Info-holics Anonymous: The 12-Step Virtual Communication Program

“Good morning, my name is Peter Stewart, and I’m an info-holic.

Last night, my kid got really upset at me because I wasn’t talking to him during dinner. He caught me reading my email under the table.

I knew things were really bad later when my kids were asleep, and my wife and I finally caught a moment alone—and I said I’d rather check out the newsfeed on my tablet.”

While this might sound like a ridiculous conversation, it might be more realistic than you imagine.

The American Psychology Association has officially listed the “Fear of Missing Out” as a phobia. And a recent Newsweek issue, titled iCrazy, cited research about the psychology of the human brain—that shows you get the same kind of neurological dopamine fix from gambling that you do from constantly checking your inbox. Many people have even had “ghost vibrations” of their smartphones where they thought that they got a new message, and there wasn’t.

It’s no wonder that you live in a state of partial attention—You carry multiple weapons of mass communication every day, according to this LinkedIn poll. This level of distraction materially impacts your ability to concentrate, make decisions, and have original creative thinking—all critical components to winning in business today.

Here are three ways to cut the iCrazy from your work life, and jolt your personal innovation quota.

1) Ditch the downloads

How you communicate is just as important as what you communicate. Think about conferences you attend—they’re at four-star hotels for a reason, not McDonalds. The medium is the message. What does that web conferencing tool that requires a download and delivers shoddy audio quality say about your products and services? You should be able to get face-to-face with people from any device, anywhere, any time—and so should your partners, customers, and prospects.

2) Combine face and audio

Good things happen when people get together in person, but that’s an increasingly unrealistic goal for most people. Still, emails limit you to 7% of your communication capacity. And when you connect on the phone, you’re only using 53% of it. Only when you see facial expressions and body language can you be 100% present and 100% engaged.

3) Simplify.

The average worker receives 125 emails each day. Then, there’s instant messages, tweets, InMails, Facebook messages, and so on. And don’t forget you’re also supposed to keep up with the news, blogs, and RSS feeds. To manage all this madness, look for a tool that handles the inertia of your life—namely, one that integrates with your email, instant messages, phones, tablets and so on.

At the end of the day, doing business boils down to communication effectively—and that includes communicating virtually. So, winning in business means winning in communication. And that means using winning virtual communication tools.

Besides, your kid and wife need you.

About Peter Stewart

Peter Stewart

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