The analog communication dilemma
“Pick up the f****** phone and call him.”
That’s what I wanted to say to one of my client’s employees who got no answer from a journalist he mailed a week earlier.
The question I actually asked was: “Did you try the analog way?”
It had never occurred to him to follow up with a quick call. He’s a young employee paralyzed by the idea of “calling” someone and only communicates via text-based email and chats.
Calling people and meeting face to face is what I refer to as analog communication. It’s my thing, so I quickly started articulating the benefits of calling and meeting people live. I could see the terror in his eyes, as if calling was a practice from the prehistoric age. (I felt like a dinosaur!)
Don’t get me wrong – while I am not a digital native, I use messaging, chats, and social media daily. They are necessary for today’s super-connected world, where we expect almost live answers and immediate gratification. I always preferred live interaction with people, especially when making critical decisions.
Meeting people face to face helps me building rapport and trustworthy relationships. I like to “feel” the other person, “read” their body language,” and “hear” their demands. Over the years, I learned how to become an active listener, show real presence, and ask questions.
Both communications (digital and analog) are essential for today’s business, but I feel they serve different purposes. Email or messaging are the right channels to confirm actions, the wrong ones when trying to persuade or build rapport. We should not confuse communication with “information sharing.”
As smartphones have become an extension of our hands, we naturally respond to emails and SMS immediately. But faster communication doesn’t translate to “effective communication.” The decision as to which method works best, the slower analog or the faster digital, depends on the purpose of the communication.
A more personal and emotional connection yields better relationships and more clarity, but it requires more time than merely responding to a message. My recommendation is to pause and refrain from responding via email; you may regret it afterward and end up with the wrong outcome, like our young friend.
Ever wonder why we use emoticons in our text-based messages? We try to add “feelings” to convey your non-verbal using a word-only channel. How effective can it be in getting proper trustworthy communication?
Effective analog communication greatly enhance team communication, boss-employee, and client relationship. It is critical for business, so taking that extra step to set up the right time is vital.
Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I recommend investing more time to do the most natural thing humans do.
Connect face to face or over the phone, build rapport, and get your message across. Your presence, posture, and tone will communicate and influence more than your text. It will make you memorable, trusted, and keep you top of mind. You will share your passion for what you do and the energy you profuse for the client. Be present, be listening, and ask questions. Focus your attention on your listener, he is the hero, not you!
While it may feel “natural” to respond with a text or email request, try to use the old analog communication when it applies. And don’t worry if it’s not perfect at first; the goal is not to make it right the first time, but to make it right over time.
So why wait? Start today with one easy phone or video call. (Hopefully, the COVID-19 vaccine will allow us to meet people again soon.)
You’ll be surprised how good you can be.
Ready for the challenge?