2 reasons why we’ve forgotten how to chat.

The other day it hit me.

Our reliance on our gadgets (mainly mobile phones) has resulted in us struggling with how to have a proper conversation.

OK it’s just my opinion, but I say this for 2 reasons.

1. Whenever I am in a public place (train/tube/bar/walking down the street), people are ‘glued’ to their phones.

Our phones have become our games, our source of news, our TV, our camera, our notepad, our books (shall I keep going?).

Sadly, our phones have also become our best friend; keeping us company, and stopping us from feeling lonely – no one sits alone as long as they have a phone in their hand, right?

And our new ‘best friend’ has also managed to isolate us and stifle our basic skills – especially, and the very thing that got my attention, the ‘skill’ of having a conversation with an actual person in front of us.

I know this because I watch ‘non conversations’ pretty much every day of the week.

We look at each other less (our eyes are usually down) in fact we look at everything less. The people who travel on my train miss the view of the countryside passing them by, and they miss the sun coming up (and going down). Yes you could argue that they’ve seen it all before but have they really?

If they’ve had a phone for as long as they can remember their life is quite literally whizzing past as they travel.

My head could be down too….Emailing, texting, tweeting and whatsapping, but I know the trap is too easy to fall into.

If anyone is brave enough to chat, smile or say hello, they are looked at as if they are some kind of ‘weirdo’. How sad is that?

But the antisocial problem doesn’t stop there.

2. We struggle with the art of conversation – and in some cases, how to even have an informal chat.

I kid you not.

I’ve noticed a (growing) difference when I’m coaching.

The issue is the same regardless of age/sex/occupation or skill and has nothing to do with social background. Sometimes the people who struggle the most are the ones at the head of the company (CEO’s/MD’s) or those who are in a high profile position.

When we get into the habit of talking more into our phones than we do to a person, we stay there, it becomes our comfort zone. And that’s dangerous if we stay there for too long. You see having a phone in our hands gives us something to lean on, like power, street cred …comfort. After all, we need it with us all the time just in case someone needs us or messages us don’t we?

Of course we don’t, but that’s what we believe so that’s what we do.

Almost every day I’m coaching someone on stuff like; how to position a point, or how to respectfully challenge or even how to give a complement and build a relationship.

The people I coach are smart, intelligent, and skillful and have interesting personalities, but they’ve just forgotten, or lost practice in knowing what to say and how to say it.

I’m not here to judge, I’m just sharing what I see – and making an observation.

I suppose I’m also saying ‘don’t follow the crowd’. Be different. Stand out.

So thank you for all the fabulous technology out there, we wouldn’t want to put a stop to our world moving forward.

But you just cannot, cannot beat eye contact, an expressive face, and a conversation with another human being.

I’m up for that any day.

Be different. Don’t be afraid to stand in the spotlight.



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