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Brooklyn Z.

@bro_kzz610

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We Use Email The Wrong Way

Email is essential in a workplace and yet can suck our productivity in a uniquely annoying way. On an average workday, we check our email 15 times, which leads to wasted time and distractions.

Email isn’t even the best way a person can communicate, as it does not provide the recipient with our intended tone, intentions and purpose in an exact way.

@bro_kzz610

Stop. Does That Message Really Need to Be an Email?

hbr.org

Human nature tends to conform to the majority and leans towards safety in numbers. Adopted practices (like email) become the default even when they are not the best solution because everyone else is on it.

Work is done more effectively with in-person or virtual meetings, while instant messengers are less formal and more intuitive while being easy to check.

Email has real value in communicating the following:

  1. A formal communication decision.
  2. Confirming or scheduling appointments with the help of Calendar.
  3. Documenting important conversations.
  4. Company-wide announcements that are high-impact and need to be communicated to all in real-time.
  • Email is best used for clear, unambiguous communication that is important and may be shared with others.
  • If something is super-urgent or requires a lot of explaining, picking up the phone is the way to go.
  • When we require emotion or the issue is complex, a face-to-face meeting is the best bet.
  • For non-critical queries that anyone can answer, a slack message does the job.
Social Intelligence

American psychologist Edward Thorndike defines social intelligence as ‘the ability to understand people and act wisely in human relations.’ These skills can be acquired with practice.

Some people can sense how other people feel and what to say in social gatherings. These confident, caring people seem to have people skills, but in fact, what they have is social intelligence.

Strategies to Help You Develop Social Intelligence Skills

verywellmind.com

  1. Active Listening Skills: People with social intelligence pay genuine attention to what the other person is saying. They make the other person feel understood and connected.
  2. Conversational Skills: Socially intelligent people are tactful, humourous, sincere, meaningful and appropriate in their conversations.
  3. Managing Reputation: The people are able to balance authenticity with a thoughtful reputation.
  4. No Arguing: People with social skills understand that arguing has no return on investment, and making the other person feel bad while proving something isn’t going to be of any benefit whatsoever.
  1. Be observant and watch how people interact with others.
  2. Try to increase emotional intelligence recognizing your feelings and emotions as well as of others.
  3. Try to recognize negative feelings like jealousy, anger and envy in social situations.
  4. Respect cultural diversity and understand that other people might have different customs and mindsets.
  5. Do not interrupt and practice hyper listening skills.
  6. Truly love your loved ones and appreciate people who are important in your life.
  7. Study social situations and pay attention to what people are doing, good or bad.
Remote work and the lack of context around communication

Virtual communication often lacks the nonverbal clues we notice with in-person conversations.

To compensate, we often make assumptions or jump to conclusions that can cause harm to our work relationships.

How you’re unconsciously undermining relationships while working remotely

fastcompany.com

Instead of acting on your assumptions, go to the facts. Understanding the individual styles of employees can also give interactions more context and help avoid misunderstandings.

  • Prioristizers are logical, analytical, and data-oriented people who focus on goals and outcomes. They don't like to engage in chitchat.
  • Planners thrive with structure, planning, and talking about the details. They often communicate in bullet points and numbers.
  • Arrangers are supportive, relationship-driven team members who work best when they form connections.
  • Visualizers are big-picture thinkers who want minimal details. They will often email at the last minute, and apologize for short deadlines.

To avoid unnecessary conflict, it is essential to understand the nuances of colleagues and how they work.

Accept that others may not work and communicate the same way you do. If you see someone looking to the side during a video conference, instead of thinking they are not paying attention, understand that they may really be taking notes. Another person may want to spend time on a connection before they engage with the content.

Quirky Interview Questions

Most of us prepare in advance for the usual questions at an interview, which may not be very creative (“Name three of your biggest weaknesses?”). Some crazy questions can take us by surprise, like:

  • What flavour of icecream do you see yourself as?
  • How many pencils would fit inside this room?

These questions test our presence of mind, creativity, poise and preparedness for the unexpected.

How to answer a quirky question in a job interview

fastcompany.com

Recruiters and hiring managers are going increasingly offbeat and testing the agility of the employees due to the unusual demands of the modern corporate office.

If oddball questions are thrown at you, which they will be, you need to respond with ease, not getting fluxed or stunned. Take it as a game and use your presence of mind.

One should not comment on the wackiness of the unexpected interview question. Stay relaxed and don’t show a nervous body language. Keeping your cool is part of the answer.

You can take a deep breath and pause, collecting your thoughts. Be comfortable with this game and do not ask for feedback, as it can give away your composure.

  • A wild question does not mean an equally wild answer.
  • You can utilize this free hit to showcase your authenticity, morals and values.
  • You can show concern regarding the safety and well-being of your team members, or the fact that you are a team-player by weaving that into the answer.
  • Your answer should reflect that you would be an asset to any company.

Example: If asked what kind of tree you would like to be, you can answer that you would be like a leader, a large oak tree, or like an apple tree, being useful and beautiful at the same time.

4 Reasons Giving Constructive Criticism Goes Bad
  1. You’re not offering anything constructive if all you do is point out problems. You can still direct attention to an issue, but make sure that you follow up with a helpful suggestion.
  2. You’re offering unrequested input. Before speaking up, ask yourself if this is something that really even requires your input or if your input is properly qualified for the situation.
  3. You’re starting all wrong if you open with “No offense, but…” “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…” “This might sound really mean, but…” These introductions function as an advanced warning for rude or overly personal words to come.
  4. You’re too aggressive on how you deliver your message. To avoid it, maintain a happy and friendly tone with open body language. Also, choose words that clarify you are making suggestions—not demands, like using “might” or “could” instead of “should”.

4 Reasons Your Constructive Criticism Keeps Going Over So Badly

themuse.com

Storytelling

Storytelling is a complex cognitive task on our mind, requiring an application of our short-term, working, and long-term memory.

Telling stories: why your elderly relatives are the best storytellers

sciencefocus.com

Remembering Complex Stories

Earlier writings of folktales and complex stories required the story writers to use some crafting of words and sentences, using repetition and rhyme to aid recall.

Effective Storytelling

Elders and the aged people are able to tell stories in a more engrossing, entertaining way.

This may be due to a difference in the emotional quotient or the ability to capture and narrate human emotions and feelings, as opposed to mere facts and figures of a story.

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”

How to Not Attribute to Malice Things Adequately Explained by Stupidity

hackernoon.com

Hanlon’s Razor Explained
  • We tend to associate completely disconnected events in a unique way, fitting them into our ‘story’, the narratives we build to create our distorted version of reality.
  • The patterns we think exist may not actually do so, but that does not stop us from assuming negative intent or malice in all that happens around us.
  • We need to realize that the world does not revolve around us and try to approach situations and events in a neutral, objective manner.

The basic rules that we need to apply:

  1. Move from assuming bad intentions towards exploring other causes.
  2. Engage in active communication.
  3. Embrace opportunities.
  4. Stay positive and driven.
  5. Stop blaming and focus on creative problem-solving.
  6. Assume a neutral, unbiased position.

Hanlon’s razor is a potent mental model which can be used in any situation where our first instinct is a negative assumption. Any wrong hypothesis related to the bad intentions of others is counterproductive and can play havoc in our lives.

Understanding Hanlon's razor results in a mindset shift, which enables us to view the entire scenario in a third person’s perspective, rather than being in the centre of the drama.

Something we assume is due to bad intentions of others may be just due to ignorance, incompetence, negligence, misunderstanding, laziness or any other probable cause. The negativity trap that our wrong assumptions create can shut all doors of communication. Negative experiences also have more mileage than positive ones.

Fundamental Attribution Error is when we pay too much attention to the personality of a person and ignore the content.

We need to shift the focus away from ‘who did/said that?’ and look at other causes/reasons.

Confirmation Bias is a common fallacy where we feed our existing beliefs and refute any contradictory information.

These belief patterns, no matter how right they may seem, are not immune to error, and we need to make an effort to look beyond the boundaries.

Availability Bias is a mental shortcut that makes us form opinions or base our decisions related to recent information that is easy to recall.

We need to probe deeper and move towards better information gathering.

  • We need to deploy mental models at work, which provide us with a framework to expand our understanding and simplify complex matters, helping us make better decisions and handle stress and anxiety .
  • Just be aware of the moments of anger or confusion, and reevaluate your assumption of doubting others of any wrongdoing due to the various biases inherent in our minds.
  • Though it may seem like a conspiracy if one is denied promotion or worse, is fired, applying the awareness and objectivity of Hanlon’s razor can save us from unnecessary mental agony.

We usually assume the worst if we get hurt by the people we love and trust. The various biases in our minds (confirmation bias, fundamental attribution error, and availability bias) play havoc in our relationships.

Hanlon’s razor can shift our mind from an assumption of bad intentions by our loved ones, towards other possibilities, ensuring that we take steps to understand the situation, rather than reacting reflexively and then repenting.

Communication during stressful times

Uncertainty has a way to reveal everyone's strengths and weaknesses. During drastic uncertainty, employees will seek more information in order to achieve a sense of certainty. During this unstable time, you'll discover the true quality of your team's communication skills. If you team is arguing, productivity is lagging.

Discovering each member's communication preferences will enable you to determine the best way forward.

How To Manage Communication Styles In Difficult Times

blog.trello.com

  • Talk to them one-on-one. They will feel more comfortable opening up.
  • Offer multiple modes of communication. Instead of calling on them during a meeting, send them an email afterward.
  • Help them feel psychologically safe at work. Let your team know they won't face negative consequences for voicing their opinion respectfully.

Passive communicators battle to express their needs and stand by their convictions. This is because they want to avoid conflict. They may be silent during crucial meetings. If they do make a suggestion and it is challenged, they may say, "never mind then."

  • Outline and enforce boundaries. If they interrupt someone, step in and say, "Please let [Name} finish, and afterward, we'll give you time to speak too."
  • Give them a safe and healthy way to vent their anger. People under pressure are more likely to act out. Pull them aside for a one-on-one time to address their concerns.

Aggressive Communicators voice their opinions in a straightforward, often blunt way. They often interrupt others, take up significantly more time than others during meetings and don't take into account others' feelings or opinions.

  • Keep your cool. They try to get other people to express the anger they are unable to convey.
  • Redirect. If a teammate is venting to you about someone else, ask if they have talked to the other person. If not, encourage them to do so.
  • Model assertiveness. If you find a teammate avoiding you, you'll have to approach them directly and ask if they'd like to talk.They find indirect ways to hint at their displeasure.

The passive-aggressive communicators give a cold shoulder to the people they're in conflict with and are friendly with everyone else. Their words seem kind, but the tone of voice, facial expression, or body language expresses displeasure.

An assertive communicator is the ideal style: *They address problems directly and express themselves and their boundaries while maintaining respect for others.

They display emotional intelligence; they're willing to ask for help; they listen to others; they acknowledge and validate other peoples' points of view while also expressing their own perspective.

While remote work has many benefits, one disadvantage is reduced access to crucial communication cues, such as facial expressions. The lack of information can lead to miscommunication and conflict.
To counteract the negative effects and better manage your remote team:

  • Have regular one-on-one meetings with your direct reports.
  • Conduct all-hands meetings, where you gather your entire organization into one online space. This is the time to celebrate milestones, go over the next steps, hear updates, and bond as an organization.
  • Use a shared online workspace to keep everyone on your team informed on assignments, project progress, and deadlines.
  • Do team-building activities, such as book clubs, pop quizzes, game nights, etc.
The Past Is Flexible

The past, and our understanding of it, is a reflection of our current state of mind.

The past, which is assumed to be static, is in fact constantly changing. Historical facts are looked at with new data, new experiences, and according to what new shape the collective human memory takes.

The Past Isn't Objective: Your "Story" Is Your Responsibility

psychologytoday.com

Our story, which we are narrating to others, is constantly changing with our new experiences and insights, as our lives go by.

These stories become our identity and certain core memories, or life events of immense sorrow or happiness, stick with us forever.

One can change the story of one’s past including what it meant. New lessons can be learned by revisiting the past in an objective manner, without guilt, remorse or any grudge.

Becoming emotionally and mentally tough makes us face our past with courage, and helps us change the meaning of our often traumatic past.

Translation And Interpretation

They require an ability to be able to understand two or more languages and accurately express the content and information in the other language.

Translations need not be binary, but should sound natural without being too literal and wordy. The translator should be able to express the content in such a way that one cannot guess that it is a translation.

What's the Difference Between French Interpretation and Translation?

thoughtco.com

Source Language and Target Language
  • Source Language: is the original message or content
  • Target Language: is the resulting outcome after the translation or the interpretation.

Translation and interpretation work well if it is the native language of the translators and it is essential to recognize the cultures of both the source and target languages, in order to fully adopt the content.

While both translation and interpretation have the same purpose: making the information or content accessible in another language, there is one major difference.

Translation is done in a written format, while interpretation is oral. Translators, therefore, are excellent writers, while interpreters have great communication skills.

A Language: The Native language of the translator/interpreter in which there is 100% proficiency.
B Language: The fluent language of the translator/interpreter in which all vocabulary, structure, dialects, and cultural influences are known.
C Language: The language may be just ‘workable’ for the translators/interpreters.

  • General Translation or interpretation is done in a non-specific way and does not cover any specialized vocabulary, cultural influence, or knowledge.
  • Specialized Translation or Interpretation, as the name suggests is specific to certain domains and fields of knowledge like legal, financial, medical, literary, scientific and technical.
  • Automatic or machine translation: Done using AI software and computers, this is without human intervention and is low in quality.
  • Machine assisted translation: is a dual approach where the machine does the hard translation work, and the human checks, refines and corrects the language and context.
  • Screen Translation: Includes subtitles and dubbing in native languages.
  • Sight Translation: When the source is a written document which is explained orally in the target language.
  • Localization: when the product or content is exported to a different country or culture,(like a software application), it is made ‘local’ by translating the dialogue boxes, documents, packaging etc.

Consecutive Interpretation: When a person speaks a sentence and pauses, and the interpreter then works on the content and speaks it in the target language.

Simultaneous interpretation: Is when the interpreter is working on his native (A) language, and speaks whatever is being spoken and broadcasts it to other listeners using headphones and a mic to provide the interpretation in the target language in real-time.

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