Talk to strangers The ability to talk with strangers is a critical skill

Do you recall when you were a child that your parent drilled into you never to talk to strangers? Well, you no longer need heed that advice. As an adult, the ability to talk with strangers is a critical skill.   Don’t listen to reply, listen to listen, there’s a difference. Eye contact is where all the … Continue reading Talk to strangers The ability to talk with strangers is a critical skill

Speak Truth To Power * To speak the truth to someone in authority in spite of the possible negative consequences

You may have come across the expression “speak truth to power” and wondered quite what it meant, and it’s origin. The Quakers coined the phrase during in the mid-1950s. It was a call for the United States to stand firm against fascism and other forms of totalitarianism. But it means something different these days. It … Continue reading Speak Truth To Power * To speak the truth to someone in authority in spite of the possible negative consequences

Don’t speak with conviction Speaking with conviction inhibits learning

In this blog post by Nancy Dixon Bringing the Flow of Knowledge to a Standstill by Speaking with Conviction  Nancy says: One way of talking that inhibits the exchange of knowledge is speaking with conviction. That may seem contrary to what we’ve all learned in communication and leadership workshops, where one of the lessons often … Continue reading Don’t speak with conviction Speaking with conviction inhibits learning

Tell no lies

Everyone lies. Some big lies, some small lies. Most of the time, individual lies do not matter, they are small and inconsequential. But larger, more public, persistent lies distort our view of the world and are dangerous. Many people persistently tell little lies about the same thing, often throughout their whole lives. They tell the lies … Continue reading Tell no lies

Speak up

Engrained in many cultures, especially Asian ones, is a profound deference to authority. We are taught to respect and obey our parents, our elders, our teachers and others in authority. I have been in situations where I have felt that people would rather die than speak up. We need to create a “speak up” culture … Continue reading Speak up

A word of advice – don’t give it Advice is unfriendly to learning, especially when it is sought

Advice is unfriendly to learning, especially when it is sought. Most of the time when people seek advice, they just want to be heard. Advice at best stops the conversation, definitely inhibits learning, and at worst claims dominance. Credit: Peter Block At first thought, the idea that giving advice is a bad thing especially when … Continue reading A word of advice – don’t give it Advice is unfriendly to learning, especially when it is sought

Engage in banter

What is banter? The playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks. Credit: Oxford Dictionary I love gentle banter; it is a most wonderful, fun form of conversation. It is very English, but most cultures indulge in it. Not everyone “gets it” and some people easily take offense. Not everyone is good at it or enjoys … Continue reading Engage in banter

Don’t dit people

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Credit: Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People In conversation, ditting is the dubious art of sharing anecdotes while trying to trump the story of the previous person. Too often discussions fall prone to it, … Continue reading Don’t dit people

Avoid anonymity*

There are several ways in which we express our ideas or have discussions while hiding who we are. Many on-line discussion forums allow us to post anonymously or to give a false name, and we can frequently express our opinions anonymously in surveys or interviews. We employ these techniques for seemingly good reason. If we are … Continue reading Avoid anonymity*