Sunday, December 27, 2009

Social Media Communication: Selling To And Changing The World

I have been reading Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julian Smith. The topic of the book has to with becoming a trusted agent for yourself or your company on the web. They advocate social media in a big way. They tote Social Media as a tidal wave that we can choose to ignore or ride. For those that ride the wave they will enjoy the benefits. For those that choose to ignore it they will see the effects all around them to the point where ignoring social media will be impossible.

One of the interesting things about social media is the lack of typical communication skills involved in face-to-face communication or even a telephone call. Those that are familiar with email know that language when not accompanied by body language and vocal tones can be very challenging. How do you write criticism and bad news in an uplifting and positive way? When we are face-to-face it is challenging but we have tools at our disposal. Our body language is conciliatory as well as our tone. We can stress the care and desire we have for the other to feel well about what is being said. It takes much more talent than most of us possess to communicate that same emotion I the written word.

In Trust Agents they say that typed language omits 93% of all human signals (38% vocal tones and 55% body movement). In today’s world I find myself communicating more and more with that 7% that is left. For sales people this can predict why face-to-face and telephone conversations can be so much more effective in closing a sale. For the rest of us we know why there is less confusion when we speak directly to those who we are trying to communicate with.

In Trust Agents, Chris and Julian also say that there are “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” and surely communication depending on who is communicating and their talent for written, vocal, and body signaling surely can change those numbers. I know some people who are not particularly talented at body language, others who need help to write a complete sentence and others who communicate much better on paper than when giving an actual spoken presentation.

Moral of the day is that communication is becoming more important as the world increases its connectivity. I am fascinated with Google Wave’s “Rosetta Stone” robot playfully named Rosy. You type in any language in a wave and I am able to read it in English. Similarly, I can write in English and instantly translate to Chinese to garner an audience or clientele in one of the biggest markets on Earth. Communication is the key to your next sale and it is also conveniently the key to world peace. As we all take steps to communicate with the world around us in the interest of business we may be creating an amazing bi-product of world communication that can help solve the problems of the world. It may be a bit far out and lofty but I love looking at the big picture and seeing how our small individual actions can effect great change. My Republican friends may cringe when they here this but to quote a recent campaign that was communicated very effectively through traditional and social media “Yes we can!”