Communicating Course #202 – Part 2 of 3

As discussed in Part 1 of 3 –, a lot had to come together for us to be where we are today with the wide variety of communication systems.

In the mid 1980’s when I first joined the business world, there were 4 primary ways to get in touch with a business associate:

– Call them on the phone. We have (or had) home phones and office phones. I have a home in NC that actually has a phone jack in the bath room, right next to the “throne”. Phone calls generally resulted in a direct conversation or a pink piece of paper with your name, phone number and a few words of the message hand written by a receptionist. I did not have a receptionist in my bathroom.

– Paper letter, stuffed in an envelope, licked shut, with a licked stamp and dropped in a big blue mail box to be delivered to the other person in a few days or weeks. The slowest way to get someone a message and eventually we started calling this “Snail Mail”

– Faxed letter. This used to be for urgent or immediate messaging, became a great way to share good jokes. (I deny faxing a fellow office worker a joke.) How many of us have dropped fax phone numbers from our business cards now?

– IRL (in real life) Walk down the hall or drive to their office and meet face-face. Sucked when you forgot to bring the newest fax joke, but this has always been a good way to get a message to someone because it allows for instant reply and discussion, when needed.

We had teletype machines as well, but these were on the way out by the mid 1980’s.

Over the years we added lots of new communicating & message paths:
Instant Messaging
Cell Phones with Voice Mail, Text & Picture Messaging
Email thru computers, cell phones and tablet Devices
E-cards from the old paper greeting card companies
FedEx letters
Singing Telegrams
And, the newest messaging systems provided by LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter, as well as other Social Media platforms, less used in business.

The Social Media channels are creating so many different paths for communicating, it can be overwhelming. LinkedIn (LI) statuses, discussions, comments, direct messages. Add Facebook status updates, comments, direct messages, online chat and Events. Then throw in Twitter streams, RTs, replies and direct messages. Lots of options create lots of choices and benefits as well as potential problems.

Please, don’t misconstrue this expanding list of communication options as a replacement for IRL! In Real Life communicating is still the best option when an exchange is required.

In my next blog I’ll bring some ideas about how to use the new communications systems we have.