I was the speaker at a recent group of professionals. I asked the group to break into pairs. Each person was asked to write down on a piece of paper an adjective that was descriptive of them. I encouraged selecting an adjective that they were proud of. They exchanged papers with their partner and said nothing.
I then spoke about the trend to not talk to people; to email, text, leave messages on machines, respond to menus, etc. I pointed out that we miss the personal interaction, the opportunity to visualize a person’s response as we talk, and we do not elaborate based on our immediate experience. Our inability to elaborate also diminishes our opportunity to more fully disclose our thoughts, feelings, and a fuller sense of who we are.
After I spoke, I asked them to return the paper to its owner and begin a conversation about the adjectives. They took turns telling each other why it was chosen, or whatever else each wanted to disclose.
These discussions went on for 15 minutes until I indicated our time was up. The group disclosed significant enhanced awareness of the opportunity to talk to someone and said it led to valuable conversation.
This simple exercise demonstrates the value to talking to people. It is valuable to be listened to.