We have a lot to say. And now, with social media, we have a way to say it to the world. What an incredible privilege to live in a time when technology has made that possible.
But just because something is ‘possible’ doesn’t make it admirable….or productive.
I have heard and been involved in conversations when there is almost zero listening happening. It sounds almost impossible but it’s not. Here’s one of my favorite examples…ever happened to you?
FAST FOOD BURGER JOINT DRIVE-THRU SPEAKER
Burger Man: Welcome to Burger Prince, home of the Whopper, and the brand new hot and juicy, spicy chicken wing nugget thingamajig. We appreciate your business and hope you’ll try our creamy, frosty dessert McSomething-or-other. Can I help you?
Ken: Yes, I’m going to order three burgers and some drinks. These will NOT be meals, okay?
Burger Man: Thank you, go ahead…
Ken: Could I have three McWahoo burgers with cheese and three Choka-Colas, please?
Burger Man: Will these be meals or just sandwiches?
Ken: ??? Uh, just sandwiches….???
Burger Man: Would you like fries with that?
Ken: No thanks, just the burgers and drinks.
Burger Man: What kind of a burger did you want?
Ken: There were three burgers, all McWahoo’s with cheese.
You get the picture. Now in defense of Burger Man we live in an environment with tremendous distractions. He is probably multi-tasking like crazy on the other side of the speaker, right?
Sometimes you may feel as though you don’t have time to stop everything and focus all of your attention on listening to just one thing, one subject, one human being. But the truth is that a lot of time gets wasted when you are not focused on a single task. Your time is wasted when you have to repeat simple rudimentary tasks over and over and over again….Burger Man.
Now hold on to your hat…I’m about to expose a myth. Ready?
There is no such thing as multi-tasking.
I repeat, there is no such thing as multi-tasking. What we call multi-tasking is actually doing many things one after the other in quick succession with less focus on whether those things are actually getting done….Burger Man. These tasks are not happening at the same time. The human brain cannot be in two conscious places at the same time. It can handle some unconscious tasks like breathing in the background…but not two conscious tasks.
My wish for the world is less “multi-tasking” (which we all now agree is a myth, right?) and more focused listening. More absorption and less contribution to the conversation. It’s counter-intuitive but you will be able to contribute greater substance to a conversation, be more persuasive, and waste so much less of your precious time….by contributing less and listening and understanding more.
Now, be honest, and tell me how many other things you were doing and or thinking about as you read this short piece.
I’ll bet you thought you were “multi-tasking”….Burger Man.
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