As a student of the 80’s and early 90’s, I really didn’t get a chance to fully benefit from the electronic communication age until I joined the full-time workforce. Then I discovered the power of email and the use of electronic mail magic to get programming information out to county professionals at record speed. No more snail-mailing letters or preparing materials to be duplicated and put in the County Extension Packets on Fridays!
Life became liberating, even though some recipients were slow to adopt and adapt to these new ways of receiving and retrieving information. Over the years even more ways to communicate have emerged like direct messaging and chat, cloud storage options for sharing data and documents, and much more. Now we can do nearly everything on our phones that we once had to do on our personal computers, making us even more efficient. And with our new communication style has come a new etiquette. No longer do I call my friends straight up. I text them first and ask if they are busy. “Can I call?” Or I simply text them my thoughts.
Whatever happened to talking one-to-one on the phone? Are we now so busy, so efficient that we can’t take a few moments to connect to one another on a more personal level? Although we can justify the efficiency of connecting on a personal level with friends and colleagues via social spaces, the truth is some things are just better done over the phone, one-to-one.
Over the past few weeks I had an important, actionable message that required me to reach out to eXtension community and learning network leaders to introduce and discuss new opportunities. Although I didn’t reach everyone, and was able only to leave detailed messages for some about the reason for my call, I did get to chat with many. These calls were very gratifying, and I was rejuvenated by all the wonderful work I learned is being done as well as the enthusiasm many expressed for the eXtension Foundation’s new strategy.
I have always been open to talk with everyone I work with and serve, but so many times today we rely on what we think are the most efficient paths which, in reflection, may not be so efficient. As eXtension strives to serve the system and the valuable communities of the system, we know we will be having more group and one-to-one conversations. If you are a community or learning network leader, or just want help in developing such a team to discuss emerging issues you want to address, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. Add me (859.608.2726) to your speed dial favorites!