Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - The Leadership Conversation with Dr. Constance Goodwin

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I find myself wondering what the "active listening" skills will be like when today's "digital youth" enter the workforce. Their world moves at a jump-cut, multitasking pace. I watch my 16-year-old on the PC and he's dowloading music, carrying on multiple IM conversations with friends, occasionally playing the electric guitar in his lap, and watching the television out of the corner of his eye.

Look at a movie from the 70s (or earlier) and it will seem to move at a painfully slow pace. In the face of all this, we try to educate today's youth by making them sit still in front of a droning, semi-motivated "teacher." (No, not all teachers are like that... but some are.) If the kids can't pay attention, we medicate them into submissiveness. (Another soapbox for another time.) We don't dare ponder the possibility that the educational techniques we grew up with might not be very effective with the digital generation. (I keep imagining a hyper-fast PS2 or X-box game that teaches calculus.)

Getting back to the interview with Dr. Goodwin... she says: "Have you ever been in a conversation and found yourself counterpointing everything that is said." We've all done that, I'm afraid. Will tomorrow's leaders be able to pay enough attention to be truly active listeners?

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