Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wait…Emotions Matter? Facebook Says So.

I recently heard a news reporter talking about a big change on Facebook.  Emoticons, called “Reactions” will soon be available in our news feed response options.  With them, rather than simply being able to “Like” a post, we will be able to display an array of other emotions including anger, sadness, and surprise.   The reporter went on to talk about how actively this was used in test markets, adding with surprise, “People really liked being able to express their emotions!” 

Was this really such a surprise?  In our computer and technology dominated world, where everything is expected to be fast, simple, and quantifiable, have we really lost site of own humanity, complete with emotions, such that this comes as a surprise to us?

And there’s more.  According to R. Gonzalez of, “With Reactions, Facebook has pared down that most economical mode of communication to its barest of bones.”  While being able to consume more data, and respond to it in less time, is certainly a benefit to our time online, it has implications beyond the internet as well. 

A technology driven wake-up call
Facebook may be using the ‘novelty’ of emotions to improve ad sales and increase consumer usage, but any business has a lot to gain by adding emotions back into the equation.  Here is a jump start of ideas for enhancing business by using emotions in the workplace: 

Customer Service – Engage your customers.  Get rid of the script and have your employees ask questions to get to know their caller and his/her needs.   This builds rapport while providing you with added information that can make your client even happier.  (Added note - If you don’t trust your team to do this, you’ve got the wrong people in customer service).

Employee Performance – Ask employees directly about what encourages, inspires, frustrates, and angers them at work.  Job performance is directly impacted by how we are feeling.  Learn how to bring out the best from your employees.

Self-Expression – Just as emoticons allow a speedy way to show surprise, sadness, and the like, so too does speaking about our emotions.  Imagine how much easier communication would be if we stated our emotion before and after a conversation.  We would immediately know if things are better or worse as a result of the exchange, and have instant feedback on what we need to fix or do differently next time.

Conflict Resolution – Tensions among co-workers always has an emotional under-pinning.  But fear of asking/finding out how someone is feeling, or why they are acting in a negative way, leaves information hidden and conflict unresolved.  Help your managers and your employees learn how to express emotions appropriately and purposefully at work.

Data Collection – We can track and collect data about emotions just as we do any other aspect of business to determine trends, patterns, and information.  Perhaps in conjunction with the suggestions above your company will be able to determine what builds a repeat client, a dedicated employee, or a peaceful work environment. 

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