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Communication

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Common Errors While In The Company of Others
  1. Talking about yourself too much.
  2. Asking questions only for the sake of discovering secrets and expose someone else's mistakes.
  3. Telling a scripted story and being oblivious to the fact that other people don't care or being aware that others don't care, but still continues to tell the story.
  4. Seeing a conversation as a possible chance to debate or fight. It makes other people walk on eggshells in order to avoid disputes.
  5. Mocking someone for their misfortunes, defects, and deformities of any kind.

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Communication

The Simple Recipe To Being a Nice and Likeable Person
  1. When meeting people for the first time or even talking to an acquaintance, it is important to be genuinely interested in others.
  2. The ability to accept them for who they are as a person, regardless of their flaws.

Being witty, well-read, and attractive can help make a good impression but it won't matter unless the two rules above are also applied. 

Stories are powerful tools

The ability to create stories helps people to cooperate and move forward. Stories have multiple advantages: They allow us to discern complex situations, remember ideas, communicate with others, and make predictions about the future.

It is vital for managers and entrepreneurs to use these benefits and improve their storytelling skills. But stories can also be misleading. It is crucial to recognise the different ways stories can deceive you.

Listening to captivating stories can lead to biased evaluations and irreversible mistakes in business.

When it comes to dealing with critical problems, it is useful to become a story sceptic.

A narrative created after a specific result often downplays alternative scenarios that could have happened, making success and failure seem more predictable than they are.

Outcomes that seem obvious in hindsight are often unknown at the time of the decision, such as the modern PC, Google, or Harry Potter, that expert investors initially rejected. Often, not even the owners can accurately predict their own potential.

Stories can suggest a causal link when the link doesn't exist. For example, urban legends like the Sports Illustrated magazine state that individuals or teams who appear on the cover will subsequently experience bad luck.

Similarly, managers can form faulty beliefs about the effects of praise and punishment, especially when the performers they praise go on to perform worse and those they punish afterwards improve.

Some stories fail to see the existing relationship when causes and effects are separated by time. Stories can misinterpret investments that feature worse-before-better dynamics.

New leaders may receive acclaim or blame for results that happen right after their appointment even though it may be due to the previous administrations.

Stories based on the past can become outdated when situations change suddenly and drastically. Traditions built on them often persists long after.

  • A few decades ago, a college degree would almost certainly guarantee a lucrative career. This is no longer true, but the idea is causing a growing student debt crisis.
  • Companies that seem invincible can quickly come to a fall, especially when processes grow non-linearly while competent decision-makers fail to notice, as with Myspace and Nokia.

Data-based analyses are often turned into a story for easier understanding and adoption. But the stories are limiting the discussion to the average statistical effects.

Stories based on the average are often only valid for the average of the samples and might hide significant risks and nuances around an expected outcome.

Personal experience and notable events may be appealing but often tend to be unrepresentative.

In reality, the more unique the observation, the less likely it is to generalise. When dealing with complex decisions, many organisations now favour data-based algorithms over experience-based narratives.

While success stories are motivating, they could lead to a false belief that success is more controllable and predictable than it is.

  • The common traits of successful people and organisations are ubiquitous. These same traits may be equally present in the less successful.
  • Stories that emphasise how talented and hardworking the successful are ignores scores of failures with similar skills and work ethics. The success could be due to circumstantial and random reasons.

Stories often focus on the outcomes that can be seen while ignoring the underlying processes.

  • This leads to widespread blindness to possible deceptive behaviours that contributed to the outcomes. Examples include Ponzi schemes and fraudulent business practices.
  • It leads to a misunderstanding of how innovation works. Focusing on the individuals' creativity glorifies the final version while ignoring the underlying collaborative processes by risk-taking entrepreneurs.

Stories can be misleading despite providing information.

  • Some stories can feature a combination of warning signs. The more warning signs a story shows, the more scepticism is needed.
  • Time-related biases and selection problems can happen even when every other part of the story is correct.

The solution isn't to stop telling stories as they provide vital benefits. But astute decision-makers can take convincing narratives as theories to be scrutinized, rather than absolute truths.

Raising your voice

Most of the meaning of your spoken words comes from the tone of your voice, not from the words.

Suppose you are the type of person who automatically raises your voice to become the dominant speaker. In that case, you may be damaging your ability to be a better communicator and secure cooperation.

Increasing your voice creates stress and tension that often escalates into an argument or physical confrontation.

Yelling is a method used to control a situation by dominating the other person. When we get loud, the other person is forced into submission. In turn, it tells them to comply, or there will be punishing consequences.

Listening rarely happens during a submissive state. Instead, the listener is waiting for a pause to interject a rebuttal to defend against a verbal attack.

Once we know how shouting is perceived, we must be careful to regulate our voice to a volume and tone that does not come over as aggressive or dominant.

We All Wear Masks
  • According to Sociologist Erving Goffman, life consists of a series of acts, where we put on various masks, as we believe it is beneficial to hide parts of ourselves or to project a certain image.
  • Every social interaction that we participate in, we are trying to project a concrete, stable image of ourselves.
  • Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato have observed that drama or comedy does not resemble reality as much as tragedy does.

There is a subconscious control going on almost all the time in our behaviour, on how others perceive us, something which is called social dramaturgy.

This behaviour would not be acceptable or palpable for others, if they didn’t participate in this in social environments, resulting in a set of protocols that is agreed upon by all.

In a theatrical play, if someone is not knowing how to act, and behaves in the same way on the stage and on the backstage, there is a good chance of that person being discarded from the play, as it can be a danger to the remaining cast.

Life in that sense becomes a stage where we skillfully apply makeup, the appropriate costume and right expressions (surprise, approval or disgust) that are required for social success.

  1. We don’t let others know how we do what we do. There is no rehearsal footage of us learning the skills that we show to others, and they only get to see the final result.
  2. We cultivate an ‘image’ by hiding the dirty work and projecting only the positive stuff.
  3. We don’t react to insults or show our negative side in public, preferring to deal with the problem behind the scenes.
  • People think emotionally, so forget facts
  • When people are asked to explain their beliefs about how a given thing works, they’ll actually become less confident in those beliefs.
  • When people have their self-worth validated in some way, they tend to be more receptive to information that challenges their beliefs.
  • During a debate, you’re more likely to make progress if you can appeal to the moral concerns of the people that you’re talking with.

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