Recently, I was driving my car with two passengers under age 30. Although there was no audio conversation in the car, they had a conversation via text. To be private? Nope. To be efficient. I asked.
If being efficient takes less time typing sending, reading and responding, then I guess good for them they are very efficient. From my point of view, lost in that entire experience is the opportunity for expanding the topic or avoiding any inadvertent ambiguity.
My takeaway, which should be obvious to anyone in the relationship business, is that we are all now becoming accustomed to more and more communication being done via electronic delivery, sacrificing all the things that can be learned through actual conversation. Young and old, if you text or abbreviate your emails to save time or just to be a fast responder, you are using modern communication techniques perhaps without conscious consideration.
In a short 30 years or so, we have aggressively worked to avoid telephones and real-time conversations entirely. Why? The illusion of efficiency? We have fooled ourselves into thinking that carrying on a text and email exchanges with a couple of others interspersed over time is more efficient than just picking up the phone.
What if you asked the question about communication choices a different way? What is the most EFFECTIVE way to communicate with this person? Aha! That’s a head scratcher isn’t it? Is the goal of communication to be efficient or effective? I know for my communication it’s effective.
I would love to think this is cars vs. trains vs. planes, but, it’s not. The end result of the journey on a car or a train or a plane is the same. You’re at the destination. There is no interaction or exchange. It’s a one-way activity. You get in. You arrive. That’s it. It’s merely faster. If you want to be downtown, take the train. If you want more flexibility, take the car, etc. A real-time conversation is far more dynamic in its ability to provide both parties with more at the end than they started with in the beginning.
There is no substitute for the effectiveness of real-time communications. Interestingly, I suspect there are many generally younger people who are unskilled in the art of real-time communication. One group’s weakness is another group’s opportunity. If you want to win your fair share of your market, commit to person to person, real-time communication with your precious audience. Be the person that calls and talks to people. Be the person that makes the effort to go to see the other person. Don’t abandon all the other stuff. Just make sure it’s the appropriately sized piece of the pie that is your overall communications. Be thoughtful before defaulting to the false sense of efficiency in sending a text or email.
Here’s my clincher. How much do you pay for a song online? $1.00? That’s the commoditization of music. And how many songs are in a typical concert? 15 maybe 20? Then why do we pay $50 or $100 or more to see the concert in person that we can’t even take home except in our memories? Because LIVE makes a difference; for the performers and for the listeners. Electronic communication can be absorbed anytime, a hundred ways. Live communication can only be done one way, real time. It’s a two-way exchange, just like a concert. When you care about the other person, show it in your commitment to real-time communication. It’s more remarkably EFFECTIVE than ever.