There is something special that happens every night in my home. Shortly after my wife has headed to bed I get a text message, “Can you bring me an ice water?” It wasn’t that many years ago that we made fun of couples that texted each other just being rooms apart. But this has become a regular part of our evening routine. My family now regularly communicates with tools we would have never thought of 10 years ago. We FaceTime family living in other countries, we Facebook friends from 20 years ago, we text our dentist to book our next appointment, we email everyone.
Communication has changed.
Yet we still feel a little unsure as to how to deal with.
We book face to face meetings, when a phone call or email will be more time honoring.
We restrict our kid’s “screen time”.
We try to fight technology with sermons telling us to get our face out of our phones.
Though David & Paul Watson were speaking in more general terms, I love how they addressed this in their book “Contagious Disciple Making” (link):
“A word of caution: Too many people get married to their tactics and forget that tactics serve the strategy. Consequently, they don’t know what to do when their tactic isn’t working. They may get angry or defensive when people try to suggest different tactics. Keep tactics in perspective."
Communication in the world around us is changing. Does that mean you should stop using email? Email isn’t going away, text is here to stay, mobile Facebook is a daily staple, so why fight it?
And here’s the secret, it isn’t about the tool.
All communication, no matter who it’s two is in the context of a relationship. It may be to someone you’ve never met before (marketing), it may be to someone you know a little, or someone you know well. Remember that every communication tool functions in that context, so know your audience.
There is nothing more annoying then having to attend a meeting that turned into an information dump. There are so many more free, time honoring methods to deliver that information. An audience is ALWAYS asking, what’s in it for me (WIIFM). They want to know how they can contribute, how they are playing their part, even how this is helping them accomplish their own goals and deliverables. Keep this in mind when you write, tweet, text or record. Help your recipient see why it’s important that they participate.
I'm a huge fan of short to the point emails. 3 sentences or less is right up my alley. The problem is I don’t always acknowledge the fact that I’m listening or that I got what I needed. Respond to important emails, texts or messages with an acknowledgement and a response clarifying what you intend to do with the information.
Final Question…What new communication tools are you finding success with? Share it in the comments or on Twitter.