Skip Navigation
Angelo State University
Small Business Development Center

Search Site

Information for:

Flying thumbs can’t replace face time

July 23, 2012

Do you rely too heavily on text or e-mail communication? You may be missing an opportunity build more meaningful relationships with those involved in your business. 

By James Leavelle


SAN ANGELO, Texas — It is difficult to go anywhere without seeing someone communicating electronically with someone else.

Everywhere you go someone has their thumbs rapidly moving over a handheld device, or punching keys on a computer. The digital age has society able to send real-time updates about the most intimate details of our lives. It can be as “private” as text message via phone or email, or as public as a post on a social media site for all of our friends to see.

Such technology is so “cool”; how did we ever communicate before cellphones and computers?

It is so easy just to send a text or an email. This can be convenient when you want to send a message or request information and you do not need a response right away, if at all. The downside is as a society, we have become so extremely dependent on digital communication that we forget the value of actually verbally speaking to someone else.

It can be very difficult to truly ascertain someone’s intended message without being able to see their facial expression or hear the intonations of their voice. Digital communication is not a bad thing, but it is easy to over-rely on it and use it when verbal communication should be used.

Businesses communicate all of the time. They communicate through their advertising, their brand, and their staff. They communicate with customers, vendors, lenders, marketers, and peers. In a fast paced business environment, it is often necessary to communicate through texts or emails. The danger lies in relying on these avenues too heavily. When we can’t see expressions or hear someone’s voice, we miss clues something might be urgent, or that someone may be experiencing insecurity with a request, or that we have angered someone unintentionally.

Those are mistakes that business owners don’t want to make. It could cost them business.

Texts and emails should be used for business in a judicious manner. They should be delivered with enough text to clearly relay the intended message so that there is little danger of it being misconstrued. Ideally, texts and emails should be used as consideration for the recipient, not the sender.

Sometimes, the best communication is verbal and if possible, it is face to face. Its significance comes in that it is more difficult to build meaningful personal relationships through technology. Personal relationships are important in business.

Business owners build relationships with vendors, lenders, customers, stakeholders, and others important to the success of the business. They can’t build meaningful relationships through texts and emails. Imagine applying for a loan through an email with a banker you have never met or, trying to get an investor on board without actually having to meet face to face. Both scenarios will most likely have negative outcomes for you. It is OK to use technology, when appropriate, but not as the only means of communication.

Relationship building is one of a business’s strongest tools and works best when communication is meaningful and personal.

“Business Tips” was written by James Leavelle, Business Development Specialist of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact him

© 2012 San Angelo Standard Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.