When my son, Ethan, was in sixth grade, he was invited to a birthday party. It wasn’t for one of his core group of friends, but he knew this kid pretty well from school and it was at a laser tag place, and this is during the age where as a parent you could drop them off at the beginning of the party and pick them up at the end. So it’s the end of the party, I walk into the room where they’ve had pizza and cake and the birthday kid has opened his gifts, and I see Ethan sitting over at a table by himself.
On the car ride home, I asked Ethan, “Hey, tell me about the party.” He says, “Oh, it was awesome, mom! I was so great at laser tag, and this happened,” and he’s going on and on, it’s fantastic. I then asked, “Hey, I saw that you were sitting at a table by yourself. Tell me about that.” Well, he says, I was sitting at the table with all the kids, but they were texting each other, so I decided to move over there.
Well, this is during a time in sixth grade when Ethan had not asked for a cell phone, could care less about a cell phone, so he didn’t have a cell phone – but apparently all of the other kids at the party had one, and they were texting each other while they were sitting next to one another. I shared with Ethan that it is absolutely important to understand and have good knowledge about technology, and have good knowledge in school and your academics.
But if all things are equal on that knowledge, there is one thing that is going to be the differentiator, the thing that is going to separate you from everyone else – and that is your ability to communicate. Communication is at the foundation, it is absolutely that foundational piece that creates the trifecta for what elite performers need.
Elite performers have to have that ability for high emotional intelligence, that high EQ, to be able to master their emotions. High elite performers need to be able to have these interpersonal skills. Again, even with artificial intelligence and technology here, the ability to interact with others. And then finally, that human relationship; being able to establish and cultivate human relations. These are the differentiators. This is the trifecta of what makes an elite performer, and it all begins with that foundation of communication.
So I challenge you, if you are looking to accelerate, to be an even greater elite performer than you already are today, where are you at on that spectrum in terms of communication? What do you look like in terms of your emotional intelligence? Do you have that ability for interpersonal skills? Are you able to cultivate human relations?
We are seeing right now that there is a need at companies and organizations, especially as the next generation is entering the workforce, where they were completely sheltered with technology alone for all learning and interaction, there is now a need for pure basics of etiquette training. How to have appropriate social conversations or maintain appropriate eye contact.
So where are we in that regard? If we want to reach that elite performance, it’s got to start with the basics of communication before we start looking at the technology, for you to reach the next level.