Adapting to a Lower Form of Communication

September 2023

It was once considered unprofessional to communicate electronically.  That Zoom meeting was once frowned upon.  Done poorly, an unreliable connection or meeting crashed by a pet or child could cost someone their job.  Nobody would risk discussing a major contract or speaking with a client in this manner.

Today there is no other choice.

Communications have evolved although not necessarily for the better.  It is now perfectly acceptable to communicate electronically using shorter and unclear messages complete with spelling and grammatical errors, and indecipherable abbreviations of all types.  Nobody cares about typos.

Online communications have become more “relaxed” even for important matters.  In high-rise communities, a more formal approach to communication could reduce conflict among management, directors and owners.

Virtual meetings have made communications appear more personal.  We see another’s office or home and judge their surroundings.  Pets and family members make unexpected visits.  In the virtual world, screen backgrounds are personalized or used to hide actual surroundings.  Cameras directed at faces allow people to dress more casually – allowing some to get away with not wearing pants.  Much of this is perceived by some as relationship building and making interactions more personal.  Increasingly, electronic forms of communication are  less sincere, unreliable and not trustworthy.

Despite living in close proximity to others in condominium communities, a great many disputes are the result of people not knowing their neighbours.  When a conflict arises, too many assumptions are made about what others are thinking and doing.  Conflicts escalate because parties never communicate directly which makes any underlying problems worse.  Both sides have their own beliefs which presume some combination of malice, ignorance or selfishness.  Interactions become hostile and relations deteriorate.

When concerns or disputes reach the condominium manager, a relaxed form of written communication should be avoided.  Communications lacking in proper grammar, spelling and punctuation are unprofessional.  They generally fail to effectively communicate a problem or concern.  When such communications come from management, they fail to present the image of someone knowledgeable and in authority.  In the give and take of daily communication, it is important to present an image of someone capable of resolving disputes by way of expertise, knowledge and professionalism.  None of this is possible using poorly written communication and ungrammatical text.

Informal communication is a social convenience.  It is an ineffective way to manage the affairs of and within a condominium corporation.