Everybody Is Talking – Nobody Is Listening

Mr Stefan Fazekas

‘Free flow of information’ has proven to be an excellent means of organisational effectiveness, especially when implemented as the anti-thesis to ‘Keeping back information increases my power’. Of course it may lead to information overload as well, especially when supported via Intra-, Extra- and Internet. It still is easier to produce and spread data, which hopefully has the potential of becoming information to the reader, rather than to digest them.

Even looking at the volume of data available on the Web accessible on a global scale – as soon as political barriers don’t block it – and readable in intercultural regions – as soon as language barriers don’t hinder the free flow of information - no single person has a chance to make use of all kind of data published within areas of interest and during the whole lifetime. Search engines and Web 2.0ff initiatives are supposed to address this issue in order to help transforming data via information to (applied) knowledge and sometimes wisdom (

Now this is not to blame the data hype in the virtual space – it’s great that mankind got there and many of us – so do I – wont like to miss it. Actually we don’t need discussing the Web and supported or even embedded communication processes – let’s just pay attention to interpersonal communication behaviours. Observing them makes visible, that we are running into the same fault when using the Internet as it is occurring daily during any kind of verbal information exchange between humans. We constantly tend to (over)inform our communication partner – or shall I say: receiver ?! – without allowing sufficient time for questions, feedback, asking for feedback, recapping and so on – because we have less time than ever, everybody tells us, that everything is moving faster – maybe therefore adults have unlearned active listening – yes: unlearned … just remember story telling to your kids or when you’ve been a child. More realistic, and therefore slightly different from the title, many are talking more or less unidirectional and many aren’t really listening, eventually because of preparing already what could be talked about next?!

One cent per spoken and unheard word to be spread amongst public and commercial organisations please – and there’ll never ever be a financial crisis in this world. Needless to say (?), that communication about this and any other kind of crisis contains the chance on managing it. The pity is, that negative news achieve wider coverage than good news – that’s why PR experts inherit the phrase ‘Only bad news are good news’. On January 1st, 2009 an Austrian newspaper decided to publish positive messages throughout the entire paper only – wow!

Highly respectable to read, that the new American President establishes a CTO in order to make further use of the Internet - as applied in a highly professional manner during the election phase – in order to enable the dialogue with the population.

Dialogue is also the buzzword for interpersonal communication. Perhaps it might count more the say less at the right time and to the right person, not because of having things said alone, but in order to having things done together. Dialogue forms the basis for innovations, which – sometimes – are fuelled by ideas ;) How about a Web service which we selectively allow to monitor our written and oral conversations with the aim to improve them…?!? A basic set of functionality would compare quantities – no of written words or duration of speeches – per candidate and apply voice and pattern recognition via an algorithm watching for commonly used words, phrases and tonalities – i.e. distinguishing between making statements and asking questions.

Of course the functionality will expand over time, however the impact would be more positive when applied on a global scale soon in opposite to waiting decades for the full scope of functions applicable to a small expert community only. Centres of education and learning might be a good starting point.

Much could be written about such enhancement, as computing capacities, speech-to-text and text-to-speech capabilities improve and it might become possible to address more human senses i.e. via colours and odour suiting what should be communicated. However – will it be read as this contribution reaches 739 words and 119 of them are dedicated to form the basis for such kind of change … will it be accepted and implemented?

Article © 2009 Mr Stefan Fazekas. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Mr Stefan Fazekas

Mr Stefan Fazekas

affiliation:   Management Consultant & Project Relations

position:  Owner

country:  Austria

area of interest:  project management services, process/organisation consulting and interactive future search

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