Tag Archives: communication

Social Presence

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Are there specific attributes in an environment that make you feel more present? Not necessarily that enable you to navigate the environment better or communicate with another person better, but something more subtle than these?

Nothing beats talking to another person face-to-face, but a group of researchers are considering whether a life-size projection of a person who appears to be sitting across from you in an actual chair might be a close second.othing beats talking to another person face-to-face, but a group of researchers are considering whether a life-size projection of a person who appears to be sitting across from you in an actual chair might be a close second.

palace guards

Improving Communication Through Reverse Power Poses

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This paper by James Detert and Ethan Burris in Harvard Business Review has an interesting take on something that has been in the news a lot lately (and even a TED talk). The topic is “power posing” and the basic message is that if you adopt a power pose you exert a wide range of influences. It creates an internal frame by making you more confident in yourself. Even if you can’t see yourself in the pose, you know you are doing it.

Studies on power posing show that intentionally adjusting your body posture, facial expressions, and voice can help you express your ideas and concerns and win greater influence. This is true no matter what title or position you hold. Simply comporting yourself as if you’re a rung or two higher makes people act more deferentially toward you. Often, they’re not fully aware that they’re responding this way, yet the effect is in full force in any kind of hierarchy, whether it’s based on formal or informal status.

Two cats arguing

Agreeing to Disagree

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When two people or organizations can’t resolve a conflict, they often defer to the option of “agreeing to disagree.” This is not very satisfying to either side, but at least you can walk away from the negotiating table (or battle zone) with at least a temporary pause in active combat. I can’t convince you; you can’t convince me; so let’s just go our own ways and ignore the disagreement.

Controlling the channels of communication never prevents communication: it just makes stark the lack of permission and prompts creative attempts to subvert the authority. Opening up spaces to communicate and collaborate is a key aspect of eroding resistance and building a foundation for change.

group of people talking

Team Thinking Types

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There are many roles that we may serve on a work team. There is the team leader of course. This is often the only one formally assigned. There also might be the project manager who keeps track of schedules and action items. There also might be a team historian who is in charge of bringing up the past – what has worked, what has failed, what was decided, what was rejected, and so on.

We therefore propose that just as team members today have assigned doing roles, there should also be thinking roles. By knowing how other members of your team and organization think — and by others knowing how you think — everyone can be more energized, more engaged, more creative, and more productive.

2 Figurines Talking

Receptivity to False Profundity

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Many of you might have already seen this article making the rounds on social media. But unlike your typical sources, EID is dedicated to giving you the deeper truth about the world. So how can we resist a take on profundity, pseudo profundity, and utter bulls**t?

Although bulls**t is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bulls**t, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous.

swat team

Framing Can Make All the Difference

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Framing is a powerful tool – one we all should know more about. It can be used for black hat and for white hat purposes. They can be done to us or by us. In all four combinations, look before you leap. I have a feeling that most readers of EID already know something about framing, so let me get to the point for today. I just got my alumni magazine from Tufts University and it had a great message from the Editor. He describes a powerful use of framing that has been in the news a lot lately.

Militarization of policing is not just about gear. It’s a whole way of thinking and speaking—one that assumes police power is based on military might rather than the consent of the policed. Martial language can divide police from their communities just as scary-looking weapons can.

person in the mirror

The Transparency Illusion

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I think you will really enjoy today’s self-delusion topic. Not only is it very common, but knowing more about it can save you from some very embarrassing situations. What is this perilous misconception? The transparency illusion. You can read more about it in Heidi Grant Halvorson’s great new book No One Understands You And What To Do About It or a quick review of the book such as this one in The Atlantic.

Try though you might to come across in a certain way to others, people often perceive you in an altogether different way.

the interior of a van designed as a working environment

Getting Work Done While Commuting to Work

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How do you get to work? Do you sit in miserable traffic, sending your cortisol levels through the roof? It turns out that the heavy hitters in Moscow have it made. If you are important enough to be considered a “minigarch”, you might be picked up by a Mercedes luxury van that has been souped up by Brabus and turned into a fully loaded mobile office…

a page of the dictionary seen through a lens

An Evolving Lexicon and the Meaning of Words

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I think it is a very useful practice to introduce new words into the lexicon that either describe concepts that didn’t previously exist (because of changes in technology or culture) or that streamline the discussion of concepts that were hard to describe otherwise. Engineers do a lot of both kinds, but so do cultural icons. And it is not often that engineers and pop stars have something in common. Here are a few examples I heard this week…

a napa vineyard

Insurance Loopholes and Behavioral Nudges

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Two stories in the news caught my eye today, at first because of the similarities but then because they are so different. OK, now that you are totally confused, let me explain what I mean. The first article was in Bloomberg Business Week and covered the recent earthquake in Napa Valley.

Unless the federal government designates Napa a disaster, winemakers will not be eligible for special loans.

The second story talked about businesses that were hurt by the tornado in July in Revere, MA. Tornados are extremely rare in Revere and very few businesses had tornado insurance. And as with the Napa wineries, most of them are small businesses with an eye on expenses. And as with the Napa wineries’ insurance, many of them found themselves with loophole-riddled policies…