Jan 28 2014, 8:14pm CST | by Forbes
Take a look inside our heads to see how we’re hardwired for a face-to-face form of communication that we don’t practice enough anymore.
The Science of Human Contact
We’ve only been using words for a tiny fraction of our existence—and so words have a very limited impact on our ability to move people or connect with them. What has the maximum impact, in our careers and all our networks of relationships, is face-time–that intimate encounter in which we’re subconsciously mirroring and measuring one another. (And no, there’s no app for that, and you can’t get the same effect with your iPhone’s Facetime app.)
Modern humans have been around for about 200,000 years. But they didn’t just one day arise from a clamshell off the coast of Cythera. We arose with all the wiring of animal ancestors that lived at a more primal level. And we share no less than 98% of our DNA with our chimpanzee and gorilla cousins, who other than Koko still seem to have little use for words.
We developed spoken language perhaps as far back as 100,000 years ago, but maybe as recently as only 10,000 years ago. Phoenicians developed the first alphabet only about 4,200 years ago. (The first typo arose about 4,199 years ago and it’s all been downhill since then, according to some reports).
So reading and reacting to printed words is something that the human organism has done for just the tiniest fraction of its history. It’s a far less impactful form of communication than those looks and gestures and subtly raised eyebrows that our ancestors used as their mother tongue for hundreds of thousands of year.
So in a sense, we’re now just cavemen in power suits. That is our hard-wiring. And we still act the part in most cases.
The Hormonal Shortcomings of Your LinkedIn Profile
Oxytocin is a hormone that’s essential in building trust and loyalty among humans. It’s not generated in major ways by emails or tweets, and certainly not through LinkedIn Profiles. It famously connects mother and infant during breastfeeding as they exchange glances.
Psychologists say that close scrutiny of videos of infants reveals that our first acts as human beings, within moments of our birth, is to attempt to mimic expressions of a parent. This is part and parcel of a survival process.
And it doesn’t go away once we learn to send texts or emails. In terms of human nature hasn’t gone through enough changes in the brief history of language to be markedly different from chimpanzee nature.
For smart storytellers and entrepreneurs, this should mean everything.
Someday, we’ll be able to get premium LinkedIn accounts that will allow us to squirt out oxytocin or some wickedly seductive pheromone to our 500+ contacts, ensuring that we’ll have more job options that we can count.
But right now, there’s quite literally no app for that. So we need to building face-to-face contacts as the foundation of a career and a life.
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Source: Forbes Business
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