Technology has warped the speed of life into dimensions that leave us breathless keeping up. Email, text, subliminal messages, iPods, iPads, cell phones, Skype, and many other portable and non-personal forms of communication are taking the forefront. If we are expected to be able to transmit information quickly and therefore must utilize these rapidly morphing impersonal devices, how can we keep the human quality of tactful and sympathetic communication? It’s a tough role to fill!
“Facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice—all these social cues are missing in e-mail and text (and smiley-face ‘emoticons’ can do only so much to replace them). But because messages travel almost instantly, people act as if they're in a face-to-face conversation,” says David Falcone, a psychology professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia. “Because of this illusion of proximity, we're duped into thinking that the tone of our writing will be perceived correctly. The less we know someone, the more likely we are to engage in what therapists call transference, the tendency to project our desires or fears onto another person. Without social cues, these tendencies can run wild, causing us to interpret messages in ways that are ‘overly self-affirming and, potentially, extremely inaccurate’.”
That means that the moments where a talent is able to interact directly with their agent in a face-to-face environment are crucial to the future success of the relationship. Talent who take advantage of every opportunity to have live interaction with their agent will not only stay more available in the agent’s mind, but will also build knowledge of the agent that will later translate into more accurate and effective communication.
Look for and take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about your agent in person. It may be a surprise, but your agent is probably more human than you might guess. Agents typically have homes, family, loved ones, make dinner, deal with loss and hurt, joys and excitement . . . and all the other things that make you human. We might have more in common than you thought possible after all!