The fear around technology and communicating effectively is real. TV shows like Netflix’s “Blackmirror” have played out every millennial’s nightmare surrounding communication gone wrong with technology, while also introducing questions such as how much is too much? More importantly, it is necessary to see how far we can go when the better question is how far should we go?
Communicating through technology doesn’t have to be a scary concept – especially if you can learn how to communicate properly. One of the most important things I’ve learned through my volunteer experience at the Toronto Distress Centre, is that people have a deep-rooted need to communicate how they feel and to feel understood. This ties into so many other concepts such as mental health and emotional intelligence. Whether it is at work, at home with your family or with your friends – effective communication is essential for a healthy relationship. It doesn’t have to be overcomplicated. Simply recognizing and acknowledging how an individual is feeling can do wonders for their current state of mind.
A lot of what I learned at the Toronto Distress Centre also revolved around the importance of listening, which has helped me in every aspect of my life. It is necessary for your mental health to express how to you feel, especially if you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or mentally unstable. It is also beneficial to learn how to be a good listener, by actively paying attention to what another person is saying and empathizing with them. You can assure someone you’re paying attention to them by repeating back important points they make. For example, “I understand you’re feeling stressed right now because of this project, am I right?” By doing this you also validate what the other person is feeling, which lets them feel more understood. I couldn’t fix every individuals problem at the TDC, but that also wasn’t the goal. The goal was to help someone feel less alone in their thoughts.
Communicating at work, especially if you work in the digital space, is usually done via technology, which is not a bad thing. Technology allows us to communicate faster, in different styles, and with more access to information. What is one of the most important assets of a company? People. What is one of the most essential things you can do to ensure the success of a company? Aligning your employee’s values with the values of your company. Using the right channels at work to ensure successful communication will encourage employees to feel more engaged and invested in their company’s values.
Here are some suggestions on how effective communication can stimulate your workplace:
Tools like Slack allow co-workers to quickly ask questions, without the formality of sending an email. Slack is also great for transparency, with channelized groups to ensure everyone on the team is in the loop. Since we spend at least 40 hours/week in our workplaces, we all know that comic relief is needed every so often. Slack allows for casual conversations, connections, and the odd /giphy.
Although they haven’t come to life in the majority of workplaces yet, we are not far from this ‘reality’! It’ll be important to understand how to communicate using these more modern tools. Applications such as InsiteVR used as a VR meeting platform, or Strivr, a startup company specializing in VR training for employees, have already started to be implemented into the workspace.
At Climax Media, we try to accommodate this by having an approachable HR team, sending out anonymous surveys if there are concerns, allowing for work-from-home days, and most importantly putting an emphasis on not only physical health but also mental health and wellness.
In summary, embrace new technology and innovative methods of communication within your company, but don’t forget to acknowledge everyone’s basic need to be listened to and feel valued. Today is #BellLetsTalk day, spare a moment to spread the word, send some love, and help raise money for mental illness initiatives.
If you are in a crisis, need emotion support, or even if you are feeling lonely, the Toronto Distress Centre is there for you. Please call the 408-HELP line at 416-408-4357. If this is an emergency, please call 911.