My Haiti Experience


is in crisis.  One has to be totally
under a rock to not have heard and seen the devastation there this past
week.  I was in a personal crisis due to
my husband being in


on business when the earthquake occurred. For 48 hours, I imagined my life would change forever.  And it did. Although my husband (thankfully)
returned home unharmed and safe late last week, I am changed forever.  The lessons learned from that harrowing
experience are profound, and need to be shared. While I hope that others will
learn from this, the most important learning is mine. The lessons from
experiences should not be wasted. So, although I can’t go to


and help the earthquake survivors, I can, while the feelings from last week are
still fresh, share some thoughts about connecting during a crisis.

Do we really need to use technology to reach out to others
in times of a crisis?  Have we become too
busy to make a phone call?  Yes, of
course the telephone is technology, but surely the difference in a phone call
and an email is obvious. Granted, we are living in a technological age, and
technology was my friend during those 48 hours. I could read my husband’s emails (he was in an office building that had
a generator.)  That is, I could read them
until the technology disappeared, and I wondered anew if he really was alright
after all.  Although I could read them, I
could not feel them. 


The printed or written word never has the power of the
spoken word.  As a speaker, I am
confident of that.  As a deliver of words
to others, I have seen on audience faces the impact of my words. I also still
remember the faces of my children as a result of how some of my words must have


As a receiver of the words of others, I have felt the impact
of the famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar’s words, first on an audiotape,
then in a live presentation.  As powerful
as those were however, and preferable to email or Facebook, when Zig Ziglar
said hello to me on an escalator, and looked me in the eye, I felt a human
connection.  That human connection cannot
be felt to the same degree via technology. It is true that it is not always necessary to feel that type of human
connection. My husband sent a mass notice from


to his Facebook “friends”, which included some family members. That notice was
for information, not connection. Hopefully, the difference in those two words is clearly understood.


I am still amazed at the many people who reached out not
just to my husband, but also to me during this crisis, by calls and emails,
visits, and other acts of caring.  And
yes, I am also amazed by those who didn’t. In both cases, I am surprised at how important those connections were to
me.  I am surprised at the warmth I felt
from a phone call from a coworker who I haven’t seen for almost twenty years,
especially given that there wasn’t much “warmth” when we worked together.  I am also surprised at how cold it still
feels this many days later that some who I would have thought would have
called, didn’t, and still haven’t.


Some people “sent” their thoughts and good wishes through
others, which was understandable.  It
wasn’t necessary for everyone in a family or group to call or email, for one
person could easily be the “messenger.”


Many who emailed were those more casual friends and acquaintances
or business contacts.  Most of those who
called are close friends and family. Some from each group who I thought would
reach out in some way did neither.


Facebook and related technology are here to stay.  This experience will not change that, nor is
it intended to.  What it is intended to
do is to help us determine the most appropriate medium to use when connecting
with others.


Some generations are more comfortable with and use
technology more than others.  This is
often fine, sometimes not.  It is
important to teach these lessons of human connection to the generations which
may not have had enough of it taught (or even more importantly, lived) at


In times of crisis, when possible, use human connection to
reach out to others, for it is usually much more powerful and meaningful than
the use of technology. Most likely you have experienced a handwritten note
being opened first, even when opening routine mail, before a mailing with a
mailing label is opened.  A related
experience is the universal dislike for a recorded voice mail message from a
vendor or solicitor, for such is abusing the privilege of a phone call. When
one answers the telephone, it is with the expectation of having a two way


Personality differences account for some of the reasons some
people are more comfortable connecting by technology than by phone, or not at
all. Even so, the need for human connection in times of crisis should encourage
us to get out of our own comfort zone and focus on the needs of others.


It bears repeating. Facebook is not a human connection in times of crisis. When people are
going through a crisis, or even a hard time, reach out.  Reach out by phone, email, or even snail
mail, before Facebook.  If it is possible
and appropriate, go in person. 


This is about “me too.” I must go and reach out to a neighbor who is going through a hard
time.  And write that note to a friend
who just lost her husband.  And send that
overdue thank you note. And…….


About the author:

Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through speaking,
consulting, and coaching. She is founder and president of The Fralix Group,
Inc., a leadership excellence firm based in

. She can be reached at