Day 69: Write a love letter to a stranger

When was the last time you put pen to paper and wrote a letter to somebody? And no, messages in a greeting card don’t count.  Ted speaker Hannah Brencher is passionate about the handwritten letter. It has got here through some tough times and it has also helped others through their rough patches too. Hannah’s mother doesn’t believe in communicating by technology,  so when Hannah was away at the college the only way for her to get news from home was to check the P.O box each afternoon. The familiarity of her mother’s cursive writing  was a comfort away from home.  Fast forward post college and Hannah relocated to New York City. In her own words she was  “sucker-punched” by depression. Hannah sought solace in the comfort of letter writing, but this time there was a twist. Hannah wasn’t writing letters to family and friends and swapping stories of their respective lives. These letters were written to strangers and left all around her … [Read more...]

Day 68: Are your a high-power poser or a low-power poser?

How aware of you of your own body language? Do you think that your body language is sending out the right messages or does it need a tune up? Social psychologist's Amy Cuddy's Ted talk "Your body language shapes who you are" talks about how body language is reflection of how others and yourself perceive you. This talk was watched accumulatively 21 million times, i'm pretty sure thats a record of some sort! How our body language affects the way others see us The reality is our body language will have a massive impact on how well we do in life. Amy’s talk was backed up with studies that showed how body language can impact the results of an election or the probability of a physician getting sued! How crazy is that! The body language of a physician, and whether or not they come across as ‘nice’ (according to the study Amy references), determines whether or not they have a higher chance of being sued.  What about their competence as a … [Read more...]

Day 67: Talk nerdy to me

Talk nerdy to me. That is the simple message from Ted speaker Melissa Marshall that has inspired this instalment of the Art of Communication theme week for my 365 Days of Ted challenge.  Melissa’s message is aimed at scientists. She wants them to know that many people from the non-scientist populations are interested in whats happening in science today, so could you please explain it to us in a way which we will understand. Ditch the jargon, just speak in ordinary language Ever notice how so many words can be used to explain the exact same thing? I mean that’s the whole point of a thesaurus isn’t it? Jargon is a barrier to understanding science says Melissa. An example that she used to show how jargon isn’t needed to explain things is the words “spatial and temporal.”  Why not just use the words “space and time” she suggests. Don’t dumb it down Melissa is not asking scientist to talk to us in a dumbed down and patronising way. … [Read more...]

Day 66: What do your hands say about you?

Do you talk with your hands? Well, according to Allan Pease or “Mr body language” as he is also known, we all talk with our hands. Our hands  give away so much more that what we are saying verbally, the question is, do you know what your hands are actually telling other people about you? Did you know that within the first four minutes of meeting someone you have made up your mind whether or not you will give them a “fair go”? Seems like a fairly short amount of time, but it’s the way humans are wired to act. Allan says that the handshake is usually one of the things that determine how we perceive people. Allan kicks off the talk with demonstrating different types of handshakes, apparently the position of your hand and the tightness of the grip can determine your position of power between yourself and the handshakee. I know that’s not a real word, but it should be. Basically a good handshake comes down to two things, the … [Read more...]

Day 65: The seven deadly sins of speaking

day 65 the most poweful sound in the world

Do you know what the most powerful sound in the world is?  It’s the human voice. It can start a war or say “I Love You” says says Ted speaker Julian Treasure in his talk “How to speak so that people will want to listen.” So how exactly do we use our voice to make people pay attention? Do people listen to you when you talk? Do they hang off your every word and does the conversation end with them wanting more? Okay so maybe that’s an exaggerated outcome for every conversation, I mean some conversations are just mundane out of necessity, but are people truly engaged when you talk? I’m guessing if you are like most people, the answer is going to be, not always. Julian discussed the “Seven deadly sins of speaking” and it’s stuff that i’m sure that we are all guilty of. We are all human, but perhaps being more aware of these “sins” will help us to catch ourselves in the moment when we are tangled in these vocal sins. What are the seven … [Read more...]

Day 64: Are you guilty of otherizing?

For the second instalment in my The Art of Communication series is inspired by a Ted talk by  Elizabeth Lesser "Take the other to lunch" Elizabeth thinks that it is important to have an open mind and hear the other side of the story from people whose opinions we may not be aligned with. Are you guilt of otherizing? Otherizing happens when we make a strong negative distinctions between ourselves and another person or group of people who has different views than our own. Could be someone who has a different faith or someone from a different political persuasion.  Otherizing means making negative assumptions about a person we meet if they fall into one of these "other" categories, despite the fact we might have never had a conversation with them. It's an uncomfortable word that creates an "us and them"  mentality, but unfortunately it's very rampant in our world. A new movement "Take the other to lunch" Elizabeth has started a new … [Read more...]

Day 63: Our antisocial phone tricks

Lesson 63 put down that phone

Kicking off a new theme week The Art of Communication is a post inspired by Ted speaker  Renny Gleason's whose Ted talk is about the obvious and cringeworthy truth, mobile phones or cell phones for my US friends, that are making us a very  anti-social bunch.Are you nodding your head in agreement? Are you perhaps a little bit guilty of this too? Do you remember a time before mobile phones? It wasn't that long ago really. It was a time when queuing up for pay phones was an actual thing and answering machines for your landline home phone came in two forms; electronic and human (family and housemates)  It was a time when the closest thing to mobile phones were car phones and ET’s  index finger. You had a 50-50 chance of actually getting your messages left for you by human answering machines.  That wasn't necessarily a bad thing though, you could  always blame misplaced  phone messages and not being home for not returning calls that you … [Read more...]