FOF and FOMO in business

In 2013 the word FOMO was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. A pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent, the “fear of missing out”. With a constant real-time awareness through social media, this awful condition is the root cause of so much discontent in relationships across the globe and, as we all know, business is also a relationship, it too can become a problem here.

There is, however, a trump card of FOMO and that is FOF, the “fear of failure”. The two can go, very much, hand-in-hand. So learning how to recognise these signs when conducting a discovery meeting with a potential new client, could be the key to understanding whether this is a real opportunity or not.

Listening to the language of the person talking to you is the only way to establish this. And by the language I don’t just mean what they say, it is the whole package. Body language can reveal so much once you have become accustomed to reading it. This isn’t going to become a blog about whether the leg crossed over another is pointing in your direction or not so you don’t have to stop reading here, no this is about FOMO and learning to recognise it in yourself so that you can then see the signs in other.

FOMO

  • Do you constantly check social media to get your gossip updates?
  • Do you have to know what’s happening in the news 24/7?
  • When you add a photo, do you judge its success by a number of likes you get?
  • If your best friend has been invited to another friend’s house for coffee, do you become paranoid about it?
  • Worse still do you also try to get an invite?
  • Do you have to have the latest gadget but don’t want to buy because something new is coming out?

FOF

  • Do you wait for others to try something first?
  • Do you have sleepless or restless nights before important events such as exams, public speaking, interviews?
  • Do you say no to a new date even though you kind of like them?
  • Do you get embarrassed at your children’s behaviour in public?
  • Do you stay with the status quo even though there’s good reason to try something different?

I’m sure you will be able to think of many more instances similar to this and now comes the tricky part. When you do this, and I know that nearly everyone does, can you feel the source of where these feelings come from? Is it in your throat, your tummy, your head, your legs. Do your facial muscles around your mouth contract, do you start biting your lips, does your brow crease up?

Look at yourself in the mirror and establish just what happens to you and then observe a close friend or partner and see how they react. Eventually, you’ll find some commonalities. When you’ve got these, you can now begin to use them in a business context. With the right questioning and most importantly, armed with this detailed listening ability you will quickly establish whether they have a real business need or whether they are suffering from FOMO or worse still FOF.

In business term:

FOF = They’re not likely to take the risk.
FOMO = They’re not likely to make a decision.

How life lessons can help you in business

There are pivotal moments in everyone’s career and recently this has happened to me. Having suffered a number of forms of adversity over my 1/2 century on this planet, this last bout has been by far the toughest. Whilst I am still suffering intensely with the grief of my current situation, I am still obliged to and moreover, really need to continue working. The focus this situation has gifted me for my day job has been immense and whilst I don’t recommend it to anyone, it has certainly brought some significant clarity to all areas of my life.

I will not open up my private life for all to read, the word private in that opening sentence cannot be emphasised enough, I will, however, be drawing some parallels from a situation which some of you may or may not be familiar with. At the beginning of last month, I was delivered a bombshell and one which ripped the very soul out of my being. The impact hit me with the same magnitude as the hurricanes that were battering that the coastline of Florida at that time. Whilst all this was going on in my personal life, I was also expected to perform, at my very best, at the number one conference of my business calendar this year. It was awful! Multiple uncontrollable outbreaks of emotions in any given hour of every single day made for an extremely challenging 4 days and to cap it all, I was living in a small hotel room on my own in our capital city. To be surrounded by over 20 million people and feel so alone was such a devastating feeling, made even worse by the guilt of singling out that the homeless seemed to have it better than I did because at least they had each other to talk to. I was at the lowest point of my life to date and knowing how low I’ve reached in the past, this meant I was pretty darn low.

Each day that I trudged to the exhibition hall, I swore to myself that today would be a better day and each day my situation worsened. Within the exhibition walls, however, there was a different tune being played. Born out of this adversity, rose a fearless ability to tackle some of the most difficult of tasks in the murky world of prospecting. Direct questioning (so I didn’t bubble up in an emotional wreck in the halls) and concise reasoning for my being there were never more present than during this time. I was confident, courageous and creative. The conversations I had were all relevant and, after the feedback I’ve been given since then, nobody I spoke to walked away feeling that they had wasted their time. Quite the contrary, in fact, I’ve even received some very complimentary correspondence from a number of new contacts expressing their gratitude for the knowledge they’ve attained as a result of our meeting. What’s more some of these new opportunities discussed at the event, have already progressed further into the sale cycle and I am really enjoying delivering on the promises I gave during those 4 frightful days.

Since then I’ve had some time to reflect on the unfolding of both my personal life and my business one. And whilst the horrors of my personal life continue to shift at unprecedented vigour, I’ve managed to find a space where I can put these continued bombardments of emotions into neat little categories and consequently separate them from business life. Equally, I’ve been able to utilise the lessons I’ve learnt for the greater good of serving my clients.

So here are the top 5 lessons I’ve learned over the last few weeks:

  1. Learning to stop in the middle of a discussion and ask for a time-out because the clarity of your thinking is being clouded by emotional attachment.
  2. Learning to not be satisfied with the first answer given but deepen the understanding with further questions.
  3. When you feel the most uncomfortable, you’re actually beginning to get somewhere.
  4. Status Quo is the single biggest killer of any relationship.
  5. Daily journaling and meditation allow for space in the mind to get the real work done, one day at a time.

What are the 5 most influential trends in businesses across the globe right now?

This is going to make everyone who reads it, sit up and shout “HELP!” and quite rightly too. And the help that you are going to need is slick, refined and accurate communication help!

  • 1- Flat-line spending in the West and massive spending in the emerging markets

Since 2008 the western world has been on a spending diet. Budgets cut to unprecedented levels, pay freezes equating to negative salary growth over all sectors (public and private) and a huge increase in mergers and acquisitions to try and compensate and retain market share. For you and I, very little of this has been good news and many of us have had to experience a change in the industry within which we were employed, just to stay afloat. As an example, 65% of all the peripheral companies providing services to the finance sector disappeared. This did, however, have a positive effect too. The natural balance of “cause and effect” meant that on the flip side there was a rather large spending increase in a number of the emerging markets. As time has moved on this is having a huge impact on how global companies are operating, I’ll elaborate more on that shortly, resulting in a new world order when it comes to how we need to be marketing our products and services.

  • 2- The divergence of market strongholds, no more are countries influenced by a single provider of services, be that a company or a country.

Especially prevalent in the defence sector this one but across the board, the stronghold (monopoly in some cases) that companies, and countries, once had is no longer the case. Ever increasingly countries who have typically only bought from one other country (Vietnam from Russia for example) are now looking further afield and mitigating their reliance on just one source. Risk aversion is key here and (pardon the pun) burying the hatchet of recent history has even seen the likes of Vietnam purchasing arms from the US to complement and replace their existing stock.

  • 3- Global markets are now looking for exports in new markets to increase market share and company growth.

Coming back to the point I raised at the end of the first trend in this list, we are now seeing companies looking for new export markets to increase their market share and bottom line profits. Not surprisingly, the well-established brands are feeling the pinch of the budget and spending cuts in the west and are looking to replace these deficits with new blood from markets previously untapped. This brings with it a whole bunch of new and exciting prospects, as well as challenges, and finding the right ones is going to be key to their success.

  • 4- Countries who were previously just purchasers of products are now manufacturing and exporting themselves.

Countries who have benefited the most from this recent tipping of the scales are ones who have now got the ability to manufacture and export themselves. The diversity of products available from other, not so well known countries, is quite staggering and this is having a significant impact on how markets and companies are responding.

  • 5- The next 2 billion people to come online will not have English as a first language, in fact, the majority won’t even chose English as their first foreign language.

Finally, and I may have mentioned this on a number of occasions, this fact is going to have a massive impact on how we communicate. Within the next 5 to 10 years 2/3rds again of the existing online population will be added, none of whom will have English as their mother tongue. At this point, the most predominant language of the digital world will have lost its crown. Remember how international communication (the written form) was once the golden nugget of the French language?

  • So what can we do now?

A very good question. No matter whether you are an industry leader or a start-up, for your business to grow to its full potential you need to be thinking Global from the outset. With very few exceptions, such as domestic services (plumbers, electricians, gardeners, builders, etc), today’s businesses have the potential of a worldwide appeal and in this worldwide village, there are well over 200 different languages. There is, of course, very little chance that you will be able to speak them all, nor is there likely to be a need to do so, but if you’re serious about your export markets you will have to communicate in a much larger number of languages than ever before. In 2001 it was estimated that to reach 90% of the online market you would need just 13 languages in 2013 that figure rose to 21 and in 2020 it will be a minimum of 48. As I mentioned in point 5, the dominance of the English language is being threatened and by those countries who now have a say in the international market. If you step back in time to the early 70s, where Willy Brant, leader of the German SPD 1968 – 1987, first verbalised this famous saying, “If I want to sell to you then I speak your language, wenn Sie mir was verkaufen wollen dann müssen Sie Deutsch reden.” – I’ll translate for you,if you want to sell to me then you must speak German” never has this sentiment been more accurate than in today’s digital world.

In short, to get ahead of all the big boys in your industry, you can do far worse than having a sales window in the language of the country you’re looking to export into.

Is our public safety being put at risk because of a lack of language and training understanding?

In 1996 my journey began, quite literally actually. I started driving long distance haulage and going to night school to improve my German. This was because to get where I needed to be, I had to attain the top 2% in Maths, German and English. This, in essence, was the start of my real love of languages and all because I wanted to complete my degree in IT Sales and Marketing, in Germany, in German. The pre-requisites for starting this “fully funded from the union” retraining program was pretty tough to swallow at first. However, when I came to start the course, it became abundantly clear as to why.

I completed my consolidated 5-year course in just short of 3 years and was awarded the highest ever marked paper in the whole of Germany for my paper on “Selling KVM switches to the German market, from England, using a distributor network”.  (99%)

I attribute a large portion of this success to my German and English tutor during this period of my life, as she was so passionate about the subject matter of language it was impossible to not absorb it by osmosis, never mind anything else. And this passion now runs through me today.

Had it not been for the fact that these pre-requisites were strictly adhered to, I would not have been able to be taught to such a high level in a language that wasn’t my mother tongue. Being able to impart knowledge on another, as any coach, teacher or professor will testify, is not an easy job. Having to do this when the person receiving that knowledge is also limited by their lack of language within which it is being taught, makes it near impossible.

So on to my question of the day! Is our public safety being put at risk because of a lack of language and training understanding?

I ask this for a number of reasons, not least of which because of my very own personal experience; which I believe places me in a very unique position of authority.

  1. Companies, organisations, schools, universities, sports clubs, hospitals, small business, in fact, every organisation who could be in contact with the general public, in whatever means, are mandated to deliver health and safety training to all of their staff.
  2. Not all of the staff in these companies/ organisations are native speakers of the companies’ corporate language.
  3. Financial cuts to both public and private sector companies/ organisations.
  4. Brexit
  5. Trump
  6. Polarised political views
  7. And I could continue!

It is quite alarming, when I’m talking to potential prospects about their language requirements for their corporate e-learning material, how many say “well they should speak [INSERT LANGUAGE] because they live in this country” or “It would cost us far too much to do this in all [INSERT QUANTITY] languages of the people we employ”, or something else along those lines. Yet they are all willing to take on these employees because of their work ethic and their acceptance to work at a lower pay grade than most of the domestic low-cost workers in that country. Not only is this practice putting the lives and welfare of these workers at risk, but all that of the general public too. How can they expect an employee, who does not have the corporate language of that company as their mother tongue, to be able to be schooled on Health & Safety?

So in these times of e-learning, where it is now being used consistently for cost saving purposes as well as ease of deployment on a global scale, wouldn’t it be “SAFER” for all involved, if the most critical of training is at least conducted in the mother tongue of the scholar?

Exposure of a Sales Professional

A few months back I ranted on about mobile phones and the lack of attention the sales staff were paying to the passing trade on their exhibition stand – you can read it here. However, I was not doing this to elevate me as having superior knowledge about sales and sales processes, no I was doing this to highlight the lack of attention we pay to real life when we get our heads stuck into our mobile devices. Moreover, it followed on from a previous blog where I offered some practical tips and advice on how to conduct ourselves more professionally in this situation, all in the vain hope that it would resonate with some of my peers.

In the last few weeks, I have seen an alarming increase in “sales bashing”, especially on LinkedIn. People with a vested interest, of course, exposing poor sales pitches for all the business world to jeer over and pass hurtful comment about. It feels like it has become a game of “Expose the Sales Professional” and one where they are clearly hoping to gain new clients for their own sales training businesses.

Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that ridiculing somebody because of a poorly written email is a surefire way to find yourself in the firing line at the first slip of your own keyboard. It is very easy to pick holes in other people’s work and though the examples exhibited were particularly poor, it does not mean that these people are worthy of such scathing criticism. For all we know they may have been given this list of sample emails to use by their manager and could face serious consequences if they’re not used to the letter. And I know, that this could open the door for more sales training but you get my point.

Personally, I’m not in the business of coaching sales but I am a coach and I know that it is my role to impart the techniques necessary for the people I’m coaching to be able to improve and turn those techniques into a skill. In the same way, I know that the sales trainers and influences I have the most respect for, do exactly the same. Quite often these industry leaders, offer a whole heap of training advice for free as a means of demonstrating how proficient they are in this field.

So here’s a little humble advice, from somebody who has been in all positions on the sales continuum. Whenever I purchase sales training, and I do so on a personal level quite regularly, I think hard about who I am prepared to invest my money in. That individual or company has to have an integrity about them that I can relate to, a strong character who does not feel the need to ridicule anyone because of their lack of knowledge or understanding and one who would not expose my weaknesses in the WorldWideWeb for all and sundry to scorn upon and make fun of.

Nobody is perfect, nobody was born a genius and nobody should be publically hung out to dry for not being either of those two things, especially by those very people who are supposed to be helping them to get better.

TGL

 

 

Why is it I feel so worthless?

The simple answer is I’m in sales! – Should I just leave it there and let you all fill in the blanks? OK maybe not!

It is systemic in today’s society that you’re only as good as your last success. A sportsperson strives to become number one only to realise that once they’ve got there, there is only one way to go and in sales, it is no different. You strive to be the best in your company, to achieve or overachieve your targets and each time you reach a pinnacle point, you either drop back or find yourself with an even greater target to work towards.

I am painting a pretty grim picture about life in sales, but it is an honest one and in order to enjoy this profession you have to break things down into smaller steps and be prepared for some significant setbacks along the way.

So let’s start with expectations! Setting expectations is an important part of the process. Over the years I have been guilty as charged when it comes to feast and famine sales. A consequence of varying factors but one in particular. I have found, over the years, that I am extremely good at getting a week’s worth of work completed in just 1 or 2 days. I rush headlong into a day with to-do lists longer than a Shakespearean novel and by lunchtime, I’m done. I’ve rattled through them in order to get finished and in so doing I have rarely had time to breath. At this point, I fall over in an exhausted heap on my desk and spend the rest of the day procrastinating because I physically and mentally don’t have the energy to do anything else. I usually find that the day after follows with a major slump in the morning, before the guilt of procrastination initiates the next bust of “get it all done quickly”! By the close of business on the second day I’ve completed a week’s worth of work and feel drained for the rest of the week. By setting weekly goals I find myself falling into this trap week in week out, however, in sales you need to plan your week. In fact, you really need to plan bi-weekly 1/4rly, half-yearly and annually. So what should I do to stop this?

My Q1 this year was “off the chart” amazing and having just closed out Q2 it has become apparent that my weekly intensity programs have manifested themselves into 1/4rly ones. Q4 last year was intense, and this is why Q1 allowed for some amazing results to land. Whilst this was happening I was tied up with the detail and as Q2 approached I realised that my attention was not in the right place. Q2 was therefore spent in the same vein as Q4 last year and in reality, Q3 is looking pretty good right now, but what about Q4? In order to ensure that this doesn’t slump in the same way Q2 just has, I have to change my 1/4rly feast-famine approach and set myself some more realistic expectations.

The Simple Seven:

  1. Sales is fluid and there will always be seasonal and organic fluctuations
  2. You cannot work at 100%, 100% of the time
  3. You don’t have to be the best
  4. Being consistent is much harder than being the best
  5. Don’t rely on others to help you, if you need help ASK for it or do it yourself
  6. Allow yourself time to enjoy the journey, it is the getting there that’s important and not the destination.
  7. Remember that you are not the right solution for everyone you meet

Using these “simple-seven” will empower me to keep going, but more importantly to slow down. With a whole 6 months left before the year closes, there is more than enough time to close out another successful year and then prepare for the next one. And all this whilst still taking time out to enjoy the journey and celebrate the successes along the way. Maybe I shouldn’t feel so worthless after all!

TGL

Should we charge to quote?

I’m currently thinking of ways of taking ourselves out of the continued, “Also-Rans” situation when a potential client just uses (abuses) us to fulfil their “3-quote” due diligence requirement.

Preamble:

Over the last 18 months, I’ve had a potential client request a number of quotations. Each time they have been left open as a “maybe but not just yet” – First off this tells me that I’ve not done my job right (or in theory anyway), which in its own right is a bit of a worry, as I’ve been doing this job for long enough to know when, and when not, to quote. Secondly, when I did a little bit of digging the other day, I noticed that 2 of the jobs we quoted for have been completed but even when armed with this knowledge I was informed by my contact there that they were still on hold. Curious to say the least. Finally, another request came in for a quote and I’d pretty much had enough of being made to look a fool. Not only does this affect my KPIs but it also, far more importantly, takes me away from working with other potentials who are far more likely to respect the work I do for them and honour me with an answer either way. So this time I pushed back and I’ve heard nothing since.

Why does quoting cost so much?

In its most simple form, there are approximately 4 people involved in preparing an accurate new quote for a new prospect. There is a tech team, a projects team, a finance team and a sales team. We’re very thorough in our approach and this reaps rewards later in the process so it is generally considered time well spent, provided that they say yes at some point of course. It is all part of the client acquisition process and it is also the reason why it forms part of our KPIs. Depending on the magnitude of the request, this can become a quite lengthy process too and involve almost double the number of personnel. Consequently, this process has a real monetary value associated with it, one which we offer for free as part of our service. For the most part, this later becomes a much simpler process, once the client is on-boarded, and the cost of quoting is then reduced.

When a client, therefore, repeatedly goes through the same initial process time and time again, without ordering, this can become an issue. To resolve this issue,  on this occasion, I did something that I’ve not had to do before in this industry. I charged for the quote, well I told them that I would be doing at least, they consequently said that they didn’t want it and I’ve, unsurprisingly, not heard from them since.

So here’s my question! Do you believe that you should charge for quotations, and at what point in the client acquisition process do you make that decision?

Or, do you believe that they should always be factored into the cost of sale?

 

Integrity

Here in the UK, it is the day of our general election and this latest “buzz word” has become one of the most over-, and misused, words during a dirty and personal campaign. One where honesty and morals were certainly not on the top of everyone’s agenda. Not surprisingly then, upon hearing someone tell you how honest and moral they are, your initial reaction is one of mistrust. Politicians certainly have a lot to answer for!

But is it just politicians who are to blame? No, is the short answer. They are the ones who are “en vogue” right now but just a short step back in time provides us with evidence of other “supposable” reputable groups of people doing the exact same thing. Bankers, the Police, Lawyers, Priests, Kings, Queens, celebrities, in fact, the list goes on and on and all of whom have somehow been entangled in some reputation damaging scandal that has resulted in mistrust. We’ve created a whole new generation of scepticism.

In my industry, as a language service provider, we too have had our fair share of scandal and bad press. You don’t have to do too much Googling to uncover some highly amusing bad translations, warring factions within a company causing irreparable damage to it and its ultimate demise, and stories of rabbits becoming accredited court interpreters. Is there any wonder then, when a sales person, who also carries with them a professional stigma too, approaches somebody about being able to help them with their language needs that they get a very frosty response? It is, quite frankly, a difficult one to overcome. Especially as within this industry there is a very strong human bias in the final delivery of the service. Linguists, Project Managers, File Technicians, Vendor Management Teams, Salespeople and then all the usual company administration teams, all mean that, at some point, mistakes are inevitable. Therefore a strong emphasis on how you, as a company and a salesperson, deal with these human errors is something that can truly distinguish you from your peers.

It is herein that the word integrity is of real value! Do you have an integrity DNA strand in your professional and personal lifeline?

In a world where social media places your life on public display, it can be very easy for somebody to take a look at what you’re saying and doing almost 24/7. In fact, when somebody doesn’t have a social media presence, they are often seen as “wanting to hide something”. So here’s the rub, whenever you’re online, be that on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or wherever, you have to be aware that this is going to become your digital DNA, both as a person and as a company. If integrity doesn’t shine through here, then you might as well have a 1-star review on Amazon.

Take your time, if you want to speed things up.

I am a fairly recent meditation convert! For me, it has become a habitual part of my day and without it, I no longer feel as though I have maximised my potential for that day. It is quite astonishing how much more I have been able to achieve purely by taking more time out to complete a human defrag.

Keeping on topic about AI, which we’ve been covering over the last few posts, I think the analogy of a defragmentation is perfect. Most of you will have experienced the effect of running a defrag on your PC at one point in time and you will have experienced how much quicker it becomes as a result. So imagine doing this on a daily basis in your head. The time spent doing it is such a positive investment as results are increasingly demonstrating to me on a daily basis.

The mind is, of course, itself a computer and one which is far more complex than the manufactured ones we use in our daily working life. So imagine how many broken fragments of information are scattered within it and how crazy the filing systems and archives are which are used to retrieve this information. By taking the time to become more present and to start registering thoughts without acting upon them, we gain an amazing ability to reset and restore those fragments in a much more balanced environment. This makes the recollection of them more readily accessible and is the main reason why the art of slowing down to speed up works so well.

When you continue with this practice, the mind, body and soul all gradually begin to work in unison and things that were previously viewed as highly important, frequently end up on a metaphorical leaf floating away down the river into the infinity of “none-pertinent”

So in a similar vein, the decluttering of my CRM over these last few months has revealed some significant leaf floaters, ones where my energy of the past has been misguided and has consequently now been refocussed on areas which are far more important. This has been one of a series of recent exercises which have yielded far more progression than my previous status quo of trying to do a little bit of everything for everyone.

So yes, my life is still very busy and prioritising is still a must, but by slowing things down and taking time out to meditate I have found that I’ve managed to find more time and not lost time. If you haven’t tried it, don’t knock until you do and if you have tried it but it didn’t work, then maybe seek some professional guidance because I can assure you, it really does work.

Remember! In sales the only real finite resource you have is time, so use it wisely.

Within what dimension is AI communication?

Before I start I have to warn you that this blog is going to be a little longer than you’re used to from me!

Synopsis:

AI is a new buzz word amongst a number of my peers in the language industry and it spans across a variety of other industry sectors too. It has been given an elevated profile in recent months with the introduction of NMT (Neural Machine Translation) by Microsoft and Google. This, in simplistic terms, is machine translation in a large neural network trained by deep structured learning techniques. The results are producing some “human-like” translated content, even if the source of the original content is not entirely accurate. They believe that the accuracy will follow over time, and I don’t doubt that it will get better, but these results could have a more sinister impact in today’s modern communication absorption than on face value. I blogged about this previously. Since writing that piece I’ve been privileged to speak with some highly read individuals on the subject matter of AI, one such person was Marc Cohn who is the VP of Network Strategy at The Linux Foundation, and this has opened up my thoughts to a whole new take on why humans and human contact is so much more important when communicating.

The dimensions of communication:

In order to put this into context, I have broken up the way we communicate and given them dimensions.

Frist Dimension – The written word:

The written word is extremely powerful, as the saying goes “the pen is mightier than the sword” but it lacks in so much in depth and colour. Some of the best authors in the world can evoke these images but each one of those images is personal to you and your own journey to the point in time at which you read the words. How many times have you returned to a book, re-read it, and then seen it in a different way? The point is; we create the texture of what we are consuming from the written word based on our beliefs, state of mind, the speed we’ve read it and numerous other, outside and inside, influences. We’ve no doubt all experienced the social media Keyboard Warriors who then suddenly went silent after something was explained to them over the phone.

Second Dimension – The spoken word:

That leads me quite seamlessly into the second dimension, the spoken word. Our choice of vocabulary, our intonation, our breathing, our volume levels all add another level of understanding to the communication. Unlike the written word, when spoken we can express a simple word like “really” to be one of surprise or one of distrust.  A simple tut after hearing a long explanation as to where you were last night, speaks volumes and evokes feelings in both the respondent as with the receiver not possible without wordy exclamation or emoticons.

Third Dimension – Pictures or images:

The reason so many of us use emoticons is because we need to portrait a feeling visually in accompaniment to the written word. “A picture paints a thousand words” is very true and by coupling the written word together with images or emoticons, we can deliver a richer more lifelike message to the recipient but lacking once again the intonation of the spoken word.

Fourth Dimension – Video and Film:

One of the marketing successes of this generation is creating video content which goes viral. Merging the spoken word with moving images evokes a whole new level engagement with the recipient’s emotions and when done right can create an internet success almost overnight. Sadly it can also be used to evoke emotions such as existential angst, anger and other such ugly feelings resulting in fruitful recruiting grounds for those in society with different moral beliefs than the majority of us.

Fifth Dimension – Live music:

When moving into the direct communication from one human being to another there is nothing more powerful than live music. Thought provoking, beautiful poetry arranged skillfully with musical accompaniment and delivered live on stage is about as intimate as it can get in one-way communication. Yes, there’s an argument that the artist delivering this also get’s their feedback from the reaction of the audience making it a two-way communication of sorts, but this is limited to the message being given and does not diverge greatly from the original message. Obviously, this is very subjective and again the recurring theme of the present moment comes back.

Sixth Dimensions – Group meetings:

Meetings all tend to have some form of agenda, otherwise what is the point of having a meeting right? So when these happen there is generally some steer as to where the conversation is going to go. In a business meeting with more than 3 or 4 people present, it is good practice to have a chair of the meeting and with greater numbers, especially when it comes to negotiations, observers are a must. The communication here is usually divided into pack communication and if there are more than 2 packs they can get very loud and disjointed resulting in them becoming difficult to chair. Rules and guidelines of how to conduct oneself at these meetings will add another level of constraint and complexity to the event and in these cases, a single person needs to provide the authority and purvey over the order of the meeting. – The speaker in the house of commons is a prime example of somebody taking on this role. This communication level is rarely very intimate and emotions are usually evoked by pack mentality and belonging.

Seventh Dimension – Face to Face, or One on One

Before I being this final one, I would like to say that all the dimensions listed do not extend outside of the physical realm. I am aware that there is an etheric level of communications that stretches far beyond the limitations of our physical one, but this is neither the time or place to expand on that. There are also others with far greater knowledge and experience in that field, who can guide you through those if you have the desire to understand more.

Face to Face contact adds the final layer to our cake. Not only do we have the optical stimuli such as eye contact, hand gestures and other body movements, we also have all our other senses, smell, touch, and that all important gut feeling (and yes, this does stretch into the etheric). The power of being in the same room as another human being and being able to converse with one another freely is second to none. Engaging with all 5 (or 6) of the senses immerses one in the full spectrum of available emotions and is by far the most revered form of communication available to any sales professional.

Why AI will never replace human beings in sales:

Taking the above into consideration, it is quite easy to see why AI will not be able to replace sales professionals, but only if both parties value human contact. If you’re a sales person hiding behind social media and emails then you either need to up your game or leave the profession. It really is that simple! AI will certainly become good at recognising some written emotions, and most likely good enough to evoke a purchasing decision in a purely transactional sale such as the purchase of most things you find on Amazon, but it won’t be able to create the content needed to steer people down a purchasing decision that goes beyond that. And it certainly is not good enough to produce the levels of emotions created by books like the Haemin Sunim’s “The things you see only when you slow down”. Similarly, back to my industry, the content created by human linguists in marketing and such like will be extremely difficult to reproduce by the likes of NMT.

Where do you conduct most of your communication?

So far AI has managed to encroach into one or two dimensions of communication making it a fairly flat and mundane form, but they are certainly working on others. However, due to the complexity of the physical realm alone, it will be a long time before they can move it away from this flat communication field. It is in this communication field where I see a large portion of my peers hanging out too and consequently where a large amount of scaremongering content is being produced. This volume of content is clouding the overall reality in my view. There is so much noise about unprecedented job losses through to machines taking over the world with an Orwellian precision that it is often all too easy to just sit back and believe it. Yes, AI can determine your emotion by what you post on your Facebook page, but this is ultimately down to you. So be honest how often are your true emotions revealed on your Facebook page? Right now there are only a select few who know your innermost thought, in fact probably only 1 if you don’t believe, and two or more if you do believe.

So in a business world you ultimately have to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do my clients what to engage with me?
  • How do I communicate with them right now?
  • In which dimension do I produce most of my content?
  • Can I move clients from one dimension to another?
  • Are my clients wanting to move to another dimension?
  • Does what I provide need a deeper and richer understanding?

In summary, there is a lot of good coming from AI and over the years that follow it will only get better. Yes, there are going to be some job losses, as there were in the industrial revolution, but there will also be new opportunities too. However, despite the quickening of the pace of innovation, things will not change overnight and we will all have the time to adjust, who would have thought 10 year’s ago you’d be reading this on a mobile phone (statistically that’s what 60% of you will be doing), but again there’s nothing wrong with that. But here’s the thing,

So here’s the thing, AI technology is here to stay! It is being used in all manner of ways but the one area I don’t believe it will ever take over is real and in-depth communication.