In an age where my thumbs are regularly fatigued from the amount of texting, instant messaging, emailing, and snapchatting I do, it’s reassuring to know that my voice still matters. The following five videos truly inspired me to pick up the phone the next time I want to talk to someone; hopefully you will feel the same way.
Whether in person or over the phone, Julian provides tremendous insight into the power of the human voice. I guarantee you’ll learn some vocal tricks from this talk to use the next time you want to solve a conflict, or ask for a raise.
“The human voice: It’s the instrument we all play. It’s the most powerful sound in the world, probably. It’s the only one that can start a war or say ‘I love you.’ And yet many people have the experience that when they speak, people don’t listen to them. And why is that? How can we speak powerfully to make a change in the world?”
We like to think of the phone as a means of communicating thoughts and feelings, but what if it could also communicate a medical diagnosis? A test for Parkinson’s currently takes 20 minutes with the neurologist and costs several hundred dollars. Max Little, an applied mathematician, has created a test to diagnose Parkinson’s through a 30 second phone call. Did I mention that it’s 99% accurate?
“But frustratingly, with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, there are no biomarkers, so there’s no simple blood test that you can do, and the best that we have is like this 20-minute neurologist test. You have to go to the clinic to do it. It’s very, very costly, and that means that, outside the clinical trials, it’s just never done. It’s never done.”
Fifteen years ago, the workplace was a space where people had practically no communication with their loved ones. Without the widespread use of cellphones, there were few options for connecting with your “private sphere” in an office where people had to call through operators, or wait for a turn at the pay phone.
“The first gentleman, he’s a baker. And so he starts working every morning at four o’clock in the morning. And around eight o’clock he sort of sneaks away from his oven, cleans the flour from his hands and calls his wife. He just wants to wish her a good day, because that’s the start of her day.”
With all this focus on vocal communication, it’s also very important to be a good listener. My main takeaway from this presentation is that it’s crucial to ask questions when engaging in a conversation. Questions will also help you retain more information, above and beyond the 25% that humans typically remember.
“This is a serious problem that we’re losing our listening. This is not trivial. Because listening is our access to understanding. Conscious listening always creates understanding. And only without conscious listening can these things happen — a world where we don’t listen to each other at all, is a very scary place indeed.”
“Would you like to come up and see my etchings?”
Written in a text message, someone might actually think there are beautiful etchings in your apartment. But there is so much more to language than what can be expressed on paper. When Steven Pinker says this line, you’ll know that this is much more than an invitation to see some etchings.
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