By: Todd Kuckkahn – Executive Director, Portage County Business Council
I mean, while we are on vacation we can stay up-to-date on everything happening at work, in government, around the world, and with our neighbors (if we even know them). And that’s where the problem lies. People are face first in their technology and ignoring the opportunity to solve problems and make opportunity in a more meaningful, face-to-face encounter.
When I was your age (remember that line from your parents), I would go down to the church field and play two-hand touch football with all of my neighborhood buddies. In the winter, it was our outdoor hockey rink, yes outdoors! Now what in the world does that have to do with face-to-face business?!?!
During our games we had to figure things out face-to-face. Did Larry touch the tip of the branch that marked the sideline out of bounds or not? After some time, we figured it out and moved on. Two key points there. We negotiated, collaborated, partnered to figure it out with an agreeable solution and our leadership developed in that situation. And, we moved on without continual analysis paralysis about a truly meaningless event during our game. We had to come up with the boundaries, rules, and timeframe and we had to solve the challenges face-to-face. No texting. No bullying. No hiding behind our technology and not addressing it face-to-face.
Those face-to-face encounters are critical to your success with your customers and employees. We realize and respect that, too. Then there is the “there’s nothing to do segment” of people. From the people I talk with, it is nearly impossible to find nothing to do in our community.
Granted, face-to-face encounters are not always the easiest. Hopefully, for example, you are taking advantage of our Business After Hours (BAH) events, held monthly on the third Monday. Oh, wait, you don’t know anyone there. Well then go and meet someone. Stretch out your hand and say hello. Maybe ask, “What do you do when you aren’t at BAH?” We have countless other opportunities, as well.
His thoughts included putting your phone away and paying attention to the people, ask people for their cards if you want them, make it a goal to meet 2-3 new people, introduce those you know to others, talk less-listen more, tell people why you do it not what you do, and follow up to get to know them. Some of these also relate to the workplace, depending on the size, and with customers who might walk in the door, depending on your business.
Craig Culver told us at our economic development summit that employees are the most important part of your business. Engage in face-to-face conversations and learn how to improve your business and customer relations. Technology has its place and use it when appropriate however you can gain so much more when interacting.
By the way, Larry was out-of-bounds and we still won the game.
photo credit: https://medicine.llu.edu/current-students/technology