I know, I know, we eMail every single day (sometimes, thrice).  We text one another.   But, that is NOT personal contact.  And, for your business and personal lives, that’s what counts.  If you don’t think a personal touch is needed- think about the last time you got a note- handwritten…It touched you!  This is even more important if you are a leader!  Your staff/management team can feel alienated if all they see is you brusquely parading around the plant- even if there are memos from you on the bulletin board and they get eMail communiqués.  Keep things personal… it really pays off.

  1. You carry a smartphone- use it for voice! You want a dialogue.  Texting and eMail can barely accommodate same.  (I personally believe people tweet so they don’t have to listen- they just talk [broadcast]).  Make sure the ratio is on the order of one call for every 10 eMails or so (unless you are like me and send 100 or more a day)… Even while on a phone call, we lose the ability to discern body language, but the intonations and pauses communicate volumes.  Which brings up…
  2. Have a meeting- just for fun.  We want to work with and associate with people we trust.  When we take the effort to meet in person, it elevates our status – it means the person counts to us.  We have taken time from our busy day to spend it with them. It’s one of the other aspects I enjoy about my local coffee shop (St. Elmo’s, in case you forgot).  I get the chance to see a lot of business and personal associates from my area- see their eyes, get an idea if they are troubled or thrilled, calm or intrepid.  It’s invaluable.   I wish I could do the same for all my friends and associates (by the time I get to Phoenix…)- but there’s financial and real time repercussions involved.  So, use Skype or LiveMeeting to share a moment- but only for those whose distance require it- and DON’T discuss business- just hold a short conversation. And, if you hear some news about someone- call them, even if you have a leave a voice message.  Reap the dividends.
  3. Give a gift- a relevant one.  I vote for a book (oh, no, another anachronism- NOT). I am not talking about giving your client a calendar or a desk diary- or a free coffee gift card to their local shop. And, they don’t have to be more expensive than that, either.  But, the gift should amplify the relationship- maybe someone just bought a new car or wrote to you about a new business venture.  So, send them a coupon for a car wash from their nearby facility- or a book about entrepreneurial endeavors.   Respond to their needs- that meaningful gesture will be remembered.  It becomes part of your relationship.
  4. Have a soiree. Who has the time, you ask?  Make it.  Have one in your own home town, have one while on the road.  Invite your friends, clients, relatives to gather for drinks, a dinner, or attend a lecture or concert with you. The invitation says “thanks”; assuming they have the time to attend, it augments your relationship- and even if they can’t, they appreciate the invite.  (I vote for the inclusion of spouses and significant others, as well.)
  5. Send a handwritten note (or have it delivered). First of all, the USPS needs the business :-).  But, really, get your own stationery, buy some personalized cards, and personalized corporate notes (they are cheap, really- you can write to me and I will prove it to you) and use them.  Yes, I was the guy who bought corny cards to give to my kids when they were younger.  Yes, I still have (every?) card I got from my kids (I am finally clearing out those from ex-wives).  Deliver a welcome note to the new hiree, a personal message to a client, a birthday card.  Write your own missive and sign it.

Stand out from the crowd- and make a difference in the world.

About RAAckerman@Cerebrations.biz

A polymath whose interests span chemical engineering, medicine, biotechnology, business, management, among other areas. Among my inventions/developments: dialyzer, dialysate, neurosurgical drill, respiratory inspirometer, colon electrolyte lavages, urinary catheters, cardiac catheters, water reuse systems, drinking water system, ammonia degrading microbes, toxic chemical reduction via microbes, onsite waste water treatment, electronic health care information systems, bookkeeping and accounting programs, among others.
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