My wife and I recently got back from a short vacation in the Dominican Republic.
On the first day we traveled to a beautiful beach, way off the regular tourist trail.
It had a small bar. Nothing fancy. A small wooden structure nestled among the trees.
And on one of the outside walls I found the sign you see above.
We do not have Wi-Fi. We offer a better connection.
Perfect message, in the perfect location.
If I’d come across the same message in a downtown hotel, I’d probably have been more irritated than amused.
But it was perfect for the beach.
Anyway, we got to sit down with a couple of friends and have a fun conversation. No Wi-Fi. No phones.
And yes, the experience of slowing down and spending time with friends absolutely offers a better connection. A better way to connect and engage.
It’s time to develop a better connection with your own audience.
The web, email and social media all give us the illusion of being connected.
But just how valuable are those fleeting connections?
Recently I’ve been reading an excellent book by Sherry Turkle. It’s called Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age.
Here’s a very scary quote from that book.
“Every time you check your phone in company, what you gain is a hit of stimulation, a neurochemical shot, and what you lose is what a friend, teacher, parent, lover, or co-worker just said, meant, felt.”
There are a ton of other scary points she makes in the book, many of them focused on how social media and our obsession with our phones is obstructing or diluting real conversations and connections with those around us.
This happens in business too.
Companies fall back on automated marketing systems to approximate real connections with their prospects and customers.
Many marketers are hoping that one day soon they’ll be able to use AI-driven chatbots to take the place of human interaction altogether.
Their “conversations” will be fully automated.
Am I the only one thinking something is being lost here?
Almost certainly not. But I do think I’m in the minority.
I think many companies love the fact that more and more interactions can now be automated.
There is an opportunity here for marketers and entrepreneurs to create better connections.
I’m not against marketing automation. I use it myself, up a point.
But I think we need to recognize that relationship-building can’t be fully automated.
On social media, you need to put aside some time to actually respond, one on one, in real time. Let people know you are there… that you’re present.
With emails, don’t just send out a sequence of pre-packaged emails.
Write a few spontaneous emails too. Mix it up.
Let people know you’re there, and willing to engage with them.
Unplug and start using everyday, conversational language.
Stop writing like you’re a marketing machine, or a chatbot.
The way to create better connections is to reach out at a human level.
That means not just sounding “like” a human.
It means BEING human.
And that means writing in a way that is personal, open and friendly.
Don’t write a “broadcast, automated email sequence”.
Write some one-on-one emails to an audience of people you like, respect, and want to serve.
It’s a mindset thing, and it’s a writing thing.
One way or another, write in a way that builds better connections.
And if you’ve forgotten how to do that… take a vacation, go to the beach, and spend an afternoon unplugged and talking with friends.
It’s a great way to remind yourself what real conversation feels like.
NOTE: Learn the craft of building better connections by taking my course on Conversational Copywriting…