Tag Archives: communication

Another verbal hug: Compliments

Short of giving someone an actual hug, or remembering to use their name, what is a great way of giving someone that warm and fuzzy feeling?

It is so easy to fall into the trap of just seeing someone’s negative traits, or just taking them for granted. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer to take the time to tell someone something that you like about them?

Here are some reasons why this is such a wonderful thing to do:

  1. YOU WILL MAKE SOMEONE SMILE. Everyone likes to feel good. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Having the consideration to pay someone a compliment will really help them feel engaged with you and happy in themselves. Smiling is good for your health!
  2. TAKE AWAY THE NEGATIVITY. There is so much negativity in our society today. People complain about things not working, about customer service, about trains being late, about their partner forgetting something, about the Internet being slow at that second….. moan, moan, moan! Compliments really seem to stand out nowadays.
  3. YOU ARE LOOKING AT THINGS IN A DIFFERENT WAY. Paying someone a compliment means you are looking at them in a positive, praising way. It will help you look deeply at them and what makes them ‘tick’. Throw away constantly thinking the worst of people and realise that they are truly multifaceted!
  4. YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED AS A POSITIVE PERSON. Do you know someone who is a bit of a ‘downer’? All they do is moan about how bad people or things are? That can be very draining and they start to be avoided. Positive, happy, smiling people are simply more fun to be around. Be one of those people! Plus, this means that when things really ARE going badly for you, your friends will notice the difference and will be keen to help.
  5. YOU ARE BRAVE. It can feel hard to give a compliment sometimes. It could feel out of place or make you feel vulnerable (‘What if they don’t like me?’). One reason that a compliment is so appreciated is the fact that you are putting yourself ‘out there’ in such a way. Be brave!

Get out there and make some compliments today! Ensure they are genuine and from the heart.

What nice things have you said to people recently?

Give someone a verbal hug today: Names

Have you given someone a verbal hug today?

There are occasions when we meet a new group of people. The usual whirlwind of introductions and names occur. Sometimes we almost ‘discard’ someone’s name because it can seem superfluous detail compared to who the person actually is. It is also going to be one of the first things someone says to us so our concentration may not be in the right place either.

I have blogged with some tips in this area before, so check that out if you struggle with this!

Recently, I was happy to be complimented on the fact that I was remembering the names of everyone. I certainly used to be terrible at it and it was only with effort that I improved. Football refereeing has been a ‘trial of fire’ with this: You want to do everything possible to establish rapport with 22+ potentially unruly players!

I’ve already linked to some tips on how to improve in this area, but WHY is it so important?

  1. IT’S A VERBAL HUG! All of us have had names for a very long time! We react to them instinctively. Hearing someone use your name is a form of hug and makes you feel welcome and involved. This is of course referring to a name being used in a positive way as opposed to anything that might trigger the memories of a parent giving a ‘telling off’.
  2. THANKS FOR LISTENING. Using someone’s name, especially early on, does at least demonstrate you are paying attention. You may appear to be listening to an anecdote but if you find yourself ten minutes later having to ask, “Erm, what was your name again?” then you have undone some of that good.
  3. YOU ARE CREATING INVOLVEMENT. It is possible to be a ‘social queen bee’ and involve others in the conversation a lot more easily if you can use their name. Again, this is all about making people feel welcome and valued. “This person is also involved in….” does not quite have the same ring to it. Nor would beckoning someone with hand signals alone!

Try using names more often today. Even with people you know really well. See what a change it has and whether you can hit a good ‘sweet spot’!

Communicating decisions to those off the pitch

'This way, lads...'

“Ref, what was that for?!”

That’s a not uncommon cry from the sidelines when giving free kicks or getting the cards out. There a few things you can do to lessen it.

  • ESCALATION: If a caution is deserved for ongoing dissent or for repeatedly infringing the Laws of the game, it shouldn’t be a total surprise. It should have been clear to anyone watching (and especially the player!). A gentle word, a more public rebuke, stopping play to have a stronger word… all should have featured. In the sense of something more serious then naturally some of these can be skipped. In such cases it will be obvious to the sidelines anyway!
  • POINT: This is especially useful for Repeated Infringement. Point to the different areas of the pitch where the other infringements were. Count them! That way everyone is getting the idea. This stops the interpretation that you had let the other fouls go but are now seemingly penalising a ‘soft’ one.
  • COMING BACK FROM ADVANTAGE: There may be a caution-worthy challenge but advantage is played. Clearly you do need to sort the caution out afterwards but it could be around a minute before that happens. At the time of the foul, naturally call advantage but how about a, “I’m coming back to you, number six!” and point? It won’t be a surprise when you go back for a chat.
  • I’d welcome any of your own advice on how to make your thinking process clear to those that are standing some distance away…

Tell the user what is going on!

At work I rebooted my desktop to be delightfully told the following by Windows on startup:

“Installing managed application: Symantec Endpoint Protection

Or words to that effect. So far, this is doing well with regard to this post’s theme of telling the user what is actually happening.

However, the UI is pretty bad here in that the message is static. There is no indication that anything is actually happening behind the scenes. At this point, the user is not able to actually do anything other than wave the mouse pointer around.

This is not usually a problem when the actions behind the scenes complete quickly. In this case, I was staring at the same screen ten minutes later, with my eyes flicking to the hard drive activity light.

I rebooted as I was not convinced anything was happening and this time just logged straight in. It did not try installing again.

I spoke to the guys behind the scenes and was told I should have waited for fifteen minutes instead.

Some very much common sense guidelines in this area that really should be followed:

  1. When something big is happening behind the scenes that takes control away from the user, provide a progress indicator! This is pretty standard for normal installations. The same should happen as the “Managed install” level. I wonder if this is fixed in Windows 7?
  2. Okay, the first one is not fixable in this situation. So, sysadmins who are looking after these things: Tell your users about the install! A simple email about what is going on, saying to wait for fifteen minutes, and everything is okay would suffice. Always avoid just rolling out arbitrary changes which impact everyone without proper notification.