We live in a world where we are constantly connected to our peers. Technology has provided us with ways to always be connected, but could it actually be further dividing us? Because we are so dependent upon technology, and since it is always at our fingertips, face to face communication is becoming less frequent. Instead of one on one communication, we opt for text, email, tweet, or Facebook in the name of convenience. Although technology’s efficiency is greatly appreciated, small businesses should be especially cognizant of this issue as it can affect relationships with customers and clients.
Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D. describes communication as 93% nonverbal. Responsible for the 7%-38%-55% rule of communication, Mehrabian describes 7% of communication’s meaning coming from spoken words, 38% from vocal variables (tone of voice), and 55% from visual cues (facial expressions and posture). Mehrabian’s break-down highlights the shortcomings of digital communication methods: If communication is not face to face part of its meaning is automatically lost. This is not to say that written communication is totally ineffective, it just emphasizes the fact that it must be strong and carefully worded. Remember that sometimes how you say something can be equally important as what you actually say. Consider how you want your tone to be portrayed, and maintain that “goal” throughout the writing process.
Advanced technology seems to also be causing listening skills to regress. McCauley Services suggests using Mehrabian’s rule as inspiration to improve your own listening skills. By paying attention to not only the actual words being verbalized, but also observing customers’ voice inflection and facial expressions, better interpret the meaning of their words. Also, pay attention to these cues while you are speaking to clients to gage their interest. If they do not look interested, you can conversely use your own non-verbal cues to help regain their attention.
In addition to working professionals, this new generation of technology is also greatly affecting students and teens. Teens are starting to speak in abbreviated forms the same way they text and tweet. Business owners hiring new employees have noticed a rise in the number of young people looking for jobs that lack proper communication skills. When communicating through technology, we often forfeit grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation. Without proper syntax, especially when writing to clients and customers, the communicated message may not be taken seriously.
Social media use for small business has erupted in the past few years, but if this is your business’ only public relations tool, you may need to rethink your marketing plan. You may be able to reach many of your customers on Facebook or Twitter, but remember this is still very informal communication. McCauley Marketing Services suggests updating your corporate identity such as business cards, letterheads, and envelopes to incorporate more personal tools into your marketing strategies. Monthly newsletters are also a great way to keep customers updated with company events, and let them feel like they’re part of a personal relationship with your business.
Good communication is one of McCauley Services’ top priorities. We help clients improve their own communication through our customer relationship management, writing, and advertising services. We understand the importance of branding in communication and the necessity of communicating those brands properly. Visit McCauley Marketing Services website for more marketing and communication tips. Keep reading the blog for more marketing updates.