I felt like I was texting – short, staccato comments, bullet-like answers, and waiting-for-reply moments. But this wasn’t a text! It was a business meeting that had been scheduled for over two months. When I arrived at the meeting, I found I had 20 minutes, rather than the 90 minutes that had been allotted. There were two equally important objectives to cover. I chose one and began rapidly abbreviating my ideas to cover the needed information. I was met with abrupt insertions, calculations, and questions. What’s the bottom line? There isn’t a bottom line - the idea is a sphere. You need an elevator pitch. I’m not in an elevator. You get the point.
According to Wikipedia, texting is "the act of composing and sending a brief, electronic message between two or more mobile phones, or fixed or portable devices over a phone network. A person may now carry out a conversation with another user without the constraint of being expected to reply within a short amount of time and without needing to set time aside to engage in conversation."
The fact is we were face to face and had a scheduled meeting. It would have been nice to have received a text that stated the length of the meeting had changed. Things happen. But forget business etiquette for a moment. In preparation for the meeting, I had intended to momentarily put aside the logistics of planning and budgets. I wanted to share a vision - to mentally hold an idea and observe it from all angles. I wanted to connect at the level of creativity where you can feel the potential of an idea. It's not set - it's pulsating. You can be immersed in it, add to it, or sit front row and let the story unfold. It would be a kind of daydream, and probably not a typical business approach, not a PowerPoint.
Adding to my dilemma, the assumptions being made felt like a predictive texting malfunction. TechTarget defines predictive text as "input technology that is designed to facilitate typing by suggesting words based on the first letters typed, in the context of other words in the message. Although predictive text technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated, the software is still notoriously error-prone." My feelings exactly. I would begin an explanation to have it turned in a direction not intended, or coupled with an idea that came from who knows where.
The problem was simply there was not sufficient time to cover the information necessary to proceed appropriately. Moreover, besides having a short attention span, most people want to be efficient and check things off a to-do list. Meeting complete. Action taken. Check. From my point of view, little was accomplished. Uncheck.
Texting is obviously beneficial in many instances, and fun. But it can minimize expression, just as the words we use can confine expression with their standard and often limiting definitions. This is the main theme in ReDefining. For more information see the ReDefining Interview.
My ranting is simply to say that it is important to take time to explore ideas, listen, express, and engage in conversation. And yes, my texts are too long, my conversations and explanations go on forever, and I do need an elevator pitch.
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