What ever happened to a genuine, head’s up, eyes forward, open hand outward, “happy-to-see you!” greeting and conversation?
Today my son and I watched a documentary of TED 2006. The TED conferences are full of interesting, smart, connected people. But, watching the attendees, that’s not what caught my attention. No, instead what struck me was the way people at TED 2006 were engaged in conversation. I mean really *engaged*. People looked each other in the eyes. They shared genuine laughs. They touched and connected. When a presenter presented, eyes, ears, and brains were on the presenter. Attendees were there, in the moment, enjoying and making the most of the shared experience.
Now, just six short years later, it’s all changed. Go to a conference today and you will still see people talking together and attending speaker sessions, of course. Yet they are not paying attention to one another. Instead they are looking down at their smart phone to catch and send the latest at-this-moment Tweet, “checking in”, reading email, or reviewing their schedule to find out what to do next.
Just stop it. Stop it now. Act like a real person who can have a fulfilling moment with other real people. Most preferably the people you are with. (If your online distraction is due in part because the people you are with at this moment are less inspirational, less interesting, or less fulfilling than your online world – then maybe you’re not with the right people).
We are no longer paying attention. We are distracted. We are missing out on the moment.