When people stop talking.....it is awfully quiet on the bus

Dear Bloggers,

As the common readers know that I am driving commuters busses from town to town in the Northern regions of the Netherlands. During one of my journeys as a bus driver it all of a sudden came to me, I looked in the mirror to overview my passengers and even this ride is more than 40 kilometres absolutely no one was talking to any of the other passengers. I really started wandering what these people were doing during this long journey. I decided to observe each passenger closely for a while. Several are having earphones in and listen to music, others are pretty busy typing messages on there smart phones. Only one young lady was reading a book and two of them were dozed off into better dreams as they had a smile on their faces. One girl in the mirror stared back at me and had a bit of a gazed look in her eyes, problem was that she was sitting half way the bus otherwise we probably had chit chatted about the things that bother us in life. To me it occured that she was kind of disappointed in her fellow travellers or maybe she wanted to talk to someone but simply did not know how to start a conversation?

Twitter is cool. Wikis are neat. Hyves is, hmmm, good? And email is email. Facebook is also pretty usefull when friends live hundreds of kilometres away from you. These tools are all useful in helping us communicate with each other when we’re separated by great distances. They help us bridge the gap by providing fast, efficient means of communication. It doesn’t get more efficient than Twitter’s 140 character limit. But take a close look at these tools. They all share a common characteristic. They’re all based on written communication. Okay facebook has a chat option but I do not use it that much. While the written word may be very efficient for transferring information, it is not very effective at persuading people or making a real impact. And there is a tremendous difference between being effeicient and being effective..

Sure, we transfer the information that something is wrong and needs to be corrected. But that’s all we do, transfer information. Emails, Tweets, Wikis, and Hyves don’t help us move others to action. Action, not information, is what moves us toward continuous improvement and success. And nothing moves people to action more than the spoken word.

The written word is the information channel and speaking is the action channel.

Speaking is like a multichannel Surround Sound experience, in which dozens of channels simultaneously feed information to the human mind. These various channels communicate a richly textured, multilayered message from speaker to listener. These channels consist of :

· Posture

· Facial expression

· Energy level

· Eye communication

· Vocal inflection

· Vocal intonation

· Volume

· Gestures and other physical actions

· And more

All of these non-verbal cues help transfer not just the information of the narrative, but the emotion and urgency of the message. They do so more effectively than any number of !!!‘s or URGENT‘s in an email can ever do. And it’s this emotion, this passion, this energy of verbal communication that motivates and persuades others to action. When you come to understand this basic premise, you then understand why communication, VERBAL communication, is essential to the success and improvement of any organization. Success and improvement require action, not just information. It requires that people in the organization are motivated to action to do the things that need to be done to improve the organization and their products.

I’ve written about the different levels of communication mediums, and I’ve also provided a solution for the human being “Simply talk to every stranger on the bus.” I know that this world has become crazy and there are many nutcases out there but if the world is getting quiet than we are losing the dialogue to the human rase. To help shy youngsters to communicate more effectively, my generation should start the conversation to keep the dialogue going and I hope it will help.

But, please don’t misunderstand me as I meet young people every day that do talk to me and thank me for the nice journey. Tools like twitter, google, e-mails, hyves, facebook and even old fashioned newspapers are good second alternatives for transferring information. But, when you need to transfer emotion and move people to action, don’t rely on these tools for communication. Remember how to talk to each other and remember that face-to-face communication is the real power behind the most successful organizations and teams. So, the next time you find a moment in your life and you think that this could be done more effective, don’t send an email to your manager about the problem. Walk into his or her office and use your verbal skills to persuade him or her that something needs to be done, now. Move him or her to action today!!!

If you want to communicate than don’t be afraid and talk to all kinds of people around you as you never know who is sitting on the other side and his or her opinion might change your mind. Eventually it might bring you closer to a solution of whatever is happening in your life. Or you might learn something completely new about an other culture or even about yourself. Don’t worry I am not a shrink or a preacher, I am just a free mind who loves to talk about all kinds of subjects that are occurring in our lives. Whatever is on your mind you can discuss with me and will try to give some decent answers.

The Old Sailor,


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