By Tiffany Miller, Account Director, R&J Public Relations
Many of the technological achievements in the past few years have been touted as ways to help us stay connected. From social media platforms to Face Time and Skype, and new apps emerging what seems like every hour, we should be more connected than ever. But if you ask me we’re not. As a society we’ve come to use technology as crutch or as a way to cope socially. And things are starting to get awkward.
The art of the conversation is getting lost between Instagram updates and Facebook statuses. We’re so concerned with how many “likes” or “followers” we can amass that we’re missing out on the opportunity to truly enjoy the company of the people that we’re physically with. Platforms that were intended to make us social are actually making us anti-social. While this clearly can cause issues in your personal life it can also creep into your professional life as well, causing you to miss opportunities and in some cases, identify red flags.
We rely on email, conference calls, and virtual meetings to save time and to help us stay connected but I believe we’re missing out on the opportunity to truly engage with our clients. According to a study conducted by the IMEX Group in partnership with the Meetology Group, “face-to-face meetings significantly outperform other meeting formats when it comes to generating new ideas. Face-to-face pairs generated, on average, 30 percent more ideas than the virtual pairs. And face-to-face, the highest number of ideas generated by a pair was 29, which was 50 percent more than those generated under voice-only conditions and 70 percent more than were generated under video conditions.”
I recognize that it’s not practical or possible to do everything face-to-face, and I’m not suggesting that. What I’m suggesting, though, is that we disconnect to reconnect. Make a point to see clients on a regular basis in person. I guarantee these meetings will have the most value and not only will you be able to get to know your client on a personal level you’ll also have a better chance of capturing new opportunities and insights that you wouldn’t be exposed to in an email or on a conference or video call.
While we need to embrace technology and its impact on how we communicate with one another, it’s critical that we don’t miss out on true opportunities to connect and add real value to our clients by building our professional relationships through truly being present.