A Note From Lyn Brown, President, CPRS Edmonton

Relationships in an age of distractions

In Cupid’s month, it’s fitting to consider how relationships enrich our lives at work, home, play, and increasingly in our social media circles. It’s also timely to consider whether the myriad digital channels on our dashboard make us better communicators and public relations professionals. Or does the incessant pull to stay on top of the chatter create a distraction trap, as author Margaret Wheatley describes?

“We are becoming more restless, more impatient, more demanding, and more insatiable, even as we become more connected and creative,” Wheatley observes. Flitting restlessly from topic to forum to meme, we are becoming “self-manufactured people driven apart by rigid opinions and lonely for acceptance.”

What an amazing challenge and opportunity this presents to those in our vocation. Communicators have always been skilled dot connectors and we now have a seemingly infinite number of dots to connect.  

The proliferation of “interruption technologies” at our fingertips and within reach of our voice commands creates a lot of connective tissue. The Achilles heel, however, is this also makes it easier to text or email a colleague than to “talk it through” in person. Asymmetrical communication is abundant, masquerading as two-way communication thanks to online polls and livestream media.

To navigate current space and time well takes strong interpersonal communication capacities – critical thinking, sense-making, empathy. We need to restore and build discipline and regard for the art and science of active listening and deeper conversation.

That’s why as we look ahead to what a purposeful future for CPRS Edmonton involves, we’re deliberately setting aside new tech in favour of old tech conversation circles. 

We held our first one on February 20 and we’ll hold another March 19, 3:30 to 5 p.m., at Alberta Innovates, Edmonton Research Park (250 Karl Clarke Road) in south Edmonton, and there are other conversation circles being planned. I invite you to take part in this journey of connection.

If you have questions or comments, or would like to RSVP to the conversation circles, I’m at president@cprsedmonton.ca. You can also reach out and talk with anyone on our board.

Onward and upward, Lyn

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