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virtual communication

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What you see might not be what you get. How non-verbal communication can be misleading…..

There’s a moment in the excellent BBC three-part documentary The Space Shuttle that Fell to Earth (episode two, 55 minutes in) when the NASA flight director and his team begin to sense that something has gone catastrophically wrong. Screens in the control room are going blank; sensors are failing; contact with Columbia has been lost. We witness their dawning realisation that the shuttle has most likely broken up on the way to its landing location and that the seven astronauts – their colleagues, have been killed. The footage was live and the events were unfolding in real time. And these…

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Stacking the dishwasher can make us better at ad libbing…

I spent some of the bank holiday (quite a lot of it actually) sorting my kitchen cupboards. There was a lot of rationalisation to be done. For example, I discovered three half-empty jars of garam masala (BTW what even is that????). Now there’s one full jar. The contents of several bags of self-raising flour are now gloriously combined, and a random collection of water bottles has been transformed into a shelf of beauty, as you see in the ‘photo above. You may have deduced that I am slightly controlling or, with a more positive spin, I have good attention to…

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Careful not to mistake an innocent for a traitor – the challenge of online communication

One of the most interesting aspects of the excellent BBC TV series Traitors, apart from Claudia Winkleman’s eye liner, was the inability of the contestants to read each other. Time and again we witnessed them analysing their fellow ‘guests’ and getting it wrong. They repeatedly misinterpreted body language, comments and behaviour. They were in a state of high alert, they were being hyper sensitive and observant and still they came to the wrong conclusions. On numerous occasions. It reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Talking to Strangers in which he also explores how human beings are so often so bad…

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Ditch your lockdown false friend and turn those notes into bullets. Try this experiment to see why….

Hands up who’s got into the habit of using a script for online presentations? Hands up who’s worrying about or already struggling with the script/no script issue for real world presentations? Well, you’re not alone. It turns out that many people have seen a script as a comfort blanket during the lockdown months, and it’s a hard habit to break. But we must. Because scripts (whether you’re reading or remembering) are false friends. Here’s why…. When we create content in written form, whether using quill pen and parchment or a computer screen, we tend to construct sentences which are long…

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Don’t make a drama out of small talk….

The Importance of Small Talk – Act one, scene one EXT. CLAPHAM JUNCTION TRAIN STATION, PLATFORM 9, EARLY MORNING Jayne notices a poster about loneliness. It’s a cartoon image of two people sitting on a bench. In front of them, on the ground, there’s a cute bird. In a speech bubble, one person says to the other, “did you see that?”. The caption suggests that people are missing out on moments of human connection because we’re on our ‘phones all the time and therefore not noticing what’s in front of us. Jayne smiles knowingly. Act one, scene two EXT. A…

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The one about the presenter and the hilarious awards

Once upon a time there was a presenter called Jayne who was asked to front an awards ceremony for a non-profit philanthropic organisation. Because it was during the annoying time of the Covid, it had to be broadcast on the Internet. It was a small budget, small fee event and the very nice clients had never produced anything like it before so Jayne knew it was going to be exciting. It was a really busy week for Jayne but she still made lots of time for preparation, sometimes late in the evening or early in the morning. She wanted to…

Stranger Danger! Misreading someone’s demeanour can be disastrous

Light bulb moments in the training room are things of joy. I had one the other day during a session of interview practice. I asked my client (let’s call her Esmerelda) a question but just as I thought she was getting going with the answer, she suddenly stopped. I was slightly thrown but gathered myself and moved on to another question. The same thing happened again and then a third time, each answer getting progressively shorter. At the end of the mock interview we analysed how it had gone, and I referred to these abrupt endings. I revealed how uneasy…

IS ONLINE COMMUNICATION GETTING HARDER?

Last month I wrote about online communication and the skills we need to be able to hold an audience’s attention. Here it is again – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/respect-connect-key-excellent-online-communication-jayne-constantinis/ Four weeks on, dozens of Zoom/Skype/Teams calls later, why does it seem that this form of communication is getting harder and more tiring? Surely we should be getting better at it. I think it’s down to two issues: Problem one – sound quality According to Trevor Cox, an acoustics expert at the University of Salford, the quality of sound coming through our computers is inferior to broadcast audio. It’s been compressed which gives it…

Respect and Connect – the key to excellent online communication

I came across Franklin D Roosevelt’s advice on public speaking the other day:  “Be sincere, be brief, be seated”. Well said, Mr President, and especially well said in these corona months when most of us are working remotely, and when we need to finesse our communication style, to hold people’s attention. Just as tennis players adapt their game for each surface, so we need to adjust our usual face to face communication for the virtual world. It requires a particular set of techniques and a unique tone of voice. Normal rules don’t apply. Essentially, the fundamental pillars of good communication…