Hello Dr. Berry,
This is very interesting. PBS had aired a similar program on the effects of a high tech society on interpersonal communication skills. It found a steadily increasing number of people coming into the workforce lack collaborative communication skills, being unable to be effective in an exchange of ideas.
I wonder at some point if higher education will have to incorporate basic communication.
I love seeing things like this because it reaffirms the need for programs like the SMART Team program in high schools. We spend a significant amount of time developing communication skills, both written and oral, as well team work and collaborative skills. On the job training can develop specific career-related skills, but those so called "soft skills" are just as important and need to be developed just as intentionally as the hard skills.
For people who would like to learn more about the "soft skills" and ways to enhance their "emotional intelligence", we have several books in the library about how to relate to and communicate with others.
- Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
- Emotional Intelligence and Projects by Nicholas Clarke
- Emotional Intelligence Edge by Steven J. Stein
- Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers: The People Skills You Need to Achieve Outstanding Results by Anthony C. Mersino.
- Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success: Connect with Customers and Get Results by Colleen Stanley
- Interpersonal Communication: A Relational Perspective by Ben W. Morse
- Interpersonal Communication: A Goals-Based Approach by Daniel J. Canary
- Interpersonal Communication Skills in the Workplace by Perry McIntosh
- ...and many more.
This sums up the problem at almost every major tipping point in world history. Our country is facing a crossroads. The gridlock permeates every level of the government from the Washington to local politics. The failure to communicate effectively and honestly has almost always resulted in disaster. Take the Mexican American War: When a conflict over the Nueces Strip in 1836 led to an incredible loss of life on both sides because the Americans forged the river (onto Mexican soil) and the Mexcian army opened fire on the unprepared soldiers. The lack of Communication was incredibly evident and although Mexico in the 1830s had a repressive caste system, starting a war over something as stupid as a garrison's border crossing underscores the incredible need to communicate. The corruption of the Mexican government allowed this tragedy to happen and the power hungry American government enacted this action. I think history is incredibly important for high school students to learn because it shows that deep down inside all humans are the same, and when communication is established then a lot of disasters can be avoided. In the end the people who suffer are the common folk, the American grunts and the Mexican grunts. Neither side gained much from the War and one of the main reasons the land was so valuable was for Southern States to expand thier slave empire. We're supposed to be a nation and a world of small buisiness owners, but with the failure to communicate we turn back to 1836.
Yep! This is a big deal and becoming a bigger problem. We constantly hear from our alumni and corporate partners when we make visits that the ability to communicate is one of the challenges they face when hiring young professionals. I truly believe, as leaders in higher education, it is on us to help and encourage students to have the experiences they need while in college to learn these things. But it still leads us to ask a bigger question....why is this such a big problem?