These 5 Words Will Open Thousands of Doors For You

Every person is a world. Life at work, in business and even in the family is full of complex relationships, where each person has their own agenda, their own history and particular dimensions.

As we have seen previously, the projects that go ahead are not always the best; And those people who are right are not the ones who win the discussions, because the most important element in a communication process is not the content or the technique but, above all, the relationship and connection.

To be completely clear: your success doesn’t just depend on your talents or your ideas; Above all, it depends on you knowing how to forge relationships . Talent and ideas are necessary, but the relationships you form along the way give them direction, direction, power and dimension.

However, in the process of making our projects come true; be it our own businesses or projects in our company, we constantly find:

  • Closed doors.
  • People in high positions or unreachable.
  • Inaccessible uncomfortable people.
  • Adversaries or people who do not want us to do well.
  • People we would like to address, but we don’t know how.

How can we break down social and personal barriers to build bridges with people who can be part of our path?

A powerful phrase

The answer lies in this magical phrase that took me years to discover, and that today I am happy to share with you, hoping it will be useful to you. Remember that with great power comes great responsibility .

The opener phrase is this: Can I ask you for advice?

“Can I ask you for advice?” It is a simple and short phrase; easy to say, remember and repeat. It is a phrase that can be used constantly without losing its validity and, above all, has behind it the power of science to open the doors that until then were closed.

I have used it at different times where it seems to me to be in a dead end; where I lack answers or in which I feel that I need to form a closer relationship with a colleague, a superior, a subordinate and, even, someone who perceives me as his enemy.

After using it for a couple of years – with excellent results – I started recommending it to other people, who also reported their own success stories. Now I am sure that this is one of the most useful phrases in my professional life … and that it can also be in yours.

It is not about magic, but about communication and science. How does it work?

1. The Ben Franklin effect

The Ben Franklin effect is a known psychological effect to change the perception that others have of us by allowing them to do us a favor.

Yes, you heard right: let them do you a favor; not you to them.

It is, at first glance, counterintuitive. We may think that, to please, we must “do” favors, but it turns out that when others do us favors, it is proven that their perception of us improves, since considering ourselves worthy of their time and attention forces them to see ourselves in a more favorable light , as valuable and kind people.

They must be favors that are not heavy, annoying or expensive. For example, asking a colleague for a ride or letting him buy us a coffee… and simply thanking him, without making him feel bad and without seeking to pay him immediately. Receive a favor … and thank you! opens more doors than applause and flattery.

2. An elegant compliment

When asking for advice, the Ben Franklin effect is activated; But that is not all.

On the one hand, a tip is a favor or a service that costs nothing: it is free. Maybe they can deny you -for whatever reason- a ride or a coffee, but who can deny advice? Until now, for many years of using this phrase, I have never encountered someone who refuses to give advice that is asked with kindness and humility.

But there is still more! When it comes to asking for advice, we are asking for a favor as well as making a compliment. We are telling the other person that they are smart, that they are brilliant, that we respect them, and that their opinion is important . It is a gift to your own ego – a gift that no one will stop receiving. People, in general, like to be heard and taken into account.

That is why this phrase is magical. It seems like a favor, but it is also a gift.

3. Let the other shine

It can be personal advice, about work, about a project, or about an important decision. The key is to state the advice simply and clearly and then let the other speak, always respecting the 80/20 rule . When it comes to asking for advice, we are placing the conversation firmly on the other person’s court, letting them speak and express their own personality and history.

When you have asked for advice, do not make excuses or explanations. Answer the question they ask you, but soon return the voice to the other person.

A rule of life: everyone likes to talk about themselves. So it will also allow you to get to know him more and forge – without feeling forced – a real human relationship, one of friendship and trust. Without his realizing it … now they are part of the same team.

4. Peripatetic effect

When we ask another person for advice about something that interests us and we get them to be interested in it, it is possible that due to the effect of mirror neurons , which generate empathy and neural alignment between two people, both can find a solution to a real problem.

In this way, you will not only have strengthened the relationship, but you will also have a practical answer or tangible progress in your project. The best of all? The other person will feel that the idea was theirs – let them take all the credit! – and will defend and promote it with passion.

This is not a manipulative system, but a method of thinking called peripatetic , in which, through questions, we can help other people reach conclusions that they feel as their own . It is widely used in communication and negotiation. It can also be your great ally with the magic phrase.

5. Create real conversations

We waste too much time in innocuous and empty conversations, small talk to fill the time. But how much real conversations are needed! It is impressive what you can discover and achieve if you learn to master the art of conversation .

Nobody asks for advice on worthless things. We ask for advice on things that matter and concern us, that can peek into our privacy or explore big issues. The best friendships are born – says CS Lewis – when one person says to another “How? Do you also think that way? I thought I was the only one! ”

Asking for advice is one of the five avenues of wealth in silence and will help you forge business, personal and friendship relationships that will pave the way for a better life.

So now you know. When you find a closed door, the best key is to ask for advice.

Francisco García Pimentel

 

By:

Source: These 5 words will open thousands of doors for you

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Critics:

For businesses, this could mean: creating new ideas, new product development through research and development, or improving existing services. Innovation can be the central focus of a business and this can help them to grow and become a market leader if they execute their ideas properly. Businesses that are focused on innovation are usually more efficient, cost-effective, and productive.

Successful innovation should be built into the business strategy, where you can create a culture of innovation and drive forward creative problem-solving. Success is the state or condition of meeting a defined range of expectations. It may be viewed as the opposite of failure. The criteria for success depend on context, and may be relative to a particular observer or belief system. One person might consider a success what another person considers a failure, particularly in cases of direct competition or a zero-sum game.

Similarly, the degree of success or failure in a situation may be differently viewed by distinct observers or participants, such that a situation that one considers to be a success, another might consider to be a failure, a qualified success or a neutral situation. For example, a film that is a commercial failure or even a box-office bomb can go on to receive a cult following, with the initial lack of commercial success even lending a cachet of subcultural coolness.

The fields of probability and statistics often study situations where events are labeled as “successes” or “failures”. For example, a Bernoulli trial is a random experiment with exactly two possible outcomes, “success” and “failure”, in which the probability of success is the same every time the experiment is conducted. The concept is named after Jacob Bernoulli, a 17th-century Swiss mathematician, who analyzed them in his Ars Conjectandi (1713).

The term “success” in this sense consists in the result meeting specified conditions, not in any moral judgement. For example, the experiment could be the act of rolling a single die, with the result of rolling a six being declared a “success” and all other outcomes grouped together under the designation “failure”. Assuming a fair die, the probability of success would then be 1 / 6…

References

How To Become a Master at Talking To Strangers

A couple of years ago, I started to talk to strangers. That’s not to say I hadn’t talked to strangers before that, because I had. I’m the son and brother of highly social small-­business owners, and I’m a journalist, so talking to strangers has been both a way of life and a livelihood for me. And yet, a few years ago I noticed I wasn’t doing it much anymore — if at all. Between balancing a demanding job and a really demanding small child, I was often tired, distracted, and overscheduled. The prospect of striking up conversations with random strangers in coffee shops, or bars, or on the bus started to feel daunting. Eventually, I just stopped doing it.

This was a coping strategy, of course. I was overwhelmed, so something had to go. And talking to strangers can, as it turns out, be taxing. Psychologists have found that just making with a stranger can be cognitively demanding, tiring, and even stressful. That makes sense. You don’t know the person, you don’t know where the conversation is going, so you must pay closer attention than you would if you were talking to someone you know well. But psychologists have found that talking to a stranger actually boosts your mental performance — for that same reason: It’s a workout. I was saving myself a bit of effort, but I also noticed that my life was becoming less interesting, less surprising, maybe even a little lonely.

Related: 3 Ways to Make Memorable Small Talk That Gets People Interested In Working With You

After my epiphany, I got to wondering: Why don’t we talk to strangers more, what happens when we do, and how can we get better at it? It turns out, many researchers are asking the same questions. I started flying around the world to meet them: psychologists, evolutionary scientists, historians, urban planners, entrepreneurs, sociologists, and — you guessed it — a ton of fascinating strangers I met along the way. They all taught me that talking to strangers can not only be fun but also enhance our sense of well-being, make us smarter, expand our social and professional networks, and even help us overcome some of our most intractable social problems. (I detail this all in my new book, The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World.)

And as I researched the book, I kept coming back to the implications talking to strangers could have for entrepreneurs. Because I come from a family of small-business owners — and for a while served as executive editor at this magazine — I have seen firsthand how beneficial it is for businesspeople to hone those social skills. I have also spoken to a lot of college professors who lament that their students struggle to make the sorts of serendipitous social connections that will serve them so well once they start their careers. And, like all of us, I’m coming out of a year spent in relative quarantine. I’m rusty on these skills and need to get used to the sorts of fun, fruitful, and, yes, sometimes difficult freewheeling social interactions we were deprived of for more than a year.

All of which is to say, I decided that I needed to become an expert at talking to strangers. How? I signed up for a class unlike anything I’d ever taken before and bought a plane ticket to London.


Our journey begins on a bright day in a small classroom at Regent’s University. I’m sitting on a chair, limp with jet lag, clutching my third cup of coffee. There are four other people there, too. They appear to be functioning at a higher level than I am, thankfully. We have come to this classroom to learn how to talk to strangers.

Our teacher is an energetic 20-something named Georgie Nightingall. She’s the founder of Trigger Conversations, an acclaimed London-based “human connection organization” that hosts social events and immersive workshops aimed at helping people have meaningful interactions with strangers. Since she founded it in 2016, Nightingall has done more than 100 events and many training sessions — with strangers, companies, communities, universities, and conferences, both in London and around the world.

Related: How to Start a Conversation With Strangers at a Networking Event

Nightingall has learned that, for a lot of people, the hardest thing about talking to strangers is initiating the conversation: approaching someone, making them feel safe, and quickly conveying the idea that you don’t have an agenda, that you’re just being friendly or curious. She found that older people are much more likely to initiate a conversation, for instance, whereas younger people require a little more assurance. But she also found that in all her own attempts to speak to strangers, the vast majority of those interactions were substantial, and many went great.

She came to believe, too — and this is important — that making a practice of talking to strangers could offer more than a jolt of good feeling for an individual. There was joy in it, profundity, real communion. If practiced widely enough, she believed it could help repair a fracturing society. “We’re not just talking about a few individualized things,” she says. “We’re talking about a different way to live.”

Nightingall stands before our class, bright, engaging, and articulate, and walks us through what to expect over the coming days. She wants to take us “from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence, and from conscious competence to unconscious competence,” she says. In other words, we are currently bad at this and we’re unaware of why or how. We will learn what we are lacking. We will improve on it. And we will, hopefully, become so proficient that it will become second nature to us.

Our first lesson is small talk. A lot of people hate small talk, which is understandable, because a lot of small talk is deadly boring. Nightingall concedes the point. Yes, she says, small talk can be dull. But that’s because most people don’t understand what it’s for. It’s not the conversation. It’s the opener for a better conversation. It’s a way to get comfortable with one another and cast around for something you want to talk about. That, she says, is why it’s important to be aware of your response when someone asks something like “What do you do?” You are failing to understand what that question is really asking, which is this: “What should you and I talk about?”

Nightingall came to this insight via a couple of sources. She had done improve comedy in the past, and in improve, you start a sketch with something familiar to everyone in the audience — something relevant, timely, or present in the room — to bind the room together. Only then can you really take the audience on a ride. That’s small talk. But Nightingall has also followed the work of social anthropologist Kate Fox, who has studied, for instance, the seemingly inexhaustible English desire to discuss weather. While some critics have pointed to this affinity as evidence of a listless and unimaginative people, Fox argued that weather wasn’t the point. Instead, it is a means of social bonding, a greeting ritual. “English weather-speak is a form of code, evolved to help us overcome our natural reserve and actually talk to each other,” Fox writes. The content is not the point — familiarity, connection, and reassurance are. Once those are in place, a real conversation can happen.

When you recognize that small talk is just a door to a better conversation, Nightingall says, then it can be useful, because it’s structured in a way that naturally leads you toward common ground. We have all experienced how these conversations, if given the time, can move in ever-tightening circles until you both zero in on something you have in common and want to talk about. With that in place, you can wander, get a little personal, go deeper. But it’s probably on you to take it there, Nightingall says. “Everyone is interesting, but it’s not up to them to show you — it’s up to you to discover it.”

The best way to discover that interesting stuff, Nightingall says, is by “breaking the script.” That means using the techniques of small talk, but resisting the temptation to go on autopilot. For example, you go into a store and say, “How are you doing?” and the clerk says, “Fine; how are you?” and the conversation contains no information and goes nowhere. That’s a script. We use scripts to make interactions more efficient, particularly in busy, dense, fast-moving places like big cities. But in doing so, we deny ourselves the chance at a better experience and maybe a new contact, and we wall ourselves off from all the benefits that can come from talking to strangers.

Related: 10 Ways to Connect With Absolutely Anyone You Meet

So how do you break those scripts? With specificity and surprise, Nightingall says. For example, when someone says, “How are you?” she doesn’t say, “Fine.” Instead, she says, “I’d say I’m a 7.5 out of 10.” She briefly explains why she’s a 7.5, asks them how they’re doing, and then just waits. This is when mirroring kicks in; it’s a phenomenon where people naturally follow the lead of their conversational partners. If you say something generic, they will say something generic. If you say something specific, they are likely to as well. Thus, because Nightingall gave a number, her partner is likely to give a number themselves. If they say they’re a 6, Nightingall will ask, “What’ll it take to get you to an 8?” This specificity creates a light atmosphere and makes it harder for the other person to maintain the that you’re of a lesser mind, because it instantly demonstrates complexity, feeling, and humor: humanity, in other words. “Straightaway, they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re a human,’ ” Nightingall says. “You have that bond, and then, naturally, things open up.”

Here are other ways Nightingall suggests breaking a script. When a shop clerk asks, “Can I help you?” you can reply, “Can I help you?” Or instead of asking people at a party what they do, ask them what they’d like to do more of, or what they don’t do. Or instead of asking someone how their day went, ask, “Has your day lived up to your expectations?” All these things require a certain measure of confidence to pull off, Nightingall says. But they work. And when they do, they will reveal a little nugget of what it’s like to be that person. That is meaningful, because that nugget is indicative of what is beneath the surface. “How you do anything is how you do everything,” Nightingall says. That nugget tells you where to go next in the conversation.


Once you’ve established a little connection, what do you do? I normally start asking questions. Which makes sense: I’m showing an interest in the other person, and I demonstrate my interest by indulging my curiosity. But one paradox about talking to a stranger, Nightingall explains, is that while curiosity is indispensable, a barrage of questions out of the gate can feel like prying, or an interview. They don’t quite know where you’re coming from yet, and they don’t know if you have some kind of agenda. Even one personal question asked too early can create an uncomfortable dynamic because you’re asking something of someone. You’re making a demand.

Nightingall suggests that statements, not questions, can be a better way to open a conversation. A question compels an answer, whereas a statement leaves it up to the other person to decide whether they want to talk. It’s not a demand; it’s an offer. You notice something about your shared surroundings, offer an observation, and leave it to the other party to respond. If they do, you respond with another statement that builds on what they said.

These observations should ideally not be moronic — “I noticed that the sun came up today!” — but they can be simple. Like weather talk in England, the point is to indicate a shared experience. Nightingall has found that proximity helps, too. If you are at a museum, walking right up to someone looking at a painting and blurting out “What do you think?” is very different from making an observation about a painting after standing next to them for 30 seconds looking at it. That’s because you have been in their proximity. They have adjusted to your being there, and you have demonstrated a measure of self-control. Then you can speak. It feels less like an invasion.

Related: How to Become a Master Communicator by Following This One Rule

One day in class, my fellow students and I pair off to practice our technique. I’m partnered with “Paula,” who tells me that one of her favorite things is making a cup of good coffee for herself on the weekends and just sitting alone. I try to remember Nightingall’s advice about opening with statements, not questions, but now we’re in a groove — so I dig in. After four questions, Paula is talking about how resentful she is at having to work for other people. I’m obviously quite pleased with myself as I trot back to Nightingall with this pheasant in my mouth. But she is less impressed. She delicately explains that while “it’s clear you’re a person who asks questions for a living,” everything about my suggested I was looking for something to pounce on. I asked questions too quickly, she said. I was leaning forward. This wasn’t a conversation; it was an interview. Possibly an interrogation.

Nightingall suggested asking simpler and more open-ended questions. Instead of saying, “Do you think this was because you were a control freak?” just echo, or say, “Why do you think that is?” That is the opposite of what I usually do, but it’s what I must learn to do. In a good conversation, you must relinquish control. Your job is to help your partner arrive at their own conclusion and surprise you, not to ferret out whatever it is, slap a bow on it, and go, Next! There’s a powerful lesson there: If you’re interested only in things you know you’re interested in, you will never be surprised. You’ll never learn anything new, or gain a fresh perspective, or make a new friend or contact. The key to talking to strangers, it turns out, is letting go, letting them lead. Then the world opens itself to you.

Why don’t we talk to strangers? The answer I heard, over and over again from experts, is simply that we don’t talk to strangers. In many places, for many reasons, it has become a social norm, and social norms are really powerful. That is why Nightingall uses what she calls a foolproof method to not just violate the norm — but to openly acknowledge that you are violating the norm.

She asks us to imagine riding mass transit — which, as we know, is the last place anyone ever talks to a stranger. There is someone who strikes us as interesting. We can’t turn to that person and say, “Why do I find you so interesting?” because if you said something like that to a stranger on the subway, they’re going to assume this is the initiation of a chain of events that will ultimately conclude with their becoming crude homemade taxidermy. So Nightingall suggests something called a pre-frame. It’s an idea based in the field of neurolinguistic programming, which coaches people to “reframe” the possible negative thoughts of others — ­­in essence redefining their expectations for the interaction to come. Ordinarily, we might be wary if a stranger just starts talking to us. We don’t know who they are, or what they want, or whether they’re right in the head. What a pre-frame does is reassure them that you know all this.

To do it, you acknowledge out of the gate that this is a violation of a social norm. You say something like “Look, I know we’re not supposed to talk to people on the subway, but…” This demonstrates that you’re in full possession of your faculties. You’re not erratic, disturbed, or otherwise off in some way. It helps alleviate wariness and opens the possibility of a connection. Once that is established, Nightingall says, you follow the pre-frame with your statement — “I really like your sunglasses,” for instance. Then you follow that with a justification: “I just lost mine and I’ve been looking for a new pair.” The justification eases the person’s suspicion that you have some kind of agenda and allows you to talk a little more openly.

Related: What to Do When You Don’t Know Anyone in the Room

That’s when questions become more important, Nightingall says. Questions serve a multitude of functions, which is why, as I learned in my exercise with Paula, they can be so complicated. Yes, questions help you obtain information. And yes, on a deeper level, they help your conversational partner clarify the point they are trying to make. But they also help us emotionally bond with other people. In a series of studies in 2017, psychologist Karen Huang and her colleagues discovered that “people who ask more questions, particularly follow-up questions, are better liked by their conversation partners.” Those who ask more questions, the authors found, are perceived as higher in responsiveness — which is defined as “listening, , validation, and care.” In other words, people like us because we are interested in them.

And yet, the researchers noted, people tend not to ask a lot of questions. Why? Several reasons. “First,” Huang writes, “people may not think to ask questions at all…because people are egocentric — ­focused on expressing their own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with little or no interest in hearing what another person has to say. Or they may be so distracted by other aspects of the conversation that they do not realize that asking a question is an option.” Even if a question does pop into someone’s head, they may not ask it, because they worry it’ll land badly and be “perceived as rude, inappropriate, intrusive, or incompetent.” In these cases, people will probably just talk about themselves, which studies show they do twice as often as they talk about other matters — ­which, ironically, makes people like them less. (Good work, everybody.)

But what’s a good question to ask? Nightingall has us complete an exercise in which we are given banal statements — the sort commonly offered in small talk—and tasked with coming up with good questions. For instance, one student says she ran along the Thames yesterday. There is almost nothing in the world less interesting to me than running, and usually I’d take this as my cue to begin plotting my escape. But, working from the idea that small talk is the means, not the end, the class brainstorms good questions to ask that might lead to something more personal or interesting: “Do you run every day?” “Is that a passion for you?” “What would you do if you couldn’t run every day?” I suggest, “What are you running from?” which is meant as a joke, but the class seems to go for it.

Then we move on to the flip side of question-asking: It is listening. When people do start talking, you must listen, make eye contact, and generally show you’re engaged. We know this, of course. But we are not always good at showing it. Two effective techniques to signal engagement are paraphrasing what people have just said — “It seems like you’re saying…” — and echoing — which is simply occasionally repeating things your partner just said—both of which are commonly used by therapists and hostage negotiators to foster connection and build trust. For instance, if they say, “I guess at that point I was frustrated,” you say, “You were frustrated.” This seems deeply weird and unnatural, and feels awkward to do, and if you overdo it, your partner is going to think something’s wrong with you. But I am here to attest that, done well, it is extremely effective. It’s like a magic trick. Researchers have concluded as much. According to the French psychologists Nicolas Guéguen and Angélique Martin, “Research has shown that mimicry…leads to greater liking of the mimicker” and helps create rapport during a social interaction.

Nightingall breaks down listening into three levels. There is listening for things you know about. That’s the most superficial level. That’s when someone says something about baseball and you jump on it and start talking about baseball. Then there is listening for information — you show curiosity about someone but your questions are about collecting factual data. That’s also more about you and your interests. And then there’s the deepest level of listening: listening for experiences, feelings, motivations, and values. That kind of listening is more than simply hearing, or self-­affirmation. It’s paying attention and endeavoring to understand. It is demonstrated with eye contact, echoing, and paraphrasing, and it can be deepened by asking clarifying questions —­ Why? How? Who? — that help the person get to the heart of the matter.

In other words, at this level of listening, you are not simply listening for something you want to talk about, or offering advice, or trying to think of something smart to say in response. It’s not about your agenda. It is a level of engagement that is about helping your partner get to what they really want to talk about, and you going along for the ride. You still want to talk about yourself a bit, Nightingall says — to give a little, and not leave the person feeling like you’ve just rummaged around in the bureau of their personal life and made off with a watch. But you want most of the focus to be on them. It is, again, a form of . You are hosting someone. You are surrendering a measure of control. You are giving them space. You are taking a risk. That risk opens you to the potential rewards of talking to a stranger.

During lunch and after class, I try out some of these techniques around London. I ask a 20-something bartender at a pub if the day has met her expectations, and she confesses with very little prompting that yes, it has. She’s about to quit her day job. She feels she’s been sold a bill of goods about the merits of a straight corporate career, and she’s going to empty her savings and travel the world. She hasn’t told anyone this yet, she says. But she will soon.

At lunch at a Lebanese takeout restaurant, I ask the owner what items he’s most proud of — because that’s what I want. He starts taking bits of this and that and dropping them into my bag. I tell him I grew up in a white neighborhood, and when I was a kid, a Lebanese family moved in behind us and used to hand us plates over the fence of what was at that time very exotic food. Since then, Lebanese food has always been among my favorites. Curiously, when I eat it, I think about home. This, as Nightingall instructed, was me opening up the conversation with a statement, not a question. The owner tells me that in Lebanon, that kind of hospitality is a big deal; people always make a lot of food for visitors. While he talks, he keeps dropping more food into my bag. When he’s done, the bag weighs about five pounds and he charges me for maybe a third of it.

Related: Here’s How to Strike Up a Conversation With Almost Anyone

At the end of the final day of class, Nightingall tells us that practice will be everything. Some encounters will go poorly, she says, and some will be great, but in time, we will get more comfortable with doing this as we internalize the techniques we have learned. We will be able to get a little bolder or more playful. Our confidence, tone, and body language will alleviate people’s wariness at the flagrant violation of a social norm of long standing.

Indeed, Nightingall is something of a wizard at this. She once started a conversation with a man on the tube just by pointing at his hat, smiling, and saying, simply, “Hat.” She will randomly high-five people in the street, she says. She smiles at people going the opposite direction down an escalator just to see if they’ll smile back. She doesn’t order an Americano; she orders “the best Americano in the world.” And people respond. During a break one day, I walked into the campus Starbucks to get more coffee. Nightingall was already in there, talking animatedly with a barista she’d never met before. When she and I walked out, she told me he gave her the coffee on the house.

Nightingall’s free coffee, my Lebanese meal — these were not coincidences. As I learned repeatedly while testing techniques of talking to strangers, I’d often be rewarded with free food. There are, of course, far more fruitful, meaningful, and valuable reasons to talk to strangers. But the food stuck with me. Then I realized why: When you start a good conversation with a stranger, it’s like you’re giving them an uncommon gift. And more often than not, they want to give you something in return.

Joe Keohane

By: Joe Keohane / Magazine Contributor

Source: How to Become a Master at Talking to Strangers

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References:

“Micro review: ‘Talking to Strangers’ by Malcolm Gladwell – Times of India”. The Times of India. 5 October 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-07.v

What Does It Mean to Be a Manager Today?

A year into the pandemic, the implications of how Covid-19 has changed how people will work from now on are becoming clear. Many employees will be working in a hybrid world with more choices about where, when, and how much they work. For midsize companies specifically, Gartner analysis shows that 46% of the workforce is projected to be working hybrid in the near future.

To better understand the impact of Covid-19 on the future of work, we surveyed 3,049 knowledge workers and their managers across onsite, remote, and hybrid work contexts, as well as 75 HR leaders, including 20 leaders from midsize companies. Except where indicated, our findings come from these 2021 surveys.

Managers used to be selected and promoted largely based on their ability to manage and evaluate the performance of employees who could carry out a particular set of tasks. Within the last five years, HR executives started to hire and develop managers who were poised to be great coaches and teachers. But the assumption that coaching should be the primary function of management has been tested since the pandemic began. Three disruptive, transformative trends are challenging traditional definitions of the manager role:

Understanding Midsize Businesses

Normalization of remote work. As both employees and managers have become more distributed, their relationships to one another have also become more asynchronous. Gartner estimates that in more than 70% of manager-employee relationships, either the manager or the employee will be working remotely at least some of the time. This means that employees and their managers will be less likely to be working on the same things at the same time. Managers will have dramatically less visibility into the realities of their employees’ day-to-day and will begin to focus more on their outputs and less on the processes used to produce them.

Acceleration in use of technology to manage employees. More than one in four companies have invested in new technology to monitor their remote employees during the pandemic. Companies have been buying scheduling software, AI-enabled expense-report auditing tools, and even technologies to replace manager feedback using AI. While companies have been focused on how technology can automate employee tasks, it can just as effectively replace the tasks of managers. At the extreme, by 2024, new technologies have the potential to replace as much as 69% of the tasks historically done by managers, such as assigning work and nudging productivity.

Employees’ changing expectations. As companies have expanded the support they offer to their employees in areas like mental health and child care during the pandemic, the relationships between employees and their managers have started to shift to be more emotional and supportive. Knowledge workers now expect their managers to be part of their support system to help them improve their life experience, rather than just their employee experience.

When managerial tasks are replaced by technology, managers aren’t needed to manage workflows. When interactions become primarily virtual, managers can no longer rely on what they see to manage performance, and when relationships become more emotional, they can no longer limit the relationship to the sphere of work. These three trends have culminated in a new era of management where it’s less important to see what employees are doing and more important to understand how they feel.

Radical flexibility requires empathetic managers

To be successful in this new environment, managers must lead with empathy. In a 2021 Gartner survey of 4,787 global employees assessing the evolving role of management, only 47% of managers are prepared for this future role. The most effective managers of the future will be those who build fundamentally different relationships with their employees.

Empathy is nothing new. It’s a common term in the philosophy of good leadership, but it has yet to be a top management priority. The empathic manager is someone who can contextualize performance and behavior — who transcends simply understanding the facts of work and proactively asks questions and seeks information to place themselves in their direct reports’ contexts.

Empathy requires developing high levels of trust and care and a culture of acceptance within teams. This is a lot to ask of any individual: that they ask questions that produce vulnerable answers without compromising trust, diagnose the root cause of an employee’s behavior without making assumptions, and demonstrate the social-emotional intelligence necessary to imagine another’s feelings.

Empathy isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. In fact, in that same survey, 85% of HR leaders at midsize companies agreed that it’s more important now for managers to demonstrate empathy than it was before the pandemic. Further Gartner analysis shows that managers who display high levels of empathy have three times the impact on their employees’ performance than those who display low levels of empathy. Employees at organizations with high levels of empathy-based management are more than twice as likely to agree that their work environment is inclusive.

Creating a new workforce of empathic managers is especially difficult for midsize companies. While larger companies can earmark billions of dollars for learning and development for massive workforce transformation, smaller companies are more fiscally constrained and don’t have the same resources. Midsize companies also often don’t have the scale to create a managerial class within their workforce — they need managers to be both managers and doers.

Midsize companies need to find solutions to develop more empathic managers without massive investments and continue to have those managers work rather than just manage. This will require organizations and their HR functions to develop their managers’ skills, awaken their mindsets to manage in new ways, and create the capacity across the organization to enable this shift. Here’s how to adopt a holistic strategy that invests in all three of those strategies.

Develop empathy skills through vulnerable conversation practice

Asking managers to lead with empathy can be intimidating. Many managers understand empathy conceptually but aren’t sure how to use it as a management tool: Are these questions too personal? How do I create a trusting relationship with my direct reports? Is caring acceptable at work? How do I talk about social justice?

It goes against deeply ingrained assumptions that we should keep work and life separate. Managers need opportunities to practice — and, crucially, room to make mistakes — in order to learn to lead with empathy. Unfortunately, only 52% of 31 learning and development leaders polled in May 2020 report that they’re increasing their focus on soft skills.

To build empathy, Zillow creates cohorts of managers across the organization who engage in rotating one-on-one conversations with their peers to troubleshoot current managerial challenges. These conversations offer frequent, psychologically safe opportunities to engage in vulnerable conversations focused on how managers can commit to specific actions to care for themselves, as well as support the well-being of their team.

Managers are able to practice their empathy with their peers, asking specific questions to understand their challenges and articulating their own circumstances in response to probes. Importantly, these types of conversations offer managers the opportunity to fail — and in a safe space — which is an opportunity rarely given to figures of authority. They also help managers feel less isolated by practicing empathy with peers, who are less likely to pass judgment.

Empower a new manager mindset by creating a network of support

According to our 2021 survey of 4,787 global employees, 75% of HR leaders from midsize companies agree that managers’ roles have expanded, yet roles and teams are not structured to support well-being.

Goodway Group, a fully remote company since 2007, knows that the best business results and purpose for work happens within teams and that distributed teams face greater challenges with communication and shared visibility. Goodway created a dedicated role, the team success partner, whose responsibilities include fostering trust and psychological safety and supporting team health. Managers work with team success partners to respond to the unique challenges distributed employees are facing; this includes facilitating remote psychologically safe remote conversations and supporting new team member assimilation.

Managers’ motivation to be empathic increases when they have a support system that makes it clear that the burden isn’t theirs alone and when organizations invest in roles designed to support them.

Create manager capacity for empathy by optimizing reporting lines

Managers are already overburdened by the demands of the evolving work environment, and actions that drive empathy are time consuming. While 70% of midsize HR leaders agree managers are overwhelmed by their responsibilities, only 16% of midsize organizations have redefined the manager role to reduce the number of responsibilities on their plate.

Recognizing the pressure on managers to maintain team connectedness in a remote environment, leaders at Urgently, a digital roadside assistance company, rebalanced their managers’ workloads. When managers have a team size they can handle, they’re able to dedicate time to fostering deeper connections and responding with empathy. Moving to a hybrid environment creates complexity; one key part of the solution is to help managers prioritize their workload to focus on fewer, higher-impact relationships with individuals and teams.

Organizations that equip managers to be empathic by holistically addressing the three common barriers — skill, mindset, and capacity — will achieve outsized returns on performance in the post-Covid-19 world.

By:Brian Kropp, Alexia Cambon, and Sara Clark

Source: What Does It Mean to Be a Manager Today?

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Critics:

In the field of management, strategic management involves the formulation and implementation of the major goals and initiatives taken by an organization‘s managers on behalf of stakeholders, based on consideration of resources and an assessment of the internal and external environments in which the organization operates. Strategic management provides overall direction to an enterprise and involves specifying the organization’s objectives, developing policies and plans to achieve those objectives, and then allocating resources to implement the plans.

Academics and practicing managers have developed numerous models and frameworks to assist in strategic decision-making in the context of complex environments and competitive dynamics. Strategic management is not static in nature; the models often include a feedback loop to monitor execution and to inform the next round of planning.

Michael Porter identifies three principles underlying strategy:

  • creating a “unique and valuable [market] position
  • making trade-offs by choosing “what not to do”
  • creating “fit” by aligning company activities with one another to support the chosen strategy

Corporate strategy involves answering a key question from a portfolio perspective: “What business should we be in?” Business strategy involves answering the question: “How shall we compete in this business?”

Management theory and practice often make a distinction between strategic management and operational management, with operational management concerned primarily with improving efficiency and controlling costs within the boundaries set by the organization’s strategy.

Interorganizational relationships allow independent organizations to get access to resources or to enter new markets. Interorganizational relationships represent a critical lever of competitive advantage.[40]

The field of strategic management has paid much attention to the different forms of relationships between organizations ranging from strategic alliances to buyer-supplier relationships, joint ventures, networks, R&D consortia, licensing, and franchising.

On the one hand, scholars drawing on organizational economics (e.g., transaction costs theory) have argued that firms use interorganizational relationships when they are the most efficient form comparatively to other forms of organization such as operating on its own or using the market. On the other hand, scholars drawing on organizational theory (e.g., resource dependence theory) suggest that firms tend to partner with others when such relationships allow them to improve their status, power, reputation, or legitimacy.

See also

4 Trends In Fundraising That Will Impact the Future of Philanthropy

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While the needs of fundraising organizations have grown and diversified, the techniques of fundraisers have grown stale instead of evolving. Many organizations continue to use the same strategies to secure gifts as they have for years, despite growing evidence of the need for change.

Unfortunately, because of rare but highly public unethical practices in political and -adjacent industries, nonprofit fundraisers today deal with a lot of issues with stigma, skepticism and mistrust. Recently, the Department of Justice began cracking down on certain matching contributions claims, as an example of the way certain ‘gimmicks’ leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

Because of ongoing challenges, with donor trust, organizations looking to fundraise in 2021 and beyond will not be able to meet new challenges with old habits. Leaders and fundraisers need to be aware of the latest trends in the space to maximize their funding and, by extension, their impact.

Related: How Digital is Bridging the Gap For Nonprofits

Here are a few of the most important trends happening in fundraising right now and what you should do about them.

1. Retain your donors

So many fundraising initiatives focus on acquiring new donors, while not enough attention goes toward the people who have already proven their interest. Retaining your donors is one of the most effective ways to increase funding without overspending on acquisition costs of new donors.

Leaders in fundraising including Dan Pallotta, Mallory Erickson and Kivi Leroux Miller agree on the importance of retaining existing donors. Erickson makes the point that donors stick around when organizations focus on finding “Power Partners” and identifying win-win opportunities for them.

If aligned correctly from the beginning, your existing pool of donors indicate that there is something they like about your organization: your mission, your , your messaging, etc. Find out what makes your donors tick by asking directly. Call, send surveys or post on community messaging boards. Find out why your best donors connect to your organization, then lean into that alignment to keep them engaged.

2. Demonstrate transparency and grace

Fundraising is rarely straightforward. Not only will you struggle to complete many of your goals, but you will likely make mistakes along the way. Be transparent about issues when they arise, but don’t fall flat over every small misstep. Instead, be graceful, accept the lesson and communicate what you will do differently next time.

The pandemic provided plenty of examples of what to do and what not to do on this subject. Take the CDC, for example. At the end of last year, the organization printed, then retracted, then removed a statement about how Covid-19 spreads through airborne transmission. The organization did not change its stance, but it was a bad look in an already tense conversation.

Stay focused on the mission throughout any communication on a faux pas. Clearly illustrate what went wrong and why, reiterate your commitment to the cause and explain what will happen next. The best part of transparency is accountability, and for fundraising purposes, remaining accountable is a must.

Related: Why Radical Transparency (With Staff and Customers) Is Good for Business

3. Step back to see what works

You cannot build a smart fundraising strategy if you never step back to evaluate the effectiveness of your actions. Schedule time each quarter, and preferably each month, to review specific messaging campaigns, events and other initiatives to see what landed and what did not.

Donor Search recommends tracking all the basics, like donation volume, size and retention rates, but also focuses smartly on digital engagement. In a world where fundraising can happen any time online, leaders of fundraising organizations must be digitally savvy.

Lead-tracking can be a great way to identify the best sources of new donors. Ask simple questions of event attendees in follow-up email campaigns and surveys. Invite them to download content about your organization or register for your next event. Try different ways to funnel different donor leads toward single large gifts, smaller recurring gifts or whichever arrangement you find has the highest conversion rate.

Related: 3 Nonprofit Funding Avenues All Founders Should Know About

4. Ditch the perfectionism

No one gets everything right the first time. This isn’t about transparency, though. While it is important to own your mistakes, it’s also important to act decisively when you have enough information instead of waiting until it’s too late.

Have a potential lead on a big donor but your contact fell through? Do your own research and reach out directly. Want to try a new messaging strategy but not sure if the budget is worth it? Try a small test audience and see how it goes. Some of your moves will fail, but you can’t let that stop you from trying. Perfectionism will only slow you down.

Fundraising in 2021 happens in bursts of opportunity. The right moment is only a moment away, and fortune favors those who take action before stopping to work out all the details.

These trends in fundraising have arisen because new tools, new strategies and new social pressures demanded change. The older, more passive ways of fundraising will not be as effective in the months and years to come. Embrace these changes and use these tips to secure the funding your mission needs to move forward.

Peter Daisyme

By: Peter Daisyme / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Source: 4 Trends In Fundraising That Will Impact the Future of Philanthropy

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Critics:

Philanthropy consists of “private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life“. Philanthropy contrasts with business initiatives, which are private initiatives for private good, focusing on material gain, and with government endeavors, which are public initiatives for public good, e.g., focusing on provision of public services. A person who practices philanthropy is a philanthropist.

Philanthropy is different from charity, though there is some overlap. Charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of the problem.

Traditional philanthropy and impact investment can be distinguished by how they serve society. Traditional philanthropy is usually short-term, where organizations obtain resources for causes through fund-raising and one-off donations. The Carnegie Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation are examples of such; they focus more on the financial contributions to social causes and less on the actual actions and processes of benevolence.

Impact investment, on the other hand, focuses on the interaction between individual wellbeing and broader society through the promotion of sustainability. Stressing the importance of impact and change, they invest in different sectors of society, including housing, infrastructure, healthcare and energy.

A suggested explanation for the preference for impact investment philanthropy to traditional philanthropy is the gaining prominence of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2015. Almost every SDG is linked to environmental protection and sustainability because of raising concerns about how globalisation, liberal consumerism and population growth may affect the environment. As a result, development agencies have seen increased accountability on their part, as they face greater pressure to fit with current developmental agendas.

Philanthrocapitalism differs from traditional philanthropy in how it operates. Traditional philanthropy is about charity, mercy, and selfless devotion improving recipients’ wellbeing. Philanthrocapitalism, is philanthropy transformed by business and the market, where profit-oriented business models are designed that work for the good of humanity. Share value companies are an example. They help develop and deliver curricula in education, strengthen their own businesses and improve the job prospects of people. Firms improve social outcomes, but while they do so, they also benefit themselves.

The rise of philanthrocapitalism can be attributed to global capitalism. There is an understanding that philanthropy is not worthwhile if no economic benefit can be derived by philanthropy organisations, both from a social and private perspective. Therefore, philanthropy has been seen as a tool to sustain economic growth and the firm’s own growth, based on human capital theory. Through education, specific skills are taught which enhance people’s capacity to learn and their productivity at work.

See also

5 Key Variables That Will Impact Our Return To “Normal”

An illustration of a needle and rode - The road back to normalcy

As vaccines roll out around the world, the question on everybody’s mind, is what does the journey back to “normal” look like? A new normal won’t return at the flip of a switch. We need to understand what’s happening, and we need trusted data to do that. So what should we be tracking? What metrics do we need to make effective, data-driven decisions? And, how do we know if we’re on the path to normalcy?

We recently spoke with Dr. Sam Scarpino, complex systems scientist, and assistant professor at the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University. With his help, we’ve identified five key variables that can help us measure our progress to a state resembling normalcy. In other words, when data will tell us when and how we can return to a simpler—if not quite normal—life.

1. Vaccine effectiveness

The first variable is, of course, the vaccines themselves. In our conversation, Scarpino shared two important variables regarding vaccine rollout:

  1. Transmission: The amount that vaccines reduce transmission
  2. Deployment: How quickly we can roll out vaccines across the country and internationally

Public and private healthcare organizations will need to track these data at a granular level.

Scarpino also emphasized the need for passive, always-on surveillance for COVID-19 and for genomic variants, like the B.1.1.7 variant in the United Kingdom. “Without these surveillance systems, we’re going to be continually caught off-guard by this disease and the “new normal” will feel a lot less normal,” said Scarpino.

2. Vaccine distribution

Next, we have to consider the huge task of distributing and administering the vaccines. This of course brings production and logistical challenges from mass shipping of perishable products, to scaling delivery to patients within myriad healthcare systems. And most critical of all, prioritizing what groups should be vaccinated first, and managing follow-up to ensure second doses are administered on schedule.

“At this stage, the biggest obstacle is delivery of the vaccines,” shared Scarpino. “Given the lack of a uniform national plan, states and localities are creating their own distribution and vaccination plans. Every state has a different approach, with varying levels of success. As a result, we’re already seeing dreadfully slow uptake. What this means is that we need more federal support for community health organizations administering the vaccine and public health agencies monitoring and coordinating our responses.”

There are also concerns around equal access to vaccinations.

Communities of color and Native American populations have experienced an increased burden of COVID-19, as a direct result of generations of systemic racism that have impacted health and access to healthcare. As a country, and internationally, we need to engage with individuals in these communities to ensure they have a voice and vote in how vaccines are prioritized.”

3. Vaccine acceptance and uptake

The third key variable is vaccine acceptance and uptake, which is difficult to predict. Vaccine acceptance is about building trust within local communities, especially where vaccine hesitancy is the norm. Uptake, on the other hand, is about vaccinations itself. Is it fast, easy, and accessible? The story of COVID-19 is fundamentally a local story, so what we really need are data insights at the postal code level.

“The first step is a critical and realistic assessment of our failures and successes, which requires data,” shared Scarpino. “If we don’t have detailed enough data around uptake, we can’t see which communities are close to herd-immunity and which are further away. We’ll be in the dark trying to respond to COVID-19 flare-ups.”

4. Testing speed and availability

It’s going to take time to roll out the vaccine. But with focus shifting to the vaccine itself, we can’t forget the importance of testing. We need to address questions like:

  • How available is on-demand testing?
  • What are the barriers that prevent people from being tested?
  • How long do the results take? Hours or days?

With this data, communities can identify hot spots and businesses gain insights they need to reopen, getting us one step closer to normalcy.

Scarpino emphasized that “high-rates of testing, paired with isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing can control COVID-19 even without a vaccine,” based on models and data from countries like Vietnam and Australia. “With the proper non-pharmaceutical interventions, we could potentially reach normalcy in months instead of years,” shared Scarpino.

5. Contact tracing

Finally, even with testing, vaccines, and wide scale public health measures, nothing beats good old fashioned contact tracing.

“Contact tracing—and its vital partner, case investigation to determine the source of infections—remains our best tool for fighting this disease,” shared Scarpino.

Closely monitoring where, when, and by whom one was exposed will help people understand if they are at risk, and take the right precautions, especially if they are asymptomatic. Contact tracing is foundational to the path to normalcy, by making sure that exposed individuals are aware, they can take actions to limit further transmission.

“We’ve seen myriad countries, like Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia, China, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, to name only a few, control this disease with testing, tracing, and isolation,” said Scarpino.

The vaccine also requires multiple doses, so Scarpino noted that “we need effective, and accurate systems, for monitoring uptake and ensuring individuals receive all the necessary rounds of inoculation. If our contact tracing systems aren’t working, we can’t control the disease and we can’t ensure individuals are being vaccinated properly.”

Getting back to “normal” takes all of us

Over the next few months, these factors will drive how quickly or how well things will return to normal for citizens, communities, and the economy.

“What we’ve seen over the past year is that society’s deepest challenges—from racism and its lasting effects, to chronically underfunding public health, or access to affordable healthcare and housing—largely dictated the course of this pandemic,” shared Scarpino.

“We can build a brighter, safer, and more productive future. One that will help us return to normal faster and prevent this from happening again. But it’s going to take all of us, working together and it has to start now.”

For more information, check out the Tableau COVID-19 Data Hub, where you can explore dashboards, find actionable insights, and visualize your own analyses.

From connection through collaboration, Tableau is the most powerful, secure, and flexible end-to-end analytics platform for your data. Elevate people with the power of data. Designed for the individual, but scaled for the enterprise, Tableau is the only business intelligence platform that turns your data into insights that drive action

Source: 5 Key Variables That Will Impact Our Return To “Normal”

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References

Nigerian Filmmaker, Teniola Olatoni Premieres “The New Normal” to Rave Reviews, AP, November 18, 2020

AI Can Now Identify You By Your Walking Style – Ashley Sams

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Similar to snowflakes, every individual’s walking style is unique to him or her. Gizmodo shares that work is being done to create a new footstep recognition tool that could replace retinal scanners and fingerprinting at security checkpoints.

“Each human has approximately 24 different factors and movements when walking, resulting in every individual person having a unique, singular walking pattern,” says Omar Costilla Reyes, the lead author of the new study and a computer scientist at the University of Manchester.

Reyes created the largest footsteps database in existence by collecting 20,000 footstep signals from 120 individuals. Using this database, Reyes trains the artificially intelligent system to scour through the data and analyze weight distribution, gait speed, and three-dimensional measures of each walking style.

The results so far show that, on average, the system is 100 percent accurate in identifying individuals.

Which Online Conversations Will End in Conflict? AI Knows.

According to The Verge, researchers at Cornell University, Google Jigsaw, and Wikimedia have created an artificial intelligence system that can predict whether or not an online conversation will end in conflict.

To do so, they trained the system using the “talk page” on Wikipedia articles—where editors discuss changes to phrasing, the need for better sources, and so on.

The system is trained to look for several indicators to gauge whether the conversation is amicable or unfriendly. Signs of a positive conversation include the use of the word “please,” greetings (“How’s your day going?”), and gratitude (“Thanks for your help”).

On the contrast, telling signs of a negative dialogue include direct questioning (“Why didn’t you look at this?”) and use of second person pronouns (“Your sources are incomplete”).

Currently, the AI can correctly predict the sentiment outcome of an online discussion 64 percent of the time. Humans still perform the task better, making the right call 72 percent of the time. However, this development shows we’re on the right path to creating machines that can intervene in online arguments.

AI Across Industries

In a recent Forbes article, author Bernard Marr shares 27 examples of artificial intelligence and machine learning currently being implemented across industries. If you don’t have time to read the full list, we’ve shared a few of our favorites below.

In consumer goods, companies like Coca-Cola and Heineken are using artificial intelligence to sort through their mounds of data to improve their operations, marketing, advertising, and customer service.

In energy, GE uses big data, machine learning, and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to build an “internet of energy.” Machine learning and analytics enable predictive maintenance and business optimization for GE’s vision of a “digital power plant.”

In social media, tech giants Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are using artificial intelligence to fight cyberbullying, racist content, and spam, further enhancing the user experience.

If everyone who reads our articles and like it , help to fund it. Our future would be much more secure if you send us your donations…THANK YOU

 

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