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listening

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The most precious Christmas gift of all – no wrapping required (it’s not a scented candle)

I’m going Christmas shopping today.  On my list are a variety of gifts including Ferrero Rochers, a suitcase, a kettle, posh pants and a onesie. Obvs also a brace of scented candles. I can’t wait to see the faces of the recipients when they open them. These are things I know they want because I’ve been listening out all year for small references to coveted items (admittedly nobody ever mentioned the candles but who can resist the subtle aromas of pomegranate and cardamom????). But there’s one gift I want to give everyone this year, even people I won’t ever play…

Inclusive and effective communication – we need to learn to ‘read the air’

I’ve just finished reading Erin Meyer’s fabulous book, The Culture Map (https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-culture-map/erin-meyer/9781610392761) and I wanted to share some of its content with you because she’s opened my eyes to some surprising and immensely useful tools which can help us all communicate more effectively and more inclusively. Meyer is an INSEAD professor. Her ideas on cross cultural communication draw on three decades living and working around the globe. She’s identified the differences which exist between cultures in 8 areas – general communication, giving feedback, persuading, leading, decision making, trust, disagreeing and scheduling. And her premise is that if we understand these…

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Two ears, one mouth – a formula for dealing with challenge

July 18 was World Listening Day. A brilliant reminder of one of our most important communication skills (we do have two ears and one mouth, after all). And a prompt to heed Buddha’s excellent observation: “If your mouth is open, you’re not learning”. The concept of listening to an opposing viewpoint rather than shouting it down or silencing it is one of my passions, and it’s part of my RATIO technique. The idea for RATIO struck me in the middle of a conversation with a dear friend who happens to hold very different political views to me. She expressed an…

Back to work – shiny shoes, sharpened pencils and a raised eyebrow

Among people’s concerns about going back to the office are: • Will my work clothes fit? • Will proper shoes give me blisters? • Do I really have to shower EVERY DAY! Of course, these are trivial and amusing but let’s make no mistake, FORTO (Fear of Returning to the Office) is real. Some are dreading the commute, others an oppressive corporate culture of presenteeism. And let’s not even think about all those lockdown puppies…… Very many people, though, have experienced the limitations of remote working: • Relationships are harder to manage (whether with more senior or more junior colleagues)…

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Go on, pop the question – it’s 29 February!

Happy Leap Day. It’s the one day every four years when, according to ancient tradition, women can propose marriage. It’s got me thinking in general about questions and their value in and out of the workplace. We’re living in an era with more channels than ever before to ‘broadcast’ our thoughts and ideas. I wonder if that’s influencing the way we communicate. Are we getting out of the habit of soliciting others’ opinions and properly listening to each other (you’ll remember I banged on about this in my TEDx talk recently – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7_UI9gNg_o). So, on this special day, here are…