The Way We Communicate Is Completely Changing, But Not Really

One’s ability to tell a compelling story using the technology at hand will continue to be the key to good decision-making.

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Recently I did the most amazing thing.  I happened to find some free Wi-Fi while visiting Manly, Australia, so I made a video call to my family in Vancouver, Canada.  It was bedtime at home and my daughter didn’t miss a beat. She promptly got a book off the shelf and tried to hand it to me through the screen.  I found a quiet spot (which happened to be in a phone booth of all places) and read her the story.  It would be easy to get side tracked and discuss the technology involved, but for me what is truly amazing is the behavior – this was completely normal to her.  We have reach a tipping point in our personal lives where our ability to communicate is no longer encumbered by technology. 

This got me thinking, how will business discovery change in a world where our ability to communicate is no longer encumbered our technology?  After thinking on this for a while, I reached a seemingly contradictory conclusion.  It is going to change things a lot on the surface, but how groups make decisions will not change at the core.

The business world is working hard to close the communication gap through technology.  We still have conference calls and all the problems that go with them, as depicted in this hilarious video.  However, video calling, simple screen sharing and instant messaging have gone a long way to connect coworkers regardless of physical location.  Always on video portals such as Perch can even make it feel like someone works next to you when they are on the other side of the world.  This increased connectedness will continue to drive needs for greater amounts of data, of greater variety and from more sources.  It will also drive increased needs on the analytics tools that enable collaboration through multiple modes and multiple devices.

The interesting thing is that despite all of these technological advances, changes on how people communicate and who they can communicate with, the more important part of business discovery will remain unchanged.  That is the decision making part.  When someone makes a discovery to support a decision, it needs to be communicated to others so the group can make the decision.  There is no better way to communicate to other people than telling a story.  A well told story will engage others with experiences not their own.  Great stories tell truths to others and can open new perspectives.  The best storytellers can gently bring others to their way of thinking without being forceful.  If you are looking for pointers on how to tell great stories, I highly recommend you watch Andrew Stanton’s Ted Talk “The Clues to a Great Story.”  His first commandment of great storytelling is “make people care.”  This is the key to engaging people with your story.

Connectedness will dramatically increase with completely unencumbered communications.  This is going to drive an increase in collaborative decision-making throughout organizations.  However, fundamentally, one’s ability to tell a compelling story using the technology at hand will continue to be the key.  It won’t matter if the story is a children’s story or a business related story, the people involved need to be engaged with something compelling.  Whenever you are discussing your discoveries, make sure you are telling the story – you’ll need it now and into the future.

Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images / Foter / No known copyright restrictions

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