The rapid advancement of digital technology in recent years has been nothing short of astounding. It is becoming difficult to remember what life was actually like before we all had smartphones and tablets. Thanks to the social media revolution, communicating with people across the other side of the world is now a simple affair. However, is there a darker side to the digital revolution when it comes to the business world? Were we, in actuality, better off in the pre-digital era?

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The Positive and Negative Aspects of Technology

There is certainly little doubt as to the many positive aspects that technology has had on the business world in general. The explosion in the popularity of social media has been instrumental in bringing businesses and their customers closer together than ever before. Thanks to email and the plethora of hand-held mobile communication devices now in use, the ability to be able to relay important business decisions or messages to a wide circle of people in an instant is invaluable. However, it is this very form of ‘digital’ communication that could also be destroying healthy business relationships.

If put on the spot, most business people would say that the most important factor in any successful business relationship is trust. Without the existence of trust, neither party in a relationship can ever feel truly comfortable. One of the best ways of building trust is by regular communication at a face-to-face level. It is only by conversing with someone in this fashion that you can really get to know them and subsequently begin to assemble the building blocks which are essential in creating mutual trust and respect.

The Human Factor in Good Business Relationships

The trend in modern society is to communicate with others via digital means, whether that be by email, text or instant messaging. While this is undoubtedly quick and easy, it also takes away so much of the human element of a good business relationship. Faceless communication also makes it far too easy to cancel meetings at short notice without having to explain in any great detail. Surely this cannot be the right way to build and foster productive, healthy and, above all, trustworthy business relationships?

If a face-to-face meeting is not possible, then even a good old-fashioned telephone call is preferable to the rather impersonal nature of an email. For those who wish to embrace the new technology, video conferencing at least incorporates elements of non-verbal and traditional forms of communication, providing greater support for the development of personal relationships.

No matter how far technology advances, the business world will always be about people. The human factor is absolutely vital in building personal relationships with others. No amount of emails, texts or social media updates will ever be able to replicate the positive aspects of a good old-fashioned one-on-one meeting. When it comes to creating that all-important bond of trust, don’t let digital technology get in the way of your business relationships. Embrace it but don’t let it dominate.


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