The power of communication

We have to admit it. There are times we struggle to understand some of the complexities of the modern world. We have given up looking under the bonnet of our trusty Toyota except to periodically check the dipstick and the washer water level. The computers under there confuse us. And we have certainly given up trying to program our PC. The days of DOS have long gone. Working out which remote controls the TV, the DVD and the aircon is about our limit. And so when we set about thinking on the subject of communication in the modern world , it was not long before we had to retire for a little lie down, so taxing did it get on our old and weary brain.

On the one hand we are often told about the wonders of modern communication. How easy it is to communicate from one side of the world to the other at the push of a button. And it is so cheap ! If you have skype it's even free. A farmer in a remote village in Botswana can access the latest prices for his crop from the markets in Chicago, with just a handheld smartphone. A teenager can send 1000 texts in a month for just $10. And we can watch movies on a tiny screen on a mobile phone. I can understand the farmer wanting to know the real prices for his crops so he has assurance he is not being ripped off by the local trader. But quite why one would want to send 1000 texts in a month or watch a movie on a miniature screen is a little beyond me. But each to his own. We are certainly convinced of the fact that modern communication is instant, is cheap, is everywhere, and is available to everyone. And we know that it comes in many forms - from voice, through email and text to formats such as Facebook and Twitter. Personally we have not managed to come to grips with why we need to tell the world through Facebook every detail of our personal lives and activities. Is anyone really interested that I hung my washing on the line this morning rather than put it in the dryer ?

But we have to admit, it is marvellous the progression we have seen over the few years of our working life. From the days where we used yellow cables to communicate - and waited a week for a reply, through to faxes, and now email and text. Business communication has become significantly quicker, cheaper and easier. Just think, with an email I don't even have to walk all the way to the fax machine to send a message as I once had to. Isn't technology wonderful?

Having been convinced of the magic that technological advances have brought us, we set to thinking about the quality of the communication that passed through these various formats. Our research on texts threw up the interesting proportional relationship between volume and quality. In simple terms, it seems the more texts a person sends, the more inane they are. We have already alluded to our lack of understanding of Facebook. It has been described to us as "social networking" and "a stalkers paradise". We are sure it must serve a useful purpose in maintaining contact between friends and acquaintances living on different parts of the planet. Even on different planets from some of the material we see posted.

Email we understand. It's really an immediate and electronic form of the quill and papyrus we used in our younger days. Without licking the stamp or having to feed the carrier pigeon. And of course texting is such an advance in escaping from unwanted relationships compared to the old face to face method.

We then moved on to attempting to comprehend why with the plethora of technological wizardry making communication so easy, the quality of communication seems to have regressed. And then we were reminded of that often quoted homily from the world of cycling - it doesn't matter how good and expensive the bike, it's the fat bastard pedalling it who determines how fast it goes.

So too with communication. It depends on the person controlling the conversation, as to the quality of the conversation - and whether a conversation happens at all.

Of course we always try to bring these trains of thought back to our immediate circumstances. How does and should this technology and these various communication mediums impact on our performance? TradeMe gives us easier access to more potential buyers. But TradeMe won't qualify the enquiries.

It still takes a salesperson to ask the client the right questions at the right time.
It still takes a salesperson to read between the lines in determining the true needs of the client,
It still takes a salesperson to return calls, to provide information, and to scour the database to find the right property for the client.
It still takes a salesperson to pick up the phone and make the call - write the email, tweet, text or facebook. It still has to be done.

And on the flip side, when a salesperson does get a listing from a vendor, it still takes a salesperson to make the regular activity reports to the vendor. Or the salesperson may well find themselves without a listing next time around!

Whether it's an iphone or blackberry, we still have to push the buttons (we are not quite up with voice activated yet! ) to communicate.

These thoughts are entirely the thoughts of the author, but it can be reliably assumed that agents who take listings and don't report won't get listings next time around!