As he comes to the end of his placement year, James, who is studying BA Business and Management, reflects of a couple of key learning points.
“It’s claimed that the current attention span of a human being is roughly eight seconds – if we consider that an average human being reads at around 200 words a minute, you’ve probably already decided whether this article holds your interest or not. It’s no secret that the society of today has been forced to change rapidly by the advent of new technology- with news and information literally at our fingertips, instant-gratification has become something that businesses have had to adjust to rapidly. Whilst their relevant success with this is a question for another blog post – Facebook has been universally derided for attempting to copy Snapchat, a service offering instant stories and trends – it is worth considering how we can improve our own personal brand in this instant-gratification world. As people come to expect results in an instant, I’ve come to see a few examples of how people have adapted to such a need – I share two of these with you below.
People prefer bad news to no news
When we encounter a problem with a service or a product nowadays, it’s easier than ever before to simply contact the business and ask for a resolution- many of them will operate support accounts on Twitter or have some kind of customer service tool ready to address problems quickly. In our connected society, there is often no excuse for a quick response to simply confirm you’ve received an email and that you are looking into the issue – and yet I’ve had many interactions with unnamed companies recently where emails have gone unanswered or become neglected. A manager at work spoke to me once about how airlines look to provide delay information as quickly as possible to affected passengers – although the passengers don’t necessarily like hearing about a delay, the information provided allows them to make plans and to prepare alternative courses of action. By withholding information or failing to keep people informed on developments, companies quickly lose face and are seen to have a lack of control – and this becomes even more of an issue when such an impression is shared via social media etc. (take the recent United Airlines and British Airways meltdowns as an example). In an instant-gratification world, improve your brand by keeping customers updated and aware of any developments may come to impact them – people prefer bad news to no news, and whilst it can take courage to admit faults, the long-term benefits of showing control will far outweigh short term embarrassments.
Appreciate the milestones
Our society has evolved into one that expects success on a very regular basis – I challenge you to go onto your Facebook or Twitter feed and struggle to find some sort of achievement post within the first 30 seconds. In a similar way to how people expect updates and news in difficult situations, we have come to regularly crave success and the satisfaction of a job well done – it’s easy to lose motivation and feel upset when this may not come about often. In cases like these, it’s beneficial to simply reflect on your progress over a period of time and to consider that you have most probably achieved something or learned a lesson, even if not immediately obvious. The overwhelming majority of sportspeople gained mastery of their sport through constant practice and determination – a long and difficult road where many spectators only ever see the conclusion. Take time to consider how you’ve personally improved recently and use this as a source of motivation for yourself – the best things in life take time, and those achievements you see on social media are very likely to have manifested as a result of hard work over a long period. I feel this is excellently summed up by the famous golfing quote ‘the harder I practice, the luckier I get’ – take time to appreciate your milestones, for you’ll reach your target in the end.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my thoughts and that you may be able to use these lessons yourself. I’ve recently finished my placement at SAP, where I’ve taken great interest in the instant-gratification world and how technology can help to solve societal issues – I look forward to discussing this topic further on platforms such as Twitter, where you can find me on @JPRCTweets.