New forms of communication are changing everything, albeit not always with great results.
Too often, our efforts get messed up and relationships are unnecessarily damaged or lost, customers are lost, revenue is lost and – dare I say, humanity is lost.
Maybe not irrevocably lost, but we are headed down a scary dehumanizing path.
Yes, there is nuance but you can’t see it or hear it. Yes, there is tone, inflection, pace, expression and body language but you can’t see any of them. No, you aren’t deaf or blind but you might as well be if you want to have any hope of interpreting emails, blogs, tweets etc. as ‘conversation’. Yet we have so many of them to give us the illusion we have actually communicated. What’s worse, is we have more likely miscommunicated – it is only a question of ‘to what degree’ we’ve gotten truncated.
We hit send.
That’s not what we meant. Well, it is, but we didn’t mean to say it quite that way.
Yes, they’ll understand something but they won’t understand what you said, what you meant or how you expected them to receive it.
Nobody does face to face anymore, nobody is talking on their phone – and every industry is trying to take the human contact element out of the equation. Have you tried to connect with any company for the first time lately? It’s online, you provide information and someone (or a computer) will respond to you. It’s not much easier if you already deal with someone – you might have a password or a Customer Login, but it is unlikely you are any closer to human contact. Even if you mess up, miss a payment or fail to something in a timely fashion, there is a 99% chance you won’t hear from a human. This gets ten times worse if you’ve changed you address, your email address or forgotten your password.
So what can we do about this ubiquitous problem?
Hands off the keyboard, step away from that mouse – make the call, go meet them. Meet, greet, shake hands, give hugs and look into people’s eyes. I know if seems retro, time consuming and old-school.