The Competitive Advantage of Being Human

I am probably one of the biggest technophiles you will ever meet. I love technology, and I love the leverage that it creates. But technology is no substitute for the greatest technology the universe has even known: the technology between your ears. And technology can also be an incredible barrier to real connectedness and caring.

Giving another person the respect of your full attention and focus is going to more and more become a competitive advantage for those who are willing to be human.

Close the Laptop

When you are on a sales call, in sales meeting, or at any point engaged with another human being for whom you are supposed to respect and care for, close the laptop.

I recently started doing this myself, and it is remarkable the difference it makes.

The first thing you will notice is how uncomfortable it makes the other person; it’s like they are not sure that they haven’t done something wrong. You will most likely have to explain that nothing is wrong and that you are just trying to give them your full and undivided attention. You will also notice that they get straight to the point, and they behave as if your time is valuable.

Even if you aren’t leading the sales call, the open laptop says something. It says that you are dividing your attention between the people you are with and something else that is equally—or more important.

Closing the laptop means you are being human.

(Note: I don’t always close my laptop when someone interrupts me while I am working. I want to be human, but I don’t easily allow other people to make demands on my time without my agreement. I try to close it when I can, though.)

Turn Off the Cellular Phone

The cellular phone might be worse than an open laptop. Notice—and count—how many times the people you are meeting with look at their phone during the time you spend with them. Then notice it about yourself.

Let’s get real here for a minute: What in God’s name could be so important that it came to you in the form of an email? If the message were really critical, it would have come in the form of a phone call. Turning off the cellular phone means that there isn’t a call, an email, or a text that is more important than the person with whom you are presently spending your time.

When you are with your clients, dream clients, your management, or your team your not giving your attention over to the distraction that is your cellular phone, your email, your text messages, your Twitter stream, or Facebook, means that you are choosing to be a human being engaged in a potentially meaningful exchange with another human being.

Be Fully Engaged and In the Moment

Being fully engaged with another human being is a sign of respect. It proves that you care more about them than you care about all of the countless other distractions you might be giving your attention and focus—distractions which will still exist when you are done (and will be every bit as banal and trivial as you suspect).

The ability to be human is going to be a competitive advantage—if it isn’t already. Being fully engaged and in the moment with your clients, dream clients, and all of your business relationships is going to be (and is) the ultimate sign of caring. Not being engaged is going be (and is) the ultimate sign of disrespect when you are face-to-face with people who are important to you; it is going to be (and is) proof positive that almost anything is more important.

The tools that allow us to communicate across great distances are wonderful and valuable resources. But when you are up close and personal, these same tools can create a gargantuan barrier that can only be bridged by the tools being eliminated.

Questions

How does technology help enable better relationships?

How can technology create a barrier to better human relationships?

What do open laptops and the use of cell phones during your time with another person  mean about what you think about them?

How does someone giving you only part of their attention make you feel?

How is being human a competitive advantage?

Filed under: Sales 3.0

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