In recent weeks, I have given considerable thought to the lost art of communication.
We have so many resources available to us. Technology has connected us in a myriad of ways yet, I would argue, that it has also unconnected us. Somewhere in all of the texts and tweets and instant pictures and emails we have forgotten how to really relate to one another. We have become desensitized because we are bombarded with information at such a pace that it has left us unable to really respond, understand, touch, and have empathy for others.
The dictionary definition of empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.” At a recent Lunch & Learn that I spoke at, I asked the attendees to do an exercise in defining their business and personal goals. One of the words I heard repeated by many of them was that it was their desire to have more empathy in their lives. In order to be empathetic we must be present and involved with those around us. Lost in our to-do lists and in a sea of media…social and otherwise, we don’t open emails, we don’t RSVP, we miss deadlines, we read and think we respond to texts, and we have forgotten the value of knowing ten numbers. These are the ten numbers that make up someone’s phone number. If the person is in our contacts list, these ten numbers are in fact, one number. One number to press that allows us to really get up and show up in our own lives. Think about it, when was the last time you called someone?
For that matter, when was the last time you created the time to have a fun lunch or meet someone for a cup of coffee? We are all hiding behind our messages, quick and efficient, they allow us to stay in touch. Our Facebook posts keep us connected to the lives of those we friend, but is this a warm and embracing connection or yet another form of messaging? Do our posts expose the “real story” of who we are and what is going on in our lives?
The answer is NO.
Call me old fashioned. I like to meet friends, family and clients in person. I enjoy and even long for that human connection. The eye contact, the embrace hello, the facial expressions of a one-on-one meeting recharge my soul in a way no amount of instant messages and self promoting photos could ever do. I think that many of you feel the same way, yet we are all too busy, too caught up in the tasks at hand to extend a hand, to dial a phone, to engage in a live interaction and stimulating conversation. One of the best parts of phone and in person communication is that our stories, our topics; our conversations have a beginning, a middle and an end. It is in these interchanges that we can learn the most from each other; it is in these interchanges that we can have and display true empathy.
Recipe for cooking up successful communication
Pre-heat your oven to a creative and warm setting
Mix together equal parts of thought and concern
Blend in laughter and great conversation
Let the mixture stand
Beat together ¼ cup of time (not thyme), ¼ cup of patience, and ¼ cup of friendship
Fold the two mixtures together by showing up in person
Bake with a hug and time spent together for 1 hour or more
Let the communication cool and then reheat again for a special treat!
You have just baked something that is not only good for you; it is great for someone else as well…so be sure to share it!
Cheers, your empathy is showing, enjoy!
Randi Levin CPC, founder & CEO, Randi Levin Coaching—is a nationally recognized transitional life strategist, author, speaker, and reinvention expert. Her core belief is that we have the choice and the power to carve out and curate our own legacy based on embracing our ongoing evolution. At the age of 22, women make sweeping life-long decisions that no longer align with a 40, 50, or 65-year-old version of who they are. Utilizing a “what’s next mindset,” Randi applies her Signature GPS Coaching System incorporating growth, purpose, and success steps to support her clients in pivoting and refreshing their lives, empowering them to be the best reflection of who they are today. She is a contributor and featured expert for ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, HuffPost, Thrive Global, DivorceForce, Three Tomatoes, Women for One, and a variety of national publications and podcasts. Her workshops have been featured in The Wall Street Journal and she is a contributing author in the anthology series Get RESULTS!