Get Back In My Face:
“There’s a question that gets asked by parents a lot. “Why doesn’t Future STRONG offer online classes?” The truth is, not yet, hopefully, never.
Wherever we see these days, our society seems to be built in a way to isolate. Our workplace culture, masked with the pretense of efficiency, has us working over phones from homes with people, whom we might never meet in our lifetime, across multiple continents. Our children would rather have a chat or a Snap, or be left alone with their Disney Plus, than getting out and interacting with their friends face-to-face. But, if the trends are to be believed, we’re experiencing a mass craving for in-person interactions.”
This is what I had written on our social media channels at the end of 2019 as we were getting ready to open our second office, a physical location.
Little did I know that I would be teaching on Zoom across 20 different countries in 2021 after the pandemic hit. Wow, what a difference a year can make.
The Art Of Communication:
We are living in times when technology has become a means for self-expression. Most Millennials and GenZ are seeking jobs as content generators to satisfy this urge to express themselves. They want to work for companies that are conscious of the content they produce.
But, we’re seeing a shift in how we communicate. Our communication is becoming linear and linear by the day. We equip ourselves with smileys and emojis and are more creative with our messages than ever before. But our messages have no tone, none of our intended emotion and our intended nonverbal cues.
For example, we only interpret a friend’s casual words as YELLING BECAUSE WE DON’T KNOW THAT SHE HAD THE CAPS LOCK ON ACCIDENTALLY. Just imagine, typing LOL is not just not as fun as hearing it ring in your ears for real.
As a result of only exchanging verbal communication, our emotions are not perceived and processed correctly by the receiver. While we continue to communicate this way, we only engage our right brain which is logical and literal. We leave emotion behind, because our brains don’t see the need to read nonverbal cues in a text message or a Facebook message.
The Seeds For Social Connection:
There’s no one who’s put it better than Sherry Turkle, who famously pointed out how we’re rubber necking with our phones than enjoying a meal together at restaurants and homes. “I see a historic trend to introduce more friction, to slow us down, to look up and talk to each other and to appreciate what only we as humans can give each other. The trend for the next decade: the embrace of what we don’t share with machines. Empathy. Vulnerability. The human-specific joy of the friction-filled life.”
“I’ll tell you one that we’re finding less and less inside the firm that I think is an important skill set is an ability to write.
How you communicate with other people, how you interact with other people, how you express yourself will have a huge impact on your success. There is a real emphasis when people are interviewing around academics and I.Q. but, I think it’s way overweighed.”
“There should be equal emphasis on E.Q. and how you interact with people, how you relate to people, and how you connect with people. And even in a world where more and more machines and technology are disrupting the way we do business and the way we all connect, a lot of the value is still created through human interaction and the ability to motivate people or get people to move in a direction with you.”
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, who moonlights as DJ D-Sol, spoke these words at a college career fair in 2019 about the hardest skills to hire for today.
Off The Screen And Onto The Scene:
What’s missing the most from our lives right now is someone to have a dialogue with. Our social connections affect our motivation and our capacity to learn. Connection gives meaning, it fuels our purpose. Of course, the pandemic is making it difficult to gather enmasse, but we must prepare to get on the ground to become social once again in the real world. This pandemic too shall end :-)
For children, research has shown again and again, to thrive cognitively, socially and emotionally – they need to be experiencing environments charged up with connection and communication.
Let’s get them OFF THE SCREEN and ONTO THE SCENE. Good news will follow.