Humility is the defining characteristic of an unpretentious and modest person, someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others.
We talk so much about the art of the conversation and how this new age has spurred countless conversations where we are able to share with each other and grow and nourish ideas that could one day create endless possibilities for everyone. But what happens if the conversations are one sided? How many of the conversations out there are taking place between one willing participant and someone who is in it, to win it, so to speak, no pun intended? Are you listening? Or is conversation a dying art?
Here’s an example: Forrester Research Vice President Josh Bernoff highlights one of the five primary objectives companies successfully pursue in the Groundswell: Listening. In this example, a group of twenty-one dedicated cancer centers formed the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) to better listen to patient needs. October 11, 2007 in Chicago.
WHY DO WE TWEET
How many conversations take place today or are originated for the purpose of self-aggrandizement? I think more than we will ever know? Do you think some of our finest web 2.0 thinkers are twittering for the sake of engaging in worthwhile conversations? Are they tweeting for branding purposes? How many of you comment on people’s blog or tweet, but yet bring nothing of intrinsic value to the actual conversation? How many of you don’t care if someone responds or not? Don’t all stand up at once either. Here is twitter explained for all you common folk out there, thanks Common Craft
I think we have an inate desire to be heard as well as to be seen and this truly does speak to this generation that I’m calling Generation U for “Generation User” as in generated content. But see, we want to be seen and heard, but rarely do we want to listen, when in actuality, that’s truly where the conversation begins and possibilities are created. Do you spend most of your time listening and reading, or do you create lots of content and vomit the information of whoever and whomever? Do you listen with the intent to understand?
So if that truly is the case, do we, or some of our more active purveyours of user generated content, even care about what others might think? Do they even ask what we think? If they did, I would expect the conversations to consist of them choosing to hear what they wanted to hear. God forbid it’s constructive criticism.
Ironically, Chris Brogan has written a post called 100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social Media in which the first thing he leads off with is… Listening That’s right listening. And not a year prior he wrote solely on the subject of…Listening
I’m sure if you were to ask some of the top social media experts, and I know of about 30 or so, I would imagine that they would collectively say it is more important to listen than it is to talk. How many would understand the importance of listening with humility though? To listen, to truly listen? The disconnect happens when two parties get together and both have these agendas, which they seem to be paying more attention to then the actual conversation itself.
I want the age of conversation to be about what we can do collectively instead of what’s in it for me. The hyper link that preceded that statement, those guys get it. And most do, but I want you, all of you, to start listening, instead of hearing, what someone has to say.
THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE MORE YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW
So if you think about, look around and look at what everyone is talking about, it’s the conversation, it’s the word of mouth marketing buzz. We talk about it from the one side but not the other, the listening aspect. The art of listening.
We have more tools than we have ever had that help us with the conversation but we need to really start listening with humility, with a deep understanding of what the person or person’s across from us, is saying. All of these social media tools allow us more access than we have ever had in our lives, to conversations. A way for us to listen and to understand. Lastly, Look what Todd Defren has to say, it’s a quick blurb, so make sure you listen!. By the way, I told Todd I would add him to my new updated list of social media experts coming out soon.
So what sayeth you? I’m listening. Do people hear what you are talking about? Are you talking over their heads? Or vice versa? How can you improve the dialogue?