Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stop Emailing and Pick Up The Phone

My job is to build relationships. It's fulfilling because it allows me to do what I love best - talk about what I know - and helps an organization that I believe has a huge role to play in global development.

50% of my work happens at meetings, events, and conferences. I meet people, talk to them about food security, agriculture, and research and hope that the dialogue continues to a place where we generate support or partnership for the critical work CIMMYT does.

After spirited sessions, a bevy of PowerPoint, and the ever important card exchange we all go our separate ways. What do we do then? We email. We email thank you, we send courtesy updates, and become computer drones. The glowing screen and fonts serve as pseudo – relationship conduits giving the illusion that we are connecting in a real way.

Last night, I felt like Bill Clinton was speaking to me. I listened to his wonky policy speech and thought….maybe I need to talk to people more about the science behind my work. Maybe they do want to hear what we really do instead of a dumbed down version that I think they’re more comfortable with. Granted…I’ve still got to sprinkle in some sexy to make it palpable but what he did was brilliant, something to aspire to when you’re explaining complicated but critical information.

This morning, still high off of my surprise connection from politics to work – I did something revolutionary – I called people. I called them and asked how they were doing, we shared laughs, I gave updates on our work with passion in my voice and you know what…things happened! The needle moved forward, and the enthusiasm of our first meeting was revived. The person I spoke with said “I really am so thankful you called, it was so good to be free from typing that email”.

Our global society forces us to email more frequently as a matter of necessity but I challenge each of us to take time out once a week and pick up the phone. It’ll take you further.




1 comment:

  1. Bill Clinton's speech reminded me of the Rhodes Scholar we so easily forget he is. He managed to discuss - in a surprisingly casual, even tempered tone - detailed policy issues that other politicians and poli sci scholars put us all to sleep with. His speech was amazing. He eased us into the possibility that he was a regular guy, talking regular politics with regular voters. His sort of finesse in engaging crowds is the sort of skill anyone who does outreach should strive to attain. Oh and I too am totally down for phone calls and building through conversation.