This may be a controversial statement, but I believe it to be true:
The best digital communications strategy is to learn how to not strategize so much.
It connects us back to the ‘be authentically transparent’ concept, the ‘interact like humans’ concept, all the various statements that are so hard to quantify.
What I mean is, when we engage in communication with another person, be it for personal or professional reasons, and we are ‘in the moment’, responding naturally and genuinely and listening to what the other person is saying rather than just waiting to talk, conversations take on a natural flow and rhythm that we don’t even notice as something special other than “that was a nice conversation”.
Inversely, when we are always thinking of the ‘most appropriate’ way to respond, when we “don’t want to hurt someones feelings”, when we “think about” the “best thing to say” before we say it, we are up in our heads, making all kinds of assumptions about probable outcomes, filtering through a usually inaccurate and limiting sense of who we think we are as individuals, and viewing the world through an ‘us vs them’ filter.
Â This leads to unengaging and disconnected conversations, be it with a coworker, as a business or with a girlfriend.Â Even if people can’t quite put their finger on it, something feels off about the conversation, and they most likely wont remember it that fondly.
This is not our fault of course.Â We are trained in business school that ‘those people out there’ are a demographic to be targeted.Â We are trained by our own minds not to trust our instincts, no matter how much “go with your gut” lessons we learn.Â We want to be safe. We want to plan for every contingency.
The thing about contingency planning is that the element of spontaneity that drives memorable interactions gets lost, and people feel as if they’re being treated generically rather than personally.
So I urge you (and I say this as someone with Communications Strategist on my business card): Whenever possible, don’t strategize.Â Just do it.
Am I wrong?