Preview of the Human Factor
To follow up on my previous post about Social Marketing, I have some additional insights for you. How important is the human factor in relating and communicating with other people whether it’s clients, acquaintances, friends or family? I recently attended a Social Marketing seminar to keep up on the latest trends in the industry. There was a panel of speakers and they all had a central focus to their businesses, such as a Blogger, a Vlogger, an online PR person, etc. The format was set up so that each of the speakers was given questions that directly related to their expertise and allowed a set amount of time to offer their viewpoint.
Everything went along swimmingly in that each of the speakers were competent and confident about their subject matter, until it got to one individual. This particular person was a Twitter expert and had a large following of her Tweets. Her credentials in the program were solid and she had a list of very respectable clients to boot. However, when it came her turn to speak, things went south and quickly. She froze on stage and wilted like a fresh cut flower in the desert!
Social Interactions as a Human Factor
I was basically dumbstruck, as were a number of other attendees as I glanced around the room. Okay, I know some of us are better speakers than others and stage fright can take down the most seasoned pro. I’ve had my own moments of brain lock and terror so I can relate, but this was a small audience and she knew what the question would be before she received it. That hit me as a bit odd. Maybe I’m being harsh, but this is just a single story that struck a cord. I have been in many other social situations where I can be truly awkward myself. It’s difficult to overcome some things like this. But, I have seen this in other instances where individuals have frozen solid and it likely cost them business.
Here’s the thing though for me. Okay, let’s say you have an entourage on the Internet. Your Twitter followers are in the thousands and you really are linked in on LinkedIn, but this is easy because there’s no face-to-face interaction, just keyboard to screen. How important are real-world social skills today? Are we all satisfied with typing in place of talking?
So many things are changing so fast that it’s a blur some days. Newspapers are sinking like rocks. Phone books are filling land fills at an alarming rate. Television is so diluted due to the daunting number of channels. I can only hope that the social skills we have been taught in school and by are parents are not heading for the trash heap as well.
Importance of Communication
I mean imagine a world where our only human interaction is conducted through machines. The thought of it is rather scary, but is it really out of the realm of possibilities? I wonder.
At our agency, we were falling into this rut ourselves. Communications with clients were overwhelmingly performed via email to the point where if we did not get a response to this form of contact, we’d just shoot off a second “reminder” message via email. I mean seriously, we expect everyone to respond instantly and that they all must be garnishing their smart phone 24/7 as well.
We have since corrected this process, by placing a level of urgency on each communication that needs to take place with a client or vendor. If it’s really important, the phone is it. If it’s not on fire and it can be floated out there for an eventual response, then email does the trick just fine.
A funny thing happens when you actually converse with a person though. It’s personal! You ask how they’re doing, and mean it, and small talk takes place in the form of a touch point interaction. There’s no mistake about the person’s mood or if they are feeling good about the relationship. Obviously it’s even more enhanced face-to-face as body language also enters into the conversation giving even greater feedback.
I just am hopeful that we don’t “evolve” to the point where we no longer need to be able to converse with spoken words and in place we seek out a keyboard to do the talking for us.