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Effective Communication – Going Back to Childhood

29 Apr

What is the most effective method of communication? Nowadays, literally almost everyone would answer Facebook, Twitter, or any form of social media. What about face to face interpersonal communication or meetings and conferences in a business setting? Not so easy to answer anymore. Surprisingly, the skills we develop in childhood, drawing or even just doodling, are now being encouraged among employees in work environment.

A picture REALLY is worth a thousand words.

Old. Over used. Cliché. But then, why would companies such as Facebook Inc. insist on providing employees with whiteboards and even writable glass? Because the statement still holds. Large firms are even willing to hold training sessions to teach employees the basics of visual note taking. Here are the following goals employers seek to accomplish through encouraging graphics:

  • Inspiring creativity – Drawing or doodling uses different parts of the brain than the typical calculation aspect of business. Encouraging employees to think differently inspires creation or new methods of getting the job done. In a rapidly changing environment, old methods may not always be the best methods.
  • Promoting diversity – Drawings are often interpreted differently by different people. By using graphics instead of giving specific details using words, employers leave room for various comprehensions. Employees then have opportunities to express their views on how the firm can improve, which may be significant to change current management styles.
  • Engaging employees in meetings or conferences – Employees may find it difficult to pay attention for an entire meeting or conferences. Allowing employees to take notes in graphics will help employees be more focused. Psychologist Jackie Andrade quoted, “doodling takes up just enough cognitive energy to prevent the mind from daydreaming.”
  • Overcoming language barriers – Not all employees may be fluent in a common language, especially with technical words in business settings. However, the communication barrier can be overcome by using simple drawings. The use of drawings to communicate may be applicable to global businesses as most simple drawings can be universally understood.

Last Tips

Studies show that employees get more out of meetings when information is presented in graphics instead of boring text. The quality of drawing also doesn’t matter. The key in communication via drawings is being simple. The goal is to prevent the stress from reading tedious emails and reports, and being efficient and effective.

By: JongWook Lim

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303978104577362402264009714.html?KEYWORDS=communication

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You Are What You Tweet

23 Apr

Parents and teachers always warn students to be careful when tweeting. High school senior Yuri Wright learned this lesson the hard way when he was expelled from school because of his offensive tweets.

The Punishment

Wright attended Don Bosco Prep, a private Catholic high school in New Jersey. As a standout football player he amassed a large number of followers on Twitter.  In July many of his followers noticed a series of offensive tweets and his football coach, along with school administrators warned him to be more careful about his posts. He continued to post offensive tweets and was expelled on January 7.

The Consequences

The consequences from these tweets will last a lifetime. Wright’s top college choice, Michigan, stopped recruiting him after his tweets. Other top universities have also stopped recruiting him and it appears that he will play for a smaller college football program. For the firs time a national recruit missed out on opportunities due to social media blunders. Universities, along with future employers, care about social media present. Always present yourself professionally in every form of communication. Ineffective social media communication may lead to major consequences, such as the one suffered by Wright. Make sure that your communication always reflects positively on your character. If you do not communicate effectively there can be very severe consequences, just ask Yuri Wright.

by Ryan Charnov

Source: http://www.nj.com/hssports/blog/football/index.ssf/2012/01/don_boscos_yuri_wright_expelled_for_graphic_tweets.html

Doctors Using E-mail: Helpful or Harmful?

23 Apr

Second Nature Communication

Using electronic communication is so prevalent in our society that it is difficult for us to consider it off-limits for doctors, let alone any profession. Everyone from children in grade school to business professionals regularly use e-mail. The question is whether communication online between physicians and patients will make the relationship more or less efficient than solely using verbal communication. Decide whether you value faster communication over maximum medical privacy.

Miscommunication

Whether you realize it or not, simply walking into a doctor’s office is a significant part of diagnosis. If the doctor can’t see your face when you are explaining the problem, they will miss crucial hints such has facial expressions and tone of voice that can be helpful. The doctor is also looking to interpret your body language and reactions. Through e-mail, crucial information pertaining to your diagnosis can be missed. After a doctor directs you to take a prescription or follow a certain regimen, it is also crucial that you are visible to ensure your health is improving. Patients can react negatively to news that is delivered through e-mail and panic without receiving proper explanation. E-mail can also be easily misinterpreted. There is also a fear of security and liability associated with sending e-mails to patients. More than one person could have access to a particular e-mail, and read a message that was only meant for the patient.

Making Our Lives Easier

On the other hand, e-mail has the potential to make doctors much more accessible. It will allow for a faster exchange of information than a visit to the office or a phone call. E-mail can even improve the quality of care provided to you. Frequent communication results in a stronger relationship between you and your doctor through constant communication. We can all relate to the difficulty that often arises in finding a desirable appointment with your doctor. With e-mail it is much easier to schedule appointments quickly. Many appointments, in fact, don’t require in-person communication.  These appointments include prescription refills and questions about drug dosages. If privacy is a concern, phone calls have the same risks as e-mail; there is no reason to rule out electronic communication over phone communication. In addition, there are so many options of doctors out there that more attention increases patient loyalty and likelihood of staying with the same doctor.

E-mail is a frequently used medium for communication in the business world today. However, there are advantages and disadvantages of e-mail that should be considered, especially among physicians.

by Eliza Budd

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204124204577152860059245028.html

New Dogs, New Tricks

23 Apr

McKessen Corporation’s Matthew Zubiller, ConAgra’s Kori Reed, and Whirlpool’s Pam Rogers Klyn have one thing in common, they are all young executives who maneuvered their ways onto the fast track for senior management at their respective companies. The source of their success? Unique approaches and innovative ideas. According to Wall Street Journal columnist Joann S. Lublin, “They overcame multiple challenges. They secured funding, won support from the skeptical top brass and practiced diplomatic persistence” (Lublin, WSJ).

The following principles helped them move up the corporate ladder:

  1. Be innovative.  Companies are starting to realize the importance of creativity and innovation. Young employees are encouraged to come up with new ideas in order to top competing firms.  CEO’s are looking for employees who are able to produce innovative and feasible ideas. Pam Rogers Klyn realized that in order to minimize production costs; Whirlpool should focus less on the manufacturing process and more on the employee’s work.
  2. Believe in your idea. When proposing an idea to your boss or co-workers it is extremely important to show your confidence in the idea. Kori Reed’s convinced the CEO that her work for ending children hunger had the ability to make a social impact and positively influence the company’s corporate image.
  3. Align ideas with the core of the company. Matthew Zubiller says that the most important way to get your idea heard is creating it with respect to what the company is already working on. If your ideas are far fetched from the company’s current work it will be more difficult to implement.

If you are confident and innovative you can make an impact on your company’s work.  We must believe in our ideas and know that all ideas have potential. Young people have the ability to take over the corporate world.

by Hallie Greitzer

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204555904577169174294262182.html

Social Media: A CEO’s Leadership Tool

23 Apr

Substantial research supports the adoption of social media in business practices. Many companies use tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to engage with their customers on a more personal level and solve customer service issues as soon as they arise. Social media is changing the way companies market their products and services to the public.

Yet on the whole, CEOs have been reluctant to join this trend. For many, social media is seen as a force only to be used by the sales and marketing departments. For even more, the idea of personally attending to their own pages and profiles sounds like just too much work.

A new article, published by the Wall Street Journal, argues that social media tools are not only beneficial to business, but can also make day-to-day communication at the office more effective. CEOs who participate in social media can use websites like MindMeister.com to organize their priorities for the year. They can create office dashboards on Pinterest to encourage innovation and creativity. They can use Twitter to respond to urgent messages more efficiently. Even games like Words With Friends can provide some much-needed stress relief after a meeting.

A recent study found the following statistics:

  • 81% of those surveyed believe that CEOs who use social media are better equipped to lead a company successfully in a “web 2.0 world.”
  • 78% cited Better Communication and 71% stated Improved Brand Image as the biggest positive benefits of using social media.
  • 93% of respondents believe that CEO engagement in social media helps communicate company values in times of crisis.

I have heard many business people concerned with “jumping on the social media bandwagon.” However, social media is more than a bandwagon. It is a paradigm shift in the way we communicate.

Communication is the key to being a good leader. With the rise in social media popularity, a good CEO needs to adapt his or her thinking and embrace the opportunity to connect online.

by Katie Oakes

Sources:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203753704577255531558650636.html?mod=WSJ_mgmt_LeftTopNews#articleTabs%3Darticle

http://thepolylogue.com/survey-shows-the-importance-of-social-media-for-c-level-executives/

http://www.brandfog.com/CEOSocialMediaSurvey/BRANDfog_2012_CEO_Survey.pdf

The Smartphone: From Consumer Luxury to Professional Necessity

23 Apr

In this age of modern technology, I can safely state that my IPhone is by far the most important tool in my business arsenal. Its versatility is incredible and its potential is limited only by the user’s creativity.  For example, earlier today I used the nifty device to send pertinent time-sensitive emails, relayed important meeting information to teammates via text, and checked the score of the Reds game in approximately 2 minutes. This kind of efficiency and accessibility could only have been dreamed of 10-15 years ago with the onset of the PDA and other personal data storage devices. This advent of increased efficient communication speaks volumes towards how our society is progressing.  Soon all of our information will be so digitalized that our Google Glasses and Google Gloves will constantly update us.

Accessibility and Utility

With a size small enough to fit in a pocket, a typical businessperson can easily go about his day planning his schedule and recording useful information at the expense of a few simple keystrokes. Now with the IPhone 4s ability to face time, the world of interpersonal contact has exploded with rapid face-to-face communication all at the availability of ones fingertips. The subtle nature of the smartphone also provides secrecy for the individual and allows for meetings and other presentations to continue without distraction. This wildly innovative device will soon replace the traditional cell phone in the market place and will increase efficiency to the point that instant communication will no longer be a dream but a reality.

Conclusion

The smartphone’s advantages and features are so vividly apparent that it would be naïve to underestimate its impact in the coming decade. The rapid communication and knowledge that can be spread so virally via the smartphone enables it to be one of the most safeguarded devices of an individual that if lost some people may go into a nervous breakdown.  All in all smartphones are the wave of the future and my only concern is that hopefully another company can begin to compete against the IPhone, because if not Apple will have a majority share in how the world communicates in a matter of a few years and if that doesn’t sound horrifying then you’re not a human being.

by Timothy Eschenbacher

Source: http://www.technolog.msnbc.msn.com/technology/technolog/half-us-cellular-subscribers-own-smartphones-nielsen-586757

To Speak or Not To Speak

23 Apr

Have you ever snapped out of a reverie, only to find that you have lost track of the conversation around you? If you have, don’t worry – you are not alone. Research has shown that humans generally listen at a comprehension rate of less than 25%. Miscommunication between parents and children, or bosses and employees, attests to the void that exists between what is said and what is heard. The million-dollar question then is: what can we do to become better listeners? While there is no exact science in place to perfect listening skills, keeping the following simple tips in mind can help:

Pay attention

It may seem intuitive, but many people often forget that “hearing” is not the same as “listening.” Direct your full attention towards the speaker – stop talking and stop doing other things when someone is speaking to you. Paying attention is the first step towards retaining information.

Be an active listener

Simple non-verbal gestures such as nodding your head, or raising your eyebrows at the right cue can encourage the speaker to be more open about what he or she is trying to convey. Active listening through affirmative words or actions requires a little effort, but makes the process more valuable for both the speaker and the listener.

Don’t think; just listen

Many people confuse listening with analyzing. Although it is important to not take all information at its face value, the process of analyzing should be kept separate from the process of gathering information. Reading between the lines while listening to the speaker, or thinking about what you are going to say next, both reduce the attention you pay to the speaker.

Repeat what you know

To make sure you have gathered the highlights of what the speaker wanted to convey, summarize and repeat what you know. Ask the speaker to fill in the gaps. Ask questions. Ask for clarifications. It is now your turn to speak.

by Arushi Bhalla

Sources:

http://www.howickassociates.com/blog/wp-content/listening-statistics.doc

http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/b/blah_blah.asp