USA Today’s article, “Technology Leaves Teens Speechless,” highlights the decreasing oral communication skills of many young people who spend hours text messaging or chatting online instead of actually talking to others. It’s taking a toll in verbal skills. For example, in job interviews many young applicants can’t give thoughtful responses to questions. Employers are noticing. I’m noticing, too.
Fortunately, many active LDS youth are given opportunities to develop their verbal skills by being asked to give short talks in Church. Given the technological speech impairment that many suffer from, perhaps these opportunities need to be more frequent. Perhaps more youth activities need to have some subtle or overt emphasis on verbal skills.
One thing is for sure: in Corporate America, the people who can’t talk well rapidly fall behind those who can. In most jobs, you can’t text message your way to success, though maintaining a network of business contacts can be extremely valuable. But the ability to talk face-to-face or the ability to give a speech or presentation before a group is vastly more valuable than your ability to chat online.