With Thanksgiving behind us, and the rest of the Holidays coming soon, we wanted to share a blog about being cognizant of the different communication styles that members of your admin and caregiving staff may use, which could end up causing misunderstandings between your team members. We touched on Communication in a previous article, but this time I want to dive into different ways to communicate and how they differ from person to person on your team, based on various factors.
The Ambiguity of Texting
Texting! The biggest and preferred form of communication. A survey concluded that 37.6% of people chose to text over any other form of communication! If you take one thing from this article let it be this: People cannot see your facial expressions when texting. Be careful sending any message that may require facial expressions!! So they have no context for what tone the text message was sent in. Humor could be misinterpreted as sarcasm or criticism via text.
Tips to Improve Texting Communication
- Use punctuation sparely (especially periods)
- Try to add some emojis to show how you feel
- You may have to say the emotion your face would be conveying
- Communicate! Tell the people you are texting that you aren’t angry etc, it’s just the way you text.
- Certain words can come off rude when texting
- Avoid words like k, sure, whatever, fine
- Avoid sarcasm
- Use caps sparingly
Generational differences are the differences between how employees of different ages interact. This can be through text, phone, or face-to-face. (If you need a quick refresher on the different generations check this out!)
Each generation has different communication styles and preferences. Technological advancements, societal changes, and cultural shifts influence these. Baby Boomers, typically value direct personal interaction, and prefer face-to-face or phone conversations. They favor formal language in written correspondence. (i.e. using commas in texting, not using short forms). Generation X tends to strike a balance between traditional and digital communication, comfortable with emails and phone calls but also embracing emerging technologies.
Millennials and Gen Z, raised in the digital era, heavily rely on text-based communication, using emojis and informal language, favoring efficiency and speed. These generations often prefer quick, concise messaging over prolonged conversations, emphasizing convenience and immediacy in their interactions.
So always keep in mind that when you are communicating with different generations, their tones, messages, meanings, and intentions might be different than you imagine. Your newly hired 23-year-old worker isn’t trying to be disrespectful when she added an emoji to an email. Your boss isn’t trying to be critical or harsh when she adds proper punctuation in text messages, and your coworker isn’t angry when they tell you they want to call you!
Each of these people just have different ways of communicating. If you ever feel lost, just ask them!
Geographical location significantly influences communication norms.
There are different customs associated with people located in separate countries, or even different parts of a country. Some countries are more casual, some are more formal. There are many examples of differences, but let’s use Canada vs. The United States. (because this is something that the SCBA team deals with!). Canada and the United States have multiple different spellings. Colour vs color, cheque vs check, toque vs beanie. (If you ever see a word with an extra u, you can assume our Canadian wrote it!)
Additionally, the team might consist of individuals whose primary language isn’t English, adding another layer of complexity to communication.
Adapting to Diverse Styles
- Conduct workshops or training sessions highlighting diverse communication styles.
- Encourage open discussions within the team to understand and respect individual preferences.
- Develop a communication guideline that outlines best practices for various mediums.
- Emphasize the importance of context and clarity in written communication.
- Foster a culture of inclusivity and understanding, where team members feel comfortable expressing their communication preferences.
In summary, always give the team member that you’re having a conversation with the benefit of the doubt. Ask for clarification, rather than assuming that the person is upset with you. If you send a longer text message to a colleague and receive a short response, don’t jump to conclusions and think that the person’s response was intended to be terse. They may simply be busy but still want you to know that they received and read your message.
Wishing you and your team a harmonious and joyous holiday season filled with effective communication!