The Lost Art of Conversation

I read this article this morning on Forbes online.  This was not the article that originally drew me into the site but this heading flashed as another article to read and it grabbed my attention.  The cliff notes version of this article is that younger adults, Generation X and Y are lacking in human contact.  People are “creating” examples and “opportunities” for people to interact. One such example, is a project called the Free Convo, where couches are made available for people to talk.  When you sit down someone asks you a question, a though provoking question, the type of question you find in those question books.  And then guess what??? People talk!!!!

What a concept! I guess we have become so self centered, so screen centered that we can’t sit and chat with people. When I think of a society that needs to have planned human contact I think of a Sci-Fi movie.  I did not think we were at that point as a culture, but if Gen X and Y are showing signs of this, I suspect that it will only get worse as younger people are raised with more screen and online activities.

From a business view point, I remember working for Clear Channel many, many years ago.  They fancied themselves quite the front runner for media/radio.  And to their credit they have developed some interesting and popular products.  But one of the things I remember them saying in a huge all sales meeting, was that there would be a day when people could log in and buy advertising slots themselves without requiring a sales person.  The first problem with that statement was, why would you tell a room full of people who have lined your pockets and made your empire grow, that they will be obsolete.  The second problem with that is, you always need people.  People explain, create desire, problem solve, empathize and connect with other people.  A computer, no matter how helpful, how clever or how cool can not replace person to person contact.  

I hope Clear Channel or any other media outlets now understand that and can see the loss that would occur. The article of The Lost Art of Conversation and Connection is further proof of that. There are a lot of things you can teach to someone. However, if we become a society that has to teach college graduates to feel and listen, read peoples body language, emotionally connect with others, to care it will be a strange time…or are we already there?.

 

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