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Embracing technology to improve communication – a word from RMI’s CEO

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The whole world is bombarded and challenged with new technology on a daily basis, and we can all agree that the last two years have taught us the importance of good communication, of collaboration with peers and colleagues and of the importance of continuing to add value to members.

There is no doubt that we have to take note of the changes and be ready and agile to learn new things, adapt and innovate to remain relevant and grow. Longer standing members will remember when in 2018 we started speaking about the importance of embracing the convenience of technology, but never at the expense of personal connection.

We appreciated how much easier it is to send an email, or WhatsApp or telegram message than picking up a phone or seeing someone in person. No one could have predicted what would happen in 2020, and at least we were slightly ahead of the curve when circumstances left us no other choice.

Today however I must stress that we must never forget the power of personal interaction, particularly in a member driven association such as ours. I personally think if we forego this side, we are experiencing a great loss – the skill of interacting directly with another human being on a personal level. That personal touch and awareness is lost when any form of writing or new technology is used.

While we all have to accept and embrace new thinking models in order to improve efficiencies, we should not completely ignore the benefits and uses that personal interaction bring when sharing important information. I encourage all of you not to ignore the personal touch. Many of our younger members may prefer the digital channels, but they will never absorb our culture if communication is confined to that, and isn’t our cultural essence what really differentiates us as an organisation at the end of the day? It is too easy to become distracted and disconnected when the cameras are off, and you are not eye balling each other around a table.

We need to continue to inspire our employees and embrace the human essence. Our employees and members are invaluable assets, so we need to take good care of them and play by the rules. It is important to appreciate that employees and members don’t expect everything to be spun positively, instead they are seeking authentic conversations, ones that require not only content, but contact and context as well.

So while we continue to evolve and I guess as an industry, seek to attract and retain Gen Z – the digital natives – who truly have never known a world without accessible digital technology, remember it also may be the fight for talent and loyalty that will still demand more mobility and flexibility in how we reach out to one another.

Jakkie Olivier 1
RMI CEO: Jakkie Olivier