- Digital Media
- digital strategy
- digital media marketing
- middle east
- Nadine Najla
- Nadine Abou-Elias
- public relations
Connected to the Real World?
I received this image from a friend a while ago when we were both sitting in a very boring lecture where nobody seemed to pay attention to what was going on. And looking at the image distracted me even more and made me think: What went wrong there? Did the speaker even notice that? Attendees glued to their smartphone screens but not to his slides, and definitely not his presentation.
What was missing was the connection to the real world, between speaker, audience and what the value of the information could be in our daily lives. Establishing this connection is something that is more important for businesses in all industries than ever before.
If you are looking at your screen all day you might forget that your actual audience is human. They are out there and they do not want pixels but the solution to a real life problem.I seriously believe that knowing your audience and connecting with it emotionally means everything. Danny Brown commented in a thought-provoking blogpost that we are the “connection generation” - and he is damn right about that. Is the product you are building only a bunch of pixels?
Think about it.
You Can’t Win with Yesterday’s Ideas
If the “eject” button was hit and took you out of the game today, would your business be missed? Does your company turn heads, stop people in their tracks and create buzz? Are you unforgettably distinct? Or, would a competitor happily step into the breach and serve your customers seamlessly?
These questions underline the central topics in Kevin & Jackie Freiberg and Dain Dunston’s terrific manifesto “Innovate or parish! What’s your strategy?“ that I just came across. This is a great document that helps organizations implement innovation in their schemes. Approaching it step by step, using the Tata Nano as an example -with $2100 a game changer in the car industry-, the authors give a systematic “how to” to develop the capacity to see what others can’t see and turn those insights into innovations faster that our competitors do.
Surely, there are thousands of “How to” guides out there but this one is different. I was touched because it grasps me by the collar and it encourages me to actually do something. That’s the stuff I like to read.
Read the full document here.
The 4 leadership strategies that accelerate innovation:
1. Be comfortable being uncomfortable.
2. Have guts to live dangerously
3. Shake it up! Hire some CRAZIES.
4. Be hungry for change.
Three quotes to encourage you to read the whole piece:
“If you want to lead innovation and inspire a team of nanovators you must notice, lead and disrupt to make the world better.”
“Innovators aren’t necessarily futurists, but they do pay close attention to the early warning signs that precede major cultural, societal, and market shifts. They tune in to the ways that seemingly unrelated patterns are shaping our world.”
“You can’t win with yesterday’s ideas, so what are the big, converging trends that are headed your way?”
How to Really Communicate in a Digital World
Communication is easy when everyone is constantly connected, and that’s how we live in today’s digital world. But, are we really communicating? With all the different media available, deciding how to communicate is just as important as what we say.
Knowing what to say and when to say it is not enough. It’s the Digital Days, so we must decide on HOW to communicate.
Consider the five levels of communication:
Level 1: Message into the Ether
Snail mail and email have a few things in common: They can be of any length, and they are not conversational. Emails and letters are sent out, and then new messages are composed and returned. Sometimes it takes days or weeks before a response arrives. Since emails and letters are not conversational (they lump all points together rather than go point, counterpoint, point, etc…), there is a HIGH LEVEL of misunderstanding with this medium of communication. As many of us know, little issues can escalate over email.
Level 2: Back-and-Forth Messaging
Whether it is via instant message or text, the next level of communication is conversational but still conducted remotely. As points go back and forth, there is a more casual exchange that is also more direct. Misunderstandings are less likely because each message is quick and each participant can detect if they were misunderstood by the reply. However, the bite-size quality of this form of messaging means it’s not well-suited to discussing complex matters.
Level 3: A Verbal Dialog
In a verbal exchange, participants get to voice their opinions and relay a whole new level of data through their inflection. Inflection reveals elements like frustration, annoyance, and stress that are harder to detect in written communication. One major drawback is that verbal discussions often require scheduling. But, as my colleagues can attest, when a customer is upset I believe it is best to just pick up the phone and discuss it!
Level 4: The In-Person Spontaneous Discussion
When something important comes up, you might decide to just drop by a colleague’s desk and start talking. Such spontaneous discussions are often more effective than messages and phone conversations. The benefits of visually seeing each other will add a whole new level of mutual understanding to the discussion. Of course, there are numerous detriments to this level of communication. The fact that others are likely in the vicinity makes it less intimate, and spontaneity doesn’t work for everyone.
Level 5: The In-Person Scheduled Discussion
Planning an in-person discussion allows both participants to think about the topic in advance. The communication that ensues is the most dynamic possible. Inflection and visual cues allow you to gather non-verbal intelligence to ensure clarity. Privacy ensures comfort. Of course, a scheduled discussion doesn’t necessarily mean that it is formal. I will often plan an important conversation to address a concern over breakfast or lunch. What makes this level of communication so sacred is the mutually agreed upon time set aside for direct discussion.
After understanding the five levels of communication, you can start to decide which level is most appropriate for particular situations. With so many options, it can be easy to choose the path of least resistance rather than focusing on your objective and which level of communication will help you achieve it.
We get in trouble when we chose to communicate the easy way versus the right way. As our channels for communication expand, we must endeavor to be more thoughtful about how and when we communicate. In my research of admired leaders, I have found that communication judgment is an increasingly important factor of success. Knowing what can be done with “Level 2” communication versus what must be done “Level 5” is a sign of sound leadership instinct.