Job Advice

The Lost Art of Conversation

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March 31, 2011
My husband and I recently did something we have not done in longer than I care to admit. We were at a hotel and actually alone for about an hour (which is rare these days), and we decided to do something spontaneous and crazy. We had a conversation….with each other. Crazy, I know! Don’t let THAT get out on Facebook.

It seems there is just not enough of this kind of rogue activity going on in relationships these days. Who has time for a real live face to face conversation when there are emails to check, tweets to send, Facebook pages to update, LinkedIn connections to make and texts to read and send? When we do get a break from all that chatter, we have blog posts to compose, stuff to order on line and school websites to check to make sure our kids are excelling. Sheesh! That hardly leaves any time to even Skype.

Don’t get me wrong, as a 20 year Indianapolis staffing professional, I am a social media addict as much as the next guy. Keeping up on local hiring trends and central Indiana jobs requires a daily focus on social networks. I have to work very hard to compartmentalize all of those things listed above to make sure that now and then I return to my human form and have real, live relationships with those around me. There are certain things in life you cannot do with a computer, at least not very well.

Drew and NateLast weekend my husband and I took our boys to Great Wolf Lodge in Cincinnati and spent some quality time as a family – that is after the 2.5 hour trip where the boys played DS and watched a movie on the laptop. We really did "disconnect" once we got there and enjoyed life in the present. It was really nice to just sit and talk to each other over a nice plate of ribs and a cold Stella. We did not even turn the TV on in our hotel room. I know, hard to imagine, but I highly recommend it. If you have kids that seem to grow and inch a day like mine and are about to enter those "teenage" years (where the last thing they want to do is talk to you – that would be weird), I suggest you take full advantage of every word you can get out of them now.

I recently read a blog post where Frank Roche says: "Here’s what I know after doing employee communication work for a long, long time: There’s no substitute for talking to people. All the rest is a way to get people talking." He points to an excerpt in an article When Twittering Gets in the Way of Real Life, where writer Katherine Rosman says:

"One evening this week, my husband and I had a discussion that mirrors others we’ve had over the past few years. “Sometimes, it’s like you’re here and you’re not here,” Joe said to me. “Your mind and soul are in cyberspace, and all we’re left with is the husk."

That said, while I really appreciate you taking the time to read our That’s Good HR blog post, I suggest you turn off your computer now and find someone to really connect with – live and in person.