I was on a call last week with a client. The talking, talking, talking went on and on. It became farcical as their voices got louder and louder, and the words tumbled over each other – scarcely a breath…fighting to be heard. It was exhausting.
You may have heard of the Lasswell Communication Model. In short, the 5-point model proposes a one-way communication process.
Who – Says What – Through Which Channel – To Whom – To What Effect
And while much has changed since Harold Lassell created the model in 1948, we can still see it at work in today’s communication. Think about the influencers we see on social media. Look at the political and social communications throughout the world. When haven’t we been bombarded with product marketing campaigns?
There’s a great deal of talking “at” people. We’re disconnected, moving from one message to another. Trying to keep track of it all. It is a noisy world that isn’t saying much.
And when there is something worth saying, it risks getting buried in the competing noise.
And that’s because the communication is linear. There are too many people talking. And no feedback.
Have we forgotten how to listen?
Well – hopefully not. COVID will certainly roll out another new lesson as we begin to actually see people in person vs over Zoom. We may start out stilted in what to say because we’re out of practice. Or we’ll go the opposite direction and chatter on just because we actually have someone we can talk to. Face-to-face.
Either way, we have an opportunity to show a fresh face to the world. Lend an ear and listen. Especially since over this past year we’ve realized how precious friends, family and colleagues can be. When the sound of another voice means there is hope. When we’ve had a chance to reassess how important the little things are…things like a bird chirping, a cat snoring softly as she naps, the quiet. When we relish the fact we don’t have to be in a hurry, because the best moment is now.
I ask these questions because I’m in conflict. I’ve been in “hyper go mode” since March 11, 2020. I’ve gotten good at it. But I’m tired. I don’t want to give that much of me any longer. I want to listen. To hear. To think. To be.
So as we come out of COVID 2020-21, make a choice. Talk. Enjoy each other. And don’t forget to take a breath and let things go. Just listen. Join me in practicing “in the now”.