Life is fast, yet we continue to crave faster broadband, trains and food. Advances in technology enable us to communicate quickly, far and wide but is this threatening the depth of our conversations?
For a truly nutritious meal we take time to gather ingredients, prepare and then savour the flavours. Similarly, not all conversations should be clipped text messages or hurried phone calls. In our drive for greater efficiency in the workplace most communication is focused around a specific topic. Emails follow subject headings, meetings follow agendas. Good communication, like good food, requires a slower approach.
Over-reliance on high tech communication stifles creativity and does little to build relationships. Only when colleagues know and trust each other can they be truly efficient. So a slow conversation has:
- No agenda, simply a desire to understand
- No set duration – a minute can be enough or an hour
- A desire to listen not to speak
- A commitment to set aside office politics
- An informal and relaxed environment
As I reflect on the interactions I’ve had over the past 24 hours about 80% were fast and just 20% slow. There’s no question that the slow conversations have been the most enjoyable and valuable. Once again I’m struck by the comparison with food – a diet of 80% fast food wouldn’t be healthy or sustainable.