How our behaviour needs to adapt to the Digital World.

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We are now well and truly living in a digital world! We have been talking about it, and playing with it, for a number of years but most of us have not felt the need to cross the chasm that represents what we were doing and what we should be doing.

 

COVID-19 has forced us to change. We suddenly had no choice – either embrace the digital world or be left behind, probably never to catch up!


Every day the media, including the "social" kind, reminds us of the impact of the digital world on businesses. But how about the impact on people? Most of our people engagement is digital today as the threat of COVID-19 fuels a reluctance for "face to face" meetings. The meteoric growth of Social Media had already created an environment that actual face to face communication is rare, today's health risks have simply exacerbated this situation. We can off course have "virtual" meetings with both Audio and Video but it is too easy to switch off the video!


So how do we build relationships and create a positive impression when we only communicate digitally?


Throughout my career in sales I believed that when meeting people, whether it be individuals or a large group of people, I had less than 10 seconds to get their attention to what I was saying. I therefore focused on a "neutral appearance". I dressed smartly, but conservatively – no large pinstripe suits, no flashy ties – clean shoes, clean shirt, clean suit etc. – to ensure that there were no distractions and they could concentrate on what I was saying, not what I looked like.


Now that I rarely meet people for the first time – if at all – in person, how do I get their attention digitally?

If nobody is going to "see" me, does my visual appearance matter anymore? Judging by my experiences over the past 7 months, most people think not! So, what does matter in this digital world?


How do we build trust when all our interactions are remote? How do we show somebody we care about them if we can't give them a hug?! How do we demonstrate our happiness if nobody can see our smile? How do we show respect for somebody if we can't shake them by the hand?


We have to rely on verbal communication and action, which means we have to think more deeply about the effects of what we say and do.


Do we sound genuine and authentic? Do we pay attention and really make our friends, colleagues and customers feel valued and listened to? Do we actually listen, or are we just hearing what we want to hear, and not giving other people the opportunity to participate?


Do we "do our homework" so that we can think ahead for others, be spontaneous, go "the extra mile" and make their experience with us easy and memorable? Do we practice the "Golden Rule" and always treat others as we like to be treated?


When we think about it, so much of what we do to be successful – whether it be in business or with our friends and family – revolves round our behaviour, beliefs and attitude. If we focus on our behaviour, attitude, and demeanour, the digital world becomes our oyster not our nemesis.

And don't forget to smile – you don't have to "see" it to know it is there! 

How to build a customer-centric organisation
 
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