Posts in Communication
Mean it when you ask RUOK?

Today is RUOK day. If you don’t know what this means then say the letters out loud. It is a simple question not asked often enough.  The fact that there is a day dedicated to this reminder says a lot. Our society is in such a state that we forget to ask the simplest of questions “Are you ok?” and mean it.  Of course the key message is to not just ask this question on one day but all throughout the year whenever you feel it seems appropriate.

For me it is more about being sincere and authentic when you ask how someone is doing. It is such a common greeting that we often don’t listen for the response. How often do you meet someone and ask without really thinking about the person’s day. It is likely that you share the words as part of a conversation but not the feeling inside of really wanting to know.  We have someone where to go, thoughts on our mind,  our our own worries and concerns or the task at hand as distraction.

When we ask someone how he/she is doing many secretly don’t want to know. Many of us don’t want to go into a conversation that isn’t upbeat, superficial and trivial. Many of us are too afraid to hold a real conversation and truly listen to another person.

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There is no excuse for being a bully

Bullies are everywhere-on the road, at your workplace, in some people’s homes even families.   You may not be a bully but I bet once or more in your life you expressed a bully streak.  You know, your anger got out of control and you took it out on another person.  Yet likely you had a great social system of friends, family, teachers, work colleagues who helped you back in line.  Maybe you even had unconditional love and worked through this aberrant behavior before it took hold and developed into a habit.DSC_0330

Some unfortunate ones in our society do not have this help.  They are either so far gone or allowed to get away with the behavior that it is too late.  Not too late to change, but likely too late to have quality relationships that help the bully repent, recover and return to being a decent human being.  Or more likely, lacking in the resources and people dedicated to helping them turn around.

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Out of the writing closet

I write because I love to write.  I have something to say.  For many years though this voice remained silent, restrained and contained in a myriad of diaries, notebooks and computer journal entries.  I have boxes and boxes of writing reflecting the stop and start meanderings of my heart, mind and soul.

Back in June 2008 I courageously (to me at least) created this blog and made my first post "Be a dreamer who's down to earth" . It was a momentous occasion, even though no one celebrated except me.  Up until then I did not know how to get my words out of me for others to benefit.  I also felt a sense of ‘who am I to be a writer?”  But I am a writer, at least a closet writer trying to open the door to author in this lifetime. 

A celebration party for one

LUkefootball1I still remember opening the door.  After a bit of editing and reviewing I pushed the publish button. At that moment a surge of energy exploded inside of me. I jumped out of my chair, yelled something and put both my hands in the air. 

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Sensationalism versus the truth

My post comes from the fresh experience of doing some research on a new job.

Whenever I work with a business client I like to learn as much as I can about their business. I feel almost like a curious detective wanting to know the whole story in the shortest amount of time. (This is part me and part being an ex auditor :-))

What is available today to understand a business is unquantifiable given the power of the internet and Google. A simple question typed in produces a rich bounty of information far exceeding that usually contained on the company website.

In exploring the various resources available I came across some less than desireable stories. Yet based on my connection with the person representing this business I can not see the truth in these stories. Instead I see people taking advantage of a few individuals wanting to seek revenge and then sensationalise the situation with onesided opinions.

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Do you speak Gen Y?

Lately I am noticing that Generation Y is getting the bad rap for the inability or unwillingness of non-Gen Y to communicate effectively. 

First I disclose that I am a borderline baby boomer / Gen X’er.   So the closest I get to Gen Y is the proximity of the letter in the alphabet.  Yet this doesn’t stop me from seeking to understand their perspective, trying to adapt my communication style to connect and even modifying my approach to work when necessary.

So what got me thinking about this topic?

Of late several people have commented on how frustrating it is to keep business going the way they have done it before.  Some of the comments I have heard attributed to Gen Y as the reason:

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It's ok to talk to strangers

We all heard from our parents the expression 'not to talk to strangers'.  Then we grew up and the rule suddenly didn't apply. Only we somehow keep holding onto this message in our subconscious and still do not talk to strangers.


Instead we need a reason such as a networking event or a friends dinner party. In these situations the screening process of the friend or the event coordinator implies that these 'strangers' are ok to talk to.


Well I must be odd because I like to talk to strangers. Actually I do not see people I don't know yet as strangers, simply potential new acquaintances.


It is also funny that I view the world this way as my preference is to be on my own in a sea of strangers- something I like to explain away as well developed introversion.

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Step on the accelerator

I love driving especially when the route is scenic or covers territory I have not seen before.  For me driving is not about the speed but about the freedom you have to go anywhere you want at any time.   

One of my goals is to have a two door convertible sports car.  I currently do not have such a car because 1) it can’t fit my kids in the back and 2) I am unable to reconcile the blatant waste of petrol and impact on the environment.

So I make the most of my driving when I have to go somewhere.  I never worry about the distance or time. I put the windows down or hook up the Ipod with an audio book or podcast and just go. 

Driving is communication

So it was while traveling across the city the other day that I realised driving to me is like communication.

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Do you have safe conversation

How many times do you resort to the age old conversation starter, filler, ender - a comment about the weather?  I am sure it is at least once a day.  Unless you are a meteorologist (which is actually an interesting career choice) I would say weather conversations are the ultimate deflector. Especially in Sydney it is getting old to talk about the rain or lack of rain depending on what day it is.

We tend to have such conversations when we are in uncomfortable spaces - whether physical or emotional.  Small confined places such as a lift/elevator or taxi. Emotionally testing moments such as visiting the in-laws or waiting in the queue/line to buy your lunch next to your boss.

When we engage in such topics we tend to skim the surface and have what I call 'safe conversations'. 

Why do we have safe conversations?

I believe there are three reasons:

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I'm sorry, please forgive me

What easy words to write, what challenging words to say.

Today I make a confession. I am not perfect at communication. What? Jenn writes about communication but she is not perfect? This is so wrong.

Well actually I believe it is so right.

My genuine mistakes and blunders along the path of life provide great learning experiences. I also get the wonderful pleasure of teaching from these learnings.

So why write this today?

Well I made a few mistakes. Well actually in hindsight some really big ones and some slight oversights. I am sure many of you have these same situations lingering in the locked down part of your consciousness.

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