endless loop of phone answering centers with the not quite human voice keeps telling us
“to press star for more options” as we desperately try to connect with a real customer
service representative and then we are placed on hold and then hold again and again.
Often we get angry and have to call again, this also adds insult to injury. This supposedly
time saving transaction has just cost us 20 futile minutes and we are not pleased.
As we all know, an email or text message cannot replace a heart-to-heart, real-time, real-
space conversation with a colleague or friend. Freelancers, long in the adaptive mode,
learned to take the time to meet with friends in a coffee shop for human connection and
idea generation. The new emerging open offices allow independents to intersect with a
more interdependent, vibrant shared workspace.
A shared human moment requires something that is now in short demand and that is
energy, but we need it for precisely that reason because this face-to-face conversation has
the dual capacity to energize. Hallowell emphasizes:
Human moments require energy. Often, that’s what makes them easy to avoid. The
human moment may be seen as yet another tax on our overextended lives. But a
human moment doesn’t have to be emotionally draining or personally revealing. In
fact, the human moment can be brisk, businesslike, and brief. A five-minute
conversation can be a perfectly meaningful human moment. To make the human
moment work, you have to set aside what you’re doing, put down the memo you
were reading, disengage from your laptop, abandon your daydream, and focus on
the person you’re with. Usually when you do that, the other person will feel the
energy and respond in kind. Together, you quickly create a force field of exceptional
power. The positive effects of a human moment can last long after the people
involved have said goodbye and walked away. People begin to think in new and
creative ways; mental activity is stimulated. (Hallowell, p. 2008, p. 26)
As Hallowell suggests, these relational moments must occur on a regular basis to have a
lasting, positive, and invigorating effect in the workplace. Kate Farrell, a reality television
producer, has a knack for making her team feel comfortable and notes, “When I supervise
a team, I ask if they need anything. I feel I can tune into the person who has been left out.”
Kate mentioned how the small gesture of getting a Starbucks gift certificate was a simple
way to say thank you to a hard working employee. When this employee had a chance to
work on another popular reality show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, she decided to
continue on the show because Kate made her feel valued. The work improvisers in this
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