Is Anyone Listening Anymore?
In “Giving”, President Bill Clinton’s book, he writes of an African tribe he encountered that had a unique way of greeting each other. When someone says, “Hello,” the other person responds with, “I see you.” In today’s ADD-driven generation, when we are constantly distracted with handheld devices, the very art of listening is something which is a minute by minute struggle.
Spent the day today alone with my daughter, and we agreed electronic devices would not be touched all day. No ipad for the car, no facetime – just bonding time. And from breakfast, to the library, to a long walk in the park, to a museum and a lot of time together, we connected.
Of course, she has been excited for a sleepover with her friend who is coming to sleep over – and lo and behold they are excited to watch a movie – while they play gadgets. I am the old man when I ask what the fun is of playing on gadgets rather than talking – or giggling as in my mind girls should be doing.
If we are speaking with someone at a party and he’s constantly looking around to see if there’s someone more important with whom he can talk it is annoying. Yet, I know in my personal and professional life, I am constantly distracted. But, the challenge remains to think – Emails/ Blackberries etc are useful tools but they don’t enable us to think.
Thinking – the ability to reflect – is essential. As Bertrand Russell said, “when all other options have failed, man is thrown back onto ‘the painful necessity of thought!’?” Does anyone think these days when gadgets are constantly with us?
Food for thought.
About Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.