Bluetooth technology was developed in the mid 90’s. In the late 90’s and early 2,000’s, it became more and more common to see people walking the streets and driving their cars while talking to themselves. After an awkward period of assuming “those people” were crazy, we’ve now trained ourselves to look for a small blinking device attached to their heads. “Oh, I guess I shouldn’t call the local nuthouse, they’re on the phone.” I still think people who wear Bluetooth earpieces in public are crazy but that’s a separate issue.
We’re Talking To Ourselves Again
It’s just as bad, but there’s no one to set us straight, because it’s happening behind the comfort of our computers and smart-phones. If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m talking about SM. No, not sadomasochism, although the definition fits. “The giving or receiving of pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain or humiliation.” For some, this is a perfect description of Social Media.
A good conversation starts when one person has the attention of another person. Social media has turned this model upside down. Millions of people post on social media everyday without first getting the attention of those listening. We are wandering around talking to ourselves again and it’s become the norm. It’s as if we don’t really care if someone is listening or not, we just keep talking. Time to call the nuthouse again?
What This Looks Like In Real Life?
Imagine you’re at a big party. As people arrive, they are already talking about everything from their dogs sleeping habits and political scandals to the latest Iphone app. They aren’t necessarily talking to anyone, just talking. As time passes, people in the room begin to listen to the chatter that is most interesting to them personally. If they really like it, they yell it out to everyone else in the room. The folks who don’t have anyone listening to them are forced to stand in the back of the room where no one can see them or hear them. They’re allowed to talk, only if their commenting on one of the popular conversations. Everyone receives a score. You get one point for every person who repeats what you’re saying to the room. The higher your score, the louder your voice is. The people with the most points get to stand on the stage where everyone can see and hear them. The fewer people listening to you, the farther away from the stage you have to stand. The room is loud with voices but only a few messages are really being heard. Sound crazy? It sounds frustrating to me. Where is the joy and richness of relationship and good conversation?
It’s no surprise so many Americans feel unheard. The whole world is talking but very few are truly listening. We simply need to spend more time face to face with each other, intentionally listening.
For more about how to have great conversation check out this Podcast from Michael Hyatt: Click Here
Know What Listening Is NOT:
Listening is not finishing someone’s sentences.
It’s not a multi-tasking friendly activity.
It’s not giving advice or solutions.
It’s not saying, “I know exactly how you feel,” and following up with a story from your life.
When is the last time you really listened without talking about yourself? Chances are that the people closest to you feel unheard. Don’t pretend you are well connected because you are a part of multiple Facebook groups, you have over 1,000 twitter followers or your inbox is full. Step out of the crazy world of texts, tweets, likes and follows. Human’s are starving for connection and deep connection only happens when a person feels truly heard.
The Challenge: Choose one person in your life this week to listen to for 10 straight minutes. Don’t give advice, don’t tell a story about yourself to support what they’re saying, put down your phone, stop what you’re doing and do nothing but ask questions that help them talk more about themselves. You might be amazed at what happens.