In a very brief span of time text messaging and emails came to dominate the way we communicate. From the first electronic note left by one user for another user on the same IBM mainframe in 1965, to the first use of the symbol “@” by Ray Tomlinson in 1971 to send a message from his computer to someone using a different computer, the age of electronic messaging developed rapidly.
It wasn’t long before the phone companies got nervous: electronic messaging was eating into their business by decreasing voice communication. AT&T’s marketing team tried to address this problem in 1984 by launching a marketing campaign. Borrowing on a song by Diana Ross, the theme was “Reach Out and Connect with Someone.” The message emphasized the psychological effect of picking up a phone and calling someone, it is something far more effective than the coldness of typing an electronic message.
In 2020—the year of Covid, social distancing and quarantine—that suggestion, to reach out and verbally connect with someone is more relevant than ever. Everyone has been affected by the pandemic both socially and economically. A simple phone call to a friend, a business associate, a colleague, a client, a customer, as a means to connect, to offer support, suggestions, even just to commiserate and offer understanding, could not only brighten someone’s entire outlook, it could strengthen the relationship with that person and leave a lasting impression.
The social and economic fabric of the country has been torn apart by the isolation and withdrawal of the past year. To return eventually to some degree of normalcy will take an effort on everyone’s part to re-establish relationships and confidence in the future. The first step in that direction could easily be that phone call to someone you haven’t spoken to in the past several months to find out how that person has fared; to express your concern; maybe to offer assistance; and just maybe you even have a useful suggestion to offer.
There’s still a few weeks before this year ends, but it’s not too early to look ahead and make some resolutions for improvement. Reaching out by phone and verbally connecting with someone should be at the top of the list.
ABOUT STUART NEWMAN
Stuart B. Newman has been engaged in corporate and securities practice for over forty years, focusing on corporate law, private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and capital formation through public offerings and private placements.
Stuart studies his clients’ businesses thoroughly and has made valuable contributions on a broad range of business topics such as joint ventures, product development, finance, investment banking, marketing, and personnel. He has served as a director on the boards of both publicly-traded and privately held companies, contributing his unique combination of business acumen and broad legal experience.
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