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Communication

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Handling a technical breakdown gracefully

The world we live in is controlled by technology, such as live streaming, virtual backgrounds, teleconferencing apps. While this is remarkable, it also comes with the potential for unexpected problems.

In the virtual world, we will face sudden mishaps at the most inopportune moments. When this happens to you, you'll need to know how to handle it gracefully, especially if it happens at work.

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Communication

If your computer goes black, an embarrassing text pops onscreen, or your roommate charges into the room, your first urge may be to panic. You may start to sweat, and your heart will beat faster.

The next time this happens to you, remind yourself that the situation is not life-threatening. To re-focus yourself, take a deep breath and remember that most problems can be solved.

When you gain some focus, address the technical breakdown openly with your audience. Look at the camera and speak in a casual tone as if talking to a friend. "I just want to let all of you know that my screen just went black..."

If you own that you are experiencing a technical issue, that it is out of your control, and that technical problems are acceptable, you will come across as more human and someone people can relate to.

When a personal connection has been made with your audience, a little lighthearted joke is a perfect way to make the situation less awkward.

The goal is to break the tension. For example, if your roommate strides into the background playing his invisible guitar, say, "He'll be taking questions and signing autographs. Next slide, please."

There may be times when you can't solve a technical problem, and you simply need to end your meeting.

In this case, apologise for the situation that is out of your control and explain that you will email everyone to reschedule once the issue is resolved. If it can't be rescheduled, consider some form of compensation.

Awkward silence is a tool for emotional intelligence

The rule of awkward silence: When you are faced with a challenging question, instead of immediately attempting an answer, take your time - about 15 seconds or longer - to think deeply before you share your thoughts.

While it may feel awkward at first, it is an excellent way to build emotional intelligence - the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions.

When trying to solve a problem, an awkward silence can help you get to the main cause, and assist in finding better solutions.

It can help to think about questions more deeply, and with greater insight.

When communicating on Slack or WhatApp, we don't have to respond instantly. Our quick responses are seldom the best. Our response may even change if we are in a different mood.

If you're dealing with someone who's used to quick responses, instead of responding instantly, let them know you'll respond soon. The results of your communication may surprise you.

Debating Can Be Really Fun

But it can become a problem when you become obsessed with sharing your opinions - when you won't "give up" until you've made your point to the nth degree.

Online arguments can consume hours, even days. If you find yourself in a situation where online fighting is taking so much time that it's wrecking your work and life, it's time to get some perspective.

A verbal debate is natural, and it's good to share opposing views and to hear arguments. The problem with online arguments is that there are no boundaries. Depending on the forum, almost anyone in the world can share their opinions with you at any time of the day or night.

There is no telling yourself that your mind is at rest now. You're ever alert looking for an argument. The reason is that you're addicted to the flood of adrenaline and dopamine that comes when you feel like you "win."

When you post something controversial online, you're inviting people with different views to engage. In some cases, you may feel so strongly about a certain topic that you think it is worth putting out there, regardless of the consequences.

However, the most polarising topics are best discussed in real-time in a small group with familiar people. In a personal conversation, we are more able to modulate what and how we share.

Choose not to post anything you know will provoke an argument if you don't think it's a good use of your time to debate it.

Instead, share those thoughts with people you can have a meaningful discussion with or journal about them for yourself.

If you decide to post something online that triggers an argument, choose your response. The person with the greatest strength is the one who does not always respond but choose when and how they engage.

If you decide to engage in a productive discussion, see where things go. If the comment comes from a bad-faith argument, either don't reply or reply with a neutral comment, "I hear you." If you need to vent, do it to someone who at least understands you.

We won't change our mind about something important because someone wrote a scathing comment. Instead, we may feel hurt and angry.

If you want someone to change their view, you usually need to share your perspective in a way that is not charged with negative emotions. If you don't think your comment will bring any good to you or them, don't comment.

Too shy to talk

Fear holds us back from forging a bond. People tend to choose to speak to people through emails and text because they feel that actually talking to them would be awkward and that they could be misunderstood.

However experiments show surprising results: "People reported forming a "significantly stronger bond with their old friend on the phone versus email, and they did not feel more awkward".

  • 42% of Americans aged 20-64 earning more than $20,000 were working from home full-time in May 2020.
  • However, the lack of communication and collaboration are made known to be the biggest challenges of remote workers.
  • As remote work continues, it is important to encourage employees to adopt habits that would be beneficial to both the employer and the employee.
Essential Techniques For Handling People
  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want.

We aren’t able to make real changes by criticizing people, and we’re instead often met with resentment. It’s important to remember that when dealing with people, we’re dealing not with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, who are motivated by pride and ego.

Criticism is futile and dangerous. It puts a person in a defensive mode. People learn faster and retain knowledge more effectively when rewarded for good behavior than punished for bad behavior

William James
"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."

The only way to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

To convince someone to do something, we have to frame it in terms of what motivates them. And in order to do that, we have to be able to see things from their point of view as well as our own.

We are interested in others when they are interested in us.

If you want to make friends, put yourself out to do things for other people – things that require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness.

The Power Of Smiling

You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.

Actions speak louder than words, and a genuine smile says, “I like you, You make me happy". But an insincere grin doesn’t fool anybody. We know it is mechanical and we resent it.

Calling someone by their name is like paying them a very subtle compliment. Conversely, forgetting or misspelling someone's name can have the opposite effect and make it feel as though we are distant and disinterested in them.

From the waitress to the senior executive, the name will work magic as you deal with others.

To be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener.

Most people would prefer a good listener to a good talker.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT
"The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most."
Make People Feel Important

People want the approval of those with whom they come in contact. They want recognition of their true worth. They want a feeling that they are essential to the world.

But they don’t want to listen to cheap, insincere flattery - they crave sincere appreciation.

  • The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  • Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Neversay, “You’re wrong.”
  • If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  • Begin in a friendly way.
  • Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  • Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  • Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  • Appeal to the nobler motives.
  • Dramatize your ideas.
  • Throw down a challenge.

The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

If we lose the argument, we lose; if we win the argument, we have made the other person feel inferior, hurt his pride, and made him resent us. In other words, we still lose.

When talking with people, we should never begin with the points on which we disagree. We should start by emphasizing the things on which we agree, and be sure to convey that we’re both striving for the same result - our differences are in method, but not purpose.

The key is to keep our opponent from saying “no,” as this is a very difficult sentiment to overcome.

Don't Condemn, Try To Understand

One of the fundamental keys to successful human relations is understanding that other people may be totally wrong, but they don’t think they are.

Put yourself in their place. Success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint.

  • Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  • Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  • Let the other person save face.
  • Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.
  • Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  • Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  • Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Principles to follow:

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Smile.
  • Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  • Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely.

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