Technology is great, especially in business. It makes us faster, more accurate, more efficient. We can replace phone calls with emails and emails with texts. In-person meetings? Forget about it! A quick conference call, webinar, or online chat will do the trick. And Google Maps will get us anywhere we need to go. Or will it?
The other face time
Regardless of what business you're in, the relationships you have with your employees and customers are your lifeblood. And no matter how great your writing skills may be, no text or email will ever connect with your clients like you can— live and in person. No one is suggesting you should throw your laptop out the window, but be honest with yourself. Are you missing opportunities to interact with your staff and clients in the name of technology-driven efficiency?
Or maybe you’re relying on technology to do the heavy lifting when tough issues are on the line. Yes, sending a well-crafted email to handle a delicate situation may do the trick, but having a face to face conversation with someone when there are real problems to discuss? Now that’s an opportunity.
So how can you tell if you are using technology as security blanket? If the thought of having to make that call or get in your car and drive to the office gives you a sick feeling in your stomach, that’s exactly when you need make the call or get in the car.
There are plenty of times when putting the right words in a letter, e-mail or text will work just fine, but there are also times when you should really go old-school. Dial that phone. Ask for a meeting. Be empathetic. Show that you care. Your customers and employees aren’t going to remember all of those carefully crafted emails you sent, but they will definitely remember how you made them feel.
Sometimes you have to unplug to connect
Ever had your Internet go down at the office? At first people get flustered. Frustrated. Uncomfortable. Everyone looks around awkwardly. What on earth are we supposed to do? And then they start to talk. Make jokes. Maybe go for coffee. Talk about Game of Thrones. This is the stuff relationships are made of. You couldn’t pay someone to come up with a better team building exercise.
Should you use all of the technology available to you at your job? Yes! By all means. But you should also consider making a commitment to connect on a more personal level with one client or coworker at least once a week. Heck, once a day if you’re game. You may be surprised at where it takes you. And all without a GPS signal.