Workers 'shunning' face-to-face conversations in favour of emails and telephones

Jobseekers might want to boost their employment prospects by improving their face-to-face communications skills after it emerged that this form of communication is becoming a lost art.

A survey by discovered that more than two-thirds (68%) of workers prefer to converse with their colleagues via email or phone, with just 32% opting for face-to-face conversations.

Those who prefer the direct approach said they did so because it enables them to get responses to their ideas quickly and because they could discuss a number of ideas in a short space of time.

The increasing reliance on email and telephone communication means that employees are becoming less confident in their ability to communicate with others in person.

More than half (52%) of those quizzed believe their face-to-face communication skills have diminished as email, phones and Skype have become increasingly prevalent.

Workers named email as being the preferred mode of communication, namely because it enables them to record their dialogue with others and send attachments to those they are having a conversation with.

That said, the telephone is the preferred option when an immediate decision is called for, although the majority of respondents said they would use email as a first point of contact.

Given the fact that the vast majority of workers prefer indirect forms of communication, it is perhaps somewhat surprising that 97% of those polled believe that it is important to put a face to an email address, and believe that this is helpful in developing working relationships in the long-term.

An spokesman said that workers are becoming ever more reliant on electronic communication and are becoming less well versed in the skill of talking to people in the flesh.

He added: "Being asked awkward questions or being cornered into taking on new tasks were two of the main reasons cited as to why many workers preferred to keep their distance from colleagues and clients - using email as a barrier to these issues.

"Many viewed the phone as a compromise as they were able to keep their distance from the person they were speaking to but could openly discuss issues and let the conversation flow where required."

Copyright Press Association 2012