What would happen if we gave human beings our full attention?
Over the past few weeks I’ve attended a few networking meetings, one hosted by the Boston American Marketing Association and one hosted by Women in Business Connecting. The discussions and presentations were topical for me as a marketer and I bumped into some old colleagues and met some new people.
The AMA focused on analytics and had some interesting panel speakers that were very forthcoming about the challenges they face as marketers, particularly in this rocky economy. It is refreshing to get that honesty at a business event. The WIBC featured David Meerman Scott a thought leader who looks at how we leverage the Internet to connect directly with customers. He’s a funny and engaging speaker and I follow his blog.
The reason marketers and business people go to these events is to network and learn more about connecting with customers right? In Web 2.0 parlance we’re all engaging in “The Larger Conversation.”
So, we want to be part of a conversation. Conversations are with people, right?
But guess what?
Many of us are not paying attention to the human beings right in front of us.
Around me people at these events played with their cell phones, Crackberries and iPhones. They could have been Tweeting, checking email or compiling a grocery list for all I know. Actually, I do know what one couple was doing. It seemed like they exchanged cell phone numbers so they could send text messages. Or maybe they already knew each other. They were sitting right next to each other and right next to me. I guess for a Boomer like me that would be like “passing notes” in high school, right?
They’re not listening.
How many of us are guilty of “email voice.” You know, when you are on the phone having a conversation with someone and suddenly you decide to check your email? Guess what you sound like to the person you are talking to: “Uh, yeah, ah, oh, right, yeah, um, ok.”
We’re not listening.
Oh, I’m no saint. I once sat at the dinner table with my family and then jumped up to check my laptop for an “important work email.” Then there was the time I updated on FB and Twitter while my son ate his cheerios and told me a story about rockets.
I’m not listening.
What would happen if we gave live human beings our full attention for that moment?
What do we risk missing when we don’t?
Do we really have to be plugged in 24/7 and so highly distracted?
What do you think?
Are you listening?
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