Guest post by Alin Ivenţa
The process of developing one’s communication skills must currently take into consideration a wide range of books, articles, conferences, tips and tricks etc., all of which are based on things written or discussed years ago.
As a retrospective insight, the ’80s have put the spotlight on “body language”, “powerful presentations”, overall “behavioral communication” for those demanding economic business growth. Then in the ’90s, we clearly saw a revolution in all that is visual: from graphic design to subliminal messages that get stuck in our minds.
Early ’00s came up to show the World Wide Web potential: ease of access to more information, different resources, new kinds of media and so on. Nevertheless, it was impossible to predict such a high expansion in such short time, as in 2009 we now have Wikipedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, newsletters, virals, tons of websites, gigabytes of information and don’t forget about Google which seems to be doing everything for you.
And we’re only a click away!
I believe it’s becoming more and more difficult to address these major players on our global society with “old-school methods” only. Nowadays, communication has reached a sustained and well known rhythm of specificity and thinking “out of the box” or brainstorming your team ’till 2 AM just doesn’t seem to be as productive and efficient as it was 15 years ago.
Why does this happen? To put it simply: because human nature has a constant need for diversity – just think about the first time we found fire: we made a steak on a stick :-). This diversification usually ends in a discovery which, furthermore, implies a certain process of creativity.
When LinkedIn came into sight, who thought that it is going to be one of the most useful and used business platforms (from contacts to closing a deal)? What about Wikipedia, when we all had some sort of encyclopedia on our shells?
Communication is on the edge of being something different.
Most of us now pay attention to the other person’s body language; clearly, it’s easier to see whether or not he / she is a liar just by watching his / her eyes; any inflexion in the voice exposes a certain level of nervousness, while mirroring will help you in having a more relaxed and detached conversation. And you know all these, because you’ve read it in some magazines or a trainer told you so, or you’ve watched some movies or listened to some audio books about them. And the person next to you knows these as well!
We prefer to write a short email or send an SMS, just because there isn’t time to meet with that person – you’re busy running to get a seat in the metro-train; it’s so much easier to buzz them on Yahoo Messenger, while you have in mind that old “Keep it short and simple!” marketing principle – and you don’t seem to ask yourself anymore “When was the last time I saw him / her?” We tweet about what we just did or what we’re gonna do or what someone else has done, at least 3 / 4 times a day – and you do get that nice feel you’ve “spread the word around”, right?
Basically, we’ve switched from face-to-face communications to an indirect chat over an internet connection. And when we finally realized that, we had already had 5 email accounts created, 2 or 3 social networking profiles, more than 10 blog-posts per week (or per day, in some cases), wasted hours on messengers, precious time given away because we are “too tired” to do something else.
And we seem to adapt to this as it would (or must or has to) be “natural”. But I’m 24. For me, normality has that old-school feeling in its definition, I still prefer to meet with somebody for a cup of coffee (or a beer, depends) and have a nice conversation about everything and nothing at the same time. I’d rather call them, than buzz ’em over messenger, if these were the only communication ways I had. I love to read a good book and have it in my hands, rather than on my Blackberry and I most certainly believe that the friends I have can tell more about me than a public social network profile. Yes, I do use them, but I do not want to make them the biggest part of who I am!
And now I think about 5 to 10 years old kids… who were born in this internet era… They are all logged in – multitasking – results oriented – highly capable – bla-bla-painful-bla. For what, really?
Alin Ivenţa is a poet, a sales specialist and an amateur actor, all uniquely mixed, stirred and served. He currently manages the South Asian and Pacific sales accounts at Gecad Technologies, developer of the Axigen Mail Server. He also runs a very interesting blog, Reality 2.0 – in Romanian – and I invite you to visit it to find out more about him.