By Kelly Peterson, Morgan Stanley – VYP Events Chair
Technology has become integrated into every part of our lives. We use our smart phone for everything – from being able to access continuously-updated information to allowing us to summon a personal driver to take us wherever we desire. While we are riding in the back seat, we can video chat with our friends, and as we pull up to our house we can use an app to unlock our front door and turn on the lights. Once inside, we can ask a digital personal assistant to change the temperature, read our calendar for tomorrow, and play our favorite song. Technology has given us the ability to automatically correspond with clients, monitor our calendar, schedule reoccurring tasks, and to sign documents electronically. We are able to leverage our time in an effort to utilize every minute most efficiently. However, in our effort to be the best, most successful version of ourselves, do we remember what is most important when developing and maintaining relationships? Are we taking time to add a personal touch to what we do for clients, family, and friends? Are we being pro-active or reactive in our relationships? Are we putting in the effort required to maintain and improve those relationships, or are we coasting on cruise control hoping the smooth road does not end? In an ever-increasing age of tech, it can be difficult to remember to disconnect from our “communication devices” and actually communicate and interact with family, friends, and clients.
Email, texting, and other forms of electronic communication are relatively new. Unlike speaking in person, or talking on the phone, they do not provide a way to relay emotion or expression accurately. What might be meant may not be what is read when emotion is removed. The phrase, “I did not say I did that,” can have many different meanings depending on the inflection being placed on different words. When reading electronic communication, it can be easy to infer a meaning or perceive emotions that just are not there. Then, knowing we all inadvertently do this, we can easily break the cycle by reverting back to the basics. When there is the potential for a situation to spiral out of control, pick up the phone, call the other person, and speak to him or her. Often, you will find the situation was not as it seemed, and by making the effort to reach out and establish the personal connection, you have strengthened the relationship and reduced the chance for miscommunication in the future.
The short-cut approach is a short-cut for a reason: we will often take the path of least resistance. By making the extra effort to give people personalized attention, you will find better success in any relationship it is applied, and people will naturally be drawn to you. People appreciate genuine attention from others. Take the time to reflect on ways you can improve your relationships through more individualized communication, and be sure to include regular assessments as part of your plan.