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Digital humanization breeds loneliness

Connect faster by a simple human touch

Photo by Alex Ivashenko on Unsplash

Statistically people are spending less time in face-to-face interactions compared with our parents, aunts, uncles and our grandparents. If you are a millennial we have seen how children are now growing into a world built on fast connections through technology as ‘normal’. Digital humanization is changing the way humans build relationships through experiences using computers instead of using our natural ability to connect through our human senses, especially with touch and hearing.

People rely on digital connections by using smartphones, androids, emails, chat boxes and games to engage with others like share a story, bash out a theory, vent anger, deal with worry and make new friends. Is this a concern for businesses and socially? Yes sir. Promises of fibre optic broadband speeds to help you ‘connect faster’ is a lie, literally (it’s always slower than what you think).  It does not lead to developing deep relationships with people any faster, it’s just another channel to exchange information. Smart young professionals find it harder to use their innate ability to have powerful conversations, comfortably interact with others in a business environment, which may require lengthy discussions, negotiations and continued engagement to build rapport with clients.

Technology interventions are beneficial, advantageous and pumps economic growth; however, it has had a huge impact in the way sales are completed in services where humans were once hired. For instance, online shopping has become massively popular and preferential, resulting in empty and ugly shops along high streets. As part of our social development this used to be one of the keys to learn how to be valuable in the market place. A part-time position in a shop gives an employee the chance to develop social skills, leadership and selling techniques. This is all lost and it needs to be revived. The world is becoming a lonely place if all we do is buy at a click of a button and watching other people’s lives through Instagram and Facebook profiles at home. What we need to be doing instead is be out there living and creating experiences with real people in real-time.

Statistics reported in December 2017 that 1.40 billion people on average logged onto Facebook daily, twitter’s monthly active users worldwide were estimated at 330 million in 2017, 300 million daily active status users worldwide on WhatsApp in 2017. It’s thought that millennial’s can check their smartphones at least 150 times a day. Is this the feeling of an addiction, to be constantly plugged in?

We have information in abundance and losing focus on why we are using our devices in the first place. The focus must shift from just falling innocently into someone else’s world on a daily basis, into taking control to find your own inspiration that will lead you in taking positive actions to change your life to what you want, desire or need, right now.

One study showed adults spend on average 9.22 hours each day in front of a digital device. Staring into a screen can result in the ‘still-faced’ effect. This is backed by a scientific study where it showed babies are impacted by this effect and displayed negative behaviour, such as decreased eye gazing and smiling. Science research shows that our facial expressions not only demonstrates our own emotions and well-being, it also allows others to perceive us and respond accordingly to our needs.

Emotional intelligence is a people skill that helps you to understand and manage your own emotions and having the ability to tune in to others. Why is this important right now? Because we are not robots. As human-beings we need to communicate effectively and be open to opportunities to allow new relationships to form and grow, to create deep meaningful connections with each other. People suffer from feelings of loneliness because our true nature of our being is having that feeling of belonging with another person or as part of a tribe. It is important then to learn how to be more sociable and more confident in being yourself around others if you suffer from social anxiety or feeling isolated at work or at home.

This is a living, breathing generation of technology and every day for most people reading this. Children are influenced by You Tuber’s which didn’t exist ten years ago. Children don’t need to leave their house because they simply log onto computers and sit for hours talking through headsets. If this was a game we are losing to the enemy of computers. Unless we consciously put boundaries in place to spend time interacting at home and creating opportunities to go to libraries, visit each other’s houses, play and eat together which requires physical interaction.

As adults when it comes to looking for jobs, interviews, asking for salary raises, negotiating for deals and bonding with one another, it can become tricky. Young graduates who have been nurtured in technology can suddenly be caught like a deer in headlights. They don’t know where to look, what to do with their empty hands, have good posture, how to stay engaged in conversation about themselves and how to answer questions confidently.

Here are some nonverbal tips to improve your interview performance:

1. State of mind – make sure you are in a calm but confident emotional state. You can do this by power posing, so imagine you are a superhero for a few minutes and focus on your inner power.

2. Smile – all great leaders have an authentic smile, be happy for the opportunity and show this genuinely.

3. Handshake – make sure your hands are not on your phone and be ready to make a killer first impression.

4. Be presentable – dress respectfully to show them you care about yourself because you will be judged on this too. Tip – check out what your potential future colleagues are wearing. This is not to say you cannot be unique, it is more about tuning yourself to be on their wavelength if you want the job.

5. Breathe – simple and effective. Notice when someone is really nervous and they suddenly hold their breath.  It makes their voice turn into a squeaky infant sound.

6. Mirror them – this is a rapport building technique used by many of us subconsciously when we want to connect with someone at a deeper level. Using this purposefully can be helpful, for example if the interviewer sits back in the chair, it shows they are quite relaxed and you can do the same too, which puts you at ease.

More than ever entrepreneurs, leaders, managers and small business-owners are looking at how to make the best impression, how to create lasting relationships, and how to be successful in business. To be noticed amongst the rivalry and field experts then people have got to level-up in the communication game. What makes you memorable and worth investing in? The only thing standing between you and your better future is in your communication. Studies have shown at least 60% of human communication is nonverbal. The combination of a powerful first impression and a matching passionate pitch will attract people’s attention and hopefully their investment.

The key to a successful performance is first to recognize the communication skills you lack and then decide to do something about it. These small steps are necessary to create lasting change in your life. It is a commitment and curiosity of any leader, to improve themselves first in order to empower others to do the same. There are no shortcut keys to building trusting relationships – We.Are.Not.Robots!

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