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The Lost Art of Listening

The speed at which we are capable of communicating today is absolutely amazing. We have the world at our fingertips, and are never able to not be reached, save for a bad cell connection or choosing to go off the grid.

With that speed, comes more opportunities to communicate. More tv channels, more mobile devices, more tools that facilitate video conferencing, or niche social networks that allow you to focus on a targeted group or culture.

What that means for all of us is more noise too. For a culture that’s easily distracted, more opportunities to be distracted certainly spread the butter that is our attention span, very very thin. As I sit trying to concentrate on writing, my phone is ringing and though I let it go to voicemail, it seemed like a good time to check my email.

Distraction leads to loss of information, as we just cannot focus on many things well enough to truly understand and digest them. When spoken word was the only form of communication, I bet there was less miscommunication. Now we struggle to hear some one on a bad connection or we habitually keep checking our phones while in a conversation. It goes unnoticed alot of the time because everyone is guilty of doing it.

What if we were to just focus on the matter at hand? Finish writing the email to mom instead of flipping to download a recipe for tonight’s dinner in the middle. Watch the speaker at the next conference you go to instead of tweeting out every word he says. Make eye contact with your family at the dinner table and forbid phones during any family time. If you’re in a meeting, be present and engaging with others so they know you’re getting what’s going on.

Multitasking is cool and all, but there is something to be said about doing one thing at a time really well.

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About the author
Tommy Spero
CD @SoulNYC Founder @MixLuvCollab @MusicMy1stLang Hubby/Dad / #Drummer / Speaker / Writer / Marketing Expert on All American Makers premiering January 2015 on @ScienceChannel

2 Comments

Dianne

2013-06-28 19:36:54 Reply

So true! One of the reasons I don’t have a smartphone. But I do admit I’m writing this while watching The Daily Show on DVR!!

Annette

2013-06-29 10:34:15 Reply

I am the master of multitasking but know my limits. While yes, I even used to check my beeper (gasp!) and call my answering machine to check for missed calls (mostly while single – LOL), I have to say I refrain from texting during social and intimate settings, such as dinner. Even in our home, the calls go straight to the machine during meals. I am yearning for someone’s full attention while in conversation and do my best to give that back. I was at a family party last night and there was a full table of cousins who live far apart, and each of them had a gadget to play with or text with and no one was even interacting with one another. I walked over to the table to get a group picture and it took forever for them to put their gadgets down long enough for a photo. It’s contagious folks and this was a group of tweens….adults do it, I’m guilty too! Communication is like a art form that has taken on so many mediums lately but the handwritten note or letter, the personal phone call and best, the eye contact and handshake or hug are still my favorite ways to send a message. (Excuse me as I click SEND).

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