Steven C Wyer | Look Me in the Eye

I want to hear it from the horse’s mouth (a thinly veiled reference to Mr. Ed), and I want to speak with him face to face. There are alot of old sayings like these, all basically referring to the same thing; person to person honest communication. Do I still have this in business, with my older children, or with siblings? Not so much.

Electronic communication is great. It allows you to read this blog, but you don’t know what my intent is just by reading, do you? It works better if you know me, if you know my character. Humor is subtle and easier to catch when you are face to face. Hearing voice inflection helps you determine my mood, intent and inference. And looking me right in the eye is a strong indicator of truth (for most people.) I still try to use these old school tools in my life, but that begs the question: What about web 2.0?

Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and hundreds of others are quickly becoming the preferred methods of communication. I just spent thirty minutes on Skype IM with my son in Amsterdam. I could not see him eye-to-eye. His ten point type gave me no face time. Horse sounds were nowhere to be heard. Just type on a screen and conjecture about meaning, intent and motive. I don’t think this is a good way to communicate with your children. As a matter of fact, as soon as I get done writing this, I am going to give my youngest girls a good twittering about it all.

There is something about eyes, facial expressions, hand shakes and humor that give you a sense of who you are connecting with. You use three of your five senses (four if you know them well!) It’s the way communication was created to be. I am not totally down on all electronic communication, things like Microsoft Word and email have made life much easier. I am saying this only to serve as a reminder. I will always be challenged to establish trust if I don’t have real contact. This is true about the work place, my family, my spouse and God.

I’m old-school functioning in “new school”. I write and post, and you read. I hit enter and my words arrive in Holland immediately. I'm not sure about trusting this medium, though. I want eyes and face; humor and body language. I want to feel as though someone is trustworthy because I have had first hand intuition to draw such a conclusion. I want to know that it is really Mr. Ed saying Oh Willllber.

The cornerstone of all trust is communication. It needs to be authentic, honest and real. And it’s alright if that's tough, hard and uncomfortable. Real life is like that you know.

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