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Remaining Human…

August 3, 2011

“I am because you are.”
–African Proverb

I can think of no simpler way to sum up the nature of a true community than this African proverb. In five words, you have the guiding principle behind client service, neighborly attitude, and public service. When we forget this truth, we risk becoming isolated and self-obsessed.

Just 15 years ago, your business interactions would have likely involved a phone, fax machine, letter, or face-to-face meeting. Now, however, your options have exploded: You may text, blog, email, tweet, update your Facebook page, comment, and video conference.

You would think that with the rise of network technology that we would be constantly reminded of this proverb’s truth. Yet with all the power this technology provides us in our careers and personal lives, it is more valuable than ever that we remember to remain human. We must make a concerted effort to remember that we are not communicating with machines when we use machines to further our relationships.

The smiling emoticon is no substitute for a real smile. It is a reminder that the technology we use falls short of providing the components of tone, emotion, and body language that human civilization has depended on for thousands of years.

As you integrate new communication technologies into your business, try and hold onto the idea that we are more than the sum of our messages and updates. Recognize how much exists beyond these transactional forms of communication. While much has been done to improve speed of service, quality of service remains a uniquely human challenge.

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