That is precisely what a 20-something neighbor – a young lady I'd never met before – said to me as we both lounged by the pool recently. She delivered the fabulous news in-between text messages she was exchanging with a girlfriend that was sitting right next to her. At first, I turned around to see who else she might be talking to – then graciously said "Thank You" as I buried my head back into the latest issue of Reader's Digest magazine.
A Healthy Dose of Reality Can Ruin Your Whole Day (If You Let It)
To say that my neighbor's comment 'hit me like a ton of bricks' is an understatement. Quite frankly, I didn't know whether to feel incredibly flattered – or incredibly depressed. Either way, her unsolicited declaration triggered a pensive, nostalgic journey down memory lane. Specifically, I began to think about major shifts in communication styles which have essentially transformed how we relate to each other on a professional level. Since the business world has always been – and will continue to be – survival of the fittest, we often find ourselves desperately riding the waves of technological evolution – or risk getting left behind. Meanwhile, although I absolutely, positively embrace technology, it is of this well-preserved, middle-aged woman's opinion that certain things never go out of style.
What Can I Say? I Like Vowels
When it comes to text messaging, I am unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of 'text speak' – on purpose. Personally, I text like I talk using grammatically correct words and sentences – including punctuation. And, I'm pretty sure it drives some people crazy. It's just that I don't care much for misinterpretations and in my experience, texting abbreviations and partial expressions tends to leave too much room for error. Now, don't get me wrong. In many cases, I will text 'short and sweet' messages (albeit using sentence structure that would make my high school English teacher proud.) However, when it comes to business conversations, one should expect lengthy-War & Peace-quality-text-messages from me. Rather, how about a phone conversation instead? When it comes to the 'Misunderstandings Department,' a solid phone conversation has rarely let me down in the past. Of course, both parties must be willing to dial a phone. Oh, did I mention that I still use phrases like 'dial a phone' too?
Hey Carie! Nice To Meet You
As I continued to reminisce about the days of yore, I distinctly remembered 'face-to-face' as being the Gold Standard when it came to sales and relationship building. Back then, we essentially had to meet with people in order to recruit more business. In other words, there was 'virtually' no better way (pun intended.) Sales was (and still is) a numbers game. And, the odds for success were (and still are) highly dependent upon the quantity of viable contacts initiated or established on a daily basis. That said, little compares to the value derived through in-person conversations. Simply stated, whenever I attend networking events, conferences, and most other meet-and-greet-types-of-gatherings (and I attend my fair share of all of these,) I have the opportunity – in real time – to ask questions and practice the art of 'active listening'. Without a doubt, both are conducive to business relationship success – and to the success of any relationship for that matter.
So Back To This Middle-Aged Stuff
When exactly did middle-age become a part my life? I probably should have noticed something was lurking when clerks at the checkout counter started calling me "Ma'am." Alas, I did manage to get carded the other day, however, my excitement was curtailed when the clerk said he was required to card everyone. *Sigh* Perhaps I'll go listen to some music. I always feel better when I listen to music. Now, where did I put those Frank Sinatra albums. Oh, wait – they don't call them albums anymore.