What is Effective, Modern Communication?

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It is often said that “people do business with people,” and to go even further, “people they like,” “people they trust,” and “people they know.” I believe this to be true.

However, I find myself wondering how much interpersonal relationships today are changing. What is technology doing to the interpersonal relationship? Social media allows people to be virtually connected to more people than they could normally manage in a face-to-face setting.  This electronic connectedness is the norm for many millennials and even young children. Is this a good thing? It is my belief that the electronic connection often gets in the way of, or even diminishes, the real person-to-person contact. I may be showing my age with these types of statements, but I am very curious about the future of communication. Personal interaction is just one stream of communication that is changing into something of a hybrid approach to interaction.

Business communication
Business communication also struggles with the same advances and new tools. Email, websites, blogs, and social media are all very efficient ways of delivering messages and timely information, and the simultaneous use of these is better than just one electronic channel. There is cost efficiency associated with the delivery of information through these channels and a level of convenience for the recipients. Being able to read or watch the information that you desire, when you have time to consume it is a huge advantage.


However, my gut still says that efficient electronic communication can’t be as impactful and meaningful as face-to-face communication. We have all read emails and interpreted them through our own filters. We often hear the voice and inflection of the author as if we know exactly what they intended the message to sound like when the truth is, we have nothing to rely on except ourselves and our own perception. This changes the communication dynamic drastically. The element that gets lost in this translation is the essence of the other person.

I embrace change, and I personally and professionally employ many of the uses of technologies that are mentioned in this article. You may even be reading this article on your electronic device rather than a printed copy. We cannot ignore technology and all of the wonderful things that it brings.

When the human connection matters
We just need to be aware of the potential shortcomings and pitfalls that come with the use of technology. More and more businesses are turning to e-commerce as their primary push to sell their products and service customers. This is a very efficient method of product sales, procurement, and delivery. When customers know exactly what they need, e-commerce is the best method for both the seller and the buyer. But, what happens when the customer is unsure of what they need? The human connection is invaluable for instant validation and confirmation, a source that has been evaluated for its accuracy, honesty, and dedication to the customer’s needs.

What happens when a new product is released? The most effective method is a combination of electronic efficiency teamed with personal interactions. New product launches with electronic communication as an initial introduction of the product, followed by personal contact, is a very effective strategy. If we were to take the human interaction out of this mix and rely solely on the electronic channels to deliver new product information, we would be relegated to the initial reaction of the reader, without the ability to interact or redirect. I acknowledge that the delivery of this sort of important, and timely, information is difficult and expensive to deliver personally. The initial delivery via electronic channels followed shortly by human interaction is an unbeatable combination.

Our customers are faced with similar challenges. Almost all veterinarians are now dealing with customers that come to them with some predisposed notion of what may be wrong with their pet. “Dr. Google” has become a large part of the decision process for many pet owners. This electronic diagnosis through internet research has become the first reaction for many pet owners. The limitations still apply to this form of research. With no prior medical knowledge, customers base their own diagnosis on one person’s research that they’ve stumbled upon online without any additional sources to back it up. The pet owner diagnosis could be completely different than the veterinary expert since they only had what they read or what they researched. The bottom line is that they are stilling coming to the experts for the final diagnosis and treatment.

Trusted source
You may not be the first to deliver a piece of information, but you can and should be the expert that delivers the rest of the story. Answering questions, making relevant comparisons, and relating the value of the electronic offering to your customer’s individual needs is your way to emphasize the value of the face to face, personal connection. Be their trusted resource that teaches, supports, and empowers their decision-making process.

Efficient electronic interactions are most effective when combined with your expertise and influence. Help your customer to navigate the onslaught of emails, social media posts, blogs, and other forms of non-human communication. This is a good recipe for effective communication instead of communication replacement. Prove your value to your company at the same time and show the effectiveness of your interactions. Your role is one that provides value to your customers and your company. Enhance your value by knowing what is being delivered electronically to your customers and when, and use your personal connection to help navigate the information and make recommendations that affirm your dedication to your customers and their clients.