Five Ways to bring more "actual" to a "virtual" world

Technology has transformed the way we operate in almost every aspect of our lives. We now spend an increasing amount of time engrossed in our digital life, oblivious to the world around us. But this was not always the case. Think about what life was like prior to the introduction of Outlook - when being off work meant completely disconnecting from the office - or before the advent of social media - when interacting with friends meant listening to what they actually said, not just what they post online.

While technological advances have made life more convenient, below are five tips to help you build real human connections in the digital age:

1. Pick up the phone
Certain conversations should be reserved for verbal discourse, as text messages and emails can easily be misunderstood. Verbal dialogue is often more rewarding, allows for more understanding of nuance and leads to greater outcomes.

2. Review email before hitting "send "
While today's emails are certainly shorter than the one page memos I learned to proofread at the start of my career, reserving time to edit is more important than ever. Before sending an email, ask yourself - is that what I want to say or how I want to say it to this audience? Will it be understood or start a debate?

3. Take interest in the people in your life
With the increasing evolution of digital communication, we are moving away from face-to-face interaction and spend less time "checking in" with the people in our lives. Make time to reach out to friends, or a mentor who provided direction. Doing so will make all of your relationships feel more authentic.

4. Use traditional mail
The good news is that email increases the speed with which you can say "thank-you." I admit I have transitioned most of my follow-ups to the digital world. However, since email reduces the amount of mail we receive, people will notice the extra effort it takes to send handwritten thank you notes after special events and important occasions. It's also an easy way to make sure the people in your life know that you value them.

5. Make eye contact and introduce yourself to new people
We hide behind technology -- at our desks, in elevators, waiting in line, even at cocktail parties. Look the people you meet in the eye and extend a hand to start a conversation. You will amazed by the response.