In a linked-in world where we are all scrambling to get on someone else's radar screen, true connectedness might be a thing of the past. You see, it's impossible to get connected without mastering some of the fundamentals of effective communication: listening, validating and empathizing.
I can think of two recent emails that could have opened the door to a deeper understanding of the writer's unhappy state of mind had the communication taken place in real time or (for crying out loud), by phone. I might have steered the conversation around but by the time I read the missive and responded, the moment had passed. And so had the opportunity.
That's the paradox of online communication. We're talking in the moment but not to one another. It's one thing to lament the deterioration in social skills and how we're doomed to bowl alone. But if your business requires sales and you can't move from report to rapport to report talk, you won't have the shoe rental fee.
True connectedness is generosity in all its permutations. I need to care about your success. I need to care about your success more than I care about my own success because I can't get to success without you. I need to be listening for what you're not saying. That means in the moment and fully present so that when you're ready to share a confidence or ask for support or advice, I'm ready. And when something is amiss, I have to take a chance and ask if there's anything I can do.
The current mode of insta-, on the fly, in a cab, jumping from an airplane communicating can't create "sticky," a state-of-mind that deflects transitory factors such as price or service. And it can't create the one thing that prevails in a strong economy or a fragile one: relationships. When five thousand pink slips go out in a single day you can be certain that the connectors will have the upper hand.
For the last four years, I've been writing a monthly column on all matters of communication including etiquette, presentation, beneficial relationships…the topics that are critically important for anyone who wants to increase their bandwidth and have more influence. But after the eview was posted, I still had more things I wanted to say. And these observations would be sent in the form of personal email to colleagues and interested parties.
Now I'm going to blog about communication savvy. And whether it's the right medium for talking about serious topics in a stream-of-consciousness fashion, eschewing the superfluous and getting to The Third Paragraph as fast as possible, we'll have to see. I welcome your comments.
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© Copyright 2008 Ellen Lubin-Sherman