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Like this article? We recommend Expanding Conversation to Communication

Expanding Conversation to Communication

Complete and up-to-date documents and contact information are obviously very valuable in a disaster. However, remember that the BlackBerry is also a phone. Verbal communication is necessary to maintain command and control. These days, PDAs such as BlackBerry are more aptly considered to be communications devices, since they can do more than just make phone calls. Modes of communication such as email, instant messaging, SMS messaging, and even services as mundane as Twitter are all available if needed. The method used by the people conducting the recovery will vary, in part due to demographics and preference.

Let me digress for a moment.

One thing that 30 years in telecom gives to someone like me is a broader view by virtue of age. When I got started in this business, an "old salt" told me a story. He said that when he was a young telecom newbie, he actually had customers who didn't want telephones. They wanted to stay with the telegraph. Their reasoning? "It's quick. It's to the point. And I don't need all the b---- with talking to someone. I'd rather communicate graphically."

I laughed when I heard this story—but consider the state of affairs today. "Just text it to me" is the norm now for many people, and for entirely the same reasons! In 60 years we've come full circle back to the telegraph—or at least its 21st century corollary. Wireless devices and PDAs let people communicate in familiar ways—voice, email, text, or whatever.

I just said that demographics also played a role. Consider:

Baby boomers:

  • Go to seminars.
  • Like face-to-face contact.
  • Talk on the phone.

Generation X:

  • Go to webinars.
  • Do business via the Web.
  • Send email.

Generation Y:

  • Prefer texting.
  • It had better be all about them.

Okay, I'm speaking a little tongue-in-cheek, but look around your office and see whether I'm not at least partly right.

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