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VOL. 133 | NO. 112 | Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Pearl and Mel Shaw

Technology and Communication: Keep it Human

MEL and PEARL SHAW, Special to The Daily News

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The more things change the more they stay the same. Yes, technology is transforming all aspects of our lives. Our relationships, work environments and community engagement are not the way they once were. Smartphones, social media, video conferences and webinars are just a few of the new methods.

If you’re young enough to feel these are the norm, keep reading ... we have some tried and true methods we want to share with you. If you are “old school,” we know you evaluate communication with an emphasis on traditional signals of excellence, and an understanding that it’s a new day.

Here’s our bottom line: Communication is at the heart of all relationships. Technology can bring everyone into the virtual room, but what’s really important is what happens once we are together. Here are four things to consider as you build and sustain relationships.

1. Can you hear me? Making phone calls “on the go” can improve your multitasking, but you may not have the needed focus. There may be distracting background noise, dead zones with no reception, or if driving, you may just need to pay attention to the road! When video conferencing, practice with the software before meetings. Your goal is to make the experience as seamless and inviting as possible. Everyone understands when things don’t go right – that’s part of life. But being prepared for things to go wrong can help improve chances that they will go right.

2. Have an agenda. Know what you want to achieve, and be up front about it. When scheduling a call let people know the purpose. “We are launching a new program and I want to walk you through the concept to date and get your critical feedback.” Or, “I want to connect you to so-and-so; she can help you advance your project.” Be clear and specific. Always close your call with next steps.

3. Relationships are at the core of everything. Build them, nurture them. People really do make the world go around. We all need each other. What can you do for others? We were most recently at a powerful meeting where everyone volunteered, “What can I do for you?” Related to this, when do you think of your work associates, board members, customers and family? Is it when you need something? Take time to offer the best of who you are. Stay in touch. Be a friend.

4. Remember the do’s and don’ts. Budget your time so you can give your full attention to those you are talking with. Seek to ensure that people don’t feel rushed or that you are “squeezing them in.” Phone and video calls are appointments: Be prepared, stay focused, don’t be late, don’t cut the allocated time short, don’t spend your time apologizing for not having done what was agreed on. Stay focused on the purpose of the call. Remember to check your voicemail and to call people back.

Keep the human touch in your communication. We’re all worth it!

Mel and Pearl Shaw, owners of fundraising consultancy firm Saad&Shaw, can be reached at 901-522-8727 or saadandshaw.com.

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