The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 150 · 5 months ago

150. Why Your Virtual Relationships Degrade Over Time w/ Dr. Nick Morgan


When we communicate virtually, we are using flattened, muted versions of ourselves. Little surprise, then, that virtual relationships degrade over time.

How do we overcome the impoverishment of the virtual world?

In this episode, I interview Dr. Nick Morgan, a communications coach and theorist, four-time author, and President at Public Words, about how virtual communication differs from in-person communication — and how that affects our relationships.

Nick also talked with me about:

- What the underlying psychology says about virtual communication

- How to communicate emotional clarity in video

- What it means that every mistake is permanent virtually

- Why we should augment, rather than dampen, our emotions on screen

- How to maintain a virtual relationship

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- Dr Nick Morgan on LinkedIn

- Dr Nick Morgan on Twitter

- Books by Nick Morgan

- Public Words

- HubSpot

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog. Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for the Customer Experience Podcast in your favorite podcast player.

The information that we're getting in thevirtual world is impoverished. It's information from the five senses, which we normallyget instantly and powerfully. facetoface comes through at a much lower volume level,let's say, or not at all in the virtual world. The single mostimportant thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience foryour customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way.This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan beaute. Misunderstandingand miscommunication, the wrong tone or the wrong meaning, disengaged people on ourcalls, in our meetings. These are just a few of the challenges today'stechnology introduces to our customer and employee relationships. So today we're talking about restoring someof the humanity and the emotion that's dampened or even stripped from our dailydigital communication. We're joined by one of America's top communication theorists and coaches,a keynote speaker and president at public words. Today's guest is also the author offour books, including give your speech, change the world. Trust me,four steps to authenticity and charisma, power queues, the subtle science ofleading groups, persuading others and maximizing your personal impact. And can you hearme, how to connect with people in a virtual world. Dr Nick Morgan, welcome to the customer experience podcast, Ethan, thank you for having me. This is this is a great chance to connect. I'm really looking forwardto our chat. Yeah, me to one of the privileges of hosting ashow like this is when I read a book that is really inspiring and helpfuland interesting, I get to invite you into conversation to kind of bring itto life and share with other people. So I'm looking forward to doing that. But we'll start where we always start on the show, which is customerexperience. When I say that to you, nick, what does that mean?Well, customer experience today, thanks to the digital world that we're thatwe're talking about, is both richer and more granular than it ever was before, and it's, as many people have observed, that this is not uniqueto me. It's every single step along the way, every single touch point. So you can create a great customer experience and then have it be disabledby some person along the way saying the wrong thing at the wrong time,and people do remember and they consider the whole experience as affecting how they ratewhat it's like to be your customer. So for me, the customer experienceis every single moment of interaction with that customer. Super Now, before weget into kind of what you alluded to, is the time that we're spending invirtual and digital and online spaces and some of the challenges and opportunities there, I want to point out to listeners that you built a deep expertise andbuilt a very successful career on communication in real life to at other channels aswell. And so before we dive into some of the themes of can youhear me and some of the challenges that were faced with as we're stuck inemail and flat zoom calls in these other things, can you provide just afew basic keys of effective communication, some of the maybe the questions that youget when you're consulting or speaking like what are some just core fundamental principles ofeffectively communicating with other people? I love that question absolutely. So the firstquestion, whether they're about six first questions, so that among the first questions thatyou might ask are what is the problem that your audience has or yourcustomer has for which your expertise is a solution? One of the classic mistakespeople make is that they go in wanting to lead with their expertise. Hi, I can do this, I can do that. I always say that'slike going into a doctor's office and having the doctor offer you the pill beforeyou even told him or her what the symptoms are, and you get thisfeeling a wait a minute, didn't tell you what was wrong. Why areyou giving me answers? So that's really the first thing. The second isthe second great question, is what is the intent that I have toward youand you have toward me? Humans care about intent more than they care aboutanything else, even specific words, and don't get me wrong, specific wordsin a communication are very important and they can trigger and they can offend andthey can delight, they can amaze, they can move. Specific words areimportant, but more than that we care about what's the intent behind the words. Very simple example, if I say to you great job, Ethan,if I say it in a sincere sounding way and you can see me andyou can see some facial affect, then you know I'm sincere, but Ican also roll my eyes and go great...

...job, and you got a verydifferent response. So it's the intent behind the cues, for the intent behindthe communication that are incredibly important and I'd say those are two good ones tostart with. Super and that intent thing is so interesting and it does teaup some of the challenges of virtual environments. Specifically. When I think about intent, I think about typed out text and how much control we're giving awayto people to decide for themselves what our intent was if we type out themessage and send it. So let's talk a little bit. I mean that'sa certainly going to come up again, I think, in this conversation.So let's talk a bit about can you hear me? It's a great read. It was written pre pandemic but I expect probably found a new life there'swe were stuck in virtual environments as opposed to face the face in the office, at the coffee shop, etc. It was fun to read. Ithas a very clear point of view. I loved your use of concepts likejunk food and cotton can Indian, referring to some of the more silly ortrite or value lacking aspects of the way we're engaging here. I did avideo review of it. I cited it twice in a book that I recentlywrote and will is is available for Presale. I'll human centered communication. It sharessome of these themes. So I guess just to tea this part ofthe conversation off, Nick. Why did you write it? Well, thanks, first roll for all the good vibes. I appreciate that very much and sodoes my editor, who had some concerns about the book at first.And the reason I wrote the book was I was going around the world talkingabout storytelling, communications and and body language, another favorite topic of mine, andI started to get the question about the mid teens, two thousand andfifteen or so, two thousand and sixteen, that people would say, well,this body language stuffs really interesting, Nick, but actually I don't interactwith my team facetoface anymore. I have a team that's based in India andCalifornia and Paris and we we don't see each other facetoface. All that offand what's the body language like in the virtual world? And I thought itwas a great question. In my first reaction was, well, the thereisn't any and then I thought that's not good enough for a communications experts.So I bet I better come with something better. So I started doing theresearch on and and I frankly expected the news to be very, very good, because I'm a technophile. I I'm an early adapter. I love earlyadopter, I love to get the new technology and play with it and findout how it works and and I was early on to video communication. Ithought it was great. So I was very surprised to discover in the researchjust all the the darker connotations and the negative issues surrounding virtual communications. Littledid I think in two thousand and seventeen and two thousand and eighteen, thatthe usage rate, which was then for fortune thousand companies of video conferencing aboutfive percent. Little did I think that by March two thousand and twenty thatwould suddenly jump to a hundred percent. That was a very interesting develop yeah, one of the one of the quotes. I mean there there are number ofquotes that I could give back to you and ask for your feedback onthem, but we're all start just kind of tea up another topic area beforewe dive into something specific that I love to use as the core structure ofthis conversation. The virtual world is impoverished. For US humans. This speaks tokind of what you know, this kind of darker side you didn't necessarilyexpect to see. When you use that word impoverished, any of you usesimilar terms of phrase throughout the book talk a little bit about the primary differencesbetween connecting and communicating facetoface and in these virtual worlds. Why is this impoverished? In what ways are we? Is the environment or our experience impoverished?So the first thing we have to understand is that in the virtual world,where we think about, based on our experience for the last year and ahalf, we think about video can munications, because that's the big new development,as it were, but actually we all participate in a virtual communications hierarchythat's been around, at least the lower two parts of it, for quitesome time, and that is text based communications, which is still the waythat most of us get most of our communications. Via Email, via slack, via text messages, whatever it is that we use, and probably somemixture of all of those. That is overwhelmingly the way in which we getour information. And then at the next level or audio communications, conference callsand direct one to one phone calls, that kind of thing. We're usingthat less and less in some ways, but there's still many companies that haveweekly team audio conferences. And then finally, at the top is the zoom orequivalent video communications. So we start with that hierarchy and the first thingto understand is at the at the text base level, we are impoverished inthe sense that when I talk to you facetoface, I immediately get feedback fromyour unconscious mind to mine about how you feel about it. So if Isay great job, Ethan, and I...

...have a warm smile in my face, your eyes will light up, you'll get happy, you'll feel like youwere just getting a little dollop of praise. That makes everybody feel good. IfI say great job in the virtual world, you have no idea,and so I could be rolling my eyes in your mind or I could besaying it with a warm smile, but you the point is you don't know. And so the the the context is impoverished, and that, of course, is obvious as in the in the text face world. But surprisingly it'sthe same thing happens are a similar thing happens in the audio conferencing world,because the compression that's used to convey the sound of our voices to each othermeans that the the human voice is compressed into a much narrower band. Andwhat squeezed out of that is the emotion. We're not consciously aware of this,but it means that your voice, as it comes through the air wavesto me, is flatter and has less emotional connotations in it than it wouldif we were facetoface. So when you say hi Nick, great to seeyou, I get instead of Ethan at ten, I get Ethan at fiveon the scale. And so it that's another way in which even that apparentlydirect connection is impoverished. And we can talk more about the video connection,but the same thing happens at the video level too. So it's that's thesense in which the information that we're getting in the virtual world is impoverished.It's information from the five senses, which we normally get instantly and powerfully.facetoface comes through at a much lower volume level, let's say, or notat all in the virtual world. Yeah, that brings up two notes that Imade for myself that I really thought were very interesting and provocative. SoI'll just kind of share them with you and would love to get your reaction. Then we'll dive into the five things that virtual communication lacks that human brainsand human, I guess human brains, really need and want in order toeffectively connect with one another. The the two ideas are first, this ideaof oral fingerprints, that our ability to recognize individual human voices, even amonghundreds and hundreds of different voices, we can all recognize them and to yourpoint, you know this. Other thing that you shared in the book isthe research around the undertones that carry the emotional resonance in the voice, areare typically what's compressed or stripped out. And what that made me think aboutis we teach people how to use simple video messages in place of what wouldotherwise be typed out text to overcome some of these limitations that you've already talkedabout and will continue to get deeper into. And so certainly in a lot ofthese cases I think you would probably agree that a recorded video message mightbe more helpful or clear than what would otherwise be faceless typed out text.It still has its limitations compared to real life, but we used to teachyou know it's not about production value. It's really about tone, intent andmeaning and, you know, facial expression and in all of these other things. But what your book made me think twice about was the idea of productionvalue. And so if we get a better microphone or we get a betterplatform to record in, for example, we're recording this in riverside instead ofzoom, one of the benefits is better audio. So when people are walkingaround listening to us in their earbuds, we're just a little bit closer tothem. I would assume that it brings a broader range of highs and lows, etcetera, etcetera. And so, from a video perspective, the betterwe can light ourselves in, the more expensive and nicer cameras we can get, probably the easier it is for people to access again, conscious and unconsciousexpressions of thought, in emotion, intent, as you described it, etcetera.So give me any thoughts or additional context for listeners around oral fingerprints andthis idea of production value in order to bring yourself closer to people when you'rerestricted to a virtual environment. It's an extraordinary thing when you think about it. We used to say that the fingerprints were unique to humans, and nowthe wisdom seems to be that for about every billion people there's somebody else withyour fingerprints. He's kind of a scary thought, but that's not where we'rehere to worry about. Today. It's still seems to be the case thatevery human voice, the oral finger print that we're talking about, where youmeasure the range of the human voice and the overtones and undertones, that whenI speak you get this kind of mashed up wavy line that has overtones andundertones and, as I say, the basic human pitch. That fingerprint,if you will, or that oral fingerprint, is unique, apparently as far aswe know. Thinking about the reasons why that might be the case andwhat it's for sort of are fascinating, but the immediate takeaway for us isthat when we communicate facetoface, you get the full richness of that vocal experience. So Ethan in person has a voice which sounds like nobody else's. Andwhen we put you then through the virtual ringer, what happens is that voicegets compressed and so less of your personality, less of your individuality and, mostspecifically, less of your emotion comes...

...through, and so that's the issuein the virtual world. Technologically speaking, the more we can put back in, clearly the better, the more it gets back to your original voice,and that's what that's what we want. The issue, of course, isthat you can do, as you said, the very best on your end.You can use riverside. You get a great picture, a great sound. If it runs through a pipe that, on the other end is a tinylittle laptop computer speaker, then nonetheless, despite all your best efforts, theresult is still going to be diminished on the other end. So whatwe need is technological developments all on the way and of course the good newsis all those companies that sell us the magnificent equipment are busy always improving itand ramping it up, and Yay, that's great. That means it willget better over time. But we do have to keep clear that the specificthing that's missing for us right now the extent that your voice is compressed andyour face is flattened into dimensions and the other things that will get into that'slike turning the volume down on your communication, so you'd get a little harder tohear, a little harder to discern, and I'm not quite as clear onwhat your emotional investment is in the conversation. You say you care,but I'm saying, does Ethan really mean it, because what's coming through isten percent of Ethan or fifty percent of even so, that's that's what we'reup against. Yeah, and that does Ethan really mean it? Even ifit's not a conscious dialog you're having with yourself or a conscious question that you'reasking yourself, it's occupying your mind and probably distracting you from the real issueat hand and therefore denigrating the quality of the communication exchange exactly. It's it'snot so much that you think about it consciously, because we're very we getvery used to these means of communicating, but unconsciously I'm thinking of you maynot be fully invested in this, or I'm not, I'm not getting theimpact as as fully as you would wish it to be conveyed to me.And the other the other piece of that is, and this is getting intothe weeds just a little bit, but I think it will be interesting foryour listeners and viewers, that is that the there's a slight lag between,on a video conference, between the conveying of this the sound and the picture. We tend to interpret that lag unconsciously as incompetence. HMM. And soI see you and you see me as less expert than you would experience me, and vice versa in person. And that is not a conscious thing thatwe're talking about here, that the lags are in milliseconds and there's so slightthat we don't we're not aware of them consciously, but unconsciously my mind isthinking Ethan's not up fully on his game. If I knew you facetoface and andif I don't, if I don't, if I only know you virtually,then I'm thinking you think it's not the brightest bulb in the pack here. So, and that's completely unfair, completely unconscious, has nothing to dowith you or me, except that's the reality we live in. Yeah,I mean that's the that's the natural consequence of Millennia of human brain training andexperience and, frankly, expertise and probably evolution around communicating eye to eye,face to face, whereas here we are, in the past handful of decades,moving into these virtual and digital spaces and then in the past handful ofmonths, operating almost exclusively through these video calls. So for the next Idon't know, ten or fifteen minutes, I would love to go through kindof these five core issues with digital and virtual spaces and I'll read them forlisteners probably at the top, in the bottom of this and this. Theseare this is how the beginning of the book is actually set up. Sowe don't need to go too deep. I love to send people into actuallyaccessing the material directly because there's so much more there than we can possibly cover. But the first is lack of feedback, the second is lack of empathy,the third is a lack of control, the fourth is a lack of emotionand the fifth is a lack of connection and, as a consequence,commitment. I believe it's consequential, but I'll let you, let you kindof go into that. So if you could start us off with pad oflack of feedback again, some of these we've already already hinted at some ofthese in other language, but I love the structure that you added to this. And then, for listen there's the back half of the book gets intospecific channels and ways to overcome the weaknesses in email, in virtual calls,etc. But let's start with feedback, the idea that our senses are justdeprived, the idea that when our senses are deprived, we fill in thegaps with assumptions and memories, and I love this, like fake data,which just make stuff up to fill in the gaps. Talk a little bitabout the problem of the lack of feedback when we operate digitally, virtually andonline. Yeah, sure. So, to understand why this is important,you need to understand ten seconds on the brain, the brains job, yourbrain, my brain, is to keep... alive, and the way itdoes that is by projecting, imagining a few seconds into the future, sayingare scanning for dangerous there anything here that could possibly be dangerous to our autonomy, our life, and we use the five senses to get that data.That's what we humans of all to do it most efficiently. Cite sound,smell, touch, taste. So our brain is constantly looking through those channelsand saying new information, new information, is their danger here. Now,as soon as we start getting information about the environment, let's say we're inthe virtual world, that doesn't have lots of data in those five senses,then we have empty channels and the brain abhores empty channels and what it doesis to your point, as you alluded to. It fills it up withwith data. It says, okay, I'm not getting good data here,let's assume the worst, because that makes a whole lot of sense to keepus alive in an environmental sense. So if I'm not getting good information aboutchanges in my field of vision, let's assume that there's a sabretooth tiger lurkingaround the corner, because if I take a a base of action now,I'll live to fight another day. If I don't, I'll become a anancient statistic. So the five senses look constantly. The brain looks constantly forfeedback in those five senses. When it doesn't get them, then it fillsthose channels with assumed information or memories or things that look like hey, inanother situation when I was in that look kind of like this. This isthe feedback that I was getting. So let's pretend us that and fill itwith that. It's the brain doing is very best to keep you alive andthey but the important point here is that when it doesn't get that information,it assumes the worst because that, in terms of your survival is the bestassumption to make. Assuming that there's danger, take a base of action now beforethings get bad. So that is why, to get serious for amoment, every virtual relationship degrades over time because they're always going to be thesegaps in the five senses, that the sensory information that you're getting in thevirtual space. You're going to fill it with negative information and the result isthat you start to assume over and over and over again, in little ways, that there's something wrong here, and that builds up over time. Soall virtual relationships to great over time. Very simple example of this, towrap up the feedback issue is imagine you're on an audio conference and Ethan,you just made the greatest point. You've been talking for five minutes. Yousaid something profound in the and the whole team is just wild and then youpause for reactions. Now what happens at that point? If you are ina conference room, you would be seeing already the smiles, the nods,the Ata boys, the enthusiasm. You'd be getting it. On an audioconference, you don't get any of that because people are on an audio conferenceand they're all on mute. They're doing email or they're checking their Amazon ordersor something, and so at the very least they've got to hit the mutebutton before they can reply. Now nobody ever, in that pause assumed,wow, what I just said was so profound that everybody's just lying on thefloor with their legs in the air just thinking how amazing I am. No, people assume instantly. You can't even you can't help this, even ifyou know it intellectually. You can't help this. You Assume, oh,they didn't like it, or they checked out, or there's something wrong orthey're not getting it. It's that's just the way we're wired. That's thatnegative response. So that makes it obvious. Yeah, really good there, andyou brought to life this is again, it just took call back to whyI love having these conversations with people who've written books that I found tobe fantastic and and proud to recommend. You brought to life for me thisidea that the nature of trust is different in this environment and it's much morefragile. This idea, and so I in tying this back to the degradingovertime, really interesting. Going to lack of empathy. This is something thathumans do automatically in person. Again, I think probably due to Millennia ofhuman brain training and survival and evolution, but we don't do it, orcan't do it nearly as well online. Talk about this issue of empathy.That was a real surprise for me. I assumed that, when I discoveredthat we got much less feedback, that we would therefore be more curious abouthow the other person was feeling or doing, and so that would up our empathy. But instead we go the default that we've been talking about, thenegative assumption, and so that lowers our empathy. If I don't hear fromyou, I assume is because you're angry at me or there's something wrong withyou. But it's not an empathetic response. It's a knee jerk, or abrain jerk might be a better way to put it, response from mybrain saying up, things are bad here, and so empathy goes down, andthat was a real surprise to me. But we all have this experience.We know this because we've seen in the social media space over and overagain the trolling and the negativity that's erupted there, and that comes from thatfeeling of if I say something to you in person and I see the hurtlook in your eye if I say something mean, I'm going to modify it. I'm going to be more careful. We humans are careful to eat alittle bit more and most of the time most humans are careful to eat witheach other's feelings in person and the online... lacking that feedback. Hey,we don't care, I'll tell you you're terrible and let you suffer the consequences. Yeah, this idea that we would do things online that we would neverdo in person. To kind of paraphrase you in that chapter, distance inhibitsconnection. What you just shared are reminded me of a fantastic piece. Itwas an editorial piece in the in the New York Times, written by aCanadian writer named Stephen March, called the epidemic of facelessness, and he goesdeep into the history of what currently is manifest is online trolling, in flamewars and these types of things. Again, that rarely happen facetoface because of thenatural humanity and our tendency to empathize with each other, even hardcore typea people or people that we would generally regard as mean spirit. It's stillhaven't have an empathetic impulse as part of our survival. Talk about lack ofcontrol. This one's particularly interesting. I think this gets into like who weare as a real person versus our digital persona, the levels of control wehave there. You talk a little bit about something I talked about on thispodcast with branding expert named Susan Meyer, about brands as friends and the waywho you know, the way that we build relationships. A lot of reallyinteresting stuff here. You cite the golden rule, cheer whatever you would likeabout this idea of the lack of control we have. Virtually this one wasmade vivid, to be right, when I was doing the research by ProfessorRobert Kelly, who was an expert on South Korean politics and he he hadhis big moment on the BBC's to talk about South Korean politics because the presidentwas under indictment. So this is this exciting time for anybody who specialized inthis area. He was an academic and he didn't often get on the BBC's. This a big moment for him and some of you may remember the memeor if you see the if you Google Professor Robert Kelly, this is whatstill comes up. Three or four years later. And what happened was hisfirst daughter and then son, we presume, came into the room as he wastrying to have this serious conversation and he reacted by trying to push thedaughter away, which is very human. But of course what he should havedone, we all know, had he had a hundred percent charisma and aplume in that moment, would be to pick up the little girl, puther on his knee and introduce her to an adoring world. What he didwas human. Just tried to remove the distraction. But now we're a lotmore familiar with it. We've all been zoombombed at one time or another,so we know how this is. But the point is that forever after ProfessorRobert Kelly will be known in the virtual world as that guy. He hasno control over that experience. He cannot have it removed, he cannot outliveit. In some ways. Now, if he were on the BBC everynight, eventually it would get drowned in BBC information about him. But hewasn't and so we it won't. And that's our experience of the virtual worldas opposed to the facetoface world where if I do something dumb at lunch.I spill something on my tie, to pick a minor a minor thing,or something more embarrassing. I say something that hurts your feelings. We humansforgive and forget, especially in person, so over time you're going to bewilling to just let that thing go. The sting of it will fade overtime. If we have an ongoing relationship. In the virtual world, the fullhorror of what happened to Robert Kelly will always be there, instantly recallableon Youtube for all to see. And that's the difference. You have nocontrol of the virtual world. It's controlled by machines for machines and for searchengines and Algorithms, as opposed to the human world, where it's it's muchmore forgiven forget. So interesting. Reminds me of the Seneca quote and Imight get it a little bit wrong, but it's essentially we suffer more inapprehension than in reality, and I would assume that, given meme culture ingeneral and how many times we've witnessed this happen to other people, I can'timagine that it's not in the back of our minds at some level, andI don't think you'll be surprised to hear this, Nick but are our biggestimpediment to growth is human vulnerability in this fear of recording oneself and sending itto other people. There's so many people who will attend to Webinar or checkout the website or get a referral from a friend and say, oh gosh, this sounds so much better than typing out these messages for all these differentreasons in these various use cases. But when they when they see themselves onvideo, they get, you know, caught in their own head and theyget fearful of the lack of control they have once it's out the door.At some level it's so interesting and I think for the vast majority of us, despite these high profile incidents that do become viral or, you know,part of the the mainstream meme culture, you know that doesn't happen to mostof us, but it could. Call the potential is there and it's andI think, to your point, that's what adds to our sense of Gosh, I don't want to let that out there because my hair is better orI don't look good or whatever the issue... Yeah, yeah, sothe so we've already covered for again, folks that are following along. Lackof feedback, lack of empathy, lack of control. The next one islack of emotion. In this one's really interesting, I think. One ofthe things that makes me think about and I'll read a quote and then turnit over to you. Ay, it gets back to where you started,which is how we say something is as much or more important than what exactlywe say. How we say it is is overrides what we say as certainlyif they're not aligned or in conflict with one another. It requires us,you know, as humans, we naturally emote through our faces, in ourvoices and when we detect them from other people, and so we need tobe more conscious or intentional. We need to make an extra effort, perhapswhen we're online and to quote, you to yourself and they have you reactto your react to this concept and react to the quote without those unconscious clues. Again, we're expressing our emotions all the time and reading them from otherpeople all the time. Almost all of that is done subconsciously. So again, the quote without those unconscious clues. You need to develop an equivalent setof conscious ones. So talk about the importance of emotion and how we canovercome the dampening or stripping of emotional queues and clues online. Yeah, thethe best way for me to understand this is to think about a customer relationship, let's say, that whole cycle of the beginning, from beginning to end, or a teammate, somebody that you work with on a regular basis andlet's say you have a weekly meeting. So it's these kind of interactions,ongoing interactions, as we talked about earlier, in the virtual world, because you'renot getting as much feedback from the five senses, you're not as clearand what the other person's intent is is think of intent as the wrapping aroundthis specific message. So if I say it's great to be here today,you evaluate not only the words it's great to be here today, but youare evaluate how passionately I say them and how great you really think I thinkit is, and that's part of your unconscious evaluation of how present I am, how enthusiastic I am, what kind of person I am right now inthe virtual world, whether again it's a teammate or a customer. Imagine thatvolume turned down so that nick at ten or nick it a nine on ascale of ten, is only coming through it at five. So what thatsays is that I'm not getting the correct emotional read on how important this isto me and to you. And when I don't get the correct emotional readthen, and this is a little surprising, perhaps I'm going to make a baddecision about it. Why? Because our decision making apparatus is based onemotion. It's based on human desire to avoid pain, which is at thetop the list and the pleasure comes a little lower down. But we havememory stacks and stacks of memories about situations which we think are similar. Werate them according to how painful or how successful they were. And if theinformation I'm getting about a new scenario is is muted, it's only fifty percentof what it actually is, then I'm going to rate it lower on mylist of importance and so I'm going to make a less dedicated and important decisionabout it because I'm going to say this doesn't matter as much. And soif imagine being in the case, and here's where it gets real, we'reall in a kind of a hybrid world. Now we're going back to work.Some of US facetoface. Some of US faster than others. All right, so let's say you go to meet a client and you decide to doit virtually and the competition goes to meet that clients decides to do it facetoface. Well then, all other things being equal, all other things being equal, your relationship with that potential customer or client starts out at a five,or is the other one starts out at a nine or a ten? Andso how is the customer, potential customer, going to react? And that's reallythe issue, I think, at the heart of the emotion in thevirtual world. Turn the emotion down, it all becomes less important. Wecan leave the relationship, we can leave the URL, we can leave thevideo conference without a backward look. Or as facetoface, we tend to havemore skin in the game. So good this emotion, no resonance. Youknow, what is left with us in terms of memory and motivation driven byan emotional experience. Has Been a constant theme on this podcast and I lovethe layer that you just added to to the way I've been thinking about itand I hope listeners to so. The fifth and final of these these coreideas court challenges of operating virtually that you laid out is lack of connection,and let me know if, if I'm heck, you're in this as aconsequence a lack of commitment, which is something that you alluded to there withemotion. Some of the themes here are vulnerability, reciprocity, consistency, primarilyas a source of trust and perhaps as a source of commitment to so shareanything you'd like about the lack of connection and or commitment. Yeah, absolutely. So that when you think about trust... the virtual world, what's fascinatingis early on in my research I discovered that the nature of trust itself changes. In the face to face world, trust is a complicated thing, anuance thing, many layer that develops over time. And so I get toknow people in certain roles, I get to know them in certain ways andwhen the when I've known them over time, then the truck. As the trustdeepens. Then I'm more willing to forgive a temporary laps a bad dayand I'll say, oh, Ethan, he was just having a bad dayat the office that day. In the virtual world we substitute because we can'tget a good read on trust, because we lack these emotional depths. Wesubstitute consistency for trust. So what we look for is consistency, and assoon as you start to behave inconsistently, then my trust for you just evaporates, or that trust that was perhaps building. And the easiest way to conceptualize thisis in the retail space, and it's why, incidentally, that Amazonhas worked so hard and spent so many hundreds of millions of dollars to developa completely consistent retail experience. So it's become the gold standard. Love itor hated, it's become the gold standard of how we interact with customers onlinefor just buying stuff, and so you go on the line there and youfind it on Amazon, you find the reviews, you click on it.It works the same way virtually every time, and every other website is measured againstthat and very few of them are able to do as well, simplybecause Amazon has been investing so much money for so long and constantly tweaking itto make it better and better. So they get it. They get thatyou trust Amazon in the virtual sense because they're consistent, and so raise thatup to the level of a relationship with a client or a customer, andyou see what's going on here. If you can't be consistent in the virtualworld, then our connection, which is based on trust, is going tobe weaker and, as a result, we make less of a commitment toeach other. Again, is the volume has been turned down. So it'sjust all a little easier to let go of go somewhere else. Every relationshiponline is a url away, a click away, and it's just it's notthe same as the face to face that in my world, the public speakingworld. The most obvious example of this is the difference between an online event, conference, let's say, and a facetoface one. If I've invested thetime, at a very simple level, and the money and and everything togo to a place and sit in an auditorium, I'm going to sit therea whole lot longer than if I attend virtually and I'm just looking at mycomputer five minutes in. If it isn't engaging, at the guy who's speakingisn't hilarious, if the video is an amazing at the if the slides aren'tfantastic right, I can just go to another more interesting url, but ifI'm there in person it's a little embarrassing to stand up and creep out ofthe room, and so I'm going to sit there longer. That's just understand. Our commitment is different virtually versus facetoface really good in interesting so give usa little bit of hope here. Like obviously, obviously in terms of customerexperience and employee experience. I loved what you drew out there when you weretalking about emotion, this idea of our your competitors getting on airplanes or incars or on trains to go spend time in person, to create that emotionalresidence and simply differentiating and probably winning as a consequence. So one of thebest solutions from an employee experience or customer experience standpoint, these limitations is obviouslyto get facetoface whenever you can, because we operate better there. But for, you know, for folks who have failed their organizations, they're operating globallyor they have you know, they're trying to figure out how to to someof this, a lot of automated touches because of the scale of their organization, or even people that are doing more intimate work. But the nature ofthe operation is that they are going to do a majority of it virtually digitallyand online like what are a few rays of hope here, a few piecesof encouragement or a few helpful reminders for people that can't get facetoface as oftenas they could should would? The first thing to think about is to mix, if possible, the facetoface world and the virtual world. And so,for example, if you can begin a relationship with a kinary customer facetoface,that's by far the best way to do it. Then you can establish sometrust quickly in that initial situation and then that could be maintained over a virtualrelationship. It's much easier to maintain a relationship virtually than it is to buildone. It's hard work to build one entirely virtually. And if you dothat, if you for whatever reason need to make it a virtual relationship,that's that's entirely that way. Then my recommendation is go deep faster than youwould perhaps in the facetoface and the facetoface...

...relationship, we automatically indulge in smalltalk. We talked about sports, so we talked about news the day orwe talked about the weather or whatever. This situation around us in the virtualworld. You got to establish a more powerful connection fast stir, and soI would say skip the Chit Chat and go deep as soon as as possible. That maybe a little uncomfortable and may take a while to get used tothat, but the point is you got to establish a strong connection that's goingto endure through the normal ups and downs of any relationship, and to dothat you have to go deep. So that that would be the first thing. First two things go go facetoface periodically if you can, especially at thebeginning, and then go deep if it's going to be all virtual. Andthen one that's kind of fun and rather simple to do is if you've gota virtual relationship, spice it up from time to time with something physical,that is, a physical object. I did happened on this early on duringthe pandemic, when I was working with a couple of comedy clubs that weredevastated something. They had no audience and they were going like, how canwe do this online? Is it funny? Does anybody will anybody watched? Theyit was all early days. We're trying to figure this out and wehappen to stumble on this little joke that got one comedy club, I think, through the first three weeks or so of their their online existence, whichwas it was really funny for people to see. If you imagine a zoomcall where you've got people lined up left to right in their little boxes onthe zoom and we would take a physical object and by we would appear topass it from one zoom box to the other. And of course what weall had the same physical object. But let's imagine a Mug, let's saythe Coffee Mug, and you passed it and the other person then grabbed andit was the same bug. People thought that was Hilarious, and the reasonwas because we were mixing the physical and the virtual. And so that turnsout to be a good thing to do. Wine tasting clubs found that that thatsurprisingly, perhaps maybe just because it's wine, but also because they hadthe same objects they were opening and drinking from different locales. That had akind of strength to it. So that's a third thing to do. Anotheris to and, and you allude to this before, and this is whatI love about your work and what you do, is if your relationship isprimarily text based or even audio conference based, then get out the cell phone andsend a little video messages to each other, because with that you can, even though it's not perfect, you can include some facial expression, alittle warmth, a little color, tell people what they're doing, what you'redoing, that kind of water cooler sense just to chat. Make it friendly, keep it simple, keep it short. So that's another another way you canadd a little richness to the to the virtual and then one more ifwe're getting more serious. For any ongoing relationship, whether it's your internal teamor whether it's a customer facing one where you've got regular meetings over time,let's say it's a complicated customer relationship, not just a one off sale,then you want to establish somebody who acts as a the MC for that relationship, because it turns out the relationship can be measured over time by how muchinput everybody has. I'll imagine out a team of five people and when youstart out, all five are communicating pretty equally throughout the the call and thenover time, person number three in person number five start to kind of dialback and they say less and less and they go quiet and and it getsto be hard work to get them to communicate. That's a real sign thatsomething's wrong, it's not easy to quantify unless you've got an MC who's payingattention to it and making sure that everybody participates. So for any ongoing relationship, and MC is a great way just to keep track of the relationship aspectof things, and that person then can check in and a less threatening wayand say hey, I noticed you weren't saying much less time. It's everythingokay, anything going on that you want to tell me about? So on. So many useful ideas in there. I encourage people to bounce back andlisten to that pass again. A couple really big ones that I especially enjoyedwas this blend of the physical and the virtual and making that work together and, of course, going all the way back to the top of that one, this idea of filling up the reservoir, knowing that these relationships deteriorate over time, as you shared earlier in the conversation, and filling the reservoir backup by spending a time again facetoface and keeping that kind of that kind ofthing going. So all of us are in typically, whether it's through repeatand referral business or whether it's through a subscription model that needs tension and expansionwithin the account. All of us now are typically aspiring to build long termrelationships, to provide ongoing impact for the customer and to generate ongoing revenue forour own organizations, and so these tips are really, really helpful. Thankyou so much for sharing those. For...

...folks who enjoyed this conversation, thisis part of a summer takeover. We've got a book called Human Centered Communication. I was fortunate enough to encounter, can you hear me, by ourguest today, Nick Morgan, while I was writing that book. It avalidated a lot of my own thoughts and research and intuition and be inspired meand Steve, my co author, on the book. And so if youwant to learn more about that book, you can check it out a bombcombook. If you want to hear the conversations we have with several other peoplewho are featured and mentioned in the book, Go right now to Bombombcom podcast.Several of them are already released. Several more are still to come throughthe release of the book in October. Before I let you go, Nick, I would love for you to do a couple things for us. Thefirst is to think or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your lifeor your career. And the second is to give a mention or a nodor a shout out to our company or a brand that you personally appreciate forthe experience that they deliver for you as a customer. Absolutely, and thanksfor the opportunity. That's good fun. So the the shout out to theperson who was a real mentor to be was when I started writing speeches forthe governor of Virginia. That's how I got my public speaking career started.I had the chief of staff, was the gentleman I reported to, andhe was a farmer marine and he was tough as nails and when I didn'tmeasure up to his expectations, which frequently happened early on especially, he wouldcall me into his office and he would dress me down in in very graphiclanguage and at the time I thought that he was a little too tough onme and you should have been nicer. And I was an academic, formeracademic, and I appreciated politeness. In the academic world they may talk aboutyou behind your back, but but facetoface, it's all polite. Well, Irealized over I over time I came to value just how much that thatrelationship had had taught me about the public speaking world, and he was trulythe baptism by fire in that. And and so shout out to David McLeodwho who changed my life in a good way, especially after I was donein the Bruce's yield. So thank you day and then, for the companythat is consistently great, I'd have to mention hub spot, which is asoftware company, CRM company, bigger than that now, but that's why peoplethink of a typically that's based in Cambridge in Boston, near where I live, and they have just been wonderful to work with from from start to finish. They put the customer at the center relationship and they say that a lotof companies do, but they actually make it happen. And so they theyare, I think, living the customer centric dream and and shout out tothem. Yeah, they really are great call on on both of those,by the way. I love that story and I love to call the hubspot. We've had three hub spotters as guests on this podcast. I recommendthe book in bound organization. They're absolutely leaders in both customer experience and employeeexperience. So I really appreciate that shoutout. Before I let you go, Nick, how can someone follow up on this conversation? How can they learnmore about your books, about public words, about you? Like? Where wouldyou send people to follow up on this conversation? To the website publicwordscom. And there's a treasure trove there, since I've been blogging since two thousandand seven, so there's a ridiculous treasure trove of information about communications,public speaking, virtual communications and a lot of free stuff, as well asopportunities to connect with us. Awesome. That is public wordscom. He isDr Nick Morgan. I am your host, Ethan, but thank you all somuch for listening and thank you so much, nick, for a thework that you do and be for spending this time with us. That's agreat pleasure even thank you. Too often you're overwhelmed by the amount of noisein your Inbox, in slack, in your linkedin messages and every other channeland medium you use. And guess what, so are your prospects, customers,employees and recruits. Digital pollution is the problem. Human centered communication isa solution from the authors of the best selling book rehumanize Your Business comes anew book, Human Centered Communication, a business case against digital pollution, featuringexpert insights from leaders at companies like sales force, hub spot and Van Gresso, giving you proven methods to earn attention, build trust, create engagement and enhancedreputation, helping you connect and communicate more effectively with the people who mattermost. Learn more and pre order your copy today at Bombombcom. Book andask about special packages for your team,...

...your company or your community by emailingbook at Bombombcom, visit Bombombcom, book or email book at Bombombcom. Thanksfor listening to the customer experience podcast. Remember the single most important thing youcan do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers.Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcastplayer or visit bombombcom. PODCASTS.

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