Monday, June 26, 2006

The Value of Talk

I started thinking out the flow of another great poem that I promised myself I'd write in order to update things here on Writings of Faith, but after a hearty mid-day sleep to recuperate after a long night shift and an even longer weekend trekking up north to a cottage where I got in a pig roast, swimming and even some remote control airplane-flying (until it flew into the trees) the damn thing has entirely slipped out of my mind.

So instead, lets discuss the first article I fell upon after my awakening: why first impressions really add up and the spontaneous insight I can draw from it to my current life. I actually think it is a bad article. I have nothing to do with IT recruitment, but although the idea that first impressions matter is not a new one, it is nevertheless an important reminder of the fact that "you only have one chance to make a first impression."

Although my new job is getting better now as its comprehensibility increases and its manifestation of insanity wanes, I'm interested in finding out what the result of my other interviews and tests are and pushing things further. In the job market, I have to say it is disappointing how little individual candidates seem to matter in the grand scheme of things. I am left with an unfairly negative impression of companies that don't get back to me about the status of my application. Then I feel like a badger contacting them a week or two later.

I wonder if there's anything I can do beyond writing pointed cover letters and sending my resume out in a blitzkreig. Networking! In the new job itself, the relevance of impressions increases as I hone my Customer Service skill. While I'm in this position, I might as well learn how to make things fresh and never get sucked into feeling that relations are a mindless routine. I have to remember never to let down my guard (or to always have it open) and always welcome guests instantaneously. This morning for example, I greatly improved the pleasure of my own shift by simply asking some folks where they were from. As a result, I got a chance to practice my French since they were from Montreal. They were pleased that I was fluent and I was pleased that they were pleased.

The article mostly talks about what the interviewer can do to ease the candidate into conversation but after driving alone this weekend for so many hours, listening to Rex Murphy and others interview people on the CBC radio, getting a few recommendations of books such as Dessert Queen, a book about the first queen of modern day Iraq and Incendiary by Chris Cleave from Cross-Country Check-up, I've gained a new found interest in dissecting conversation because it is not the titles of these books alone that matters, it is the reason they were chosen that is interesting. To me Rex is an example of someone who is ultra-conscious of his own communication. He is very precise. Some annoying callers kept trying to go on and on about several books and flatter Rex about how much they liked his show, taking up his time and forcing him to wrap things up prematurely. He dealt with them politely and let them off the line as softly as possible but it was funny and surprising to see that when people have the opportunity to make an impression to so many listeners, they choose to act like tools.

Is there ever a point at which a conversation can become too mechanical? I've been feeling a little detached lately not being able to talk to any of my friends because while they are awake, I am sleeping. A side-thought is that perhaps I need to meet more people so that I have a vaster human bank to draw from at any time during the day. I need to meet more vampires. It has occured to me though as well that perhaps I just need to initiate socializing with a little bit of a sharper edge with those I already know. Do I already really know them? You can always ask people about themselves. Questions are the breeding ground for information and I think people are like rocks that you forget to turn over sometimes -underneath lies so many surprises! So I flirted with the idea of starting to compile generic interview questions that can be applied during any encouter with a stranger or friend. You don't want to scare people off, which is why it is important to remember the value of both small talk and big ideas but I think that getting people to open up and converse is such an enjoyable human past-time.

We cannot take it for granted.

So, Question: Is there ever a point at which a conversation can become too mechanical?

Exercise: Think of someone you admire or would like to speak with (it could be someone you already know, a historical character or a celebrity) and compile a list of questions you would like them to answer.


Blogger Queen of Ass said...

yes, conversations can become too mechanical. That's usually when it's time to end them.

Hope you're doing okay, Sugar! Stop by sometime and say hi!

8:57 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is there ever a point at which a conversation can become too mechanical?"

^ Welcome to every conversation in the business world. I avoid the business world.

8:51 p.m.  
Blogger madamerouge said...

I have always found a correlation between my level of depression and the mechanical nature of the conversations I find myself in.

8:29 p.m.  
Anonymous Adorable Girlfriend said...

The only time I think it's mechanical is when people speak of the weather, just to speak of it to break the ice.

8:34 p.m.  
Blogger Prmod Bafna said...

Hmmm majority of the business world is full of such conversations.. its freaky how people go on and on inspite of that.. to think i might as well be one of them soon is a dreadful thought!

6:53 a.m.  

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