Nothing Replaces Face-to-Face

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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We have more forms of communication available to us today than we've ever even imagined. The cost of connecting with one another over great distances is steadily going down as technology advances. And the options available to us are expanding nearly as quickly.

For thousands of years, there were only two choices for communication. Either you walked to wherever a person was and told them the message in person. Or you wrote it on a piece of paper and gave it to someone else to deliver. Now we've got things like email, cell phones, and instant messaging—often integrated on one device!

But the more technologically advanced our communication becomes, the less personal it is. There's so much more to our communication than just so many words.

Studies have indicated that 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. People who study this sort of thing have found the basic breakdown to be like this:

• 7% is the words we use
• 38% is voice quality
• The remaining 55% of communication depends on things like facial expression and posture

Think about the phrase, "Yeah, right." With different inflection in different circumstances, those words can mean exact opposite things. The phrase could be an agreement. But said sarcastically, it could mean, "There is absolutely no way I agree with that!"

Even back in New Testament times, folks like John knew the power of communicating in person. Take a look at how he ended two of his letters:

I have much more to say to you. But I don't want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.
I have much more to say to you, but I don't want to write it with pen and ink. For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face.

John valued face-to-face communication with its high personal touch.

I can't tell you how many times I've cleared up a lengthy confusing email exchange with a simple phone call. Imagine how our understanding of Jesus might change if we could hear him actually say the words in Scripture.

When Jesus calmed the storm, was it the booming "BE QUIET!" we often hear portrayed? Or might it have been more like the way I sometimes tell my alarm clock to "be quiet" with a groan when it disturbs my sleep? Since he already had the authority of God, why do we automatically assume Jesus would yell?

The bottom line is this. Our written words can leave a lot of the message out. There is nothing wrong with high-tech communication. But we should remember to be like John and long to speak with each other face to face.

That's the only way to maximize the effectiveness of our communication. And then our joy will be complete.