How alone are you?

Sherry Turkle has a fantastic TEDTalk.  As a professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT she knows a great deal about how we use technology in our lives today. As I watched it I was surprised at how it tied into my focus as a coach around courage, communication, and connection.

Though her TEDTalk focused mostly on how we relate to technology and how it is changing the way in which we communicate, I believe that it also showed one of the biggest reasons why people turn to a coach for what is missing in their lives.

Our preferred methods of communication these days are emails, texting or even Facebook. In her research Sherry asks the question, “What’s wrong with having a conversation?”

The answer most heard?

1. It takes place in real time.

2. We are unable to control what we are going to say.

She states that texting, email and posting let us present ourselves as we want to be and therefore in this manner of communication we get to edit and we get to delete.

We get to retouch our voice, our face, our flesh in a photo, our body.  By using technology in our relationships we can clean up our relationships she states.

So what’s wrong with that you ask? In doing this, she goes on; “we sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We short change ourselves. Our electronic communications do not allow us to really learn about each other, we don’t get to know the real person.  And when we turn away from these “live” conversations we then compromise our capacity for self reflection, because we no longer know how to hold a conversation.” Her research shows that what people feel they are missing in their life is being listened to.

This is where my curiosity lit up.  As a coach we know that this a big reason why coaching has become even more popular over the last five years.

When we coach we have live conversations and the entire session is focused on the client, their thoughts, their ideas, their feelings, their beliefs, their desires.  It is a coach’s job to self- manage by putting their own thoughts about their life on hold and to put 100% of their attention on their client.  Ask anyone who has ever been coached and one of the things they will say to you is, “for the first time I felt someone was really listening to me.”

Check out Sherry Turkle’sTEDTalk and see if you are finding similarities in your life. Courage, communication, connection;  I truly believe all three are key to a fulfilling life.

 

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Comments

Another fabulous post Linda! Thank you for sharing Sherry Turkle's insights, adding your own, and causing me to stop and think. I often use texting and emails to communicate when I am in situations where I can't make a phone call, but it is very two dimensional and I have always felt that there is no 'me' in my messages! One thing came up for me from your blog.....the loneliest feeling is when you ARE having a real conversation and you still don't feel heard.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Linda. I have often pondered how we connect as humans. As you know, having a sense of community is a major part of my life. I believe that conversing face-to-face lends itself to a richer connection, as it allows for the added benefits of eye contact, body language and tone of voice. Texting/emailing strips us of each of these vital components. I am still of the firm opinion that issues or subjects of significant importance should (for lack of a better word) be conducted in person. "It's ironic that in an age where technology is so prevalent as a means for corresponding, we aren't truly connecting with each other, largely as a result of technology." I'm pleased to see people like Sherry raising this topic for discussion, which will consequently, lead to more awareness. Similarly, I'm pleased to see you fostering this awareness!
Thank you!

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From The Blog

Sherry Turkle has a fantastic TEDTalk.  As a professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT she knows a great deal about how we use technology in our lives today. As I watched it I was surprised at how it tied into my focus as a coach around courage, communication, and connection. Though her TEDTalk focused mostly on how we relate to technology and how it is changing the way in which we communicate, I believe that it also showed one of the biggest reasons why people turn to a coach for what is missing in their lives.

Multitasking. Every employer expects you to do it. Moms are experts at it. If you admit you can’t do it you may not get the job you interviewed for. Multitasking has been a part of our culture for several decades now. 

Who would have thought that by me cutting off my friend in mid conversation she would have learned such a valuable lesson? We were catching up at her house a few weeks ago after she had made me a lovely breakfast.