Do You Hear What I Hear???

 

woman wearing headphones standing beside man

Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com

Listening to me and Hearing me are two different things. How well do you listen? According to PR Daily, less than 2 percent of the country’s population, have had formal education on how to listen. Did that not just blow your mind, because mine is flabbergasted! We communicate everyday with people from around the world, only to realize what we are saying to each other is only being heard, and not comprehended. I have 3 quick points on how we can enhance our communication skills, by simply improving our listening abilities.

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Open Your Mind
  3. Interact

These tips do not have to be completed in order, but you will realize it is much easier to get a better understanding of the conversation if you do. Now to break these tips down into a simpler form.

  • Paying Attention is the key to the conversation. This allows the sender and receiver, the opportunity to feel each other out. It is also needed to retain pertinent information.
  • Open your mind to all ideas, whether you feel like it is good or bad. You never know what someone else can bring to the table, not to mention we all fall short of knowing everything, so always be willing to learn something new.
  • Both the sender and the receiver should interact with each other. By doing this the other knows if the message sent is clear. Interaction could be as simple as eye contact or a nod of the head. The point is you are letting the other know you get it!

I have found in relationships that I have with others in my life, communicating effectively is so important. Not understanding what someone is trying to tell you, after they have said it over and over, and you have heard it over and over, is past frustrating. That is why during the communicating process, we must openly listen to each other and pay attention to the details in the message so that we can respond to it effectively. Considering there are so many cultures that make up our country, some ways of getting a message across will vary. These steps might not work for every situation, but they can assist with the process.

Generation X – Bridging the Gap in Leadership

There is no clear decision when “Generation X” begins or ends, it is typically said that is starts in the early 1960s and ends in the early 1980s. Generation X follows the baby boomer generation and are often referred to as “Gen Xers”. “Gen Xers have been called everything from slackers to disloyal, from dumb to just plain bad” (O’Bannon, 2001). It seems that this could not be any farther from the truth.

Gen Xers come from a time when the divorce rate in America was skyrocketing. “Between 1965 and 1977, the divorce rate in America doubled. Over 40% of Xers come from broken families, and 12% of elementary school children grew up as “latchkey kids,” responsible for their own welfare after school until their parents returned from work” (Zill & Robinson, 1995). Although no one realized it at the time, this taught the Gen Xers how to be self-sufficient. It also taught them how to handle difficult situations.

Gen Xers are looked at as being responsible for bridging the gap between the baby boomers and millennials. Carolyn Wiethoff states, “Gen Xers grew up in the information age, and they are quite comfortable with technology. Politically, they grew up as America’s global power was declining. In the business world, Generation X saw a record number of corporate bankruptcies, Wall Street scandals, and massive corporate downsizing.” They have shown they are capable of being tech savvy, such as millennials, and exhibit leadership skills shown by the baby boomers.

Gen Xers were forced to be responsible and handle adversity at a young age. This valuable skill translated to the workplace and created great leaders. In a study published by DDI, it looked at more than 25,000 leaders spanning 54 countries and 26 major industries. They found Generation X accounts for 51 percent of leadership roles globally (Neal & Wellins, 2018). Their ability to be responsible and handle adversity has showcased their leadership skills.

Gen Xers are viewed as loyal employees, but also value time spent with their families. This can be directly related to how Gen Xers were raised. They take pride in spending time with their families because it was something that was taken from them at a young age. They understand the value of family and what it can mean to their spouses and children.

Their life experiences have impacted the way they communicate, act, and react to the world around them. Their experiences have given them the tools to communicate to both younger and older generations. They have risen to leadership levels without sacrificing the value the of family. This can be directly related to their upbringing. They were shown family and financial instability. In turn, they have made it a priority not to repeat history.

Sources:

Neal, S., & Wellins, R. “Generation X-not millennials-is changing the nature of work.” 11 April 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/generation-x–not-millennials–is-changing-the-nature-of-work.html

O’Bannon, G. (2001). Managing our future: The Generation X factor. Public personnel Management, 30, 95-106.

Wiethoff, Carolyn. (2004). Management Basics: Managing Generation X . Indiana libraries, 23(2), 53-55. https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/bitstream/handle/1805/1343/Management%20Basics.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Zill, N., & Robinson, J. (1995). The Generation X difference. American Demographics, 17, 29-32.

By: Tyler Houchin, General Studies Major – IUPUC

Frame of Reference

How does your frame of reference affect how well you are able to complete the task at hand? This is a question I find myself asking when preparing this blog. There are many times I have overlooked the importance of this. Over the last year I have learned from personal experience on how my frame of reference can affect how I approach problems in the workplace.

The first step to understanding the role of your frame of reference is to know what the frame consists of. This can vary by your location and the activity you are currently participating in. My frame of reference at work focuses on mainly cost and revenue generated. I am also from Generation Z. This has a larger effect on the technological side. I see the advantage of how technology can improve efficiency even if It cost more than standard equipment.

I reflect over the past experiences I had at work while thinking about my frame of reference. Many of these issues could have been resolved earlier if I would have stepped back from the situation to define how I am viewing the issue versus how the other person views the issue. Most business are trying to make as much profit as they can while keeping their customers happy. Working in the quoting department is just that. We try to maximize our profit. While I look at this my customer is trying to minimize their cost. It is best to approach this as if we were a partnership. We both need to agree to the price that satisfies both of us. While this process sounds simple it took us around 2 weeks to accomplish. If we would have started out at the point where we both were transparent with our needs this process could have taken only a few days.

In my short time in business I have found it best to take a few minutes before each meeting and analyze where my customer/coworker is coming from these meetings would have been more productive. We also would have been more efficient which frees us up in order to do other tasks. Going forward I plan on scheduling a few minutes into my calendar in order to my position to that of my opposition.

Have You Heard That Men and Women Communicate Differently?

For years you have grown up listening to people tell you that men are physical/sexual beings while women are a roller coaster of emotions. Although, no two people are alike, I found that this statement is in fact true for the most part.

 

Men communicate with the intent of independently making a decision. Women communicate to process all the information that they have just received and talk it over again. In conversation, Women tend to have more in depth conversations. They add memories and emotions when communicating. While Men, have much more simpler conversations leaving out the fine details and only adding in extra information when asked to do so.

 

If you have noticed in a workplace that Women do not hesitate to approach Men with information or questions that they have directly face to face. While Men will approach Women from the side angle because face to face conversation is sometimes declared as to personal for Men while working. Have you noticed that Women tend to nod their heads as a sign of affirmation that they understood what you were saying or explaining? All women are secretly shaking their heads right about now. Well, Men tend to nod their heads as a sign of agreeing with you or the argument at hand. Women, next time you are listening to a male co-worker speak make sure that you are aware if you nod. Sometimes they will misinterpret this as you agreeing with them and not just you acknowledging what they said.

 

Communication also has an unspoken language. Body Language. Women, we have been doing this since we were born. It is almost like body language is hidden away in our DNA and it literally shows in our faces every day. We have faces for everything; sad, happy, disgust, confused, and lost. While Men on the other hand have one face with a hint of smile every once in a while. Too often we give ourselves away in our facial features. They should have a class in High School on how to contain your facial expressions when you are in the middle of a conference for work. Many times the way a Women shows her body language gives away how she is feeling or what she is thinking at the moment when she doesn’t necessarily want it to be known yet.

 

So, with all of the information I have given today I have a few pointers to remember in everyday life whether it be at home, work, or school.

 

Take these facts with a grain of salt. Like I said before, no two people are alike. Men and Women will always communicate differently.

Stay Aware. Make sure you know how to communicate correctly between people. The way to talk to one person may not be the same method you use to talk to another person.

Finally, Get Information. When you interact with people on a daily basis it is ok to ask them questions. If you know a little more about them you can communicate with them more easily.

 

By Brittany Sample, Business Major – IUPUC

 

 

Die or Come Out?

Hi to whoever is reading this, I’m alive. I’m lucky. Hi, my name is Clayton. I’m 22 years old, an IUPUC student, and I’m an openly gay man. And I am still alive somehow. So, what exactly is coming out? It’s the “The process of establishing a personal self-identity and communicating it to others” (Sexuality Now Embracing Diversity). Coming out is the most terrifying moment in any LGBTQ individual’s life. To be gay or bisexual or trans or queer is considered abnormal even today in a universal hetero-normative society. Our society in the U.S. is more tolerable but has not established itself as accepting. Coming out is still needed today to communicate with others in order to have support, acceptance, and safety. Several studies conducted from 1998-2011 have shown family rejection of LGBTQ teens are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide. The risk of homelessness, drug use, and unprotected sex is much higher as well with rejection.

“Just stay in the closet or just be straight.” This does more than put us down, it terrifies us to come out. When people say this, it is ridiculous. First, sexual orientation is not a choice. Second, suicide and depression occurs with being in the closet, lying to families, friends, co-workers, and creates internalized homophobia and transphobia. Finally, this is caused by how our society dehumanizes homosexuality and non-binary genders. “Fuck you faggot! Oh, you’d like that wouldn’t you?” This is bullying. This is unacceptable. This is something no one cares about and people are DYING! Coming out is not flaunting one’s sexuality. It’s one the bravest things anyone could ever do. When someone comes out, they are facing death in the eye. Telling someone who you think loves you and might actually not after coming out is the scariest situation to be in. But times are changing they say and I almost want to believe that. But, is it? Is it really changing? Or are we just not talking about it anymore because we want to make ourselves believe 2017 means everyone is equal? No, no one is equal right now. If you don’t believe me, go watch a coming out video and the crying and terror people feel.

I am Clayton, I am openly gay, I am alive; and ANYONE who is reading this who is scared, please know that you are not alone. You can reach me through my YouTube video. Don’t ever feel pressure to come. You come out on your turf and when you WANT to come out, trust me, it will get better. Because even with all this hatred in the world, there is love out there too. I came out at 17 years old and I had friends there for me. Now, if you come out, you’ll have me and I’ll make sure we don’t die.

My video for the It Gets Better Project in 2014.

Communication with Foreign Co-Workers on Overseas Assignments

There is no doubt that we are globalizing ourselves and that we are more diverse than before. The United States has become a land of many cultures. Communication has become better through technology and the socialization of the human species. Yet, how can we prepare employees for an overseas assignment? This is something that can be seen in two ways, a structured plan for the assignment itself and the in-depth cultural communication factor.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Andy Molinsky and Melissa Hahn write that there are five ways one can succeed on an overseas assignment in a structured way.

  • Have a purpose and a person who can promote that purpose. Having the right person to make this assignment work is quite important, especially in cultural understanding and understanding of the project.
  • Having a close connection to home works well, that way the person overseas doesn’t lose touch with what he or she is doing for the company. A good mentor would work.
  • Communication between the worker and employer needs to be constant for best results.
  • Before leaving, it is ideal to start on talks of how the assignment was beneficial and what was learned.
  • The company can distribute what it learned from that experience.

We often forget that to have a successful assignment overseas, the communication between the employee and the foreign team is crucial. We need to consider cultural, social, and language barriers amongst diversity and work. There is no denying that “…English is now the global language of business.” as mentioned by Tsedel Neeley in her article Global Business Speaks English. But this doesn’t really help many. My interview with Dr. Joann Jones, Executive Director – Leadership Development for Cummins, led to these tips.

  • Prepare the assignment ahead of time so that everyone working on the assignment can understand the assignment.
  • Know that there will be a need for clarification as language and cultural barriers are present.
  • If possible, know the language and culture of where one may stay can improve results.
  • An ending follow-up on the assignment will be helpful, especially a written documentation of the progress and results. This may help clarify any miscommunications.

Making sure an overseas assignment is completely worked out is the main goal, but knowing the cultural factor and having a structured plan can lead to a successful assignment.

 

By Alvaro Garcia, Business Major – IUPUC

The Baby Boomers vs. The Millenials

If you are a young person sitting at a family event and happen to be texting your best friend about the next time you want to hang out, you may have been told by your grandmother to get off your phone and that you are becoming antisocial. It may not have happened to you, but it sure has happened to me.

What I do not think the generations before us understand is that communication is evolving with society. They see our ways of communicating with each other as unnecessary or inefficient. However, I feel that our generations have similar ways of communicating. Past generations would write letters to friends that lived farther away because they had no way of communicating with them otherwise. Heck, they would even use telephones to call them. The combination of these sound fairly familiar to me. I see the combination as a cell phone. The letters are the equivalent to texts, and the calls are pretty obvious. A major difference between the two generations would be having a landline vs. having a cell phone. I know my grandmother has a landline, but I do not.

Also, each generation has their own lingo. With each generation comes new words. For our generation words like “swag” and “twerk” have formed, but the older generations look down on us for them. I am not saying I myself am proud of these words, but they also formed words like “hickey” and “fuzz”, which means police. These words are also not the most intelligent, and I bet the generation before the baby boomers found this lingo unnecessary. It is like a never ending cycle.

Seth Sharpe

 

I’m not Lion, Animals ComMEWnicate!

Whether you are a cat person, a dog person, or anything in between, there most likely has been a moment we looked at our pets and thought “Man, I wish you could talk.” Well, what if I told you they can! Animals DO communicate, and if we pay attention there is a lot we can learn to “talk” with them! Animals and humans are more similar than you might think using chemical signals, vibrations and sounds, and even movement that can be witnessed in human interactions, too.

Most of us are familiar with the chemical signals animals unleash, but what do they mean? Those of us who have cats, or have been around them, have most likely experienced them rubbing against an object or the not-so-pleasant spraying from male cats. That is a cat letting you and other animals know it has claimed that object as its own.  Skunks are famous for their chemical signals, using their very pungent spray as a threat to anything that gets in their way!

Chemical signals are not the only form of communication, just ask animals such as elephants, jumping spiders, and Caribbean white-lipped frogs which communicate primarily through vibrations. Elephants use low-frequency calls that travel through the ground in the form of seismic waves to communicate with other elephants miles away. On the other hand, jumping spiders vibrate their bodies and special organs to find a mate…and reduce the chances of his suitor eating him. Caribbean white-lipped frogs also communicate through vibrations, burying their heads into the mud and expanding their vocal sacs to send out vibrations to potential mates.

Vibration-based communication may be fairly common in the animal world, but the most well understood nonverbal communication takes the form of body language.  Generally, we learn the most about animals from how they act during different situations. For example, when cats are happy their bodies are relaxed, their whiskers are to the side, and their ears are pointing forward. When cats are mad they keep their bodies and tails low to the ground and their whiskers and ears down to let you know not to mess with them. Animals constantly give signals to tell us what they are thinking, and they are similar to some that we as humans express.

There are awe inspiring interactions happening all around us that sometimes we fail to appreciate. Dogs, for example, are man’s best friend and they teach us every day to love unconditionally by expressing never-ending loyalty and respect. Ants teach us the importance of working together as a team to collaborate rather than compete. And all animals can teach us to not take ourselves so seriously and to let go of our attachment of being right or wrong. If we do, we will begin to fully embrace times we enjoy and align ourselves with what we value most. Animals teach us all valuable life lessons, and it is our job to listen.

By: Carrie Caldwell,  Biology major at IUPUC

Murderer, Widower, or Both?

“He’s cute,” said Penny. “Doesn’t that teardrop tattoo mean he murdered someone?” asked Bernadette. Canned laughter ensued. I was watching The Big Bang Theory, and that one statement was all I knew about teardrop tattoos. I have since researched teardrop tattoos and learned that, while the tattoo can have many criminal connotations, it may also simply signify the death of a loved one or some other tragedy the wearer has experienced. At the time, however, based on the information I had, teardrop tattoo equated to murderer; and this was further supported by my past experience of having a coworker with a teardrop tattoo, who, rumor had it, had been convicted of attempted murder.

Clearly, how we present ourselves matters, and in the workforce, it matters based not on what we mean to portray, but based on how we are viewed by those we are portraying ourselves to. Tattoos are an example of nonverbal communication, something that gives people an impression of us based on their own interpretations of how we look. A first impression is made in a matter of seconds, and, later, is very hard to overturn, which means that how we present ourselves can be our biggest weapon or our greatest downfall. Navigating the world of nonverbal communication is especially difficult when dealing with a workforce comprised of multiple generations.

A Harris research poll found that nearly half of millennials and a little over a third of Gen Xers have tattoos, while barely over 10% of Baby Boomers sport tattoos. In a workforce composed of at least these three generations, a tattoo will mean different things depending on the viewer. The fact that first impressions are made within the first few seconds of meeting someone means that, in an interview, a decision to NOT hire a candidate may be based on the nonverbal communication that occurs before a job applicant even has a chance to open his/her mouth.

As a millennial myself, I am not arguing that people should not express themselves via tattoos. I am simply urging readers to know their audience. An interview at a start-up begun by millennials like ourselves and an interview at a long established company with Baby Boomers in the positions of authority should be approached differently in regards to physical appearance. The same goes for actually working at these different establishments; being taken seriously at one may require a different appearance than being taking seriously at another. We can argue about the ‘injustice’ of the subconscious discrimination occurring or we can take control of the only aspect of it we are truly in charge of: ourselves. As Oscar Wilde says, “It’s the spectator, and not life, that art truly mirrors.” In other words, that teardrop tattoo can signify your heartache for your late wife all you want, but if the viewer thinks it means you murdered her…chances are…you won’t be hired.
By: Stephanie Baumgartner, Biology major at IUPUC

How Animals Communicate and What We Can Learn from Them

I chose this topic because it was one that really speaks to me.  I’m not one for politicians or even pop culture, but one thing I do know and love is animals.  Having three dogs of our own can be a handful at times, but there isn’t a day that goes by where they don’t do something to surprise us or make us laugh.  One of the key problems that can occur between any human and animal is the lack of communication and understanding due to the language barrier.  Yes, we can teach a dog some key words through training, but for the most part they have their own natural train of thought and instincts that they get from the moment that they are born.

There are really three main types of communication in the animal world.  These are: visual, auditory, and chemical/electrical signals.  Visual signals are obviously ones that can be seen, which limits the proximity in which they are effective.  Typical types of visual signals among animals might be where it will change its color, stance, or its general appearance in a way that allows it to communicate a certain message to the other person or animal.

Dogs use visual signals in a variety of ways.  They will lay down to show submission or tense up to show aggression.  They perk their ears up, which indicates that they hear something or are nervous.  One of the most common examples, however, would be that they wag their tails to show that they are happy or excited.

Auditory signals are ones that can be heard, which is a much more effective form of communication if you are further away or if the person or animal they are trying to communicate with is not near them.  Auditory signals are most commonly used in the animal world for mating purposes, to scare away a threat, or to seek help.  Birds will combine visual and auditory signals during mating dances.  Wolves are known to howl when they are separated from their pack, to tell other individuals that they occupy a certain territory, or when they are showing a little love.

Dogs use auditory signals for a wide variety of reasons, much to the dismay of many of their owners.  I know there have been many times when I haven’t been happy because our dogs are yelping while we’re trying to sleep or watch a movie.  Dogs will bark because they want to play, to warn of potential threats or threaten intruders, to discipline their young, or they will bark just because they are curious or want your attention.

The key to determining why your dog is barking or what it means lies in the context.  For example, we recently got a new dog named Odin who is almost two years old.  Vada, who is 6 years old, is the pack leader and barks at home quite often as a means of discipline due to the fact that he is very hyper and curious all of the time.  Odin, on the other hand, will bark more often due to the fact that he wants to play.  Darth will bark or growl to threaten other dogs if they are trying to take his food or toy that he is fond of.

Chemical communication is primarily used as an indirect form of communication.  This is most easily explained by when a dog uses the bathroom on an object or area to mark their territory.  The dog isn’t directly informing anyone in most cases, but rather once another dog comes near it, the communication has been made.  Electrical signals are commonly used by some different types of fish to navigate and to find food.

In all of these instances, you have a sender and a receiver of information.  Over the years, the animal world has learned to identify what these different signals mean and how to interpret and use them.  For some animals, it takes time to learn how to produce a proper, effective signal.  Some animals, for example, will learn what smells or sounds are associated with a particular species.  They can learn to determine that a low pitched audible cue may be from a larger foe, while a high pitched sound is likely from something much smaller.

Using these instincts and this knowledge to their advantage is key to survival.  It’s something that we can learn to become more accustomed to in order to get along with them, understand them, and to appreciate them for who they are.  Becoming keener with our senses rather than relying on language alone can also help us to live better lives and adapt to various situations.  Being able to identify our fellow human’s body language, tones, and other signals will only make things better for us in the long run.  Especially for those of us who are married.

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