Will “good old” values survive the new age of communications?

Will “good old” values survive the new age of communications? It’s a good question. Look around. Society encourages us to do more in less time—at home and at work. We teach our kids to mimic the behavior we abhor. We entice them with cell phones, video distractions in motor vehicles, and dinner accompanied by television— interferences that limit opportunities to engage future generations in dialog about life and the art of conversation.

At work we utilize new and engaging technology to do more faster. We label this “efficient”. We text peers about projects in the works while attending meetings about projects to come. We email, search Google, and post to social media while participating in webinars. We want immediate answers to our questions and want to skip the supporting material. The art of communication has given way to 140 characters and has superseded communicating clearly in importance.

I work with some pretty amazing people—smart and successful business professionals required to interact with a variety of people at all levels. However, as a communications professional, I find myself cringing at the lack of attention to professional courtesy, manners and I’m just going to say it…grammar. Our leaders of tomorrow can’t write and often come across as flippant, terse and even rude.

Now I know the new age of communications has forced its hand, and individuals are just trying to be efficient, but please. Does it take that much time to re-read an email and make sure words are spelled correctly and that it supports professional decorum?

This isn’t just a business phenomenon. It’s graduation time. My husband and I have received thank you notes from some pretty amazing kids that are getting ready to start the next phase of their lives. However, as we read the letters, it was apparent just how much we’re failing them. Riddled with grammar and spelling errors and rarely longer than two sentences, we were clobbered with insincerity and thoughtlessness. Perhaps it wasn’t meant that way, but people don’t remember what you say. They remember how you make them feel. Graduation thank you notes are early networking tools, with long lasting impressions.

I fear we’re raising a generation with high expectations that call for an immediate return on investment before actually putting in the hard work or effort. Is this realistic? Can we as a society support this? What we view as rude we excuse in our youth. We need to expect more from future generations. Civility and manners are important in communications. Let’s set a good example and encourage high standards.