Are There New Communication Rules in 2010?

March 21, 2010

Q: “Many of your topics are inclusive of face-to-face business relationships. As we are entering an era using a new vehicle of communication, virtual communication, I find that many leaders who are great at inspiring and building relationships face-to-face are really struggling when forced to accomplish this on-line or over the phone. Are the ‘smoozing’ techniques changing in this new world? Have you seen this transformation in your business relationships? Can you offer any advice?” (Rene, Insurance Executive, New Jersey)

A: Great questions Renee and thank you for your readership. A few weeks back my Sunday article asked, “Do you respond to phone calls and Emails?” It was probably the biggest Email response I ever received following an article. The responses were not divided equal but most executive, engineering and Human Resource people said no, usually defending their position and most sales or customer service people said yes and complained about the non-responders.
To say the least because I have and do walk in both sets of shoes and I empathize with both sides of the isle.

With that said we must realize the following:
a. It’s very easy to wear an electronic “mask” in today’s world
b. It’s very easy to camouflage oneself under the cover of voice mail and Email
c. It’s very wrong to become confrontational in an Email or voice mail
d. It’s a demonstrated fact that many sales, management and other executives are uncomfortable in these uncertain and uncharted territories
e. The decision making process has reached an all time dependency under the category of procrastination

The “NO’s” responses in my earlier article had several commonalities which included words like; “intrusion, bothering me, too busy, too many, no need, no time, unsolicited, unwanted and don’t care.”

The “YES’s” on the other hand used words like; “Yes, absolutely, my life line, how I make an honest living, I respond to all and the NO people is my pet peeve.”

So to answer your questions;

1. There are no new “smoozing” techniques. And I personally am against trickery to get folks to respond, even though in many cases it seems like the only way to get through.
2. This transformation of hiding out has manifested itself to almost every industry. From the executive recruiters I speak with to the big ticket sales people and all in between, the complaints remain the same. And in today’s world, the time tested aphorism “what goes around comes around” has never been at a higher level of demonstration.
3. As for advice, I can only suggest that you treat people as you’d like to be treated. I’d like to suggest that you meet with your top management people and ask them your questions. Do they electronically hide? How does YOUR sales department handle it when they can’t get their message across?
4. Once we start treating each other better, we as a business community will truly be in recovery and on the grow. Stay the course of a consummate professional and the rewards will come to you. Its okay for you to step up to the plate and lead the charge.
5. There is no magic elixir or words of wisdom beyond your knowledge, compassion, determination, education and will to succeed.
6. Bottom line, “.… is for YOU to define your character, identify what sets you apart from the competition, refine your approach and just make it happen!”

I certainly hope this week is a tremendous one for you. Your comments are always welcome and if I can be of assistance please call or write and I will respond immediately!

George F. Mancuso, CPC