Putting the “Person” back into “Personal”

June 10, 2010 at 10:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Damian is a friend of mine on Facebook and I really enjoyed this blog he posted and thought you might too.  Plus it gets me off for today!  No, seriously… I love blogging and reading your responses, but w/ today being my kids first day of Summer break, it’s good timing for me!  Enjoy!

Make today the best day ever~

Amy

by: Damian Skinner

Have you seen those MetLife commercials where they simply remove two little letters – (if) – from their MetLife logo and for the next 30 seconds illustrate the “What if” scenario to sell you insurance?

At least with MetLife, the word still means something. “If” is a word you can use. Use to give advice: “If I were you…” Use to connect a sentence: “We’re going ‘if’ it doesn’t rain.” You can even use the word “if” to dream BIG with: “IF I win the lottery…”

When you remove “person” from “personal” all you are left with is – al. Not a word, not even half of a word – just al. Can’t make a commercial from it; can’t give advice with it; certainly can’t connect a sentence with it; although you might try to dream from it, but the dream will be as incomplete as the word itself.

Significantly though, it a-l-m-o-s-t spells “all.” But not quite. Because “al” is not a word, neither does it have meaning (except as a person’s name) anymore than the word “personal” has meaning when you remove “person.”

No Offense, Al…

Nor can it be “all” when the personal factor of person, being involved, is the ALL and now they are missing.

In our very modern world of electronic speed, ease, and non-human interfacing, our need to, “Gotta have it now!” loses the “person” in personal service. The interactive, hands-on affect is conspicuous by its absence. Gone is the handshake to consummate a business deal; gone is the eye contact while engaged in structuring the deal; gone is the laughter of sharing funny anecdotes of common business blunders and gone is good old-fashioned conversation using complete sentences.

Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE all my computers, laptops, fax machines, e-mails, cell phones and gadgets that blast me through my day just like the rest of us. But was all this electronic wizardry really intended to replace the human element?

Just because automated systems of voice-mail have replaced the real, live, human response of “Hello”does not mean we like it better. Or do we? The absence of the personal, human element is what is so scary about our society today.

When was the last time you observed children? Not only do ten year olds no longer play together outside in their neighborhoods, but when you get close to them, you observe the dexterity they have in their thumbs to text 80 words per minute!

If you ask them what they are doing, WITHOUT looking at you, they invariably utter, “texting.” Observing that they are walking along next to another friend, you (stupidly) inquire, “Why aren’t you and your friend talking to each other or playing?” To which you now get eye contact, (exaggerated “ROLLED EYE” contact) along with the most obvious answer in the whole world – “Who do you think I’m texting?” Summed up in one word –scary…

We are raising an entire generation to believe that hands-off, impersonal behavior is acceptable. When I tell peopleI still hand write Thank You cards, “hand” address the envelope, put a stamp in the upper right corner of the envelope, and walk it to the mailbox, they look at me as if to wonder, “Where did you park your spaceship?” And then they follow that look up with the only logical (in their mind) solution (like why didn’t I think of that) “Just text, “thnk u.”

Now who’s asking who where they parked THEIR spaceship? Is “thnk u” an intergalactic new language? How did you graduate from ANY accredited school on ANY planet with spelling like that? It’s no wonder ten year olds can text 80 words per minute; THEY CAN’T SPELL! If I typed in “code” I could fly across my keyboard in record time, but would I really want to send out a document no one can understand? On the other hand, if EVERYONE uses the same intergalactic secret code, then it doesn’t matter, does it? …Or does it?

WTF INDEED

Our projection in the business world DOES matter. In fact, it matters so much that you need to wonder why you might not be as far along in business as you’d like to be. What if you were to just bring back the “person” in personal? Answer your own phone, pleasantly with, “Thank you for choosing (name of your company), how may I help you today?” At first you might get a lot of, “Wow, I can’t believe you actually answered your phone” comments, but what an ice-breaker!

Instead of e-mailing signed documents back to someone who shares your immediate geographic space, offer to drop them off. Why? For the opportunity of personally meeting the person you are doing business with. In turn, they have the equal opportunity of meeting you. Offering, “It would be a pleasure to meet you since we are working so well together.”

Making Eye Contact

Want to BUILD business? Start doing this and watch your clientele begin to give you repeat business. Put you, the person, back

into your business in small, personal ways. Shake hands with colleagues, clients, employees, business affiliates, anyone you physically can interact with and get together with. Make eye contact.

Truly listen to them in conversation. Repeat back to them what you heard them say, before you comment. Give them what we all need as human beings, (and no longer seem to be able to get in our current environment of electronic overload) – the sense of value. The value that they matter and without them, your business would not be as successful as it is.

I guarantee you will see an immediate rise in your revenue base when you start doing this. Why? Because NO ONE else is doing it! And the simplest of truths will become evident to you and to those around you – we ALL need it!

We are not manufactured from the cheap plastics all our speedy electronic gadgets are made from.

We are living, breathing, feeling, human beings who thrive on social interaction. Our emotions, mental capacities, spiritualisms, even physical needs, depend upon actual connectivity with other human beings.

I can’t help but wonder as I observe the behaviors, business methodologies, and personal characteristics of people, with their unrealistic expectations of one another, do they have any idea that our lack of personal interaction over the past decade plus is responsible?

They don’t personally interact; they don’t follow through; they over promise and under-deliver; they don’t return phone calls and if you ask to meet them, they ask, “Why?” And then they wonder why they are out of business, never realizing they contributed to their own demise by not contributing themselves at all.

We currently exist in a society of mediocrity and we accept it. We text, we e-mail, we fax, we digitally sign our names and we think it is okay not to ever meet the people we do business with.

We tell ourselves, “Everyone else is doing it, so it must be the way to do business.” Sadly, before we know it, we participate in a different statistic – the growing statistic of a down-turned economy.

The rapid movement of information over the internet is a wonderful 21st Century concept. We can get four times the amount of work done in the same eight hour time-frame. We can reach thousands of new clients with our web-based business store-front. We can even sell our wares in cyberspace and triple our net worth.

Say Cheese!

But if we are no longer participating in the more real environment of the pulsating human spirit, what have we gained?

Who are we really, at the end of the day?

But worse than that… Who might we have been had we just taken the time to personally “smile” with someone, “really” and not electronically?

I saw you today, but you didn’t see me. I gave you back your change and smiled at you, but you didn’t smile. You seemed too busy to notice me. But I’ll still smile at the next person I see. My goal, every day, is to get as many smiles as I give. After all, they’re free.

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