Technology has forever changed the way we communicate – and will likely do so many times over in our lifetimes. While it has made most facets of communication easier, a challenge remains: maintaining the value of person-to-person interaction.
In my earlier days as a professional, communication seemed easy; if I needed a document from the client, it was an e-mail request away. Forms could be sent out in a matter of seconds – a few keystrokes to insert a pleasantry within the note, attach the file, and…that was it. Mission accomplished. With experience, however, I have come to appreciate four simple words of one of my former leaders – “pick up the phone.”
In their experiences, they had grasped the value of person-to-person interaction, for which I have seen a need for reinforcement amongst young professionals entering the field with even more outlets for digital communication than their predecessors. As one progresses in the professional services industry, it becomes apparent that relationships are what drive and grow business. There are so many screens and tasks vying for your attention, but a phone call (or, even better, face-to-face meeting) can go a long way towards strengthening and creating more collaborative relationships. Putting a face (or voice) to your name helps with establishing deeper personal connections.
Hopefully, this is something that can be practiced in one’s personal life as well. I can’t say that I have never uttered the phrase, “I don’t like talking on the phone; texting is easier.” But when I do get a phone call from a friend (once I get past the assumption that something is wrong), I find it refreshing. We are all human, and most of us are not immune to the integration of technology into their lives. But, before you send that next quick e-mail, consider something more personal instead. Those few minutes can make a difference.