Monthly Article Archives: February 2011

Choice and Input: We All Want Our Voices to Be HeardRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

My dear friend Sam Goldstein frequently travels to give seminars in the United States and abroad. He has told me about fascinating discussions he has had with passengers who sit next to him during flights. I also travel a great deal but have not had the many exciting dialogues in planes that Sam has experienced. Of course, there is an explanation for this state of affairs, not withstanding possible differences in our social skills capabilities. I am certain that Sam conveys verbally and/or nonverbally a message to his fellow passengers that he is receptive to engaging in a conversation. In contrast, I view travel time as an opportunity to catch up on professional activities, whether reading a book or writing an article. Shortly after boarding I will smile and say a quick hello to the person sitting next to me, but then I resort to a common technique used by many travelers to communicate the message “Privacy please. I want to get work done.” The technique is simple- I put on headphones and turn on my iPod. I tend to listen to soft music without lyrics to avoid being distracted as I read or write. Judging by the increasing number

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