A touching moment …

I was in a shop yesterday and had one of those life-affirming experiences that makes one feel great to be human. Nothing much happened except that I had a really genuine interaction with another human being and on the way out of the shop he put his hand on my shoulder. That simple act of warmth from a stranger, which is so unusual these days, made me feel great. In my defence, I’m not a sad and lonely man who doesn’t get out much – I have plenty of physical contact – including a young son who thinks I’m a climbing frame (… am I protesting too much!?).

Anyway, the reason I’m re-telling this story is that it occurred to me that in a world where we do more and more of our interactions through cyberspace – particularly during working hours – the more valuable direct human contact becomes.

This is something that is particularly important for communications people to understand. As we strive to cut costs and carbon footprints, on the increasingly rare occasions that we do get together physically, the stakes are very high. The potential value of a face-to-face event is huge … matched only by the potential for feeling empty and disconnected if it all goes wrong. For me, the thin line that separates these two is ‘authenticity’ …

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