The mass abandonment of the telephone is getting extreme in my opinion. A quick scan across my inbox, social platforms and notifications and I have messages requesting me to email someone else; tweets with email addresses requiring a reply of more than 140 characters (with more than one contact there are a series of tweets and emails attempting to schedule in phone calls and too many to breakdown conversations that I am both tagged but not interested in nor adding any value to – thanks anyway though!). Me on the other hand – I have been on the phone making calls all morning (I’ve stopped to write this post but I will be on the phone again later). These are calls that are not scheduled, that I have not been asked or invited to make. I’m not being rude or nosy or intrusive – I am being professional and proactive. Since when did it become normal to have to schedule phone calls? Are we really THAT busy? Really?
Your voice is your most powerful social networking tool
There is no old adage that says “people buy smart statuses and witty tweets first” – no there is not. The old adage “people buy people first” remains firmly upheld but rarely considered it would seem in 21st Century life. Never more is it missed than in a people business like recruitment where this mantra should sit at the heart of all business practices.
Sadly the conversation, one the oldest and most effective forms of communicating has declined with the increase of technology in business. The first adversary of the “quick chat’ was email, people honed their writing skills, effortlessly looking busier than a busy person, on a busy day on busy street, in busy town by including, The – Entire – Company, into backside covering “just to let you know I’ve done this and those other matters recently raised are not my responsibility” emails. There have been countless articles and blog posts written and read about the lack of intonation, absent tone of voice and numerous, unnecessary misunderstandings caused by emails. It is a given the written word isn’t the greatest communicator, don’t get me wrong it is brilliant for providing details and confirmations but outside of that, the written word has limitations.
The advent of social media platforms and networks has demanded more and more writing of us, be it a status update, a blog post, a tweet, a text message or the old arch enemy an email. Now we write more and speak less than than ever so what is the impact of that work in the context of the communication and advertising mantra that “the medium is the message”? What does following or connecting with someone really say? What about friending them, adding them to a circle, liking their page or retweeting them does that say something different? Given those are actions you give in equal or undifferentiated value to friends, total strangers from down the road or across the globe even to spoof or cartoon character fronted accounts not a whole lot!
It certainly isn’t right or professional to mentally tick them off as recently contacted, there is no personal in social and that’s the difference. In our never ending mission for efficiency in a time deprived age we are eradicating the personal, the friendly and meaningful, compromising the real relationships which are by far the most valuable and nicest part of being a recruiter and a human being.
Social media marketing has a role
I am a huge advocate of social media marketing, and if it is being done correctly it will demand a signifiant amount of time. What I am saying is that social media should be in undertaken in addition to traditional networking initiatives. Whilst I fear showing my age that’s what the great and senior recruiters of this world did to get where they are today – they picked up the phone and met up with people. Not just solely and explicitly about work, casual chats, can-I-pick-your-brain chats, I-saw-so-and-so chats, did-you-hear-about-x chats, do-you-know-anyone-for chats, nice conversations and professional exchanges of ideas and information.
These conversations have got fewer, it seems to be considered intrusive, possibly old fashioned or over stepping some virtual line to pick up the phone and call someone without a prior appointment. Yet these are the activities that build genuine relationships – a genuine relationship is worth a zillion times that of “an engaged follower”. I’d be delighted to bump into a real business pal on the street, I’m not sure what “an engaged follower” looks like or if I would be feeling anywhere near as comfortable perhaps slightly scared by such a meeting!
Stand out from the crowd – pick up the phone!
Quoting straight from the advertising slogan hall of fame from the 1990’s “It’s good to talk.” Don’t groan if your phone rings, don’t dump the call or respond to the message with a text or email, just pick up the phone, make a call, take a call. Put intonation, your own regional accent, volume and personality into your words. Be open and available to the remarkable technology that dates back to the 19th Century that is the telephone. Set a target, start small make one call a day, chances are that is five more calls than you made last week. Don’t wait to be invited, definitely don’t email to schedule a call, be spontaneous and the opportunities, the possibilities and the competitive edge will deliver benefits to you.
What do you think has the evolution of the telephone into pocket sized computers led to a recruitment industry hiding behind “invitations to connect” and other written communications?