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Tag Archives: improve 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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communication-in-4-colors-insights-discovery

Do you ever wonder why a certain co-worker is so quiet? Or why another co-worker always wants to work in teams? Or why another won’t make a decision until everyone’s voice has been heard?

Assessment tests, such as Insights® Discovery, can unearth the mysteries behind your co-workers’ communication tendencies. Insights® is a science-based personality test designed to help you gain a better understanding of your own and others’ behaviors, tendencies, and perspectives. As an Insights® Licensed Practitioner, I have introduced many teams to Insights® and have witnessed improved communication, better leadership, and greater team cohesion and empathy.

One of the things I like best about Insights® is its approachable model, broken down into four main color energies (blue, red, yellow, and green). The idea behind the model is that everyone has the capacity to exhibit and embrace all four distinct personality types, but we all tend to lead with or prefer a certain personality type. Here is a brief overview of each color/personality type. Which one do you immediately identify with?

4-colors-good-day

RED: Those who lead with red energy tend to be assertive, bold, and to-the-point. They are natural leaders and love to take charge and make quick decisions.

YELLOW: Yellows are bright, sunshiney, and social. They love working in teams, brainstorming ideas, and connecting with new people.

GREEN: People with a strong green tendency are typically empathetic and inclusive. Above all, they care about the happiness of their team members and want to make sure all voices are heard.

BLUE: Blues are data-driven, analytical, and contemplative. They like to mull over an issue and consider all angles before making a decision.

Now that you know a little bit about each color energy, let’s hone in on communication. Each group of people–reds, yellows, blues, and greens–has a different communication preference. The image below outlines how best to approach those who lead with a certain color energy:

Insights Discovery communication preferences

Yellow: Involve me.  Green: Show me you care.  Red: Be brief, be bright, be gone.  Blue: Give me details.

If you have a good hunch about someone’s leading color, take the time to stand in their shoes and consider how they might prefer to communicate. Should you be brief and bright with them (red)? Should you take the time to be social and ask about their family or weekend (yellow)? Should you ask about their emotional reaction toward a project (green)? Should you present them with a complete set of data and analysis (blue)?

 

This, of course, is just the tip of the Insights® Discovery iceberg. For more information on Insights®, or to find out how to acquire an assessment kit for your team, please contact me today.


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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UXL personal branding

Your personal brand is more than your company logo or the colors you choose for your website. Your personal brand is, to put it simply, you. How you act, what you say, how you dress, and how you address others all contributes to your personal brand. It’s what you’re showcasing to the world and, consequently, how others see you.

No empire is built overnight, just as no brand is transformed in a day. It takes time to build a reputation around yourself that others will respect.  But you CAN get started today by writing down some of the key goals you have for your personal brand and how you will go about achieving those goals. Start by thinking about a few key things:

  1. Your brand should be consistent.

If you want to make yourself known as the reliable, go-to person for any project, then be reliable! If you want to be known as the employee who goes out of their way to include others, then focus on being inclusive! Don’t try to fake it and be something you’re not, but DO try to capitalize on your assets and be consistent with your behaviors. And remember: the office pool can be quite small. If you act one way with one group of people and act completely different with others, that behavior will be noticed…and that’s frankly not the kind of attention you want.

  1. Review your daily activities.

Do your day-to-day activities support your personal brand? If you’re trying to promote your writing skills, but are constantly working on research projects or editing, then you’re not being true to yourself or your abilities and it’s probably time to reevaluate your daily work. Talk to a manager about getting more writing projects or volunteer for additional writing opportunities (like the monthly company newsletter).

Or maybe your goal is to rise to a leadership position. Think about your typical daily to-do list and ask yourself if your activities are contributing to the bigger picture. If not, how can you go about changing them?

  1. Stay rooted.

Yes, personal brands evolve. You might change your career goals or you might even switch positions within the company. That doesn’t mean your personal brand should be scrapped and you should start from scratch. Stay true to who you are and never lose sight of that. You might consider saying an affirmation to yourself every morning like, “I am a positive, optimistic person who always gets things done on time” or “I enjoy working with customers and go out of my way to make them happy.”

The best way to start working on improving or honing your personal brand is to have a plan. Do not approach it haphazardly and let others decide how they see you. YOU decide how you’d like to be seen. YOU have the power to build a strong, respected personal brand, brick-by-brick.

Need help getting started? Contact me today for guidance with strategic career planning.

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