Admittedly social media and digital advocacy are the fastest growing segments of the influence industry. The pandemic has brought a decline in traditional lobbying and an increase in the use of dynamic, real time digital communications with policy makers, influencers and the broad social audience.

It is very unlikely, however, that digital communication will come to replace its in-person predecessor. The value of open dialogue, exchange and interaction offered through face-to-face, in-person interactions will never go away. Despite all the ingenuity and advances of virtual interaction, face-to-face communication and human-to-human connection remain essential for people and organizations to share information, bring ideas to life, forge common ground, inspire allegiance and deepen relationships.

Politicians, staffers and lobbyists thrive on interpersonal interaction, and they will return to see each other in-person again. Traditional lobbying will revert back to normal because the process is just too confidential to do virtually. Lobbyists will return to life pre-coronavirus as much as possible. They simply aren’t wired for desk jobs. They thrive on storytelling, policy briefings, dinners, meeting, receptions and deep relationship building. The job is built on professional relationships. The ability to forge strong relationships helps lobbyists build ongoing support from many leaders. This simplifies matters when new issues emerge, because the lobbyist can leverage his core relationships to help build momentum for a cause. Charm, personality and interpersonal skills all help in this critical role. Understanding which political leaders are key influencers and focusing on those relationships first are major elements of success.

Even as our world becomes increasingly digitized, I refuse to see a future where the need for strong interpersonal communication skills disappear altogether. After all, we are social beings at heart, so no matter how attached we are to our mobile devices and PCs, I like to think that we all crave real, meaningful human connections. And it is these connections, I believe, that are best formed and nurtured face-to-face. Our online conversations certainly play a role in helping create and foster connections with people we may never have been introduced to before, but our connection with them will only go so far in the digital world. If the connection is to become more meaningful, there comes a point when the conversation needs to happen in person.

Add new comment