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A new study from the University of Texas at Austin suggests that people too often choose to send email or text when a phone call is more likely to produce the feelings of connectedness they crave. The study recently appeared in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. It found that people generally chose text because they believed a phone call would be more awkward.
But they were wrong, according to the study’s co-author Amit Kumar.
“People feel significantly more connected through voice-based media, but they have these fears about awkwardness that are pushing them towards text-based media,” he said.
In one experiment, researchers asked 200 people to predict what it would be like to reconnect with an old friend.
The options were via text-based communication or phone. They then randomly assigned those participants to actually connect.
Participants knew that a phone call would indeed make them feel more connected. Nonetheless, they still said they preferred the text-based method because they expected calling would be too awkward.
But the phone call went much better than an email, the study found.
“When it came to actual experience, people reported they did form a significantly stronger bond with their old friend on the phone versus email, and they did not feel more awkward,” Kumar said.
In another experiment, researchers randomly assigned strangers to connect via one of three ways. Those included a live chat, talking over video chat, or talking using only audio. Participants didn’t expect that the media they used would matter. But the researchers found when people actually interacted, they felt significantly more connected when they communicated by talking than by typing. And, again, they found that calling didn’t create the expected awkwardness. In fact, the voice itself — even without visual cues — seemed to be integral to bonding, the researchers found.
In a world where so much communication is done through texts and written messages, it is important to remember the value of face-to-face communication and the power of the human voice. Whether it is through phone calls, video conferencing, or in-person conversations, taking the time to use our voices to connect with others can greatly enhance our relationships and improve our overall well-being. So, take the time to pick up the phone and have a conversation with someone, or schedule a video call with a friend or family member. Your relationships will thank you!
If you’re serious about advancing your communication skills and making an investment in yourself, we invite you to our Excellence in Speaking Institute. Classes in 2023 are already filling up quickly! We look forward to helping you power up this power skill!
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