By Nick Terrenzi
When speaking on the topic of communication, I am often asked this question: “Has modern technology improved communication skills?”
More recent generations grew up with this technology—are their communication skills better as a result?
My generation has been fortunate enough to experience life with and without this technology. Therefore, I’ve lived in both worlds, and I can definitely say there are major differences.
When I was a kid, we lived in a small farming community with little to no technology—a TV was a luxury for sure. Everyone in our community knew each other. My mother was a nurse, so if someone needed help the community knew to call her or come to our home. We also raised chickens and provided eggs to the neighborhood, and my first real job was collecting eggs. We traded those eggs to the other farmers for pork and beef.
My main point in sharing this story is that the community worked together, we really knew each other, and we were in real communication with each other. Asking a neighbor to borrow some flour or sugar or a tool was no bother—in fact, it was expected. If we needed help to build a fence or fix something in the house, it was readily available. We learned to use communication as a necessity for survival at a very early age.
These skills were improved as we grew up and were maintained throughout life.
Real Communication No Longer Present
Now let’s look at recent generations, my children included.
Technology allows us to communicate through devices instead of in person. Social media allows us to interact without having real communication or real understanding—just ask yourself, “How many of my Facebook friends do I truly know and trust?”
There are more issues associated with our digital society. Video gaming dominates leisure time so there are fewer community functions, keeping us further out of communication. There is increasing conflict pushed into society through media outlets and social media, causing mistrust and fear, shutting down communication even further.
Now, how does this relate to sales?
You might guess—and you’d be right—that along with the decline in communication skill has come to a parallel decline in sales skill. It’s gotten to the point that one “solution” to the lack of sales skill, for some companies, is to move sales online, completely removing the human element from the sales process. For some products there is some value in this move—but most of us would still rather deal with a real person with whom we can really communicate when buying a product or service. We would also rather experience these products and services ourselves, rather than just view 2-dimensional pictures on device screens.
Communication skills will, therefore, have to be addressed, just out of necessity, which is good news for you and your company. Imagine if you and your team were all Master of Communication. How would this change your company? For that matter, how would this change neighborhoods, communities, and life in general?
Don’t overthink the problem, but instead focus on improving the communication skills of you and your team. Let’s do it together and change society for generations to come!
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