Once upon a time, email was a meeting planner’s boon. The ability to zip a contract over electronically, as opposed to subjecting the document to the uncertainties of the postal service or even an express delivery service, was a career professional’s heaven. No more worrying about envelopes, ZIP codes, stamp or delivery charges.
Whether you completed the documents well before submission time, or were scrambling at the last minute, sending your piece through cyberspace represented the ultimate completion and instant gratification for both sender and receiver.
As with all productivity gains that come with new technology, what quickly follows is all too predictable. When we only had a typewriter, with which we could generate correspondence at a rather slow pace, others working with us gauged their expectations accordingly.
With the introduction of the PC, which allowed users to generate thousands of pieces of correspondence with a few keystrokes, everyone’s expectations about how much could and should be done within a given time frame rose dramatically. And make no mistake, once a higher level of technology-induced expectations takes hold, it never retreats.
Today the speed of communication transmission impacts every aspect of relationships between meeting planners and vendors. While tens of thousands of words can be zipped from one location on Earth to another in seconds, the speed of transmitting the written word has no relationship to our effectiveness.
Sure, gathering and checking facts is easier because of powerful Internet search engines. Likewise, we have an easier time identifying potential sources and assembling rosters. Completing documents, however, still proceeds in the old-fashioned way, one line at a time.
Mastering meeting dynamics
If you find yourself facing increasingly unrealistic or rather stringent demands, the first order of business is to examine your relationship with all involved. Paradoxically, the more admirably you perform and the more others comes to rely on you, the more they expect. Your reward for being responsive, efficient and willing to go the extra mile is to get more of the same. And who are you to resist?
Recognizing that the nature of relationships between you and others is often established in the initial encounters, strive to ensure that you start your relationships on the proper footing. This requires a special blend of assertiveness, professionalism, empathy and good business practices.
How do you handle your professional relationships and the demands brought on by technology? Please leave your comments in the space below.