When Is It Good Not To Talk?

Good not to talk

When I started working in transcription, I had no idea I would end up learning about such an eclectic variety of subjects.  In this business, from one day to the next, you can find yourself listening to conversations on everything from sports to politics to the state of agricultural farming in Wisconsin.  It’s rather wonderfully diverse.  

What’s more, on top of all that you also become really aware of how good, or should I say bad, we humans are at communicating with each other.  Because the fact is we may have walked on the moon, harnessed the power of the atom, and perfected the recipe for chocolate fudge cake, but after 300,000 years, we humans are still terrible at listening.


A conversation is a two-way street 

We are, however, very good at talking.  Today, we can talk with almost anyone anywhere in the world, whether it’s on the phone, through video, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook or Skype.  We are certainly not short on ways to communicate, but perhaps we spent so long perfecting the technology to talk to each other that we’ve forgotten how to listen.


It was once said that most people do not listen with the intent to understand, but with the intent to reply, and last week, on World Mental Health Day, that couldn’t have been more clear.  That day, it was impossible to escape the news articles, political statements and brands talking about all the great things they do to help the 1 in 4 of us affected every year by mental illness.  However, the following day, once the trending topics had returned to the usual mix of Brexit, football, and K-pop, a different voice could be heard, one that had been ignored and which was crying out for what people actually need, because, at the end of the day, hashtags won’t pay for under-resourced mental health teams.


When silence speaks louder than words

We live in a noisy world; one where we talk a lot, but say very little.  It’s a world of fake news and misinformation, and suddenly everyone and their mother is an expert on everything.  


The invention of social media gave a voice to everyone, it was a reminder that we all have the right to be heard, and yet, somewhere along the road, the scales tipped too far.  Pandora’s box has opened and now there’s an arrogance to our opinions, no question that we could be wrong, but to err is human, and we’re erring quite a lot right now.  


So, how do we stop?  


You know what I’m going to say, right?


We listen.  And we learn, and we digest, and we think, and only when that thinking leads us to a new thought, something that can add to a conversation, do we allow ourselves to express it.  Somewhere along the line, we forgot how to do that, and we’re going to be shouting ourselves hoarse until the day we remember.  


We were all born with a voice that deserves to be heard, this is true, but we were also born with two ears and only one mouth, so perhaps we should listen to more than we say?


Blog written by Transcriber Lydia

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