We’re Living in a Digital World and I’m a Digital Girl.
I watched a TED Talk this morning from Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace (please watch it – it’s entertaining and really eye-opening). While I’m NOT a Millennial per say (my blog title is a tip of the ole’ hat to Madonna so I’m beyond Millennial age), I think a lot of what was discussed stuck with me and made a lot of sense for any professional working in the digital world.
Technology is amazing. At this moment while I blog, I see new email alerts flash on-screen along with Facebook notifications. I’m also streaming Pandora from my iPhone, while my iPad simultaneously bings that I have new messages; it’s a very apparent reminder that we live in a digital world.
However, even at my ripe age of 37, it scares me to see that the “art” of in-person communication or even phone calls are so passé.
Granted, some things ARE easier and more effective to shoot as an email, but one of the key points in the TED Talk that I walked away with was living in a digital age makes great work a LOT harder. And in my industry we use technology all the time for the design aspect, but what I mean is great work transpires from opportunities and time that was taken to brainstorm with clients, organizations, and colleagues. It’s a discourse that happens, a game plan that’s developed, questions and concerns that are much easier addressed than tackling by way of long emails.
A collective excitement fosters about what we’re ready to embark on in terms of doing the work and that it is on point with what the client also hopes for. We have a number of clients that take the time to regularly meet with us and some that invite us to a seat at their table for their important team meetings so that we’re regularly in the loop (and BTW thank you – you know who you are, and we are grateful for that partnership!). These in-person meetings always result in better communication and a better understanding of with whom we are trying to serve and collaborate.
My work team supports my coffee drinking habit (sometimes they do recommend I go decaf though). They totally get the value of me dashing out for an hour to meet with someone who wants to talk shop or frankly, not talk shop at all. Over the last two years, I have made it a priority when someone new reaches out for advice, wants to know how to get into the industry, has a business question, or wants to know how to engage in working with us, I ask them out for coffee versus replying to their email or just talking on the phone.
Coffee can mean, tea, water, or some fru-fru unicorn drink if you’re not into the beans, but the point is, in the professional world, when someone asks to meet with you – accept it or offer it up when you can. And same goes for touching base with our clients – if it’s been more than six weeks, I wanna see you. Forty percent of the time we talk about the projects that lie ahead and the other 60 percent of the time we talk about life, their industry, their highs and lows, and you know what?… I get lots of new wrinkles in the brain from these meetings. And if we to talk shop, I have a better sense of what is needed, and then we kick butt on it.
And I get that coffee chats can’t always happen; business and personal lives are busy, and these meetings can take energy and sometimes meeting new people can be very nerve-wracking, but the “art” of in-person communication is something that needs to be practiced because no one makes moments or feels energized by reading posts about someone online.
Do I have the digital/non-digital balance down? Absolutely not! But this TED Talk video was a great reminder that personal and professional relationships take energy, and its energy well spent to really connect. We all get more out of life when can engage and be part of something bigger than ourselves.
I’ve got a Starbucks card (mobile app of course), and I’m ready to burn through it – I look forward to meeting you!
Partner & Communications Director