MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Keeping Up With the Changing Face of Communication

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Last week, I attended an event hosted by Citrix Online.  We all know Citrix through their variety of collaboration tools such as GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar and GoToMyPC.  The theme of this event was the changing face of communication.  In addition to comments from Citrix CEO, Brett Caine, there were keen insights from Aline Wolff, associate professor of management & communications at NYU; TJ Keitt, analyst at Forrester Research; and, Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post.

Some key takeaways:

 

     - The flexible workplace is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.  However, face-to-face meetings have become a luxury.  Telecommuting has become the norm for many mid-size to large companies.  This is, in part, due to improved networking, security and distribution technologies.  it is also due to the mobile nature of today's business world.  Telecommuting does not necessarily mean working at home.  It also means woking on the go.  This requires devices that allow workers to access private and public networks from home, on the train or at the airport.  Thank goodness that those devices and technologies exist, along all aspects of the communications value chain.  They enable secure, reliable access and delivery of content.

    - Technology is helping us build trust and rapport between colleagues and between businesses. Trust is the number one concern for many individuals when selecting a vendor.  Unfortunately, the financial melt-down, CEO misbehavior, federal government partisan stonewalling and high unemployment help create an atmosphere of skepticism and mistrust.  However, the advent and near dominance of social networks as an avenue to personalize business and government, can also foster rapport between geographically disperse colleagues and influence trust.  Companies are sharing more information in a dynamic, ad hoc way.  They are soliciting input from their customers and responding (most of the time) to their questions and concerns.  These networks, and the ease of accessibility to these networks via many devices, cultivate intimacy, personality and yes, trust.  We feel like we have “insider” knowledge of the company and its products.

     -However, this in turns leads to our addiction to the technology.  We are online 24x7.  We are anxious if we cannot access email.  We purchase the latest devices in the form of smart phones, iPads and tablets so that we can tweet, Facebook, read and consume content.  We are setting expectations that we are available and accessible to our companies and our clients all the time.  With this addiction, how do we focus on the things that are really important?  How do we make smart decisions if we are exhausted from consuming so much content?  We crave the data, but can we actually take in so much data that we aren’t capable of making decisions, simply because we think there is more information that will help us with that decision?  Or, because we are distracted by the device and content it provides?

Net, net, communication methods and styles are changing.  The days of tops down marketing have already shifted although big brands still push their story across multiple communication channels.  The difference is that they must listen to their customers to validate that their story is relevant.  We all must be aware of and consider adoption of those technologies that simplify our lives, enable real time communication, streamline access to solution and allow collaboration.  We do need to be cautious about becoming addicted to these technologies, but we cannot hide our heads in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich. 

Are you communicating on the go?  Are you using social networks and mobile devices to "keep up"?  How much time do you spend on business vs. personall communication?   Are you able to put your device down and spend quality time with friends and family?  I'm interested in your thoughts!

What’s your perspective?