The art of conversation – is it dying or is revival possible?

The art of conversation – is it dying or is revival possible?

Over the last few years we've all been party to a huge shift from verbal communication to online via social media platforms, texting and emailing. We live in a world of emojis and acronyms, 24 hour a day communication and lost dinner table conversation. I wonder if you'd agree that many of our young people now seem reluctant to pick up the phone and have real conversations, especially with unknown third parties? In fact some appear to almost fear speaking directly with an unknown third party!

For the aesthetics sector this need to feed the appetite for online communications has in recent years led to a growth in connecting with clients via social media platforms and to use online diary booking systems.

But then along came Covid19 which has brought enforced isolation and social distancing – oh the irony! As we again find ourselves having to stay at home, unable to meet with family and friends, have access to routine appointments, normal entertainment and shopping experiences, waiting in call queues to sort out bills etc, are we really ready to give up on conversation with real people or do we need them now more than ever? After all we human beings are relational creatures – it's our need for human connection that drives us – even in this world of selfies we're simply looking for approval and affirmation from our fellow man.

We all know the benefits technology has brought to our lives and businesses, the efficiencies and economies but is now the time to revisit what sets us apart? Our ability to connect with people is more important than ever, to be available, ready to listen. Here at AR we are seeing a shift - our average call length is longer than pre-Covid19 and the consensus amongst the team is that people want to chat more when they have you on the phone. Nothing complicated, just more general conversation and connection.

So how does this work in practice for your business? I'd encourage you to pick up your phone during your opening hours – do not rely on an answer machine or online bookings system during lockdown or the tiered restrictions. By all means have them as back up, to strengthen your offering, but make sure your staff are ready to chat with people and connect. This opportunity to build relationships over the phone is hugely valuable in building both existing clients loyalty and creating a great first impression for new enquirers!

My hope is that post-Covid19 we retain the connection created by having these verbal conversations - that this is a positive shift that will bring a healthy balance back into relationships and the way we interact with one another.

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