Let’s remember the basics

January 13, 2011

First, let me plead guilty to the misdemeanor I am about to describe. The charge is aggravated depersonalization, or diving so deeply into the cyber world that we forget some important basics.

I find myself doing some productive and fun things using social media – getting to know acquaintances and business contacts better, reconnecting with old friends, and sharing photos and blog posts that could not have been easily shared with so many people a decade ago.

But at the same time, I find myself neglecting some fundamental communications techniques that really mean more to others than a Facebook post or whimsical tweet ever could. Here’s my New Year’s resolution list, and I invite you to join me:

  • Do more things face-to-face. My successful business friend Tom Murphy says lunchtime is usually the day’s most wasted opportunity: Why have lunch alone or with the same people if you could be networking and meeting potential new clients? Good point, Tom. As for the rest of the day, replacing phone calls and e-mails with more face-to-face meetings could be beneficial.
  • Write more personal notes. I wrote two today, and it felt good. But it also felt unfamiliar. Thank-you notes and follow-up letters make a deeper impression, no matter what other communications tools are dominating our lives.
  • Do less selfish communicating. We all have people we contact only when we need something. I resolve to do more proactive touching base. It strengthens relationships and makes it a whole lot easier to call on someone when you do need them.
  • Do better at remembering names. I can do this if I focus, but there are many times when I have to kick myself for not doing a better job.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with social media. I will probably run to check Facebook and e-mail as soon as I wrap up here. But it’s not a substitute for those basics that have served businesspeople for centuries. Back-to-basics time.

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2 Responses to “Let’s remember the basics”

  1. Tim Hill Says:

    I agree totally. I’ll even add one. The impact social communications has in the realm of public speaking. Nothing is more frustrating for a speaker than having to experience the dreaded “Tops of Heads Syndrome” because their audience faces are obstructed because they’re so busy on their phones. Come on folks – the world will still be there if you turnoff that iphone for 30 minutes.

  2. Rob Robinson Says:

    Very good point, Tim. As someone who speaks to audiences fairly often, I’ve started noticing this more and more, too. It’s a good reminder for me to keep my own smartphone off when I’m in an audience, too. 🙂


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