Technology has turned our interpersonal communication upside down. If you think back 10 years, only advertising and marketing pros regularly uttered the words relevant, attention, and experience. Now, we’re all working our collective rear ends off to create relevant content that grabs people’s attention so they can experience our brand and content.
In other words, it’s time to rethink our business communication.
Research finds that my fellow digital immigrants have to move away from the linear progression learning model that we used in the pre-tech days. Sorry to report that cumbersome spreadsheets are history.
Digital natives can put us to shame with quick analyses of data because they consume nugget-sized information that’s visually documented in a pie chart or simple graph.
And from college professors, I hear firsthand that marketing and sales students are in dire straits when it comes to basic telephone skills. Not texting, but live conversations, vocal habits, and etiquette. It’s difficult to improve verbal communication when you use your phone for typing and not talking.
Regardless of the faction you are in, we all must realize that failure to adapt and lousy communication skills can hinder your career.
As we fight that nasty brain overload every single day, consider the attention, relevance, and experience you bring to each of these forms of communication. How can you sharpen your skills?
Your e-mails: The subject line and opening sentence must be relevant to your reader. Get their attention by telling them what you are sharing and why it’s important (relevant) to them. When they are done reading your electronic message, has their experience been frustrating and confusing? Let’s shoot for written messages that have a logical flow and are easy-to-understand. Long e-mails often lose the reader. TL:DR. Translation: Too Long, Didn’t Read.
Your social channels: The messages you post in LinkedIn groups, on Facebook walls, and in Twitter chats have to be meaningful (relevant) to others. If you promote your new book, a quote or self-serving mention may seem like a smooth marketing move. But bring the reader a deeper experience by sharing a link to a related blog post or slide deck. Capture their attention but don’t dead-end them. Savvy marketers will grab your attention, and KEEP it.
Your phone conversations: If you’re out-of-touch with the original premise of why telephones were invented, let’s go back to the days when phones weren’t so smart. It was the people expressing themselves and conveying messages who were (apparently) smart…or not. The phone was simply the vehicle, not the brains. That’s what we humans are for. There is an art to using your vocal vitality and following the flow of the spoken word. There’s something to be said for communicating a complete thought in a complete sentence.
Remember the wise words of Eric Harvey: The style and tone of your communications are messages in and of themselves.