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Tag Archives: better communication

man distracted by cell phone

Technology can be a wonderful thing. It helps us connect people from across the country (or world) through a video conference or virtual chat. It allows us to easily create charts and map out data. It allows us to better serve our customers.

But there is a dark side to technology. It’s the side that affects our everyday interactions with people—the side that completely sucks us in and tethers us to our devices.

Have you ever walked into a restaurant and noticed friends, couples, or even entire families absorbed in their smart phones? Or noticed people out for a walk, with their heads buried in their devices?

Are you guilty of this too? Do you catch yourself shooting your co-worker an email when you could just walk to her office and ask a quick question? Do you find yourself flipping through social media or the news or weather instead of engaging those around you in conversation?

Yes, technology does great things, but it’s also killing our communication skills. According to MIT sociologist Sherry Turkle, author of the book Reclaiming Conversation, our deep absorption in our devices has caused us to lose our ability to have deeper, more spontaneous conversations with others. We begin to lose our capacity for “empathy, introspection, creativity, and intimacy.”[1]

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I think about the implications this has for our relationships. Are our conversations lacking the depth they used to have? Are we missing opportunities to look others in the eye and truly connect with them?

Looking at it from another angle, are we missing opportunities at work because we’ve greatly reduced the number of face-to-face interactions we have with others? Sherry Turkle says YES. She points to many studies that indicate that when people are allowed to talk to each other, they do better—they’re more collaborative, they’re more creative, they get more done.

And what about networking? I’ve talked with many people who say that the younger generation has difficulty with face-to-face networking. It’s a skill that doesn’t come easily for them because so many of their interactions are digital. That’s troubling because, according to Hubspot, 85% of people say they build stronger, more meaningful business relationships during in-person business meetings and conferences.

Face-to-face still matters!

It’s time we stop multi-tasking, set our cell phones aside, and rediscover meaningful conversation with others. Our relationships—both personal and professional—will be better for it.

[1] Suttie, J. (December 7, 2015). How Smartphones Are Killing Conversation. The Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_smartphones_are_killing_conversation. Accessed 12/19/16.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Admit when you don't know

You can’t possibly know it all. Even if you’re an expert in a certain area, there will inevitably be times when you don’t know the answer. That’s OKAY.

In our modern, information-at-our-fingertips world, we might feel pressured to know anything and everything. Think about all the content you consume on a daily basis, whether through television, social media, news articles, surfing the web, or face-to-face interactions. The amount of data we’re exposed to on a regular basis is overwhelming and can also lead to unrealistic expectations from others. “Didn’t you see that article,” someone might say. Or “didn’t you hear about x, y, and z?”

It takes courage to admit when you don’t know something, but it’s much better than faking your way through a conversation. The next time someone quizzes you about a news story you haven’t read or a social media trend you haven’t heard of, speak up. Let her know that you don’t know enough about the topic to form an opinion, but you would like to hear her thoughts on it. Then, listen. Learn.

In a different context, think about job interviews. If the interviewer asks you a straightforward question such as, “Do you know how to use Adobe Photoshop,” don’t fudge your answer. Be forthright with your response. For example: “No, I’ve never used Adobe Photoshop, but I have experience with other design programs, such as Inkscape. I’ve found that I am a quick learner and pick up on new systems quickly. I am also not afraid of technology and would be happy to take a class on Adobe Photoshop if I am hired.”

This response not only shows a willingness to learn, it also conveys honesty and transparency. These are traits that companies often look for in job candidates.

Furthermore, if you admit that you don’t know something (to yourself and others), this opens up an opportunity to learn and grow. Explore the unknown subject and add something new to your knowledge bank.

Remember, you CAN’T know it all. It’s fine to admit to others when you don’t have the answer. This isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of integrity and candor.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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A couple months ago, I spent some time teaching the basic principles of Insights® Discovery to some people in a nonprofit leadership program. If you’re not familiar with Insights® Discovery, it’s essentially a program that helps people understand themselves better and, by extension, understand others. Insights® generally helps improve communication, team dynamics, self-confidence, and leadership.

I’ve seen some amazing transformations with inter-person communication and understanding in many organizations, including the nonprofit leadership program I mentioned earlier. When I went to their “graduation party” this past week, I was stunned. The 30 or so individuals that I coached had markedly improved their communication and teamwork and they attributed it to Insights®. In fact, the entire room was decorated with the four Insights® colors (which represent the four distinct “color energies”–more on that HERE).

When the presentation started, many references were made to Insights® and how it has helped their team work together harmoniously to achieve great things. Now, THAT is what every Insights® Licensed Practitioner (like myself) likes to hear!

Could your workplace use a little more cohesiveness and communication? It could be that Insights® Discovery is just the ticket! Let’s talk.

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Three benefits that Insights Discovery brings

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Gift bags in the color of each person’s leading color energy

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Insights-themed masks

The group!

The group!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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