The evolution of communication

It was not so many years ago that there were cries of dismay that the English language would be forever strangled by text talk. That’s the use of language whereby almost every word was reduced in length by eliminating vowels to save on characters, and thereby ensure that messages were less than 168 characters. Almost inevitably, the threat of demise of the English language from the dire scourge of texting has passed. Technology (and pricing plans) has moved on, and we don’t need to sideline vowels any more.

The language and communication may have dodged a bullet as texting reached it's zenith of usage, and then other forms of communication took over. Yet it is still interesting to reflect on the ways we communicate – then and now.

Gutenberg invented the  printing press in the 15th century, which enabled the mass production of books and the rapid dissemination of knowledge throughout Europe. It was a major step forward from monks having to laboriously copy all written words by hand. Or even carve them into stone tablets. At that time the printed word, i.e books, were still the preserve of the wealthy. And indeed for some hundreds of years value was measured in the number of words. Dickens was paid for writing his novels, initially as regular chapters, by the word. We paid to send telegrams by the numbers of words. Increasingly the printed word became cheaper to produce, and democratised, such that it was available to all. Years later and the result is People magazine, and letterboxes stuffed full of advertising material that goes straight to recycling.

Other means of communication have evolved. We can now use the spoken word to communicate great distances at little or no expense using Skype, Facetime, or even the humble telephone. The written word is able to be transmitted by virtually everyone through a multitude of devices. And one-way communication has evolved from a priest in a pulpit, all the way to Netflix.  Some may well see that as progress.

The constant factor in measuring success of  these forms of evolved communication is that content counts. Firstly, to transmit a message it is necessary to make the effort to communicate, and secondly put the energy and thought into the quality of the communication.

And that’s a pertinent lesson.

Vendors don’t have to give agencies to agents. But when they do, there is a very reasonable expectation that agents will communicate and report. That is the quid pro quo. A vendor gives an agency to an agent to sell their property, and then pays them exceptionally well when they do. Along the way the agent is expected to regularly report progress, and keep the vendor well informed. There are many and varied forms that communication can take.

Regrettably in their busy lives, racing home to catch the latest episode of GOT etc, many agents forget this part of the deal. And then others seem to think that a TradeMe hits report is in some way adequate.

Having been around for some time, and experienced a number of economic cycles, we can reasonably predict that when the next downturn hits, around one third of the industrial agents now trying to get their name on signboards will be finding jobs in other industries.

It is interesting to note the correlation between who those agents are, and their communication skills and levels.