I joined a book club recently. I’ve never done anything like this before, and I thought it might be just a reason to get together to drink wine and eat (it kind of is), but also you have to read a book and discuss. My first meeting was last week and was so much fun. Usually when I read a book or binge watch a season of something on Netflix, I don’t have the discussion part after with friends. (I could talk to my cat I suppose … and I do). At the book club, we laughed a lot and had some awesome discussion - I highly recommend book clubs.
The art of discussion is in my opinion, a dying art. We all saw the Simon Sinek video at the quarterly employee meetings, and one thing that struck me was a lot of times our noses are so buried in our phones we don’t talk anymore. And the further we get away from “small talk” to strangers, the harder “small talk” becomes. I was at a conference these past several days, and I can honestly say it is not as easy as it once was to start conversations with total strangers. And -- I used to learn a lot great stuff talking to people. Their ideas and innovative ways to (for example) staff a department to celebration wins (etc.); wow -- other people have great ideas as well!
Another thing I noticed was that no one looks up and says hi. This was a conference on service excellence. I wanted to sit down entire crowds of people and explain the 5/10 rule (which they all know). I took special pleasure in looking people (everyone) straight in the eye and saying “hi”. For some, it was a struggle, others were reluctant, and others smiled back and were friendly. I want to live in a society that fosters the 5/10 in all we do.
Challenge. When possible, talk to strangers, be nice and accommodating. Ask people about their lives. Social media can wait. Probably, the phone call/message/text/tweet isn’t a life or death situation* and the few seconds of attention may change your world. You never know.
*(uh … Steve)