When I think about how we communicate with each other, it seems that we have lost the face to face communication that used to be so common, especially in automotive marketing. Listening to another person’s voice rise and fall with excitement, or seeing their brow crinkle with worry, maybe a little half smirk and a twinkle of mischief. These things are lost in a text and an emoji cannot convey what we are feeling when we are relaying a story, they cannot emote or express intent. Yet we choose to add those little boogers to try and help the reader know what we are meaning.
But why have we strayed so far from face to face conversations? Are we really too busy to sit down and have a cup of coffee with a friend? Go to lunch? Don’t we still have to eat?
I recently attended an automotive marketing conference and I sort of pushed a friend of mine, who is also in the business of helping dealerships with marketing, to attend. He is under 40, a really fun person to be around, but he was freaked out about talking to people face to face. He conducts most of his business over the phone and he is most comfortable marketing in this manner. But after the first evening, he had nailed it! He was charming and a good listener, he added to the conversation when it was appropriate and he knocked it out of the park!
I am just as guilty as any of you are, I hate talking on the phone, like seriously hate it! So marketing to me has to happen in a different manner. Also, I am naturally sarcastic and let me tell you, that does not translate in text. Why is there no sarcasm emoji? I could sure use it! But email could be the death of me, I don’t understand why I have to have a proper greeting before I start my communication and do I really have to add a closing line?
I am a very direct communicator and unless you are talking to me face to face, this comes off as brash or rude. But if you are face to face with me, I think you would enjoy more of the collaborative, quick thinking repartee. Although I am still sarcastic, it is easier to read when you are looking at me, (no poker face here).
One of my goals for this year was to start a series of Mastermind Dinners, where a group of 12 would gather for dinner and exchange thoughts and ideas, possibly banter some business genius around or some marketing ideas, but generally just enjoy being in the presence of like-minded individuals. I have not accomplished this yet, but it is still on the agenda. Wouldn’t that be fun? I even have a friend who is a chef and would prepare our dinner, along with staff to serve. I mean, really! Who would not enjoy that? I was thinking we could have dinner and some nice wine for under $30 each and we could be face to face for a couple of hours just sharing experiences, tossing business ideas around and having real live, face to face exchanges.
I think we all miss the sense of community that seems to have been lost in this electronic age and even though we have gained access to friends and family who are not in our immediate geographical area, we have no idea who lives next door. We frequently speak with people across the country or even the world, but barely wave to our neighbors. When was the last time you had a cookout next door?
Did you know there is even an app to keep in touch with your neighbors? Why not just walk outside and talk to them?
I want to challenge you this week to have a face to face conversation with someone that you normally just communicate with electronically, take notice of their body language and how they react to different parts of your conversation. Listen while they talk, truly listen and engage with them as they speak. It is amazing that we all have a part in the play known as the human race, play your part this week. Share an experience with another human.