"People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other."
― Martin Luther King Jr.
How do we get to know each other. We talk to one another. Very good. Now let's take this one step
Before we can begin to communicate our own views, we need to begin understanding others. This is not some sort of chicken-before-the-egg riddle. We need to listen with our eyes, our ears, and our minds. There is a lot of listening we can do before we even have a conversation with someone. We can think about what we expect the perspective of others to be. We can empathize with that perspective, and then we can test our understanding by actually having a conversation.
Now that digital communication is so prevalent, it is harder and harder to have a real conversation with others. Actually, it is technically easier because we have more channels and greater access to other people, but our minds hijack us into believing the most convenient way to communicate is the most effective way to communicate. We know in our hearts that it is much more effective to have a conversation in person or over the phone than in email or social media, but we have a hard time getting ourselves to do it!
Take the time this week to commit yourself to getting to know someone important to you, your work, or your family. Go beyond a simple email greeting or Facebook message. Pick up the phone and start a conversation. Chances are you will learn something important that would have remained a mystery if you only communicated online.