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Are You A Human Robot?

Go on, take one step out of line ...

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Are we human, or are we dancer? Lyrics from a song by The Killers released over 10 years ago with a controversial lyric which upset a lot of people at the time ...

So could we be on our way to becoming human robots?

So could we be on our way to becoming human robots?

copyright: nejron / 123rf

Why? Because of the grammar! However, the title is based on a quote by an American Journalist called Hunter S Thompson who said, "America is raising a generation of dancers afraid to take one step out of line", which is a really interesting idea.

"I believe we are in danger of becoming like this. We are forgetting how to connect with each other!"

Have you noticed, when you go to an airport, how automated they are? If, like me you're not an expert at printing baggage labels and attaching them to your case, you're bound to need help.

Firstly, you need to find a person and when you do, are they smiling at you, giving you eye contact and being supportive and empathetic? Probably not, if its anything like my experience ... and I do travel a lot. They will hardly acknowledge you, robotically dealing with your issue and moving on, it's almost as if they're sleepwalking, going through the motions and you end up with a cold, detached human, and no connection.

Maybe you've walked into a retail outlet only to be greeted in a singsong, almost automated way, dishing out the same old greeting they use on everyone and we all know it's because they've been told what to say and how to say it.

"Sadly, I'd prefer to deal with a real
robot, wouldn't you?"

Please don't leave your humanness at the door. For some reason, over the years, we have been led to believe that at work, we must diminish our humanity, behaving (and appearing) like robots prized for their automation and conformity.

When we get to the office, we leave our real and authentic selves at the door, ramp up our 'professional' mindset and keep our human traits gagged until we leave for the evening. The belief that we need to be as efficient as an LED bulb, as knowledgeable as Wikipedia, as productive as an assembly line and as human as a doorknob, might have worked in the industrial age, but today, we can't afford to forget the one ingredient that's essential for business success ... humanness.

So could we be on our way to becoming human robots? You are a human robot when you're not present, or simply going through the motions, putting efficiency before connection. Or maybe you are flicking from one social media app to the next and then back to the first one again to see if anyone else as commented on your video in the last 60 seconds?

This also happens when you're not listening and are thinking about what you are going to say next. It's not only customer service people who act this way, a lovely lady at Morrison's supermarket told me how soul-destroying it was for her when so many customers are on their phones when checking their shopping through and don't even look at her.

"This time of year is a great time to connect!"

People are much more open to it and willing to respond. So try talking to the Morrison's lady, stop and say hello when out walking the dog, have a family meal with no phones allowed, meet friends for a drink and leave your phone in the car.

What ever works for you.

Until next time ...


Would you like to know more?

If you'd like to help your team be more human when dealing with your customers, do give me a call on 01908 511 062, leave a comment below, or click here to ping over an email and let's see how I can help you.

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About Debra Stevens ...


I'm the founder of DTS, which was established in 1996. A highly successful experiential training company specialising in facilitating behavioural change in all aspects of dealings with people, whether in customer service, sales, management or with colleagues and teammates.

I've managed large contracts such as Pearson Education, Coca Cola, Penguin Books, Accenture, and Santander for over 21 years and have built up excellent relationships with key sponsors of all aspects of the businesses.

I'm a successful trainer, writer and speaker with nearly 30 years' experience of training people at all levels.


01908 511 062