Do You See What I See?

SmilingWomanRecently, I purchased a one year licence to use Zoom, a video conferencing service. I had experienced it prior to purchasing it and I liked the opportunity to interact with many people while being able to see them. For years I have used conference call lines for large groups; I now plan to replace that with Zoom.

On a recent Zoom call, I was keenly aware of both the opportunities and the challenges of a video call. Since I have a huge orientation to look at the positive in everything, I noticed the opportunities first:

  • being able to see people allows for a much more intimate connection with them
  • when facilitating a call, you can see people raise their hand when they want to speak, rather than dealing with the constant ‘uh…’ ‘ih…’ ‘oh…’ sounds as people try to get a word in edgewise on a phone call
  • you notice ‘how’ the person looks as they are sharing information, and as they are listening; as you would in a live conversation, you can stop and check in with people regularly
  • when people know they are being seen, they are less likely to ‘multi-task’ while on the call and are more ‘fully present’ for the time to which they have committed
  • there is less noise overall – since people are not multi-tasking and moving objects around their desk – and Zoom has a simple way to mute people who might have some external noise in their environment

The challenges only occurred to me after using Zoom for awhile:

  • people’s faces can be distracting! If someone is looking frustrated or unhappy, it can distract everyone else from the task at hand
  • actually, that is the only challenge I have encountered with Zoom – other than the fact that with a video call you have to be dressed!

It got me thinking…do they see what I see? Are people aware of ‘what’s written all over their face’?

After another Zoom call, I reached out to two people who I thought looked very frustrated for the duration of the call. Given the nature of the group, and the sensitivity in many of the relationships, I decided to reach out to these people individually after the call, rather than checking in with them during the call. Both replied relatively similarly, identifying exhaustion, overwork, and other factors unrelated to the topic of our call, as the cause of their frustrated-looking faces.

I began to wonder how aware I am of?’what’s written all over my face’ when I am on a Zoom call, in a meeting or participating in a workshop? Since I do not ‘see’ myself from others’ perspectives, I might be communicating something to others in the room that does not reflect the message I would like to send to them.

So, what can we each do to ensure that we are sending the right non-verbal messages at the right time to the right people. I recommend this three-step process that I have been using successfully over the last few weeks:

  1. Far ahead of the call, meeting, or workshop (the face to face exchange), take two minutes to remind yourself of why you are going to be there. What is your purpose? Perhaps your purpose is to gather information from a group of people so that you can provide better value for them.
  2. In the two minutes before the face to face exchange, ask yourself how your answer to #1 would appear to other people who will be looking at you? What will they see? If you are asking these people to share information with you, you likely want them to see caring and curiosity in your eyes, openness in your smile and your gestures, encouragement in your voice.
  3. Behave (look) like you are curious, caring, open and encouraging. Just ‘be’ those things you want others to ‘see’. What does caring look like? How about openness?

Taking a few minutes in your busy day to think about your purpose, or your outcome, can help you create the kind of environment that will serve that purpose…rather than unwittingly wearing a ‘face’ that moves you away from what you truly want to create.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker and Author, Deri?s message reinforces that positive habits are the pathway to a happier and healthier life ? at work, at home and at any age!?www.derilatimer.com

 

 

Six Strategies to Add Some Bounce to Your Step this Spring!

Jasmine and Deri
Jasmine and Deri

It’s Spring! A time of birth, of renewal, and awakening! Here are six strategies to help you Bounce (or ‘spring’) into Spring!

Be Positive

Begin each day with a minute of mindfulness. As soon as your alarm goes off, lay quietly for a minute…to ?arrive? in your body (try a body scan to ‘wake up’ all of your parts), and to set your intention for the day. You will naturally be in a positive mindset if you look toward what you want to create that day. Also, remind yourself of at least one thing you love about being YOU! We are our biggest criticizers. Waking up feeling good about yourself will help to energize you for the rest of the day!

Own Your Story

No matter what has happened to you in your life, remember that you own the story. You decide how an event will impact your life and the people who experience you. Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves were ones given to us by influential people in our lives. Sometimes those stories serve us. Sometimes they do not. Choose stories that add strength, vitality and energy to you. Focus on times of growth and positivity ? even if they stem out of times of struggle. What you’ll soon notice is that the new story IS reality.

Underscore Appreciation

What you appreciate, grows. When you let others know what you appreciate, you tend to get more of it. When you focus on what you are grateful for in your life, your overall sense of happiness increases. Grow what’s good. Notice how much more ‘good’ comes back to you. Take the time every evening to write down three things (big or small) that you are grateful for! This is a perfect bedtime routine to put you in a positive mood before hitting the sheets, and will help put appreciation front and center in your mind.

Nourish Your Body (Mind, Soul)

You’ve heard the expression ‘garbage in, garbage out’. That is true for what you choose to put in your body, just as it is true for what you allow to take up residence in your mind. Take the time to nourish yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. Choose nutritious food that gives you energy, set up a routine of daily exercise and movement, and surround yourself with people who feed your soul. You will begin to feel the positive effects of full-body nourishment all throughout your day. And, hey, who doesn?t like to feel good?

Connect Often

Schedule times to connect with important people in your life. I’ve just done this with a friend of mine. We scheduled one time each month for the next six months that we plan to get together to connect. We realize that if we do not do this, the months slip by. Matthew Lieberman‘s research demonstrates clearly the importance of social connection to our well-being, our happiness, our very survival. So pick up the phone and make plans with the family and friends that matter to you most. Connectedness is essential to feeling whole and pursuing positivity.

Engage Fully

Jump in and participate fully in life! If you are at work, choose to add to the experience of your co-workers and your customers. If you are with family, show an interest in them by asking questions about what is going on in their lives. Connect with those friends you lost touch with and plan your next big adventure together. Engaging is a choice; and you’ll feel better at the end of the day if you are an active participant rather than a passive bystander.

So, BOUNCE into Spring! And as you do, connect with us and share what strategies have worked for you!

This blog post is collaboratively written by two people who embrace these strategies every day:

Jasmine Zyzniewski is a fourth and final year student completing her BA in Psychology with a minor in Peace and Conflict Transformation studies. She aims to normalize and contribute to mental health awareness through optimistic and positive reflections on herself and her surroundings. Alongside her studies, she loves DIY crafts, spending time with family and any good book she can get her hands on.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker and Author, Deri?s message reinforces that positive habits are the pathway to a happier and healthier life ? at work, at home and at any age!?www.derilatimer.com

 

 

 

Performance Appraisals: More Harm than Help

Man&WomanMeeting1I started my career in HR. I was educated in, and then spent years staunchly supporting, a core foundation of effective HRM practice; Performance Management.

Every year or so, we HR Practitioners rolled out the Performance Plan to the leadership team, and then relentlessly chased them down to get their performance appraisals done on time. Then, after hearing months of griping from leaders and employees alike, we’d re-develop, re-design and then re-launch the ‘new and improved’ form, the more stream-lined process and we were sure we’d be met with enthusiastic cheers from all involved.

Inevitably, the process of chasing leaders and dodging complaints continued. No form, no annual process, no amount of encouraging, berating or rewarding leaders worked; performance time was the bane of our existence. We detested it as much as everyone else did (and does)!

Then, along came the Neuroleadership Institute, and everything started to shift. Their research supports what many of us know is indeed the right thing to do: Kill Your Performance Ratings. Not only are most organization’s performance management systems cumbersome and incredibly time-consuming, they are often counter-productive. And, that’s not even the worst of it. They do more harm than good. “In the context of neuroscience research, most PM practices turn out to damage the performance they are intended to improve. That’s because they are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of human responses, as revealed in recurring patterns of mental activity.”

Performance discussions, as they are traditionally formulated and administered, automatically put people in a threat state (also known as ‘fight or flight‘ response). Think about it, if someone says they’ll be evaluating you, aren’t you automatically feeling a little on the defensive? In fact, that notion alone – being evaluated or appraised – will likely be enough to distract you away from the performance itself and toward the instinct to protect yourself. When you are in a threat state, your goal is survival…not learning, not growing, not appreciating…just surviving.  An entire organization focused on surviving is not one that breeds the collaborative cultures required for today’s workplaces. Instead a ‘kill or be killed’ mentality permeates the organization. People move away from each other, rather than toward teaming and co-creation.

All sorts of media, including CNN, are picking up on the idea of dismantling performance management as we know it. Not only is it completely demotivating for people, it is also a “colossal time-suck’ for managers.” So an increasing number of companies — including Accenture, GE, Microsoft, CIGNA, The Gap and Deloitte — have decided to overthrow the annual review in favor of monthly, bi-weekly or even “on demand” conversations between managers and employees.”

Human beings benefit far more from real-time, ongoing dialogue between managers and staff. Goals stay front of mind, appreciation is provided often, and possible ‘issues’ are addressed and re-directed promptly. Everybody wins.

Since people do better when dialogue is open, continuous and positive, why would we not have the key communication system about performance be that way as well?

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker and Author, Deri’s message reinforces that positive habits are the pathway to a happier and healthier life at work, at home and at any age! www.derilatimer.com