). But, it’s not uncommon for Gen Y to behave this way. We text or send a Facebook message before we pick up the phone and call you.

Yet I still believe there are times when it’s necessary to communicate face-to-face.

It’s a matter of respect. There are certain topics of conversation that deserve to be discussed in person—serious, personal and/or private matters, for instance. Please do them justice by making the effort to speak about them when you’re able to look someone in the eye.

And what about tone of voice? Let’s not forget that things can easily be misinterpreted when the computer (or mobile device) stands in the way. I’m an extremely sarcastic person (those of you that know me are nodding along thinking, “Yep, she’s a smart ass”), but sarcasm doesn’t translate very well if someone can’t hear your tone of voice.

This last point is going to sound so obvious, but the other time I think it’s necessary to communicate face-to-face is when you’re in the same room as someone. I know we all sit there two-thumbing our phones while at dinner with friends, but aside from that being rude…it just doesn’t make sense. Be present. Be in the moment.

I’m not saying you can’t check your phone, but have you ever seen those people who don’t say a word to one another because they’re so absorbed with whatever is happening on their phone? Come on, what is SO important on your phone that you can’t speak to the person sitting across the table from you?

Maybe I’m a little old school. I do still use a notebook and paper. I prefer reading actual books instead of using an e-reader. But I really think there’s some validity to my face-to-face argument.


Face-to-face interaction will never be completely replaced. We’re human beings, aren’t we? We have an inherent need to interact with one another. Let’s not become robots that are unable to communicate in person or have no personality because we never had to learn how to talk to someone without taking time to think of a witty response before hitting send.

Think about this: job interviews are face-to-face. Meetings are face-to-face (sometimes). Other business matters are still often settled face-to-face. Networking, although it can be done via social media, also happens face-to-face. The first impression someone has of you probably has a lot to do with…your face.

Just trying to make a point here.

What point is that? Don’t undervalue face-to-face interaction, regardless of how tech-savvy you are. There are times when it’s necessary.

(Image from–link to textaholic article by clicking on the pic)


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2 thoughts on “When is it necessary to communicate face-to-face?

  1. I think this is an all too often forgotten lesson in today’s world of technology. It’s not just Gen-Y. We all have a tendency to turn to technology to engage with another person before talking to them. I certainly have that habit.

    Jackie is exactly right. Nothing can ever replace face-to-face-in-the-same-place communication. Not Skype. Not Facebook. Not Twitter. Not telephone. Nothing. Period. We are social animals, designed to interact with each other. The connection you make with your co-workers and friends on a daily basis comes from spending time with them.

    Besides, if face-to-face communication ever went away, I share Jackie’s fear that every sarcastic comment I make would be misconstrued and my future political ambitions of running as governor of Alaska and then quitting 2 years in would be derailed forever.

    • Jackie Lampugnano on said:

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Especially for saying “Jackie is exactly right.” You can’t take it back. Haha 🙂 But you bring up a great point about the connection you make with co-workers and friends on a daily basis–that wouldn’t happen without face-to-face interaction with them. Relationship-building is so important in business and in life, and building those connections comes from spending time with others IN PERSON.

      Although I am guilty of being a Twitter freak and even my mother says I don’t answer my phone enough….something to work on I suppose.

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