No phone, no email, nothing…
There was a television commercial that aired in the mid nineties that did a pretty good job of answering this question. It involved a business owner of a mid-sized company talking to his sales staff and lamenting the fact that they were slowly losing business. In his conversation with them, the owner began to lay out a scenario that had already become reality: the sales force had gotten into the practice of calling on the phone, then following up with a fax. More phone calls, more faxes. He began handing out airline tickets (the commercial was sponsored by an airline) and telling them they were all going to visit customers face to face and restore what had been at one time real and genuine relationships and not just some cold long distance phone call or a piece of curled up paper rolling out of a facsimile machine. The staff asked him what he was going to do and he answered, “I’m traveling across the country to restore a relationship with a very dear and valued customer who has been with us from the very beginning.”
Teachers are lamenting that students of the 21st century don’t know how to write because they are used to “lols” and “bffs” and “cu2nite” shortcuts that have undermined real communication skills. Parents are noticing that their children spend all their time texting and don’t know how to carry on a real conversation around the dinner table.
Technology has helped us to get down to the real nitty gritty immediately and bypass what used to be polite chit-chat where we got to know some personal things about our client’s families. If we were really good, when we stopped by their business to touch base, we could ask about their children and spouse by name and inquire as to how they were doing. Not anymore. Emails, followed by a text message and then a Twitter feed and then more emails. This is business in the 21st century.
But more and more articles are being written about the possibility of the country facing an EMP attack from China or Russia some day in the foreseeable future. An electromagnetic pulse attack wouldn’t harm us physically but would most certainly fry all of our electronics and leave us completely incapacitated as a country to unable to compete on the global market for decades.
What would you do if all technology were suddenly halted? No more emails, no more Twitter, Facebook, or Linked In. No more faxes, no more Skype and no more Go To Meeting no more cell phones. Think about it. This might be the way that other businesses are run right now. But is it the only way, and is it the most productive way? Only you can answer that.
However, keep in mind that in this hyper-sonic century of instantaneous contact, there are more lonely people than ever and that includes a lot of business owners and decision makers. What would a day a week (or month) of making old friends new again and new friends older and more appreciated mean to your business? Only you can decide.