How does it feel by talking to an old friend of yours from school, or an ex-colleague? How does it feel to receive a birthday wish over a call instead of getting a message on social media? There are intangible values and vivid feelings attached to sharing memories and discussing wellbeing over a call or talking face-to-face which cannot be enjoyed by texting. But how often do we do that? Technology advancement has brought people and information to be easily accessible; however, in that process, we have lost the essential human touch. The other day, I was sitting with my friend having dinner. We were having a good time, but suddenly, he picks out his phone and starts texting some person. After a minute, I also picked up my phone and started surfing the internet and exploring Facebook. It kept on going for about 10 minutes, and as we were squandering time on the phone, I wondered how it made me feel like and how our world would be like if we eliminate Digital from our lives.
Digitalization has certainly made our lives very comfortable and easy. With the snap of fingers, we get the desired stuff delivered at our doorsteps, instantly book tickets as well as analyze data for better research. But it has led us to gradually losing human interaction. The average time spent by a person on social media per day has increased from 45 minutes in 2007 to 90 minutes in 2012 to 135 minutes in 2017. Watching the trend, it’s easy to say that interpersonal communication face-to-face is only going to decline and subsequently the core values of being human are going to be disregarded, a couple of which are empathy and helping each other.
I love watching Deadliest Catch, a series by Discovery channel, and randomly select an episode from YouTube. One of the recent episodes I saw was about catching Alaskan crab fish. There was a thunderstorm in the sea, and while filming the activities of the ship, the cameraman in the boat caught an incident where a crew member of some other ship got splashed by a sea wave while he was securing the cages and got thrown into the chilling sea of Alaska. Everybody else in the boat also saw the mishap that occurred and without considering the cost, the risk involved and the fact that he was a team member of their competitor, they immediately rushed to the spot and rescued him. While watching the episode, I could see the tears out of happiness amongst everybody in the ship who felt immensely satisfied with a sense of fulfillment that they did something extraordinary. I’m sure they don’t get that kind of happiness or joy by receiving their paycheck.
All the clients, partners and employees in a business are people. So, if one cannot comprehend people, their desires and needs, then it’s difficult to understand how to go about doing the business. A company can be viewed as a group of people working together who share common values, vision and belief system. Being an entrepreneur, what I have learned regarding human interaction is that till the time you do not talk to your investor or customer with the spirit of giving or support, they are not going to buy in your idea or product. It’s the way you share your concept and vision which needs to be more about them so that they can be more receptive. I’m sure you remember the Dhara commercial having an angry little kid exclaiming scrumptiously with joy, “Jalebi!!” Best advertisements do not boast about the product but touch raw emotions of consumers highlighting their needs in front of their eyes and reaching to the core of what drives them.
In today’s highly competitive scenario, we have been dragged into a world of selfishness. Further, the situation is aggravated by self-help industry which gets us excited about the prospect of how we can be happy, healthy or a millionaire. What about resolving someone’s issue next to you to make him happy, helping your friend lose weight or guiding someone towards a career best suited for him/her? You can be proud of the things you do at work and perhaps be excited about the upcoming promotion due to a big success you had recently. But when you help your colleague at work, you get fulfillment, and that’s the only way to feel satisfied to the core. It’s not a surprise why statistics say that 90% of people do not get fulfilled with the work they do. It’s not because of the pay, the type of work or benefits; it’s because we do not help each other anymore. We only turn towards someone when we need a favor, but still, we don’t put ourselves out there for no other reason but to merely help somebody else.
People always remember how you made them feel and regard you well if you have been respectful to them. Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the former president of India, shares such incident during the time of the launch of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle in August 1979 for which he was the project manager. The computer, before few minutes from the launch, detected a leakage in the rocket. However, Mr. Kalam, after discussing with his experts, manually launched the Vehicle and after a few minutes, the rocket crashed into the Bay of Bengal. It was a colossal failure, but Mr. Satish Dhawan, the then chairman of ISRO, took the complete responsibility on himself, protected Mr. Kalam from the blame and answered all the questions of media by himself along with ensuring the country that they will be ready again by the next year. One can only imagine how relieved, yet inspired Mr. Kalam would have felt that time which is evident from the fact that he was ready with the Launch Vehicle again by the next year and successfully put it into the Space orbit. However, this time, Mr. Dhawan asked Mr. Kalam to handle the press conference and credited the entire success to his name. That’s what generosity and altruism are all about. It’s when you share an idea or offer help without expecting anything in return, people will start liking and following you which is where trust emerges, and cooperation evolves.
While looking for a like-minded business partner, investor or manager for a senior position, interpersonal communication becomes critical. We can apprise them about who we are and receive cues from them about their roots making it easy for us to set mutual goals and come up with a common agenda to work upon. It further helps to establish whether we share similar values and beliefs, which enables us to cement the feeling of trust among each other. And it’s a remarkable and incredible feeling to work with people to whom we trust. It’s only when the magic happens!
The title of this article has been picked from Dr Shankar Goenka, an associate from past work. He said always remember “People work with People”, touched my heart 5 years ago and stayed with me ever since.