Yesterday my blog was inspired by listening to an interview with writer and illustrator Judith Kerr and tonight I was fascinated by a documentary about the life of Tove Jansson who was the creator of the Moomins. She lived an amazing and varied life which had its downs as well as ups.
The two things have reminded me of how interested I am in people and their lives. It is easy for any of us to get focused on ourselves, our own lives and what is happening in them. Thinking about others is important and can tell us a lot about ourselves if we stop talking and start listening.
I have often wondered what sparked my interest in becoming a journalist; after all we have not had any journalists within the family before me. There must have been something that excited my young brain given that I was focused on going into the job before I had left primary school. I know that I was interested in people, what made them and how they lived their lives.
When I finally started as a reporter it was always the chance to meet ‘real’ people that made a good day for me. Hearing about their successes and failures, how they had achieved results and how they had shown vulnerability, was all inspiring to me. It was an even better day for me when I felt that through reporting the story I may have assisted or improved their lives.
For me all professional communicators really have to love people and their stories. I can’t see how you can get the maximum from the job if you don’t find people endlessly fascinating. If you are going to develop effective communication then you have to understand people and to do that you need to study people. Without this you are just talking at people rather than having a conversation.
This is probably why I find social media so addictive. It is a way to have those conversations all of the time and not just within the hours of work. At its best it can be a window on other people’s lives and can be incredibly revealing about their thoughts, motivation and priorities.
Perhaps we should all take some time to think about other people and look up from the inspection of our own lives.