I have a confession……
Somewhere over the last 3-4 years, I have become a watcher.
You know the ones, they sit and observe, the ‘studiers’ of things.
In my case humans, humanity, and the systems we make.
Not quite sure when it exactly happened but as I am comfortable with this gift I have received, maybe even earned. But that’s for another day……
As I watch myself and others, I see many of the impacts of our current complexity.
Social distancing is causing us to be less connected to each other than we would like to be. We are a social bunch who need and want connection, tribe, community.
The result pf this yearning is the rise of the digital world to even greater prominence in our lives.
Online tools – such as Zoom, Teams and many others – allow us to continue to work “face to face” with our teams, organisations and clients, and our friends and families.
These tools are not new. But now more than ever, they are vital to maintaining some semblance of connectivity with others, when connection in the physical sense is far more complicated and consequential.
The other thing I’ve noticed is the number of emails I receive each day. I’m getting far more emails during this side of the lockdown than I did only four or five weeks ago. Crazy!
Text messaging is also breathing new life into communications. I’ve even received a text from the government, informing me of the current status of an application I’d recently submitted. I don’t think I had ever received a text message from any government before social isolation.
It’s fascinating to see the adoption (or re-adoption) of these technologies in useful ways.
But that’s the thing with digital technologies. They can be highly useful until they’re not.
I choose to level up my communications
When it comes to emails and other forms of communication, my team and I try to adhere to a simple philosophy.
I call it “communications level up”.
What it means is this:
- If you’re about to send somebody an email, consider texting them instead.
- If you’re about to send a text, think about calling them.
- If you’re about to make a phone call, maybe you could chat face-to-face via Zoom, Teams or FaceTime.
- And, once we’re allowed to be in each other’s physical presence again, if you’re thinking about using a digital comms platform, perhaps you should ditch the screen and just go over and say hello to them.
In other words, this practice is about always looking at the next level up, or potentially two or three levels up.
Getting the biggest bang for your buck (effort).
After all, we want your message to be easily understood, efficient and have maximum impact, don’t we?
Right now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are working from home. It often seems most comfortable to just bang out an email to a client or co-worker, and while that’s not such a bad thing…… if the emails keep going back and forth…… we all we have all played email ping pong at some time…… maybe it’s easier to pick up the phone, give the other person a call and have a real conversation. Hear and be heard.
Some folk may be a little reticent to jump onto a digital platform they’ve never used before. That’s ok. I get it.
I like to use Zoom or Teams for digital meetings, but not everyone does (especially if you don’t want to be seen wearing your tracky dacks and daggy old jumper at home!).
Maybe whack on a decent shirt….. have one sitting on the rack beside you (lesson learnt from my son with online school expectations).
It is worth working out your process with these tools as I think they are here to stay (in varying forms).
So, some questions and thoughts to help you as you think about levelling up your communications.
What tools should you invest in?
What practice or coaching do you need in the process or method?
What is the best and the highest level of communications that will serve you and your team/clients?
Consider how you can connect with others, and how others would like to communicate with you, instead of taking the perceived easiest option. Usually, this proves to be untrue in some way.
Get into others’ personal space as much as you can using the digital tools available to you, to ensure your messages are clear, genuine and meaningful, and your relationships are nurtured.
The cool thing about this opportunity for improvement is it’s as easy as pressing a button on your mouse or i-device.