The mass of communications reverberating throughout the social web on a daily basis creates significant currents of potential disruption. Idea generation, transparency and momentum are fueled by all the conversations throughout the social web.
The structure of business can be altered by communications. The creation of new markets can be formed by and from communications. Our words play a powerful role in setting the tone and outlook of our future. Communications is the fiber and strength of any economy.
Kevin Kelly writes: The new economy is about communication, deep and wide. All the transformations suggested in this book stem from the fundamental way we are revolutionizing communications. Communication is the foundation of society, of our culture, of our humanity, of our own individual identity, and of all economic systems. This is why networks are such a big deal. Communication is so close to culture and society itself that the effects of technologizing it are beyond the scale of a mere industrial-sector cycle. Communication, and its ally computers, is a special case in economic history. Not because it happens to be the fashionable leading business sector of our day, but because its cultural, technological, and conceptual impacts reverberate at the root of our lives.
So how can we make the claim that all businesses in the world will be reshaped by advances in chips and glass fibers and spectrum? What makes this particular technological advance so special? Why is the business hero of this moment so much more important than its recent predecessors?
Because communication—which in the end is what the digital technology and media are all about—is not just a sector of the economy. Communication is the economy.
Just How Important Is Your Communications?
Allen Stern writes in an article titled Buffett Explains Why Communication is So Important: Last week Fox Business ran a special named Buffett U which brought together a bunch of business school students from the top schools across the country to Warren Buffett’s headquarters in Omaha. I searched the Fox Business site for the video from the event but all I found was a couple of very short clips.
During the event one of the students asked what Buffett would change in business schools with regards to the education provided to the students. Buffett explained that he believed that communication skills (both verbal and written) aren’t taught to grad school students because he believes the institutions believe it’s, “beneath them”. He went on to say, “your ability to convey your ideas to others will be an enormous determinant to your success”.
I completely agree with Buffett regarding how important communication skills are. I required all of my staff over the past 15 years to spend time speaking in public – to clients, to our team, etc. Typically I would get pushback from developers who said that they were just sitting behind a desk coding and didn’t need to learn how to properly communicate. That excuse never held water with me because while a developer may sit behind a desk today, what about tomorrow?
Look at how many people are losing their jobs on a daily basis lately. What if that developer loses his/her job tomorrow and needs to find a new job. How important are good communication skills when you are trying to beat out 10,000 other developers for a job? Or what about when you want to pitch your startup to investors? How important are communication skills (again, written and verbal) at that moment?
Buffett explained that he took a Dale Carnegie class when he was very young because he was very afraid to speak in front of people (he actually met his wife at the class). Another popular course for public speaking is Toastmasters. There are also plenty of courses at local colleges around public speaking in the evenings or on the weekend. The ability to communicate with an audience is something that will return benefits for the rest of your life.
For businesses to ignore the impact of the social web is akin to saying “don’t discuss anything with our customers, our employees and our market, just shut up.” On the other hand to enter the social web without a plan, an understanding and a specific aim is like jumping into a conversation that you weren’t asked to join and your input has no relevance and your viewed as a stranger or an irrelevant ad. Get it?
What say you?