After a particularly hectic week, I chose to lie low on Friday night and listen to the radio while reviewing both email and hurriedly scratched notes that needed further attention. It was a very fortunate decision on my part because CBC’s show Ideas is celebrating its 50th Anniversay, and as I listened to snippets from past shows, I was introduced, in a better-late-than-never way, to Ursula Franklin.
A Canadian metallurgist, research physicist, author and educator, Ursula Franklin was the first female Full Professor of Sciences at my alma mater, the University of Toronto.
The snippet I heard connects directly with my belief in the power of the phone – in the power of conversation. It is her concept of “reciprocity”, from her 1989 Massey Lecture, (also contained in her book The Real World of Technology), where she examines the impact of technology of our lives. What I heard, and what I want to share with you, is that a reliance on text communication eliminates our ability to listen, understand and accommodate. And this, ultimately, limits our ability to grow our businesses, organizations and communities.
In the words of Ursula Franklin:
“In general, technical arrangements reduce or eliminate reciprocity. And what I call reciprocity is some manner of interactive give and take, a genuine communication among interacting parties. … Reciprocity … is situationally based, it is a response to a given situation that is neither designed into the system nor is it predictable, and reciprocal responses may alter the initial assumptions. They can lead to negotiations. They can lead to give and take, adjustments and bring about new and unforseen things. … Where there is no reciprocity there is no need for listening. There is no need to understand or to accomodate.”
It is the unpredictability of phone conversations that causes the most fear, feeds call reluctance. Yet it is this unpredictability that makes the calls – the conversations – a necessity. This is how we discover new clients/funders, hear what they are thinking, discover unexpected ways to serve.
As always, I encourage you to pick up the phone, talk with your clients, prospects, funders, members … alter assumptions, negotiate, create the new and unforseen. Enjoy your phone work everyone!
And my utmost thanks
This past Friday, at 7:15 am, I welcomed the first guests to the official Halifax launch of my new book – The Phone Book. Throughout the next 45 minutes over 50 people arrived at this event. I remain thrilled, honoured, amazed. The early hour seemed risky yet it resulted in astonishing support. Thanks to everyone who attended and special gratitude to our local TD Canada Trust Small Business Advisors (Donna Casey, Matthew Fiset, Ben MacDonald, Holly and Tammy) as well as Shelley Lebrun, Area Manager, Business Banking, for choosing to include me in their celebration of Small Business Month by sponsoring this event, and to Katheryn Elson, Director of Sales, Hampton Inn & Suites – and the wonderful staff – for providing such a lovely space. Thanks also to Michelle Pollard at The Westin Nova Scotian for her assistance. And thanks to Linda Daley, of Daley Progress, who always lends a hand.
The Phone Book Halifax Launch October 2015: Coffee, breakfast and getting settled
TD Canada Trust Small Business Advisors Holly, Matt, Donna and Ben help me get things started.
I love when everyone listens!