What Apple’s New iPhone Can Teach Us about Business Communication

22 Oct

Apple released the newest generation of its iPhone on Friday, and with it came an exclusive piece of software called Siri. Siri is a personal assistant application for the phone that performs tasks based on human voice commands. You can say, “Wake me up in two hours,” and Siri will confirm your request and set an appropriate alarm. You can say, “Text my brother that I will arrive in 15 minutes,” and Siri will transpose your words into a text message and send it to the contact assigned to “brother.”

This innovative feature demonstrates a high degree of technological prowess. People can utilize this software for hands-free situations such as driving and exercising. However, there’s something else we can learn from it. When you give Siri a command, you instinctively make your thoughts clear and succinct. You know that the device is listening, and you work to be as straightforward as possible so Siri understands what you want.

Why can’t we utilize this thinking in business communication? The business world isn’t a literature class, in which your messages can hide behind metaphors, imagery, and other combinations of diction and syntax. The goal of business communication is to be clear in expressing your message.

We often get so caught up in how we express ourselves that we don’t realize we’re making ourselves unclear.  We try to use complicated words and verbose phrases in order to sound “smart,” but we forget that this tactic can be counterproductive.

So why do we naturally speak clearly and concisely to Siri? I suppose we understand its limitations as an electronic device. Siri probably can’t comprehend most subtle hints or inflection in our sentences. However, who’s to say that colleagues can interpret our hints and subtle inflections when we communicate?

Siri can teach us to make our communication simple. We cause networks of communication to be more efficient. Efficiency is, after all, what company executives strive for, right?

by Vincent Abad-Santos

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