23rd Dec 2020
Happy Holidays everyone, no matter where you are in the world I do hope you get to have a rest and refresh before going into 2021.
On our side of the world our school aged children get a really long summer break so I'm going to speak to the parents and caregivers of those children in this article.
I bang on about this a lot but it is so, so, so vitally important that you speak with your children. Not only does having a conversation with your child increase their own speaking skills but it also grows their brain. There has been extensive research coming out of Harvard Graduate School of Education for more than 20 years around this very subject.
Conversational turns increases children's brain capacity. It is that simple. More research has proven children who have only heard instructions for the first 5 years of their life will not have the vocabulary to hold a conversation by the time they get to 14. Plus, over 100 words a MINUTE are lost if you eat dinner in front of the TV - or any screen for that matter.
Turn all devices off. Sit down at a table with your children and have a conversation. They will thank you for that when they are around 21 so hang in there!
Merry Christmas, Miriam.
14th Dec 2020
Half way through December and we are all quite probably still working, and quite probably working really hard to meet deadlines. Team work is really important here. We need our colleagues and our families to help us out if we are feeling under pressure. Recognising different personality and communication styles can go a long way to making challenging situations a little easier. So does empathy. Knowing how our words affect others and treating others as we like to be treated goes even further.
Emotional Intelligence (a phrase coined by US psychologists Peter Salowey and John Meyer), Emotional Competencies and bringing these to work during stressful times (or even not stressful) will pretty much ensure the rest of the year will go way more smoothly with better results for your organisation, than if you choose to leave these at home.
Emotional Intelligence Competencies are personal characteristics that contributes to outstanding performance in a particular job within a specific organisational context. They include self-awareness and self-management, which allows us to exercise some self-control. Social awareness competencies leads to empathy; understanding what others are saying and feeling and why they feel and act the way they do. Relationship management competencies aids us to get the results we want by working with or through others.
By bringing all these attributes to the table leads to organisational performance at a very high level. Emotionally intelligent leaders have the ability to maintain an effective, high-performance culture, even in times of stress.
Back at home once the work day/week/year is done use your EI competencies as an adult to help your children mature as empathetic people. Talking to them, making eye contact, answering their questions, reading to them. These activities are what children value most, way over and above gifts.
Give your children (if you have them of course) or any child you know, the gift of your time this year. There is screeds of research around this and I am happy to give you some links to studies but most recently the University of Auckland conducted a survey of 1000 children aged 5-13 about their experiences during lockdown and over 80% of them said being home with their parents was what they valued most.
If you would like more tips or techniques on how to help your children with their speech email me and I will support you with some free resources.
Nga mihi, Miriam.
7th Dec 2020
As the year comes to a close we become super aware of all the things we need to get done. Sometimes stuff we haven’t even started but it was a goal that we do this, this year so better get onto it. We want to not only get the job done but there’s parties to go to, wine (or beer) to drink, food to eat, people to talk to that we’d rather not to talk to (including family), presents to buy and the budget to contend with. Staff who get sick or decide now’s a good time to lay a complaint about someone or something. Then let’s chuck in that wind! Shall I stop now??
This time of the year can bring out the worst in us and rather than process our issues we like to blame others. Criticise and name call as well. Other people wind us up. Other people are morons, idiots, muppets*. It’s their fault. I wouldn’t react this way if it wasn’t for them. I wouldn’t feel this way if they didn’t do that.
Reframing that, take a look at what you are facing in your life and process that first. One deep breath that clears our head and (remember) flips the coin from fear and frustration to courage and communication. The most effective breath to take inward and then out, takes around 3 -4 seconds. You can spare that multiple times in your day. Taking 3 deep breaths at one time takes around 10 seconds. You can spare that too. Get this strategy into the fore-front of your brain and start to reduce your stress levels. That’s the first step.
“Remove blame and criticism from your dialogue and you will build your integrity within your team” Dr Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap, 2009. Dr Hendricks goes onto to say “Criticism is addictive. If you don’t believe me try going a week without criticising anyone. Too much of a stretch? Try a day, an hour even”. This is one concept that is truly challenging but removing blame and criticism from your dialogue is the second step in effective communication.
Take these two strategies into this time of year and you will be going a long way to bring calm and peace to not only your life but also those around you. May you and your family have a restful end of the year and here’s to 2021.
*words people have used during effective communication training with me