The changes that have taken place in the past 20 years in our ability to communicate are truly remarkable.
What with personal computers, email, cell phones, voice mail, iPads and iPhones you can use just about from anywhere and now Zoom, you would think that those of us engaged in business pursuits would make the effort to master all of these many technologies, or in true managerial fashion, find someone who could set them up for us. But, you would be wrong.
Hard to know where to start, but let me begin with email, my own personal favorite communication tool. Do you think it is possible that there are people out there who don’t know that there is a shift key? It must be true, because I get emails almost daily that are either in lower case (only from e.e. cummings) or upper case. (By the way, upper case is considered shouting in email.) For those who haven’t noticed, most key boards have a “Shift” key on both sides, just above the “Control Key,” a subject we will have to save for the advanced course. If you seem to be stuck in either upper case or lower case, the problem is the caps lock, which is located on the left. Try it a few times and see if you like the effect on your correspondence. It will almost make it look like an adult wrote it. (Sorry, we don’t have time tonight to discuss content.)
Entering a subject is always a good idea. And no, using one commonly used by the spammers of this world honestly isn’t smart.
Dare I mention outgoing signatures? (Oh no Matt, not again!) Yes, I’m afraid that we really are going to have to take the training wheels off tonight and ask everyone to add an outgoing signature to their messages, especially those of you who ask others to contact them on some urgent matter. If you are using Outlook you also might want to explore the possibilities of how your name appears at the top of your messages. And, no, it really doesn’t make you look technically proficient to share an email address with other family members, or to write back by accident from your spouse’s address.
My secondary form of communication is, of course, the phone. Is it really possible that there are folks out there who don’t know how to set up their voice mail? Yes, I’m afraid this is also true. I won’t even get into the folks who just announce their phone number. I can only assume they have their privacy concerns. I’m talking about those who use the system message or a mechanical voice. Sure, it will take some time to figure it all out, but if you don’t have a message on your voice mail that lets me know I have actually reached you, what makes you think I will leave a message?
And, may I suggest you make an effort to polish the message you use? Like your 90 second announcement, it has to sound like the real you – friendly and professional. You draw more flies with honey than with vinegar. (Is my Indiana farm boy upbringing coming through or what?) Sound like someone in severe pain and I may not want you to call me back.
We all have the ABILITY to communicate today in ways our ancestors could only dream about, but unless you take the time to get proficient in these tools for our modern era, you aren’t harnessing the POWER to your benefit.
As Larry King was once heard to say: “High technology! What will they think of next?”
Well, gee whiz Larry, I don’t know.