Have y’all noticed something about our modern digital communication?
People seem to be yoked to communication devices 24/7/365. And most people expect immediate response when they reach out. Amiright?
This part of our society really, truly bothers me.
I am someone who works one on one with clients most of the time. When I’m not in a client session, I’m probably driving teenagers around to their many activities. I am a freaking busy professional bodyworker and a single mom. I am not someone who has her phone in her pocket all day. Honestly, it’s usually in another room, and many times, quite frankly, I have forgotten I put it on silent.
I was just in a networking group this morning, reading through a discussion on response times to client messages and what is an acceptable turn around time for a response after normal operating hours. Some people have no boundaries. Just because you want to make an appointment at the moment you thought of it doesn’t mean I’ll respond at 3am when you text me. And if you get in touch on a weekend when I’m not working, I won’t respond until regular business hours. I have business hours just like the big corporations do… kindly respect them, please.
I think back to when I was a kid. We had ONE telephone for the entire family, and it was attached to the wall with a cord. There was no text messages, no call waiting, and no voice mail. We went out into the world and did things. And the earth continued to spin, and eventually, you would reach the person you were calling. And that was ok.
Flash forward to today’s modern technology. If someone calls and connects to your voice mail, the common practice is to leave a message. Maybe they send a text, too. Maybe they follow-up with an email. So many ways to get in touch, and yet, what’s the rush? Why the overkill? Breathe, people.. the person will get back to you when they have a minute. Unless you are a debt collector.. you folks probably won’t get a call back. But the earth will certainly still spin.
In today’s culture, clients will try to get in touch to schedule, change, or cancel an appointment at any hour. When I had my private studio, I was a one person operation. I was not sitting at the desk as a receptionist, I was in the treatment room in a client session. I checked voice mail when I could, and I got back to people when I was able.
Unfortunately, some people have been conditioned to expect an immediate response when they reach out. If I didn’t call back immediately, there were actual clients who would leave multiple messages within the span of an hour or two. Maybe at a corporate office where one sits at a desk, this is acceptable… but if I am scheduled with 90 minute client sessions all day, I might not have even stepped out of the treatment room yet.
And think about this.. the people who call me are actually calling because they want to relax. All of this expectation for an immediate response over trying to relax! Talk about an oxymoron!!
So I challenge you, dear ones, to take a breath when it comes to communication. Give the person you’ve left a message for, or texted, or emailed a little time to respond. And please don’t overkill with all three. That will just take them longer to respond because they are sifting through multiple contact points for the same darn issue.
If you know me, or have ever called my phone to leave a message, you likely know I do not respond right away. Even my outgoing voice mail message says that if you choose to leave a message, it may take me a couple of days to respond. And for a quicker response, please text me. This is because of the nature of my business. I am in a treatment session, in a room one on one with a client most of the business day. My phone is not even in the same room. In the very few minutes I have between clients, I’m not sitting at a desk or picking up my phone… I am addressing follow-up care with my client, scheduling the next appointment, changing over linens and sanitizing the treatment room, and bringing in my next client. I’m honestly NOT listening to voice mail.
That’s not to say I don’t care about who is calling. I certainly do! And when you come in for a session, you get the same undivided attention as my client who was there the day you called and left 14 messages.
Truth be told, I only listen to voice mails once a day, usually well after business hours and almost always far later than is socially acceptable to call someone back. I’ll get back to you, but it won’t be immediately.
This urgency seems to be universally practiced in our society filled with smart phones, tablets, computers, apple watches, and the like. We have forgotten boundaries, simple manners, and common courtesy. Actual communication and patience has become a lost art. And frankly, all this immediate expectation for instant gratification… isn’t it stressful?
I have clients that desperately need to relax. Yet, they feel like they can’t set their phone 3 feet away on the counter for 50 minutes, because someone might try to call. (Gasp! OMGosh what if someone calls???) I’m not speaking about emergencies. I’m speaking about routine conversations. You can’t set the phone down for less than an hour? Really?
Obviously, if you are a 911 dispatcher, or a parent getting a call from the school in the middle of the day, or expecting a call from the president of the company, you’d want to answer that phone. But if you took the time to schedule yourself a session to relax, at least put the phone on the counter. If the Pope calls you within that 50 minutes you’re in a treatment room, just know that most massage therapists can actually hear the phone ring, and we are totally capable of handing the phone to you if and when it does. Easy peasy. So, please relax.
I see this overabundance of communication and 24/7 expectation like a leash. I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly like being limited and constrained in my life by other people’s expectations about anything… especially in how quickly I respond to a message or voice mail.
Next time you are out in public, notice how many people have their head down, looking at their device. I challenge you to make eye contact with someone and just smile. Or maybe “be in the moment” and notice the breeze. Or even hear the birds. Most people miss these things in our culture today. Because they are glued to their smart phone. Google, Facebook, and Snapchat will still be there when you get home, friends.
Have an awareness of the amount of time you spend on the phone/computer/tablet/social media.
This also really bothers me: no one seems to consider the huge side effects of EMF radiation and how this affects the human body. Think about that blue tooth device stuck in your ear, right next to your precious brain for most of the day. Or the neck issues the next generation will have from the forward head posture of texting, and the likelihood of hand and wrist issues from texting and typing. Or the vision and retina problems and brain issues that are currently developing in our society from looking at the lit up display screen all the time. These issues are actually developing right now, people.
Just know, all this “freedom” to communicate is creating a new blend of issues that haven’t really been studied or discussed for the long-term. This in addition to the crossing of boundaries, personal space, and the social expectation and stress it creates.
At the very least, friends… if you reach out to someone.. please realize that they might actually be busy doing something on the other end of that phone call, email, or text. Take a breath and go get busy doing something else. Enjoy life and be in the moment. They will respond when they can. Just give them a bit of time.
In my little world, I personally like to be grounded. I like peace and tranquility. I like having an actual conversation with an actual live person. It’s old school communication at its purest form. It’s kind of a lost art, but it still works. Yes, I appreciate technology, but I don’t think having it attached to my hip is healthy or necessary. I know, what a weird human thing, right? Technology really is great… until it isn’t.
Love, Cam xoxo
If a smart phone rings and there is no one there to answer it right away, does it still make a sound? How do you feel like your smart phone is a leash? Get in touch and tell me your story, I want to hear it!