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Archive for the ‘Language’ Category

How to successfully communicate cross culturally

In Collaboration, Communication, culture, Development, Effectiveness, Language, Leadership, Strategy, Team, teamwork on July 3, 2017 at 6:07 am

Once upon a time, some 100,000 years ago, language was born when a human uttered the first word to another human.

Fast forward to the modern day and language is only a part of how we communicate these days as we navigate our way through other communication complexities such as technology, virtual reality and multiculturism.

As we move swiftly forward in a global entrepreneurial world, multicultural teams become more and more prevalent, and having the ability to break down any communication barriers is vital to ensuring that collaboration and productivity stays at a high.

For as if it’s not hard enough to communicate with someone when you don’t even know their preferred communication style, default behaviors, or conflict preferences, or worse, when you can’t even see their visual cues and body language, as in the case of a remote team, add in time difference, distance and cultural differences, and you won’t be blamed if you sometimes feel as if you might as well throw in the towel. What’s more, all of this can occur even if you’re speaking the same language!

Such triggers can frustrate and give rise to conflict.

Not all is lost though. The very crux of communication is about ownership of the message you send as much as the message received. After all, how can you expect someone to understand you when you can’t even understand yourself? There are some things you can do to strengthen and grow your communication toolkit. And its roots come from more than speaking the same language, indeed, more than what you say or the words you use.

So how do multicultural teams successfully deal with multicultural challenges? One of the most successful ways is to recognize complexities and adapt accordingly. Acknowledge the diversity and rather than focusing on this as a barrier, learn to celebrate this. Identify cultural gaps openly and work around them.

Diplomat and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said:

“Tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where people are becoming more and more closely interconnected.”

He is not wrong. Successful cross cultural communication stems from cultural intelligence, the success of which depends on three pillars.

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The human side of negotiation

In Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Networking, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Strategy on March 6, 2017 at 11:02 pm

How often do you think you use negotiation skills? We may not realize it but negotiation is a big part of our daily life. We negotiate various factors in our roles at work, from project timelines to resources, to parameters for our performance indicators or salaries, and even in our personal lives, with conflicting opinions, or even something as simple as where to dine.

Negotiation is about reaching an agreement where both parties walk away with mutually acceptable terms. The ability to get what we want is only enhanced by our ability to negotiate effectively.

The word ‘negotiation’ has copped a bad reputation. Oftentimes, we associate the act with competition or confrontation or believe that only an all-or-nothing approach can win; the word ‘win’ supporting the act of competing.

But what if we take the notion of competing out of the equation and approach a negotiation in a more fair way?

After all, the reason you’re getting into a negotiation in the first place is either because one party wants something from another, or that both parties want something from each other. Once you each establish what is important and unimportant to each, the negotiations can begin. The questions that each person needs to ask is ‘What do I want from you?’ and ‘What can I give you in return?’

But how to do this? How exactly do you start asking those questions without sounding contentious?

Let’s explore.

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Dysfunctional habits that can damage your communication style and personal brand

In Branding, Communication, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Networking, Personal Branding on July 6, 2016 at 3:06 am

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Have you ever been in a conversation where no matter what you did, you struggled to engage with the other person?

What was it that they did? Or didn’t do? Having a conversation should not be a difficult thing to do. After all, we all do it every day. We have multiple conversations with various people in several settings, using a variety of mediums. The thing is, you could be the most charismatic, articulate speaker or communicator, but there are some common conversational habits that would absolutely kill your chances at engaging with the other party.

So what are they? Let’s consider six habits that can damage your communication style and personal brand, and what you can do to avoid them.

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Communication: The most important leadership skill

In Communication, Effectiveness, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Performance Management, Philosophy, Team on April 5, 2016 at 5:40 am

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“Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.”

So says billionaire Richard Branson, who believes that communication is the skill that will set you apart from the crowd.

Indeed, Branson can certainly form alliances with the many business leaders and entrepreneurs who credit effective communication skills for much of their success. He joins the ranks of Warren Buffet, who believes that effective communication will instantly raise a person’s professional value.

Branson and Buffet are not wrong. Effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills are highly valuable in the workplace. So valuable that some companies dedicate a good amount of their training budget to upskill their employees on how to communicate effectively.

Why? Because it’s a big bad world out there. Competitive. Dynamic. Fast paced. And being able to communicate effectively will help you stand out from the crowd.

But what exactly are the benefits of effective communication skills? To the individual, to the team and to the organisation. Let’s explore, shall we?

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Let content marketing do the leg work for you

In Advertizing, Branding, Communication, Content, Content Marketing, Creative, Language, Marketing, Writing on July 22, 2015 at 12:35 am

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Remember advertorials? When was the last time you saw one?

Are they simply ads camouflaged as opinion pieces or editorials? Or is there more there than meets the eye?

Perhaps they were a sophisticated way of presenting advertisement without blatantly shouting the brand name. But shout they did. Perhaps we just didn’t realize it.

So remember advertorials? When was the last time you saw one?

Well, you see one almost daily. In blogs, content marketing, pictorials, videos, et al, with clever and elusive product placement.

It’s about communicating with your consumers without selling. In which case, branding is so subtle, you didn’t even know you were being advertised to. Because you’re not.

Why? Because good content marketing doesn’t simply tell you to buy for the sake of. It generally informs you of the need, then educates you on how you can solve that need.

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Good to great communication

In Branding, Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Learning, Personal Branding, Philosophy on May 27, 2015 at 4:38 am

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Have you ever thought about how the way we communicate can be aligned to the way we learn?

It occurred to me the other day when I was asked my thoughts on webinars.

And it got me thinking.

According to the VAK learning styles of visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners, I fall into the kinesthetic category. Perhaps a little visual. But mostly I learn by doing. I love jumping right into the heart of things and by trial and well, error. In fact, of the three styles, audio is not a preferred option for me. At all.

I can’t imagine sitting through a forty-five-minute webinar session, especially if not accompanied by visuals. In fact, I don’t even enjoy talk radio. Or talking on the phone, for that matter. It is not my preferred form of communication. Nor learning.

So I won’t function well in a webinar. It’s also no surprise that I don’t particularly sit well through lengthy teleconferences. Even though I have had to do so, they are a struggle for me. So to remain engaged and animated, I try to take notes.

But what does all this say about my communication preference and learning style? And what has that got to do with the person or persons communicating with me?

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Storytelling as an effective communication tool

In Branding, Communication, Creative, Effectiveness, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Personal Branding, Philosophy on March 19, 2015 at 3:23 am

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Once upon a time, author Rudyard Kipling said: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

How very true.

Remember when we were younger and we would look forward to that time of the day when we would be read to sleep?

And have you ever been at an event and there was that one person who absolutely stole the show? And they weren’t even the guest speaker?

What did these moments have in common? Storytelling.

I’ve written before about storytelling and how it connects the speaker or writer to the audience.

Why is that?

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The art of communication

In Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Learning, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on January 30, 2015 at 10:07 pm

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Copyright © agentofarcadia 2015

The modern day warrior

In Branding, Communication, Development, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Learning, Personal Branding on March 18, 2014 at 12:54 am

In her book, Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott states that ‘the conversation is the relationship’. She challenges us to have the courage to engage in those authentic, though sometimes challenging, conversations we most likely tend to avoid. Thereby enriching even the most challenging relationships. This is priceless in both a professional and personal arena.

The thing is, many of us know that such conversations salvage and/or maintain a relationship. Any relationship. It is in what we say. But it is also in what we do not say. In my humble opinion, when we choose to no longer say anything, it means the relationship is over. Perhaps it is about picking our battles.

When I first drafted this blog some weeks back, I meant for it to be a piece for one of my other blogsites. But this past month, I experienced a lesson that subconsciously I already knew I was aware of. So perhaps the experience was a test. Suffice to say, I passed with flying colors.

But it got me thinking. What does courage mean to you?

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The adventure called life

In Creative, Inspire, Language, Word of the day on February 1, 2014 at 12:42 am

So it’s 2014.

I’m not one to make new year resolutions. I figure if you want to do something positive to change your life, you should just do it; you don’t have to wait for the start of a new year to do so.

But each year, I have a theme. And this year, this word pretty much sums up 2014 for me.

I hope it’s an amazing year for you, too! Happy 2014, here’s to adventure, love, and travel!

For it is those very things that inspire creativity. And may you continue to be inspired this year!

Copyright © agentofarcadia 2014

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