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  • Writer's pictureBig Sky Public Relations

Finding Human Connections in an iPhone-Obsessed World

With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to conduct business on the fly. We are no longer tied or limited by location. Folks can fire off a round of emails, schedule important meetings and design compelling social media posts, all from a handheld device. Technology has provided a plethora of benefits that have made life easier.

At the same time, having an abundance of technology can be a hindrance - especially in the workplace, where face-to-face connection is dwindling. So, how can you lead your team beyond pixels and texts to establish meaningful, human connections?

Here’s our three-part program for putting down the iPhone and plugging in to real human connection.

1. Use the phone. Ah, the dreaded phone call. What used to be the go-to for communication has unfortunately become the last resort, especially among younger workers, according to Heidi Grant Halvorson, a social psychologist. In an interview with Business Insider, Halvorson says many people are afraid to use the phone in fear of slipping up. "Whether you've talked on the phone a lot or not, you still have to respond in the moment," she explains. People are more vulnerable, she says. "You have to respond immediately, so there's a greater likelihood you'll choke."

However, there are numerous benefits to a team using the phone, even if someone flubs. According to a study by Andrew K. Przybylski and Netta Weinstein of the University of Essex, the simple use of a phone call can help establish interpersonal connections. They can help “foster closeness, connectedness, interpersonal trust, and perceptions of empathy — the building-blocks of relationships.” In other words, using the phone is great with helping you and your team connect in a dynamic way.

2. Give thanks, the old fashioned way. Giving thanks need not be reserved for November social posts; do it year-round.

Giving thanks comes in many forms. But if you’re looking to really connect with team members and clients you work with – stay away from technology. At Big Sky Public Relations, we set aside 15 minutes once a week to do it the old-fashioned way, through pen and paper. It’s fun, uplifting for the team, and an important pause to foster a spirit of gratitude, which everyone can appreciate. Members of your staff could thank a colleague, business, or even a favorite coffee shop.

Giving thanks may even have health benefits: According to Psychology Today, expressing gratitude can lead to better physical and emotional health, improved mental alertness, and higher levels of psychological well-being. Not to mention, it is a great way to connect with others.

3. Make a point to meet in-person. With so many communication methods available, getting in touch with a team member or client is as easy as a click. However, there are several reasons why meeting in-person is important, according to Michael Massari, Caesars Entertainment’s Senior Vice President of National Meetings and Events.

In a March 2016 Forbes article, Massari discusses the importance of face-to-face meetings. “No matter what industry you work in, we are all in the people business,” Massari says. “Regardless of how tech-savvy you may be, face-to-face meetings are still the most effective way to capture the attention of participants, engage them in the conversation, and drive productive collaboration. If we don’t continue to nurture strong and positive personal relationships with our clients and coworkers, we won’t build trust, understanding, or a sense of a shared mission – all of which are critical elements to successful partnerships and business success.”

In a world of snaps, tweets, posts and memes, technology provides teams the ability to reach one another in a hundred different ways. But in that process, it’s easy to lose the ability to genuinely connect. It is when members move beyond pixels and take intentional, proactive steps, that they are able to establish meaningful, human connections. And best of all, there is usually no login required.

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