Face to Face Communications and Training Issue 420
January 2010
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Point of View

Text Me, Friend Me, Follow Me, IM Me, Digg This, Share That...Just Please, Don't Make Me Talk To You

Technology is truly amazing. I am connected to everyone and everything! I have an app for things I didn't even know I needed an app for. Heck, a year ago I'm not sure I knew what an app was! It's cool, hip, awesome, and incredible. Physical distance is no longer a barrier for anything--except emotions and relevancy.

Don't close this window just yet--please hear (read) me out. The physical distance that we're creating with all of our technology applications is creating emotional distance that is making our products and in some cases our industries irrelevant.

I'll use my industry as an example: traning and consulting. You can have training delivered to your staff on their PC/Mac at a very low cost. No gathering space, no lunch to order, no schedules to juggle. It's great! Particpants can view the PowerPoint, instant message their questions, and hear the presenter...all while checking their email, work on a project, and updating facebook! You can meet your goal of providing training to staff within your ever decreasing budget. But as Dr. Phil would say, "Is it working for you?"

We're making it easier to access everything. And we're making it easier to tune out, drop out, or unfocus. As we become more and more remote, we become more and more remote.

Working from home is a perk most of us would jump at. The distance, however, creates distance. People feel isolated and segregated--and they are. It's becoming easier to not attend meetings, conferences, and social gatherings than it is to attend them. We've made it simple to opt out--all you have to do is click 'no' to the RSVP--or easier yet, 'maybe.' That way you're not really saying 'no,' but everyone knows you're not saying 'yes.' We're participating without participating--cool!

There are a few unintended consequences that organizations should consider:

  1. Loyalty--Customers as well as employees are less loyal to the company, brand, and service as techology broadens our options.

  2. Unchecked interpretations--When you are sitting by yourself reading a report or viewing a meeting, there is greater opportunity to leave interpretations and perceptions unchecked. For example: two large divisions were working together to create some momentum for an important project. They reported the success of the project together on facebook and changed their profile picture to a picture of the two division leaders together. My percpetion--merger. Is it true? I don't know--but there's really no private way to check my perception without picking up the phone--and why would I do that?

  3. ROI--We are investing less and expecting bigger, better returns. The problem is, becuase we've invested less we are settling for 'less' in our returns. We've lowered our expectations, lowered the bar, lowered our standards. And getting exactly what we should--less.

Please don't get me wrong, I LOVE technology and all that it has afforded us. However, we must address the unintended consequenses of our virtual work and lives to make it work for us rather than aganist us. Friend me and we can "talk" about it!

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F2F POINT OF VIEW is an interacz newsletter, please forward it (in its entirety, please) to a friend or colleague.

The focus of F2F POINT OF VIEW is to provide brief insights into the world of interpersonal business communication. It is edited by Gail Johnson, CEO of Face to Face Communications and Training. For more information, a complementary consultation, or initial training assessment email Gail or visit our website.