Conversation Inspiration

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On CBS News Sunday Morning, there was a fantastic piece on the lost art of conversation.

The segment featured a litany of Baby Boomers crying over the proliferation of texting, social media and technology. Examples of people looking down at their phones while they fell off of subway platforms and into public fountains made me LOL.

Uh oh… am I laughing at myself?

CommunicationMillennials, according to MIT professor and best-selling author Sherry Turkle, are more interested in texting than conversation. According to Turkle, conversation is uncomfortable for two reasons:

  • Conversation happens in real time
  • Unlike texting, in conversation you can’t always control what you are going to say.

CBS reports that 18-24 year olds send, on average, over 3200 texts per month.

Where do you line up, with that statistic?

Let’s face facts: Disconnection is crossing generational boundaries. The tired old rant about “those dern Millennials!” was not really working for me, once again. Poor communication is really about your communication – not your date of birth.

With more ways than ever to connect, we are becoming more and more disconnected in real life.

The Dangling Conversation: What’s so messy about real life, and real time?

Real life, and real time, is messy. And really, really necessary.

Texting and twitter make certain things easier.  Electronic conversation is still conversation… right?

Quick, bursty communication is clean and quick. But when technology’s the only thing, then something big is missing.

The connection between your URL and IRL (in real life) is the key. For tech-savvy Millennials, relying on text messaging as the only means of communication is crippling. If you want to get a job, get a raise, get a date or get funding, you’ve got to get face to face. You’ve got to be able to create a persuasive conversation, without a keyboard.

The point is: when it comes to the college conversation – or any conversation – take time to connect IRL to your URL. People want to know more about you, beyond just your latest tweet or status update. Being real means getting your story in real time. Being real means being authentic: in the moment, in the now.

Video tools, like Skype and Webex, are great ways to leverage technology to create connections. But there’s still no substitute for getting face to face.

DM me if you disagree with that last statement.

I’ll take whatever conversation I can get.

Follow Chris Westfall on twitter @westfallonline.  His book is called The NEW Elevator Pitch, the definitive guide to communication in the digital age – whether you tweet it or tell it, here’s how to get your story straight.

Main photo courtesy of  Used under creative commons, some rights reserved.

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