Snack size communication is changing the way we communicate

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Snack size communication is changing the way we communicate

Like a healthy diet, social interactions in our digital age should be balanced. Are you so caugh up in this digital age that you need to disconnect to reconnect with friends and family? 

Did you know that according to the research by the food and dining industry, we are snacking much more frequently. In the United States, 90 percent of people are snacking multiple times a day and eating less during traditionally scheduled meals, sometimes foregoing them altogether.

Why is this important you might ask when I am talking about social media? Well, it seems we are also snacking on information, taking bit size chunks thoughout the day, more than we have ever done before too. It seems our attention spans are shorter, our desire to receive information is still there but we want it more quickly and in shorter chunks of time. Interestingly, this is called snackification (yes, that’s a real term).  

So why is this technological trend toward briefer, more frequent, more casual interactions important to you?  Because our communication to customers needs to be “snackified” too. At work and at home, there is a definite trend toward shorter, more frequent, more informal interactions while we are doing something else.

Snackification at Home

Have you noticed that your family and friends often send texts rather than call these days. They text what's on their minds and then send those thoughts straight away in small bites of information. Have you noticed your partner sends lots of little texts during the day so you know they are thinking of you when before they might have thought it silly to just ring you to say the same thing. I used to have hour-long phone conversations with family and friends, but now I rarely have a telephone conversation lasting longer than a few minutes, and recently even these are being replaced by text messages. We are changing the way we maintain relationships aren't we?

We also consume entertainment and news in bite-sized chunks. In our house we occasionally watching a movie together. But sometimes we spend time together while watching short videos, reading or listening to music tracks on tablets or phones individually: I call it being “alone together” on our couch.  

A survey by OpenMarket from May 2016 reported that 75 percent of millennials actually prefer texting over talking. The research suggests that this has been a consistently growing trend for several years, indicating that this is not a fad. I know my son (11-years-old) only send texts to his friends (unless I force them to pick up the phone). In addition, millennials prefer texting because they say it’s less stressful since it doesn’t require them to come up with answers on the spot and allows them time to choose and edit their words.

Snackification at Work

In my own businesses I have noticed over the years, my clients began requesting shorter and shorter session times. If I am asked to do a presentation, more often than not I am asked to do a 10 minute opening followed by a Q &A session rather than a longer presentation going into more depth. Seems everyones busy. I have also noticed that emails are getting shorter, people are using bullet points and often opt to send 2 emails when in the past it would have all been in one long email. 

In fact, snackification of communication is typical in most workplaces. Reports used to be long and detailed. Now many professionals consume and share information either in short, bulleted, slide presentation form or in multiple emails with text and video attachments. Meetings that used to last half a day are getting shorter or are eliminated. Interestingly, according to a 2014 survey, 43 percent of workers avoid spontaneous conversations in favor of email and myriad collaboration tools that enable them to have short “conversations” throughout the day.

What is the impact on your business

Since millennials are the next generation into the workforce I suggest if you are not one of them, you find out more about the way they are communicating in order to meet their needs as employees and connsumers. 

Check out my next blog where I look at the pros and cons of "snackification" on our personal and business lives. I would love your comments. 

Kerri Bainbridge

Collaborate, Mindset, Learning

One half of the Anywhere Team NZ

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