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Communication

94 STASHED IDEAS

Science fiction often predicts the future, with most popular stories almost always having elements of fixing a society on the verge of decline, or which is already in a state of dystopia.

It is ultimately a positive genre, a portal in which we can see where our world may be headed, drawing from contemporary life, breakthroughs in medical and space science, technology and even history.

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Communication

Science fiction provides a window into the social and cultural dilemmas that characters have to tackle, like what is the culture of the alien species, or if robots have feelings.

Movies like I am Legend, or 2012 explore the controversial topics of today like industrialization, biological warfare, the environmental crisis and cyber-terrorism, pushing them into a future fantasy world that can examine the problem closely.

Hostile aliens rocked the world when the book The War Of The Worlds was adapted as a radio play.

Aliens, hostile or friendly, have always been the surest, most profitable route to success, as verified by pulp stories that were bought in American magazines in the last seven decades.

Many broad themes explore science-fiction thought experiments. These include the creation story (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), the fantastic voyage (Journey To The Center Of The Earth, or Star Trek), and the domestic science fiction story that we can relate to in our daily lives (E.T. The Extra Terrestrial)

Other genres include cyberpunk, popularized by the Matrix franchise, having stories related to the personal computers and internet revolution.

The Lure Of Science Fiction

Science Fiction, or Sci-Fi, which takes us into fantasy worlds with aliens, robots, spaceships, time machines, powerful superhumans and monsters, is an extremely appealing genre, due to its boundary-less escapist content.

It challenges existing assumptions and limitations, exploring questions that were never asked before, something which closer-to-reality fiction and non-fiction cannot do with ease.

Both laughter and fear are states of high arousal, common during intense emotions. A scream and a laugh are closely related and use the same emotional energy.

If a laughing person isn’t supposed to be laughing, or if the laugh is coming from a non-person, like a robot or a doll, there is a creepiness to it. Example: Alexa, the home virtual assistant from Amazon, started laughing out of the blue in many homes, terrifying families.

Laughter As A Scary Sound

Laughter, a positive, contagious and heartwarming expression can be scary sometimes. This phenomenon is due to our fears, which stem from a misalignment in what we see and what our expectations were.

If laughter sounds sinister, out of context or out of tune with what is happening (like a person laughing while seeing people dying in an accident) it sends a red flag to the mind, signalling that something is not right or that the person is not to be trusted.

Audio cues are pivotal to task success because we are able to listen fully to one's intonation, rhythm, tone, and many more speech cues that get us talking.

Videoconferencing reduces audio cue synchronicity which actually impairs the group's ability to take turns when speaking. Thus proving that audio calls are better if you want people to talk and be cooperative during your sessions or meetings.

A study done by researchers from Carnegie Mellong University found that videoconferencing hampers group collaboration, problem solving, and it can also reduce collective intelligence.

Moreorver, videoconferincing leads to a higher inequality when it comes to contributing to the conversation due to the disruption in vocal synchrony.

How to use the SEE-I method to explain, for example, what learning is.

  • State it: "Learning is the gaining of knowledge, understanding, or ability."
  • Elaborate: "In other words, learning is the process where a person gains specific knowledge, then internalises that knowledge by using it."
  • Exemplify: "For example, a child learns to ride a bike by being guided, practising, and falling before they master it."
  • Illustrate: "Learning is like a sponge absorbing water, yet it does not get saturated."
The SEE-I method for explaining ideas

We often find that we understand a topic but can't explain it to anyone. A simple method you could use to better understand and clearly communicate a concept is called SEE-I.

  • State it: Clearly state the idea in a single sentence or two.
  • Elaborate: Explain it further in your own words, using phrases like "in other words".
  • Exemplify: Give concrete examples and counter examples of the concept.
  • Illustrate: Provide a picture, diagram, metaphor or analogy of the idea.

DO:

  • Include everyone who participated in the project.
  • Try to consider using a survey to get everyone's perspective.
  • Use this as an opportunity to have everyone integrate what they have learned from the project.

DON'T:

  • Forget to reflect on the humps that happened during the project and discuss what could've been done better.

DO:

  • Schedule the meetings early, midway, and at the end of every project to provide in-depth feedback.
  • Don't be shy to bring in experts from other teams.
  • Set an official facilitator and set ground rules for the conversation.

DON'T:

  • Don't overcrowd the meeting. Less than seven is advised.
  • Don't set up a meeting for a finished project, unless there are revisions needed to be done.
  • Don't let the conversation get flooded by too many ideas, only list down those that are important.

DO:

  • Establish a set schedule for everyone in the team to participate for quick updates and feedback.
  • Ask the important questions like: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Is anything in your way?

DON'T:

  • Don't prolong the check ins. It isn't the time to discuss what would be discussed for a meeting.
  • Don't keep seated. Stand up, get on your feet and keep your body moving to get energy flowing.
The importance of giving feedback

Giving feedback to your employees is good for a number of reasons:

  • It allows people to hone their work in a quick and efficient manner;
  • It opens up the opportunity for them to learn from a more experienced worker;
  • It motivates them to go to work and finish tasks.

However, invigorating a healthy culture of providing feedback is a task in itself. It can feel intimidating and a lot like criticism but if done correctly, it allows a comfortable environment that is open for discussion.

Here is how to give feedback to poorly-made projects:
DO:

  • Have a moderator that is impartial for the discussion that can set ground rules for a better flowing conversation.
  • Focus on the timeline of events and facts.

DON'T:

  • Finger point. Instead, send an e-mail containing the summary of the postmortem in a professional manner.
  • Finish the session without clarifying lessons learned and next step actions.

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