Have you noticed how technology has taken over as the means of engagement and communication to try to do business these days?
People using instant messaging, like whatsapp, jabber, facebook and, of course, emails as the main way in which to connect. They choose these applications, then when they don't get a response or an answer back, wonder why.
In my experience, what has become more and more the norm, is for people to simply send messages without any real care or consideration for whether the receiver actually receives it, let alone engages with it.
How this plays out, people are just happy to send emails, text messages, use social media, not really caring if these forms of communication hit the mark. Particularly in organisations these days, emails are sent (or push communications as I call it) hitting already overflowing inboxes - as many are these days, the message can get lost.
Where did we lose the understanding that engagement is part of business, part of communication? Engaging with someone, connecting with them. People appear to have forgotten that there are other more personal ways we can connect and communicate.
How can this be... I ask myself?
With the proliferation of smart phones, laptops, tablets, internet usage and let’s not forget social media, the art of actually connecting with people is being lost. We are becoming a society of people who are usually working across not one, but multiple inboxes these days - looking at, liking and sharing posts across multiple social media platforms – with the prolific usage of the internet in our daily lives, the online world has now surpassed living in the real world for many.
What are the impacts of this?
There can be a feelings of awkwardness, a lack of being open and transparent in who we are and with each other. Thus fostering people to feel lonely because of the isolation they create from living life from behind a mobile device or computer.
The Independent newspaper in the UK recently headlined “The Loneliness Epidemic: We’re more connected than ever before – but are we feeling more lonely?”
The article states that in modern life, we ‘are’ feeling more lonely that ever and is an increasing problem, it means we feel less connected to others and our relationships are becoming more superficial and less rewarding.
This is something that I come across all the time in my work as a consultant. People share with me, sure its great that technology is allowing them the freedom to ‘work from home’, but often they feel lonely. Or they are working more and more in a ‘global’ organization, so much of their contact and business is over a video conference. So again, experience feelings of isolation and feeling disconnected from their peers and the organisation.
What I also often observe in my workplace, is that there is a real absence of people wanting to engage with others. A genuine lack of engagement and connection prevails.
It is now perfectly normal to send an email when you sit five metres from someone, text message someone when you are two minutes away from meeting them, only send an email to many people when executing on a project, or deliver an important message to someone via a recording or phone, usually at the last minute.
What has happened here that we think this is ok? When it comes to technology, what exactly are we hiding from?
My sense is that the world is now moving so very fast, technology is ensuring that we keep on a treadmill that in truth very few are keeping up with. There is the pressure to always be 'on', to be available…..always and to everyone. Yet we are not built like that, our bodies do not run like technology does. We do need quality time to come back to our own connection with ourselves, to replenish, rebuild, regenerate, let the nervous system unwind, let they anxiety subside.
But that actually rarely happens. Can we blame technology alone? No of course not. It is a choice to come back to ourselves, but we are not taught how to do that - to connect within, which then allows us to a feel joy, harmony, love and stillness within. When we foster these feelings within, this allows us to then feel we can connect to others.
What if we connected with ourselves first, would this foster a feeling that we 'can' pick up the phone, or get up from our desk and go speak to someone? The answer is a resounding 'yes'! Without developing and feeling a true connection with ourselves first, we are less likely to 'want' to connect with others.
So, how does one connect?
These are wonderful ways to connect with oneself, to foster deeper connection with yourself AND others. When we are connected with ourselves, this provides space to use technology in the way it was designed for - to support business, support processes, support innovation, support connection, but for us 'not' to hide behind it.