Tips for Effectively Communicating in an Attention-Deficit World
By Mary Gendron Senior Vice President / Managing Director, Eric Mower & Associates | March 15, 2010
The self-deprecating comment "I think I have adult ADD" has become as pervasive as the ubiquitous "senior moment" quip within the office environment in recent years. But is it really just a joke? Based on conversations with clients and peers inside of the hotel industry and out, I think not.
As technology has prompted the workplace to move on an ever faster track, human beings have been adapting -- on the surface, surprisingly well -- by operating at increasingly faster speeds.
The need for speed seems to align with our competitive nature. If we can go faster, then we must, especially if it means staying ahead of the competition. Has speed enhanced overall productivity? No doubt it has. For those of us whose careers depend upon use of a PC, email and the Internet, we can work with efficiency that was unimagined even 10 years ago.
Communication, on the surface, is easier and quicker than ever. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips, allowing us to be better informed in our communication with others. We can communicate in real time, cutting across georgraphic, time zone and even cultural boundaries. We can easily inform ourselves of basic cultural idioms as we craft communication directed to people in other regions of the country or far flung areas of the world. When the situation calls for it, we can access translation services at the touch of a button.
And yet it seems that true communication is more elusive than ever. If you accept that communication creates understanding between the giver and the receiver, then we seem to have quite a way to go before we can call ourselves consistently effective. It may be, as someone said to me years ago, that communication is the last great frontier.
Over the course of a typical work day, it is not unusual to experience frustration as a giver and as a receiver of communication. Due to workplace pressures, it is easy to be plagued by distraction and lack of focus and by the challenge of retaining the information that comes our way every day. We become forgetful. In some cases, we even claim not to have received an email that we later track and realize we have open and read.
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