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Showing posts from 2017

Greetings! A Simple Act of Respect

Maybe you're not a morning person.  Maybe you're deep in thought about what's ahead and not attuned to your surroundings.  Maybe it wasn't something that was important to do around your house when you were growing up.  But greeting people when you first see them each day is a show of respect.  It says to an individual that you "see" them--meaning you acknowledge their presence, that they exist, and that they are important enough to address.

     This issue comes up regularly when I am conducting internal customer service and self-awareness training sessions.  For many, saying hello to a colleague first thing in the morning isn't a big thing.  But for others, it's everything.  Those who believe it matters are usually offended by the dismissive response they get from a coworker who walks through the office and passes their office or desk and never looks in their direction.  They are particularly irritated when they offer a greeting first and the ot…

10 Reasons Why Morale May Be Low in Your Office

How to Listen Without Judgment

Choosing to listen while in a conversation is not a passive effort.  Making the choice is an action that is thoughtful and vital to the life of that communication.  To listen well requires concentration.  It requires tuning in and removing distractions that compete for the listener's attention.  As much as we know this, it is difficult to do.  Many of the distractions that cause us to tune in and out several times in a given conversation come from within our own minds.  We have this constant murmur of chatter going on underneath the discussion in which we're engaged.  While someone is speaking, we're responding to their comments silently; formulating opinions in our minds that we can't wait to share.  We're not totally listening; we're just waiting to reply.  Even worse, in some cases, we're not even permitting the speaker to finish their thought.  We interrupt with our often not-so-well-thought-out opinions.
     Of course not every conversation requ…

Why Controversial Discussions on Social Media Don't Work

We've all seen heated discussions on social media regarding everything from political views to personal attacks when someone feels they've been wronged.  Notwithstanding the trolls whose main intent is to get a rise out of people by spewing hate, we should keep in mind that the idea behind social media is to be just that--social.  Anything outside of that is antisocial.  Here's why:
     First, social media is about connecting to other people.  It's about building and strengthening relationships through shared opinions, interests, and friendships.  Even when "friends" don't share the same views, this medium is not designed to drive a wedge between them.  When you see this occurring, don't participate.  You're misusing the medium.  Healthy debate where no one gets "unfriended" is fine.  Arguing is not.  Be considerate though, and try not to post anything that would offend others.
     Second, social media is not a place to have a le…

Unwholesome Talk

Christians who read their Bibles know that foul language, filthy talk, and all manner of negative statements that tear down another person are frowned upon as indicated in the Scriptures.  In fact, in the book of Ephesians, the limits are clearly stated by the apostle Paul regarding what should and should not be said.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen...Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  (4:29, 31)
     Whether you're Christian or not, using profanity (especially excessively) is both unprofessional in the workplace and possibly offensive in social settings.  Because people won't always tell you directly that they're bothered by coarse language, you may think it is acceptable …

Speaking Up: A Lesson From "Hidden Figures"

When I saw the movie "Hidden Figures", my first thought was that every student should go see it for all of its inspiring lessons in math, science, and history.  But there was another inspiring lesson that should not be missed and could make all the difference in an individual's success--effective and powerful communications.  Throughout the movie we see women of color speaking up when it counted.  Asking for promotions, stepping in for one another when they felt wronged, and demanding to be "in the room" so they could perform their jobs accurately.  Though the movie highlights the phenomenal math skills of three black women who made a significant contribution to our nation's history at a time of heightened racism and sexism, language and communications were also pertinent skills they mastered.  Communications is an essential skill for success today as well.  Beyond science, numbers, calculations, and historical context, the women speak up and out when…

BLIND SPOT: When Your Conversation Is Negative

Jasmine sat at the restaurant table anxiously awaiting her blind date.  She had been set up by her cousin Ava with Ava's coworker Jason.  Ava had described him as a guy who was smart, hard-working, and fun.  Jasmine had grown weary of the dating scene since most of the guys she'd gone out with lately were shallow and boring.  She was looking for a fresh approach and interesting conversation.
     Jason walked up to her table and introduced himself with a smile.  She immediately felt his warmth and thought this one might actually go better than all the rest.  The conversation started easily enough, but Ava felt a shift in the energy between them after about 15 minutes.  She couldn't figure it out, but she felt Jason cool down a bit.  Eventually the conversation became stilted, and Jason seemed disengaged.  Finally he asked her a tough question.
     "Do you like yourself?"  Jasmine was stunned.
     "What do you mean?" she asked.
     "Well, yo…