Are we communicating enough?
We have come a long way since that first call by Alexander Graham Bell that revolutionized communication. Today the mobile phone has become a ubiquitous medium of communication so much so that the vegetable seller, the milkman, the cleaner and everyone else are dependent on it for their daily livelihood.
Starting with the newspapers, television, mobile phone, smart phone, personal computer, laptops and tablets – today instead of people looking out for information we have an information overload. Today, we have a plethora of choices and our time is spent in discerning as to what we need to do.
But this gadget-craze has had an impact on our face-to-face communication. Today, we find very little time to share thoughts over a cup of coffee or to spend time having a conversation with our family. This is the form of communication that is of vital importance. Speaking is important as it helps us to bridge barriers and understand each other better. It helps to connect, resolve conflicts and strengthen bonds.
What are some of the ways that we can keep our face-to-face communication alive?
1) Join a Toastmasters Club – A toastmasters club is a wonderful avenue to meet after work and improve on speaking, listening and leadership traits. It is a great place to network with people of diverse backgrounds and get diverse perspectives on current events, topics of interest and have fun. It also helps to develop our leadership abilities by way of taking up roles at meetings within the club and networking with other clubs.
2) Join a Special Interest Group – We all have interests – related to our work or outside be it. IEEE, Project Management, Quality, DIY, singing, guitar, cycling etc. Joining these groups is a great way to network with like-minded people and learn a lot more. This is also a great way to find a job in your area of interest.
3) Meetups – Social media enthusiasts on twitter organise twestivals or meetups where people get to know each other and also gather to discuss about causes that concern the world. It is also a great way for entrepreneurs to network for youngsters to find their partners in life or just have fun.
4) Volunteering – Many volunteer groups spend time training kids or engaging with old folks or the disabled. Doing such work gives one an opportunity to network with a lot of volunteers and make friends.
Communication is slowly proving to be a lost art. People hardly find time to exchange pleasantries or chat over a cup of coffee. Written communication like letter writing is already obsolete and is today replaced by email. Technology has simplified our lives but it has also made us a lazy lot switching from one gadget to another in a different virtual world.
Do you feel that you are spending too much time online or with gadgets? Are you missing out on networking with friends and face-to-face communication?