Friday, June 15, 2012

Nothing Replaces Human Interaction

I recently spoke to a group of top business professionals about the importance of building connections the right way.  Almost as soon as I walked off stage I had a gaggle of enthusiastic individuals waiting to shake my hand.  Always a good sign that what I had to say meant something.

But there was one individual who stood back and let me  receive my "great job!" and "you really opened my eyes to some things" comments before he approached.  I  could sense him watching. Waiting.

Finally as the dust settled and I began to have a few moments to myself to collect my laptop and briefcase he made his move.  "Great presentation," he started "but who has the time to do all this?" he asked.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"All this connecting business. I'm busy but I would like to think I'm a pretty good connector, I just choose to do it in a way that's more efficient.  I keep up with what my important clients are doing online with Facebook and LinkedIn. Isn't that enough?  I mean seriously does it make that big a difference whether I see someone in person and learn about what's going on in their life or read it on Facebook?"

Let's just say it was on like Donkey Kong at that point.

Respectfully I explained nothing replaces human interaction.  Hearing the emotion in someone's voice.  Seeing the sparkle in their eyes when they tell a story.  The body language they display as they listen.  All of these things lead both you and the other individual to have a much richer more meaningful interaction which ultimately leads to better connecting and better relationships.

I told him his exploits online are great but they can't possible make the impact that live face to face conversation can.  Sure it's time consuming.  Sure it takes a whole lot more effort.  But for those people who are truly important to you, simply commenting on the picture of their kid on Facebook is nothing compared to hearing the story that led up to them taking that picture in person.

I then used my talk as an example.  I explained that he felt passionate about his point of view.  Had this talk simply been online, even if it were carried live, the personal interaction, the opportunity to start a dialogue like we were having now would simply not exist.  Nothing replaces face to face human interaction.

It wasn't exactly a "Down goes Frazier" moment in our debate but I thought I had made a pretty compelling argument.  I thought I at least had him on the ropes!

"Well I still don't have time so Facebook will have to do," he said dryly.  "Can I pick your book up on Amazon?"

"You bet."  And with that he shook my hand, thanked me for my time and walked away.  In the distance I heard the bell, the round was over.

Hell, I can't win 'em all right?

Ripple On!!!

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