Sunday, 2 September 2007

How did we ever communicate?

From my newsletter (visit to sign up) - May 2007

It’s been a week of challenge with regard to modern communication technology this week, highlighted by a radio show we listened to which provided much hilarity on the subject…

We now have cordless telephones at home and spend half our lives, it seems, looking for them because they are no longer anchored to the wall! And when we find them – the battery is dead anyway!! Caused much frustration in my house this week when, having called my coach late, due to confusion in our original communication as to who was calling who, had to switch to my mobile within a few minutes because someone (!) had left the phone off the charger and it died as soon as I wanted to use it.

Then there is the mobile itself. Once upon a time, we bought a mobile phone to make telephone calls and speak to people on the move. Now, we keep our diary/organiser in it, receive and send email and text messages (using predictive text if you’re up to it), set alarms, keep task lists, take notes from meetings, capture key moments in photographs, listen to music, watch videos, surf the internet…oh, and make telephone calls occasionally! Not to mention the fact that we have buttons to choose to ignore the call anyway and switch it to our pre-recorded answer service. So why do we take it with us in the first place?

As for answer machines…I’ve yet to meet anyone who a) likes recording their own personal message and b) wants to talk to the machine when the person you actually want to talk to presses “ignore” call!! Those who have had the “pleasure” of listening to my answer service will know how much I enjoy recording a message for them and what’s more, those who have had the equal “pleasure” of listening to me leaving a message know how painful it can be. When the message retrieval system starts with “the next message is 4 minutes and 37 seconds long”, you know I’ve been on and gone into rambling mode!

When I switched to Blackberry (whoever thought of that name…perhaps raspberry would be more appropriate?), life changed. The lap-top bag disappeared, the Filofax was redundant and forever more I would have total access to everything I needed in one pocket sized box. It is true, that life is now simpler and I can keep myself more organised without duplicating work – weekly planner, diary, contacts (remember when you used to have to type in every contact into the new phone?), and so on. However, it is a sobering reflection…how did we ever manage without these tools?

Modern technology is here to stay and we either keep up or get left behind, but I still think the most effective communication is through seeing the whites of their eyes, creating a connection, building rapport, creating trust and shaking the friendly hand of the other person.

A final thought I picked up somewhere along the way – only 7% of communication is about the words we use. That means 93% is about everything else, tone, body language and so on. We should be careful when we use words alone as the interpretation can be totally different to the intended message, and it is our responsibility as the sender of the message to ensure it is received as we intended!

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