If you are a baby boomer like me, you will remember that tag line. Today, apps, devices, methods and social media have nearly eliminated the need to “go live” in order to communicate. Are we losing the ability to be charismatic influencers by replacing our voices, facial expressions and body language with technology as our primary communication tool? Do these virtual mediums adversely affect our ability to manage, mentor, sell and influence others?
Communication is a vital link between the interaction of buyer and seller, manager and subordinate; mentor and mentee. While we gain efficiency and speed via technology, there is a risk by greatly downsizing, and at times eliminating, vocal and physical communication pillars.
The business landscape demands that people multi task and respond with rapid speed to automated inquiries. Technology is an absolute necessity. But when you stop for a moment and think about balancing and managing these tools, it is hard to imagine attaining consistent genuineness and finesse. The demand for our time and immediate response is at an all-time zenith; which results in little time to think about what we are firing back.
We need to pause; and re-think how we communicate to achieve balance throughout our communi-cations. When we have balance we have true peace, desired outcomes and harmony. Face to face or telephone conversation is a lost art worth resuscitating. The value of our voices and our positive expressions can make or break a business relationship – especially when the unexpected happens. Think about a time in your professional career when presenting yourself to communicate made the difference and positively affected the outcome versus sending an email or a text and leaving it up to the reader to interpret your sentiment.
I’m a believer in providing quality in-person training to foster mentoring, support consistent workflow procedures, promote company culture and cultivate synergy. Sadly, internal corporate training programs have either been vastly eliminated or our employees are given a poor substitute via tutorials and self-help learning modules. As a result, we leave way too much up to technology and when technology fails us we are accountable. We must be trained in the art of communication and smart enough to know when it is time to take human intervention off the shelf, dust it off and go into high gear accessing our human tool box to save that account or strengthen a business relationship.
So how do we translate this in a world of technology? How can we be our authentic self and allow our best self to shine through while using technology to advance our work? Apply your personal touch and bring out your personality. Challenge yourself to telephone more and meet more. When choosing email, take a moment to pause and approach each interaction freshly and with enthusiasm. Remember, you are building your personal brand and reputation in every interaction. Written words are engaging but before you write, put yourself in the shoes of the receiver, treat people the way you wish to be treated with a sincere hello and an opening thought and then get to the business at hand. Most importantly, always re-read what you have written before pressing send!
Some last words about the value of training. Mr. Bill Olsten, the CEO of Olsten’s, an international staffing firm, taught me a valuable lesson in branding personalization, exceptional service and relationship building. As was often the case, he would personally train new hires and I was one of the lucky ones who received a week of training from the Founder of this wonderful organization. He provided a gift of a very small mirror with a stand and placed it by the telephone. On the mirror it was inscribed, “At Olsten…our Customers can hear your smile!” He challenged me to make a series of prospect calls and carefully watched, coached and listened. He then taught me to smile with enthusiasm and authority when speaking on the telephone and to use that mirror to reinforce the behavior. He believed a person’s smile was a valuable asset and smiling while on the telephone was paramount! The smile has the power to convey enthusiasm, sincerity, pride, customer appreciation, competitive advantage and genuine interest to the caller. It was and still is the game changing secret to increasing brand image and sales.
A smile is a trend that never goes out of style and can be your “Memorex” in today’s business world.
Jeanine L. Bondi, CSP, Vice President – A first class business executive and altruist, Jeanine L. Bondi is committed to quality in the workplace, education and community outreach. Her career spans more than 25 years as a leader in human capital management, academia, corporate, franchise and technology companies which are consistently ranked among the industry’s most highly regarded firms. www.lloydstaffing.com
Associate Trustee, North Shore LIJ Health System
President Emeritus, Long Island Center for Business & Professional Women
Founder, From Our Hearts