Michael Schroeder: Send or Listening – The Challenges of Today´s Communication
Article by Michael T. Schroeder, CEO of ORCA Affairs Berlin/Germany (Partner of SEC Newgate)
Send, send, send - why does nobody understand how communication really works anymore?
Yes, we had all been mistaken in a complex set of environments. There was a dirty ego election campaign in the US like never before.
And COVID 19 - also underestimated its proponents - underestimated the entire mélange of the situation.
As a consequence we see lots of head shaking about the NON-understanding politicians' offices, editorial offices, and among us communication experts.
In principle, we do not understand each other.
We put the world in "thinking bonds". Determine what is right o wrong. Hope for scenarios until they become reality or not. As with the Trump election.
But desires and established opinions always beat reality.
What are the reasons?
• We are not open to other opinions
• In our comfort zone, we want something that does not exist: predictable safety. An invented word from the 20th century.
• We speak in subjunctives like "we could ", "let's see", "it might be", ("let's look, it could / should / would".)
• The communicative world is largely driven by a preserving attitude. That's why it is difficult to push forward innovations, courage, progress and paramount thinking and action.
What can we learn from this as a communication professional?
• We urgently need to accept the communication of today and tomorrow. Nothing exists. Action and reaction coincide. Everything is open, everything is possible until the end. We live in the non-predictable click society.
• Statements, conjectures, emotional attacks or slander always beat a well-researched lecture. Today, all Internet users are politicians, opinion makers, media makers, stakeholders. We can not escape the swarm-intelligence of the internet. We have to derive strategies from this knowledge.
• Politicians, the so-called communications experts and spin doctors with the security of the mainstream and the relevant media pass the ball to each other. The defenders of such a nice comfort zone must finally rethink their strategy, otherwise they will be history.
• Google / Facebook / Snapchat / Netflix / Amazon / ..., are the real winners of choice. They are chancellors, foreign ministers, economy ministers, defense ministers, marketing managers in one. We must understand that.
• Today everyone is opinion maker and broadcaster. And finally, it is time to develop the counter-concept. That is why the populists today have such a great opportunity that we need to prevent
• Communication means, first of all, one thing: understand-understand-understand the other.
• Speaking of preparation: 50% of a successful interactive and meaningful communication is a professional preparation.
• Deductions of any kind are out of place: nothing is comparable. Just understand communication: putting ourselves in one another’s position with high empathy. Towards the other. Towards other cultures. Towards other levels of understanding. But please do not filter by your own lens before sending.
We have forgotten to understand, accept and act on diversity.
We need to talk to each other.
We live in separate worlds. On the countryside in Brandenburg/Germany, in South-Dacota or Greece. In some regions there are hardly any people with a migration biography. In big cities, diversity of biographies and life concepts is entirely common. But still: most people live in homogenous milieus.
So, we basically live among our own. And since in public many people collectively lower their heads and fix their eyes on the mobile phone, they don’t even leave their own reality on the train or on a city stroll.
But if I do not have any exchange with other Lebenswirklichkeiten (life realities), neither in terms of content nor in reality, it becomes much harder to understand motives, to accept other opinions. They appear so absurd from one’s own point of view that the other must be stupid. Otherwise, he or she could not think that way.
We have forgotten how to approach each other.
We have forgotten how to perceive each other, to take each other seriously, to listen to each other.