Balancing demands of new technology

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SAN DIEGO – Despite the rise of technology and growing demands to engage with clients on social media, one expert warns that too much multitasking could end in trouble.

“Technology can make us forget what we know about life, including what we know about our professional life,” said Sherry Turkle, the founder and director of MIT’s initiative on technology and self, said at the IMCA 2017 Annual Conference Experience in San Diego. “We can forget the importance of having time to collect ourselves and think.”

For advisers, listening is an important part of the job. So it’s vital for firms to ensure its technology doesn’t prohibit advisers from having the necessary conversations with clients — even if advisers are confident utilizing it, Turkle says.

"There is no such thing as multitasking successfully. If you think you've really been multitasking, you’re kidding yourself," she said. “Unitasking is the way of the future because it’s the only thing that’s working. Teach your colleagues how to do one thing at a time and you will be part of the future; not the past.”

Similar to the way doctors are viewed by their patients, Turkle says advisers have the same expectation from their clients to be flawless. She has experienced this in her own professional life as well.

“I felt that that burden of never making a mistake, or always being perfect made it very hard to have an authentic relationship,” she said. “You have to manage a very complex psychological relationship.”

To have a deeper and more meaningful relationship, advisers should be explicit about the things they are actually doing for their clients, Turkle says.

To be sure, conversation is ultimately a two-way street. And there are simple ways to assure clients come equally prepared to have open conversations. That can start by simply asking clients to rely less on technology themselves.

"Ask clients to just put the phones away," Turkle said. "It will increase the value of the conversation."

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