Monday, March 13, 2006

Communication - so much going on

As I interviewed two people for an article today I marvelled at how much goes on when you're sitting across from someone, simply talking.

A lot of it is unconscious, of course. I guess most people don't even think about it. The only reason I do is that I realised I kind of think like a computer - where a conversation is a transfer of information, nothing more, nothing less.

In reality, none of us thinks like a computer. In every conversation, your mind is assessing:
  • your environment
  • the other person(s) - their intent, personality, and most importantly how much like us they are
  • the body language, pauses, backtracks, and facial expressions of the other person
and finally
  • what they're saying
The reason I thought I think like a computer was that, as an interviewer, I'm so focused on the information aspect of it that I can't take in the multitude of other stimuli.

Why am I mentioning this? In case there are other souls like me out there who, for some reason or another, suffer information overload during a simple conversation. The first step towards changing your overload reaction is being aware. And it's amazing what you can do when you're aware.

4 Comments:

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Jack Yan said...

Good points here, Sy. They say women pick up on a lot more of the body language and unconscious stimuli than men. I wonder if I am incorrectly generalizing when I say we blokes don’t mind the computer quite as much, though in all cases it is best for those face-to-face meetings to take place.

 
At 7:10 PM, Blogger Simon said...

I think you've got a good point there, Jack, about the gender preferences. I don't know that many women who love technology - it seems to be a man thing.

"In all cases it is best for those face-to-face meetings to take place."

Yes, although in my case when I'm doing stacks of interviews I prefer phone interviews - I can furiously take notes without bothering about eye contact!

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Jack Yan said...

True—good way to filter the information that you need. Were these job interviews, or interviews for a story?
   At least the voice is a humanizing element.

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger Simon said...

Interviews for stories. I think a job interview would need to be in person.

 

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