Every day my inbox has at least one missive that tells me how great the (fill in blank here) idea or product or service is and how if I was really a smart businessman, I would buy, invite them to my offices, go to a meeting, etc.


And, here's why. Somebody is likely being paid to do marketing for these people and it's not working. They probably send out a thousand emails a day like the ones I receive, and I suspect that they don't get a lot of response or feedback. I'm sure at the end of the day this well-meaning marketing person shuts down their computer and heads home, feeling good and knowing that they spent the day trying really hard and doing something.

That's part of the problem with technology. It's easy to feel like you're doing SOMETHING. But SOME THING is not necessarily the RIGHT thing.

The truth is there's a vital piece missing from most of this stuff that I get every day: DIALOGUE. And I'm not sure how to be successful without it. Honestly, I've never sold anything or moved anyone's paradigm, or changed their mind about something without being in a dialogue. Period.

To have a dialogue with me, you have to engage me. And, the more complicated and personal the product or idea is, the more that I am going to have to trust you.

It's a little like the chicken and the egg: You need dialogue to build trust, and you need trust to build dialogue. That delicate balance is why effective communication is so important and special.

It can be done. I've seen it and I've done it. But to do so requires time and attention and sensitivity. It also means that the ideal outcome is probably not going to happen right this second. And, that's problematic in the 'I want it NOW' world we live in.

Technology is cool and I'm a fan. But I would contend that people haven't changed really, fundamentally. They like doing business with someone they know and trust. More often than not, they'll listen to a new idea or check out a new product or service if someone they know and trust suggests it.

So, before you send out that next email to someone who doesn't know you, think: How can I engage this person? What are their issues that I can help solve? How can I be in a dialogue with this individual rather than bombarding them with information that they are most likely not paying attention to anyway.