“Now more than ever.”
Now more than ever. Is it just me, or do you too keep hearing those words?
This week I’m sharing 5 UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES that we have during this pandemic to focus on our COMMUNICATION SKILLS. Now more than ever, we have a great opportunity. And I’m not just talking our Zoom skills. Are you ready?
Let’s do this!
1️⃣ STOP INTERRUPTING
Now more than ever, thank goodness for Zoom (and other video-conference platforms) during this time, right? In addition to enabling our communication, video-conferencing also shines a light on our communication skills:
- Have you witnessed people monopolizing the Zoom call, and others rolling their eyes?!? ? Video-conferencing can help us with SELF-AWARENESS and reading others’ facial expressions and body language.
- Have you noticed it’s almost impossible to INTERRUPT in Zoom calls, since no one can hear anything when >2 people talk?
image: Unsplash @iamfelicia
Now more than ever, we’re RAISING OUR HANDS (physically or virtually) and waiting our turn. Hopefully we’re all becoming better listeners – even beyond the Zoom calls!
Speaking of interruptions, in last week’s podcast, parenting coach KIMBERLEY ACRES encouraged us to ask our teens for permission before engaging in important conversations (“Can we talk about what happened last night and why you came home at 2:30am?” ?) I love ❤️this point about asking permission to enter a discussion.
When we call people on the phone, it’s always good manners to ask, “Do you have a few minutes to talk?” Perhaps we should extrapolate this practice of ASKING PERMISSION beyond the phone call?
Now more than ever, it’s important t to RESPECT others’ time and space. One way to do so is to ASK PERMISSION before interrupting.
In my house we have two working adults and 3 kids who are doing online school. So we have a NEW RULE: Always ask permission before interrupting someone’s workflow or school work (or Netflix!). I hope this habit persists beyond Covid!
Now more than ever, you’ve probably noticed that people are making an effort to CONNECT, checking-in with each other via texts, Zoom-calls, or whatever.
Now more than ever, we can use this experience as a CATALYST to network one-on-one with a colleague, a mentor, or even a prospective customer or client!
- Networking is not just for when you’re looking for a job. It’s a life-long endeavour.
- Networking is two-way. That means that you need to offer value (e.g. industry insight, expertise, access to a connection). The biggest networking mistake people make is not offering anything in exchange. Selfish networking doesn’t work!
What value can you offer?
Who’s that person with whom you’ve wanted to connect?
3️⃣ TALK ABOUT NEGATIVITY & MENTAL HEALTH
Now more than ever, the news is particularly dark and negative, isn’t it? And if you engage in social media, there’s a lot of negativity and sarcasm. (Yes, some hilarious jokes too – thank goodness!)
image: Unsplash @jontyson
In a previous podcast episode, H.R. expert TAMARA FINLAY shared advice for dealing with NEGATIVITY, including the S.C.A.R.F. acronym. When we believe that any of these are under threat, it can adversely affect our mood and behaviour:
- Status – dignity, prominence
- Certainty – predictability
- Autonomy – independence
- Relatedness – connection with other people
- Fairness – treated justly and equitably
Yikes! Each of these things is threatened to some extent in a pandemic and with physical distancing. No wonder we’re feeling down…
Now more than ever, we need to give ourselves – and each other – a break!
Nicole German, founder of The Maddie Project, shares valuable mental health advice. As Nicole says, “Mental health is like nutrition, we should wake up and think about it every day.” She encourages us to have open dialogues about mental health, normalizing it. If someone you know is depressed or suffering from poor mental health, you need to step up in terms of empathy and advocacy.
4️⃣ UP YOUR MEDIA SAVVY
Of our many choices, we should be conscious of which communication media is ideal for our communication. With face-to-face (I.R.L.) on hold for now, consider the pro’s and con’s of our options:
- ✔️Two-way real-time dialogue, body language and tone-of-voice evident, remotely accessible.
- ? Needs to be same time.
- ✔️Can hear tone of voice, two-way real-time dialogue, ideal for one-on-one.
- ? No body language, not archivable, needs to be same time.
EMAIL & TEXT
- ✔️Can access & reply when convenient, fast and easy, archivable, easy to search keywords, easy to edit
- ? One-way, no body language or tone of voice, difficult to confirm if message received, challenging to develop new relationships
So there are media TECHNOLOGIES and then there’s media HYGIENE.
When I interviewed Dr. Joshua Tepper (CEO of North York General Hospital), he impressed me with his MEDIA HYGIENE. He talked about how he searches news from different perspectives – beyond CNN vs. Fox! (I wonder if he still has time for this now that he’s leading his hospital through a pandemic?)
Now more than ever, we should all practice media hygiene. I’m not advocating more news, rather I’m advocating that we consciously curate our news. Consider international organizations such as the WHO, updates from municipal and federal governments, and from divergent news sources.
Now more than ever, our SELF-TALK is critical.
Wellness expert Tosca Reno suggests a MORNING RITUAL to help focus our mindset for the day. Before you turn on your phone, try journalling.
Personally, I’ve journaled on and off for decades. But since I interviewed Tosca, I’ve journaled regularly. Her advice is to “write openly,” take the pressure off and just write! That helps me a lot. I’ve also been recording events from the previous day, to create a personal Covid diary.
That reminds me of this question I heard recently:
do you want to tell yourself (& others)
about your COVID experience?”
It’s up to you to make that story come true!
I hope you find that inspiring. And I hope a few of the points in this blog resonate with you and help improve your communication skills.
Kimberley’s words, “Keep it light” have become my new mantra! (Thank you, Kimberley!)
Have a great week and Stay Safe!
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach
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