Life is all about choices, we get to decide what will work most effectively for ourselves. However we can only be effective if we are prepared to accept criticism and then change should we consider the criticism beneficial. The real problem is that most of us never get feedback and therefore listening to criticism is an alien idea and if we do get it we see it as an attack on our character rather than what we think could be constructive. Here is a short story to illustrate this.
In the years around 2010 I was involved in Advanced Driver Training and more specifically as an instructor with Audi and Volkswagen High Speed Training on Kyalami Racetrack. The format for these days are that each instructor is assigned to 3 candidates who learn high speed driving techniques on the day. On this particular day I was assigned three burly attorneys who were clearly successful and probably a touch arrogant. The day starts with a classroom session and then they join the instructor for a ‘hot lap’ around the track. As these three gentleman got into my car, fastened their safety belts and made themselves comfortable, they looked at me. I introduced myself and they made the following statement ‘You are obviously are good driver if you are an instructor here’, which I turned into a question and said ‘Gentlemen the problem is all men think they are good drivers and good lovers – the problem is no one has ever told them they are bad.’ I then proceeded with the ‘hot lap’ while they processed my statement.
I wonder if they ever listened or which part of my statement might of resonated with them, was it the part about the driver or was it the lover part? I certainly had no feedback on that statement even though they spent the rest of the day with me.
A year later I joined Twitter and fumbled my way around like most beginners do. So what have I learnt from my few years on Twitter?
Twitter is like a telephone, but …
When we make a call on a telephone we only start speaking when we know the other person is listening, yet on Twitter we can’t be sure they listening and we never sure if halfway through what we saying they disconnect. It happens in life too, sometimes we miss the fact that the other person is not listening just because we are so busy talking – in short we are being interesting and not interested in the other person.
To be interested we need to listen and hopefully we can be effective in our listening so that we understand, which I wrote about in a previous blog titled LISTEN … Did they understand?
We need to realise that people have a short concentration span, not because they are like that, but rather because there is so much information around and making the assumption that they are going to be interested in us is completely false. Many people ask ‘why does Twitter only allow me to communicate in 140 characters?’ Precisely we need to be concise and that is why good speakers are able to communicate a complete keynote in the time of the TED talk. Our world is interested in us when we are interested in them, respecting peoples time and the need they have to express their opinions will go a long way in making you a better communicator.
The better driver and better lover part … I will think about how we can possibly tackle those problems. Until next time have a great day.