How to (Really) Connect With People

Apr 7, 2011

Lately I’ve been reading about how the telephone is so (19th and 20th Century) over.

The outcry goes that social media has reinvented the wheel and any of us left in that old telephone wheelhouse better come out into the light and get with it.

Despite all the naysaying snickering that goes on in the community about the old-school techniques that can’t seem to get out of their own way there is intense underlying interest in how to communicate with someone.

The “How to Make a Phone Call” article here on ERE has been riding the Most Commented/Most Emailed lists almost since it first appeared on March 9, 2011.

Let me tell you a thing or two.

The shiny bauble that is social media is a panacea for what ails those of you who want it to replace the telephone for communication.

It’s a cover for your fear of rejection.

It’s not that the telephone doesn’t work.

It’s that you don’t work the telephone.

It’s kind of like the Confessional.

You’d rather have a grid between you and others — a nondescript separation between your hurt feelings and the other person just in case that other person doesn’t “like” you.

A place where you can confess your sins and receive forgiveness for the inferior being you suspect you are.

That’s what we’re really talking here, isn’t it?

Fourth grade acceptance anxiety.

Get over it already.

Some of the best advice I received growing up was from someone (very successful) who told me, “Maureen, walk up to people and smile and stick your hand out and say, ‘Hi, my name is Maureen. What’s yours?’”

That advice has never steered me wrong.


Sure, I’ve met some cold fish who took a step backwards and haltingly extended their hand into mine — you know, that weak-sister kind of handshake that speaks volumes about the owner.

But for the most part that advice has served me well in life.

Go ahead and listen to the debunkers who say the telephone is dead. Keep passing the articles among yourselves, Gen X, that proclaim the phone is passé and go right on ahead, Gen Y, leaving copies of it on your manager’s desk in the hope that she’ll cotton to the theory.

In the meantime I’m about to begin a new project here on ERE called, “How to (Really) Connect With People.”

And I’m not talking your social media “connections.”

I’m talking about how to reach out using the telephone and make yourself compelling.

I’m talking about the fading link in communications today.

I’m talking real-time talking and real-time community building.

The old fashioned way.

The way that will never go out of fashion.

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