Ever wondered why the US leads the way in PR, advertising and marketing?
And why it is that Americans pioneered the great communications breakthroughs of the past 100 years? Radio, TV, the Internet, smart devices, Google, Twitter, Facebook. The list goes on goes on and on.
One simple but rarely mentioned reason could be that Americans love to chat, and two events this past week illustrate this.
Jay Leno, the all American TV compere, retired last Thursday. I did not know much about Jay. His 22 years of TV never crossed the Pacific to Australia. Yet judging by the goodwill surrounding his farewell Jay was successful and popular. He could tell a joke and gently encourage his guests to share their stories with the rest of America. He made a career out of talking. In a country which invented the talk show host Jay leaves as one of the best.
A couple of days after Jay left TV, I met Jeff, someone else who enjoys a chat.
On Saturday my wife Barbara and I were visiting historic Wethersfield in Connecticut. We love the colonial architecture of New England which is so different from Australia. Walking down Wethersfield’s main street we ended at The Cove, a large frozen over section of the Connecticut River. Small groups huddled against the cold and were ice fishing.
I have never seen ice fishing so I ventured onto the ice to take a look. I came across Jeff who has fished The Cove for 30 years. After a brief introduction he showed off his equipment, displayed his skills and explained why ice fishing is his preferred way to spend a Saturday in winter. It was a free and easy (and for me an informative) exchange between two strangers.
Americans love talking. Whether it is watching Jay or talking to Jeff it is easy to be part of America’s conversations. The British are reserved, Parisians may demand you speak French and Australians often hold back until they know you better. By comparison Americans enthusiastically share their thoughts … and conversations in America are easy to find.
Wait in line at a grocery store and someone will start bantering about the weather, the price of eggs or why their team won or lost their last game. In a bar on any Main Street in America you stand beside a stranger and within minutes the two of you quickly work out your common connections through family, work or even going back to school days
Perhaps Americans are the most talkative when it comes to eating. Conversations start early and flow smoothly across the nation’s restaurants, cafes and diners. The waiter introduces himself or herself when you arrive and then patrols back and forth throughout the meal checking on your progress. Patrons who overhear a snippet of your conversation will chip in, offering directions, advising what sights you should see or proclaiming who should win in the upcoming Oscars.
We should all value that Americans love to chat. Perhaps their love of talk is the real reason the great communications technologies and disciplines of the past century all bear the stamp made in the USA.