Today we live in a world filled with communication methods, especially those of us in affluent countries such as my homeland of the UK. We’ve got email, texts, video-conferencing, faxes, telephones, the list goes on (somewhere in there is meeting face to face for a chinwag too). Yet some could argue that our communication skills are worse than they have ever been. Take this for example, here I am communicating with people I’ve never even met when I’ve got friends I haven’t even spoken to in months…what is that all about???
It seems that with all of this communication, we are so busy making our stamp and ensuring we’re heard above the rest that we’ve somewhat forgotten how to listen. I don’t just mean read a Tweet or “like” a Facebook post, I mean pick up on the subtle signals of those around us and really understand and respond to what they are trying to tell us. I thought I was listening and I thought I was trying to help someone very close recently and in my heart, I honestly was but by golly I was being stupid about it. I kept on tapping away at the problem in the only way I could think of until I became part of the problem myself. I completely missed some of those subtle signals that would have helped me tailor my message to get it through and now I’m paying for it.
Now, I’ve never been the best at picking up on subtleties, I think I should have been born a man, I can be such a bull in a china shop it’s insane! What’s not helping though is that people like me are spending ever more time “communicating” on a global scale on the web where we have time to think about what we are doing, so we’re not honing our instinctive reactions to what real people in the same room as us are saying and doing. It’s breaking up our real-life human interactions and forcing us further into the cyber world; how do we break this cycle? Well, I for one am going to start actively listening to those around me; not watching TV at the same time or writing my blog or even cooking the dinner, I’m going to devote my whole being to listening when people are talking. I think a well-known tea company are onto something with their current advertising suggesting we get together with friends over a cuppa to talk about the really important things. Count me in! x