Are we really communicating with each other?
I know that this is going to ‘date' me but I actually do remember life without mobile phones or computers. I established my stress consultancy over 20 years ago and it became successful without either piece of technology in place. When I think back to those times, I really do wonder how we achieved this with such limited communication tools.
Travelling to London the other day, on the train, I read with interest in the newspaper that ‘the iPhone delays the end of British Summer Time, (BST)' which reported that thousands of users of the latest iPhone had lost an hour of their working day after its pre-set alarm failed to register the end of BST. Meetings were cancelled and workers were late for work after the glitch in the iPhone 4 failed to change the time to one hour earlier as from last weekend.
And I started to realise how dependent we are on technology.
We expect computers and phones to connect us to our business and family, at the touch of a button, to an extent that we are now utterly dependent upon them, 24/7, in order to run our lives.
Most people would now rather ‘text' in preference to speaking on the phone or in person. Our vocabulary is now increasingly made up of signs, symbols and three letter acronyms such as DVD, CRM, USP and URL. We write within a 140 character wordcount to post around the world on Twitter.
This is not a criticism but rather an observation. Some of my clients who come to my counselling rooms tell me that they find it difficult to communicate with their children and we sit down together and wonder why there is this mismatch. Is it that the parents can't keep up with their children or is it that children find it hard to accept that their parents are from another generation.
In effect, we try to make common ground — a place where the young can learn from the old and vice versa. A place where we can value experience and also innovation. A place where there is mutual respect.
I told you I was going to sound ‘old fashioned' and I am not saying I want to go back to the ‘good old days' — which is, of course, impossible.
New technology has brought new ways of working to an extent that would have seemed unbelievable only 20 years ago. Instant communication has made us hugely more aware of what is happening, not only in our place of employment, not only in our own country but also what is happening 24/7 around the world. That has to be good because knowledge is power and we all need to be empowered.
Plus, of course, we can talk to our friends and family — almost anytime!
Points to ponder
- New technology has brought new ways of working
- Knowledge is power and we all need to be empowered
- We live in a transitional era in which technology is king
The author is a BBC guest-broadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international stress management and employee wellbeing consultancy based in London. Contact them for proven stress strategies - www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk