President's Message: Real Communication Requires Effort, But Comes With Rewards

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 9/16/19 11:41 AM

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It’s gotten to the point in the past few weeks that I barely even sign on to my Instagram, Twitter, or other social media accounts. Time spent on those apps has decreased significantly.

It’s not because I don’t find some value there, but often I get the distinct impression when scrolling through my news feeds that many people have forgotten the fine art of reading and comprehension. I liken the experience of reading through a Twitter feed to being in a room full of people screaming at each other. There’s no talking, listening or understanding, just a cacophony of loud, irritating and irrational noise. (Might be a bit of a stretch, but I hope you see my point.)

And no, I’m not a total prude. I do understand there’s value in a variety of social media outlets. I am not blind to the fact that a great deal of good, educational, and timely information can come from online exchanges. What I take issue with is the ability for random, anonymous people to sling mud, vile insults and whatever else comes to mind, with virtually no filter.

I’d share an example or two, but I’m pretty sure if you’re reading this, then you have already seen this shameful display of “communication” on your own. I wish it weren’t so, but the examples are endless. It got so bad on my Facebook page during the last election I deleted just about all my friend lists, other than family or close personal friends. I didn’t see most of these “friends” more than once a decade (if that), and honestly, if I were such a good friend of theirs, I’d likely want to see them in person anyway. The negativity was just draining.

And that brings me to my real point… face-to-face, in-person communication, is still, hands-down, the best way to communicate with anyone. Period. It takes a bit more work, but the rewards are well worth it. Next-best is by phone because you can at least pick up cues from someone’s voice. Many forms of electronic communication take the emotion or feeling out of it. It strips the person receiving the communication of the personal nature of what’s being said. If someone is mad at me, I have no idea because it’s just words on a screen. If someone is pleased with me, same thing, unless they go out of their way to craft a very specific and heartfelt message. We rely so much on our social media interactions, email, and other electronic communication; sometimes I wonder if we’ve forgotten how to “really” talk and listen to each other.

That’s why our upcoming NASGW Expo and Annual Meeting is such an outstanding opportunity each year, and one many of our members look forward to with a lot of anticipation. Some can’t quite place a finger on why they so appreciate our show, but I know why… it’s because they’re not just some faceless words on a screen. It’s not just some random wordsmith in some random far-away city sharing things back and forth. It’s real people, doing real communication, in a real place without all the craziness of a crowd.

You don’t walk the floor and see people yelling back and forth at each other. You see in-depth dialogue and serious business conversations, of course, but you also see smiles, laughter, and people having a genuinely good time. It’s not an accident, and it’s why the NASGW show is so valuable.

The NASGW Expo has been, and hopefully always will be, a fantastic place to come together, to talk and to listen. To engage and to be engaged in conversations with friends who have the same goals in mind that you do – to succeed in the shooting sports business. The NASGW Expo is where business and friendships happen.

If you haven’t made plans to join us yet, it’s not too late. We would welcome any and everyone who has an interest or a stake in the 2-step shooting sports distribution channel. We’ve got a lot of great events planned once again. We’ll have a fantastic speaker at our Appreciation Dinner on Tuesday night, and we’ll have lots and lots of business and personal conversations taking place. I hope you’ll join us.

I can’t wait to see and talk to many of you in Orlando for the 2019 NASGW Expo and Annual Meeting. It will be here before you know it!

Until next time,

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Kenyon Gleason

NASGW President

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