Let me start by admitting that I am not one of those people who sit at my computer and search for funny videos on YouTube. Instead, I wait for others to send me “good” videos and then tell other people about them if I think they are worthwhile.
A few weeks ago, PR News Daily gave me one of those. In their daily email I came across an interesting title, “Adorable twin toddlers teach us communication skills.” Thinking about the eTrade commercials, how could I resist the urge to see what this article was all about?
Although it is a silly video, the publication wasn’t wrong – it can teach you something about communicating. How many meetings have you attended where people were talking but not listening? Or, as a business, how often do you talk to your clients rather than engage them?
Communicate, don’t just update
In today’s world, communication is changing. In some respects, we are getting closer by knowing what someone had for breakfast just by following their tweets. However, in other ways, we are becoming less personal more superficial.
To put it in terms of business, if you are surveying clients but only providing “pre-approved” responses in the form of drop-downs or radio buttons, are you really getting all their feedback? Or, if you are doing PR and trying to “win” points with a relevant reporter by retweeting all of their articles – are you getting any closer to building a relationship with them?
We must slow down and remember that personal relationships are the foundation to a successful business relationship. And personal relationships start with great communication. Let’s try picking up the phone and ask how business is going. Let’s try to schedule in-person briefings and lunches with reporters to find out how they write their articles and if they are working on any pieces you could help them with (or perhaps even offer up a colleague at a different company who could serve as a great source).
Networking, communication at its finest
As an aside, going back to the basics of communication is just as important for everyday networking. Arketi recently invited Atlanta legend, Ricky Steele, to stop by for an educational session on networking – and for me, the biggest takeaway was that networking is about creating real relationships with people. This involves having two-way dialogue and getting to know a person on a deeper level.
So let’s take a lesson from toddlers and strive to not just simply talk gibber gabber at one another, but actually engage others in two-way conversations.