November 21, 2019 |

The Reality of Relevance

I reach out to people professionally multiple times a day.  Most of us do.  We need the cooperation of others to do our jobs.  In the old days, when you called someone, they answered the phone.  Why?  There was no voicemail and there was no caller ID.  The caller was mysterious.  Who is it?  I need to find out.  It might be my boss, my spouse, my child, someone I’ve been trying to reach…you get the idea.  The phone got answered.  Today, almost no one answers the phone.  That ship has sailed.

No problem!  I can leave a voicemail!  Well, that ship has sailed as well.  You can certainly leave a voicemail…but don’t expect it to be listened to, and for sure don’t expect it to generate a callback.  Millennials don’t use voicemail.  Neither does Gen Z.  My kids don’t even have voicemail set up on their phones.  I can’t leave one even if I want to.

No problem!  We have email!  That ship is leaving the harbor.  Everyone’s inbox is jammed with emails.  Some are actually important.  The rest are messages from every company that you’ve ever bought anything from in your whole life….ever…times infinity.  So your email just might get lost in the shuffle.

No problem!  I can text!  You still stand a decent chance of getting a return text.  Assuming it’s not your teenager you’re texting…

Guess what?  It’s not the method of communication that’s the issue.  Those have and will always be changing.  The magic is relevance.  In today’s uber-noisy world, people are overloaded with messaging.  How do you break through?  By being relevant.  Look at your own life.  What communications do you return?  The ones that are most relevant to you.  The ones that matter.  The ones that connect to today’s priority list.

Want people to be responsive?  Want them to engage?  Find out how to be relevant to them.  Relevance is based on either actual or perceived value.  That’s the secret.  The rest is up to you.