I feel I can bring a solid point of view on the benefits of technology and the benefits of face-to-face engagement. I’m a 30-something who has had the luxury of growing up with technology. I’ve seen the world transform firsthand, and I am aware of the very strong crutch technology has become. But that doesn’t mean I believe that tech and gadgets are must-haves 24/7.
I have vivid memories of cassette tapes and dial-up internet (raise your hand if your dreams are still haunted by that never-ending screeching sound!). I remember when the Yellow Pages were the only way to find phone numbers. I also remember that needing to reach mom or dad meant picking up a wired house phone and possibly even dialing their pager. Yes, their pager!
Today, our world is very different. No doubt, the efficiencies offered by technology are invaluable. We get information, satisfaction, and delivery at the click of a button – and in seconds flat. But, have you thought of what this immediacy has done to our expectations? Or our attention spans? More than ever, we are struggling with an inability to be present. We are unable to focus and engage due to the stimulation that swarms around us daily. Our devices are tethered to us.
I’m an Advocate for the Original Social Network
Sitting behind a desk and shooting off emails for hours on end has undoubtedly changed the way we collaborate. Do we really think that email discussions are as memorable or as engaging as in-person collaborations? I think it’s time to re-focus on the original social network: face-to-face conversation with each other.
Recently, I had a client call me to ask for a meeting to explain Root’s methodologies and services to his counterparts. He had worked with us 18 years ago and could still vividly describe what our visuals looked like and the benefits his organization realized by having employees sit and discuss issues together.
I was impressed, but I wanted to find out if this person had a fantastic photographic memory or if our focus on face-to-face engagement was really as impactful as I have believed. I knew he recently had attended a team meeting, so I asked whether he could recall what messages were shared in that meeting’s PowerPoint presentations. He paused, muttered a few vague comments, and admitted he couldn’t remember specifics without referring to the PowerPoint. That conversation further proved to me just how powerful human interaction is.
So, I ask for you all to try it. Let’s put the phones away during the next meeting. Let’s close the laptops and open discussion. Let’s sign in and reinvigorate the original social network – no password necessary.