You're Only Human, But That's No Excuse
We can't blame technology ...
POSTED BY DEBRA STEVENS ON 05/12/2019 @ 8:00AM
At the beginning of the year 2000 there was no YouTube, Vlogging, Wikipedia, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype, Spotify, Siri, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Broadband, Wi-Fi, 4G, Sat Nav, Airbnb or Uber. This list goes on and on ...
You're only human, so you need to hone your social skills in the real world, not just online!
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All of the above are fantastic and magical, helping to make our lives richer and definitely easier. I still shudder at the memories of panic I felt missing meetings because I got stuck in traffic or couldn't find my way, trying to read a map and drive at the same time.
"Since then, Waze has changed my life!"
We also have the opportunity to connect to loved ones all over the world. My daughter is working abroad on superyachts, meaning she is travelling 10 months of the year and I miss her terribly. Without WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, I would have no connection with her.
Technology allows me to share the amazing places she is visiting and even more importantly for her, she is able to keep up with the milestones in her niece's and my granddaughter's development. She was even at her 2nd birthday party thanks to WhatsApp video!
But we need to be careful because it's addictive! When you get a like on your latest photos on Facebook or Instagram, your brain creates dopamine, this is the hormone that controls pleasure and reward and the brain always craves more.
A friend of mine told me she became acutely aware of this addiction one night when her 6-month-old baby daughter woke her up. She found herself sitting in the rocking chair, phone in one hand, baby in the other, checking in to see who had liked the cute photos and videos she had put up earlier. She suddenly realised the opportunity to be conscious, present and in the moment with her little one was being sabotaged by social media.
"And we only have ourselves to blame!"
Despite all of this, we just can't blame technology for the eroding of our human skills. The hard facts are that even CEOs text or check email during corporate board meetings.
Employees shop online during office hours, students go on Facebook in class, and parents text during mealtimes. Children may complain about not having their parents' full attention, but at the same time, they can't wait to leave the table and get back to their video games.
All skills ... technical, practical, soft or social ... are affected by technology. We need to actively practise our skills if we want them to be natural and easy!
Think of what happens when you get on a train or a bus. Do you look, smile and acknowledge the person next to you, or go straight to your phone and check social media instead? I know I do the latter and I bet you do too. As humans, we need to find a way to navigate the advantages of technology and the effect it can have on us if we rely on it too much as the way to connect and communicate.
Three things you can do tomorrow:
Engage with people when it's easy. Try talking to coffee baristas, check out staff at your favourite supermarket, or when you are paying for something. I spoke to a lovely lady in Morrison's in Milton Keynes recently and she said she really misses people engaging and talking to her because they are on their phones all the time.
Ask a colleague out to lunch or coffee. This is such a great opportunity to find out more about the people you work with and connect with them on a different level. Ask them what they are passionate about and who inspires them; be generous and listen to their story.
Break the silence on public transport. I know this is hard, but you will be surprised how people react. It doesn't have to be a long conversation, more of a brief and bright connection. I challenge myself to do this regularly now and even if it's only a few seconds, it makes me feel good. Sometimes, the conversations I have are amazing and inspiring.
My new book Being Human is out next year and I am so excited to share with you more simple and practical ways to revive and refresh your humans skills as the time to be human is more important than ever.
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If you'd like to find out more about honing your own social skills or those of your team, do give me a call on 01908 511 062, leave a comment below, or click here to ping over an email and let's see how I can help you.
About Debra Stevens ...
I'm the founder of DTS, which was established in 1996. A highly successful experiential training company specialising in facilitating behavioural change in all aspects of dealings with people, whether in customer service, sales, management or with colleagues and teammates.
I've managed large contracts such as Pearson Education, Coca Cola, Penguin Books, Accenture, and Santander for over 21 years and have built up excellent relationships with key sponsors of all aspects of the businesses.
I'm a successful trainer, writer and speaker with nearly 30 years' experience of training people at all levels.
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