Listening in a digital space

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March 6th, 2015

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shutterstock_241408513I’ve been working, playing and consulting in the arena of digital communications and learning for close to 15 years now. And, despite its exponential growth – both in terms of possibilities, and in terms of the number of people who now profess to be “experts” in the same arena – one aspect hasn’t changed much…

Whenever people talk about digital engagement or interaction, and particularly when they’re trying to sell you their approach, or workshop, or latest research or book, they focus on one thing: how to make your voice heard in this space. How to engage, attract and retain customers, clients, friends, business contacts… The equivalent of shouting louder to make yourself heard above the hub-bub of daily noise!

So, if all of us are increasingly shouting louder – and creating more engaging, attractive and interactive digital content to attract others – who is listening? And, if we are all so busy “shouting” that we are not taking the time and the trouble to listen, the danger is that we have forgotten how to truly listen and engage with others.

If we don’t consciously choose to listen, we are at the risk of only hearing those voices who shout the loudest – the equivalent of the bully in the classroom. Or we listen only to respond – like those people at parties who wait for a minute intake of breath to tell you all about their holiday, or their job, or their children’s achievements.

By only thinking about how we come across, and how many digital followers/likes/friends we have, we are at risk of increasingly creating a world of digital noise, and therefore increasing irrelevance. A world full of colourful little snippets that don’t end up engaging with our lives at all… A world where the only available food for thought is fast, irrelevant and loud. A world of easy consumption and even easier forgetfulness. And the people who will truly rise in this new world will be the people who have (re)learnt how to listen as well as talk, follow as well as lead, pause as well as act. The new leaders of the digital world!

 

More information  – Digital Leadership Programme