We live in an age where the smartphone, computer and fax make communication much easier and faster. These information machines convert data and graphics into electromagnetic formats and move them at high speed.
A document can be posted from New York to New Orleans in a few days; it can be faxed in a few minutes; it can be sent by computer in a few seconds You can communicate with many people in a brief period of time.
There is a danger in thinking that the only language that is carried over the phone or on the fax is that which is spoken or written. It’s obvious that body language can’t be carried over a telephone. You can answer the phone completely naked and a friend or client will not be able to tell the difference.
You could fax a message from a sauna and the customer won’t have a clue where you are. But the messages you send convey more than words … they carry emotions.
Emotion is transmitted with the message.
The tone of voice, the style of writing, will communicate emotion. The sender may deliberately intend to convey that emotion. It could be humour, love, appreciation or terror!. The fax from the Casino which tells you that your ticket is worth $1,000,000 because it was the first number out of the barrel will carry a lot of emotion. The telephone call that tells you that a close friend has died will also carry a lot of emotion. Emotion is carried with the message irrespective of the medium of communication.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that your tone or voice or writing style conveys the type of emotion that you want to transmit. A positive tone on the phone can win a sale. A bright, well written letter or fax can grab attention. Your voice over the phone, your words on the fax will affect neurochemicals in the brain of the receiver. Those chemicals will determine the response. If they make the client feel good then the response will most certainly be positive. If they make the client feel bad then the response will most certainly be negative.
Transmitting invisible messages.
We also communicate invisible messages. These messages are not carried on an electromagnetic medium. They are communicated across invisible space through the medium of inattention, ignorance, lack of accessability to staff or poor customer service.
One of these messages is communicated when you fail to follow up a client enquiry. The message that the client receives is … “They don’t care about me. The happy to take my money hut when it comes to service they don’t give a hoot!”.
If you fail to deal with a staff member’s problem another message is communicated; it is a message which says to that person – “You’re not important. I’ve got your message but I’m too busy or don’t care enough to do anything about it”.
Messages like this are very annoying. When people become aware of these invisible messages there is a good chance that noradrenalin will he released into their brain and that their thinking will become noticeably aggressive. Negative invisible messages destroy customer and staff confidence and erode their loyalty.
It doesn’t require a great expenditure of effort to avoid sending negative invisible messages. If you need to return a call then do it promptly and enthusiastically. I make a point of returning all calls … even those I receive from salespeople trying to sell me something. I may not buy their products but it doesn’t cost me a great deal to return their call and to thank them for taking the time to let me know what they have on offer.
If you return a call you are not only conveying information to that person, but you are also sending an invisible message which says, “You are important … I value you as a client or as a staff member.”
Invisible messages like this invariably stimulate their brain and positive reinforcement takes place. The confidence that customers or staff have in you is affirmed and their personal loyalty to you and to your business is strengthened. Attention to these small details are absolutely essential if you are to maintain good relationships with your friends, staff and clients.
While positive reinforcement motivates us to repeat the behavior, negative reinforcement increases the probability that we will terminate certain types of behaviour. It creates an aversion to the source of the pain. This response comes from our basic survival instincts in the reptilian brain and we will prepare to either fight or flee.
Since this brain system has taken millions of years to evolve, our cerebral mechanisms are not going to swing into a new biochemical pattern to accommodate the tactlessness of high-pressure selling or rude, overbearing management.
Disregard them at your professional peril. If your management style depends on aggression, power and criticism you are building a time bomb.
Unfortunately ill trained and ill informed managers are out in their organisations getting people off side every day because their management tools are negative rather than positive. These organisations (or the managers) cannot survive in the longer term.