Archive for October, 2009

The Dismissive Talker/Thinker: In One Ear & Out The Other

October 25th, 2009 1 comment

The individual that talks dismissively to another individual is also suspect of harboring an arrogant personal attitude. We say ‘suspect’ because it is important to not deliver a verdict on someone’s  behavior too hastily (remember: first impressions are not always the most important and can lead to overly harsh and incorrect critical judgments. Generally speaking, first impressions don’t mean that much at all). In other words, we do not want to label a guilty charge to another person’s character without first seeing them behave in numerous settings (respect the fact that a person can have an off-day, an off-hour, or feel uncomfortable in a certain kind of setting).

            Nevertheless, a person who continually talks with a dismissive tone of voice (watch for complimentary non-verbal cues) is subtly or not so subtly letting you know that your thoughts may not be that important and may bear little value in the conversation. A behavioral example of a ‘not so subtle’ dismissive talker/thinker would be someone who gives you an over-exaggerated response to the ‘what’ of what you are saying (i.e. – a long and drawn out ‘riiiiight, now I see’). The long drawn out sound in the word ‘right’ of the response lets you know that your opinion means virtually nothing to them. Therefore, be mindful of people who use a long and drawn out tone of elevation in their voice – they probably are not that interested in what you have to say or do not think much of what you have to say.

            Secondly, and perhaps the more subtle behavioral example of the two, is the dismissive talker who casually and quickly nods their head saying “right, right, right” as you speak. These 2 apparently positive responses (nodding of the head and right, right, right) are actually an indication that what you are saying is not being taken to heart (probably one of the rare cases where 2 positives translate into a negative ; you won’t see that every day, particularly in the realm of mathematical study).

            Whether subtle or not, the dismissive talker/thinker will, in some way or another, let you know that your thoughts and beliefs are not that important in relation to what they are thinking or feeling. Whether or not this bears a meaning to the distinction between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ is not the issue. The important piece to take away here is that a person who acts dismissively toward other people also tends to be a person who has adopted a more arrogant approach to the interactions of their daily life.

            Are your messages not getting through or sticking to the dismissive talker/thinker? Give some consideration to changing your approach. If that does not work, reduce the amount of communication with the identified individual and see what happens in the days to come.

            Have you encountered the “In the one ear, out the other phenomenon”? If so, please discuss your thoughts and ideas.

Matthew Polkinghorne

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Leadership 24/7: 6 Core Values To Adhere By

October 15th, 2009 No comments

An single person, by their self, is fascinating at the least. Two people, interacting together, is beyond fascinating. Two or more people, the dynamics of group interaction, is enough to keep even the most inquisitive of minds riddled and busy with questions of study for eons and eons of time.

            One person on their own will have to find a way to survive in their environment. Two people may decide to join forces or remain apart, and the coming together of two people may or may not increase their chances of survival in an unpredictable environment. Whatever two people decide to do in an attempt to survive is intertwined with various variables in the environment that may hinder or help their situation (i.e. – remaining apart may enhance possibility of survival or it may reduce possibility of survival). Typically though, because of  ‘natural togetherness tendencies’, people huddle together in an effort to face the elements.

            In a globally competitive world, one with numerous industries, technologies, and services, the formation of alliances between people is becoming increasingly complex and some may say, tense.

            In any gathering of people, any group dynamic, an individual will emerge and suggest a course of action that keeps the well-being and preservation of all people in mind. In a fiercely competitive global world, a person who is successfully able to establish their self as a leader (seeing the next step and keeping the well-being of all individuals in mind), will be pressed to maintain their role while continuously executing competent actions 24/7. There will not be much time for mistakes and excuses, only the finest of behaviors – both individual and interactive.

As a result, here are 6 cores values to adhere by if you want to lead the pack and stay at the top of the pyramid;

1. Exquisitely Effective Communication – a way of interacting that is almost flawless.

2. Tactfulness – sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of fellow people’s (demonstration of meaningful interaction).

3. A Specific Skillset – an ability that defines your usefulness and contribution (a tangible ability that is measurable).

4. Openness to Obscurity – a willingness to address that which may sound absurd (consideration of all ideas).

5. Intermittent Isolation – an ability to shut out the outside world and be creative alone (the nuts and bolts of it all).

6. Teamwork Tendencies – a willingness and readiness to happily work and be with the team (all aboard)!

            Adhere to these core values and you may begin to emerge as the 24/7 leader. Round the clock you will elicit all of the behaviors that are expected of you.

            We may have never thought it would come down to being like a 7/11. 24/7 leadership is no easy task. Time to saddle up and be a leader ‘all of the time’.

            168x60x60. Wow! That is thousands and thousands of seconds of leadership. Time to pick it up a notch!

Tick, tick, tock (talk).

Matthew Polkinghorne 

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The Fabric of Communication: It Is All About The Sound & Delivery Of Words

October 6th, 2009 No comments

When was the last time you really paid attention to the way someone spoke? When was the last time you listened to a person’s choice of words? How closely have you been listening? Have you been tuned in? Tuned out? Are you as astute as an eagle/queen scout?

            The sound and delivery ingrained with communication is fascinating. It speaks so much to how a person’s mind is operating, feeling, and thinking. Almost nothing gives you as much insight into someone’s mind as when they speak and how the messages are being delivered.

            Thinking about various words is just so much fun. Words are not nonsense – they are meaningful. They make up sentences and ideas to reveal how a person thinks and feels. Without words and language, we would be reduced to miming behavior and contorted movements. Really, we would be much more bizarre creatures.

            Now there is an interesting word; ‘bizarre’. The word itself is irregular, it is not used as often as say ‘weird’ or ‘unusual’ in the expression of human language. Why is it not used as much you may be wondering? Likely because there is a ‘z’ and 2 ‘r’s’ in it. The pattern of letters in the word ‘bizarre’ may also not be as easy to memorize. But there it is, the word ‘bizarre’. I secretly think that unusual words like ‘bizarre’ are used as attention getters. If someone begins to fade in a conversation, having their eyes glaze over as you begin to speak, a good communicative strategy may be to implant the word bizarre within the sentence. Just like the word ‘implant’ and ‘glaze’ tend to not be used as much as other words that possess similar meanings.

There are just so many words to pick and choose from, what will we do with all of the possibilities?

            What about the word ‘crux’. Now there is a word that is not used too often. And it is often used in an expression “Well, that’s just the crux of it.” Again, the point of using the word ‘crux’ is to recapture people’s attention as you see them nodding off in chronic boredom. The word ‘crux’ can also be delivered (in terms of sound) in a very nasty way. The ‘ux’ sound intimates a hissing sound that a scaly creature likes to make and can be quite offensive to sensitive ears (a sensitive brain really).

            Another interesting word is ‘palatable’. Think about the sound of the word as you sound it out. It is difficult to make the word ‘palatable’ sound bad or offensive. It is just such a smooth word. ‘Palatable’  has within it the word ‘table’. Tables tend to be smooth and sturdy, enduring time well while not fading away. All in all, palatable is a wonderful word to use when speaking. If you are using the word palatable in your speech, it is also likely that you are a palatable person.

            The word ‘satiate’ (while rhyming with the word ‘hate’), is actually quite a sharp word. It tends to be a word that is consistently used by neuroscientists. Everyone wants to satiate their hunger, and neuroscientists want to understand ‘why’ hunger needs to be satiated. It all kind of makes sense doesn’t it, chaotic and random as it all seems? When you or I do not eat, we begin to experience feelings of satiety – we therefore need to satiate the hunger no less quench the thirst.

            ‘Quench’ is another great word – crisp, refreshing, and right to the point. By ‘quenching’ your thirst and ‘satiating’ your hunger, you begin to sound sharp, definite, and bright all in one mouthful. Language is powerful – it is a tool. Language is also a weapon, be careful how you use it. Unexpected outcomes may emerge when certain words are jammed together to create hapless sentence. Be mindful, language is powerful.

Speak well or forever hold your peace,

Matthew Polkinghorne

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