Gone are the days when you could give, “Your phone was unreachable.” or “I was out of coverage area.” as a reason for not being in contact with friends, family or business contacts. Even if you are out of your network zone, you almost always get messages left for you while you were out. To top it off, the smart phone apps tell your contacts when you came back into the zone. And this is only with reference to contact via phone. Add e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and what not to the ways you can be contacted and there is just no way you cannot be in touch. Of course, I am only talking about non face-to-face conversations.
Of course, it is not that we are trying to avoid contact, it is just that some times you want to be contacted when you want to be contacted; you want to reply when you want to reply. And at other times, you just want to be. Rightfully, so.
To each his own medium of communication.
What I have noticed is each one of us has a preferred medium/platform of communication. Some people I know will reply to text message immediately, but will take forever to respond to a Whatsapp message. While at times it could just be because something is wrong with their data/WiFi, this is intriguing. Especially since once you’ve paid for internet, Whatsapp is free while you have to pay for the SMS. Anyway, it is not always about the few bucks you spend on the messages, because for each one of us a pattern emerges on the way we like being contacted.
Some of us like our Inbox clean, so will respond to an e-mail immediately, while will forever delay or never reply to a chat ping on the same client (gmail browser tab/other e-mail-chat application), to the same person even! Some of us will reply to one person on any medium they use, while won’t reply to others on any of those mediums, but that is a matter for a different post on a different forum.
Some prefer communication over their PC while others like using their mobile better. And then there are a whole bunch who hate typing whether it is on their laptop or their phone and are best reached by a call, as intrusive as it may seem to the rest of us.
Moreover, we all have an unsaid hierarchy of how quickly we respond on one medium over the other.
What is it that makes us prefer one medium more than the other?
- Is it a man-woman thing? Are men different from women in their preferences for mode of communication?
- Is it different for different age groups?
- Does it change with the position you hold at your workplace?
- Has it changed over time for yourself?
- How much does the medium change based on whether the communication is business or personal?
Why do we have the preferences we have?
For most people, most communication is about efficiency. We do what takes the least time for us, as far as business or any other non-personal type of communication go. That in turn depends on:
- our comfort with typing on phone versus computer
- whether or not we like talking to people on phone
- time we spend on the computer
- how accessible we make ourselves on phone
Do you change your behavior as per the other person’s preferences?
Usually the medium people use to get in touch with you is their preferred way of being contacted. Have you observed yourself adapting to the other person’s preference? Do you slowly but surely transition the conversations to your preferred mode of communication?
I leave you with this one last question — have you considered that the way you initiate or respond might have a lot to do with the way the relationship has shaped, be it business or personal?