When we’re angry or scared our bloodstream gets flooded by adrenaline and noadrenaline. Both ready the body for physical activities. Also the cerebrum (‘higher’ thinking, like maths and language) – dials it down a notch several notches and leaves the cerebellum (motor control) in charge. That’s great when the threat is physical. But nowadays we’re usually angry or scared of non-physical stuff such as a co-worker questioning our judgement or a spouse grumbling about how we spend money. Bummer! Exactly when we need to think hard and use the best of our communication skills, we’re least able to do so, because our analytical capacities waved “Bye-bye” and walked out on us.
Today my Twitter timeline contained a transformative gem, something that will help me reserve judgement and connect better to others: A 3-hour video of a workshop on Non-Violent-Communication.
Normally the 3 hours would have put me off. As would the song within the first 5 minutes and the fact that this guy – Marshall Rosenberg – uses hand puppets to get his point across. Given, I’m on the “tree-hugging”, “words shape our world and have tremendous power”-side of IT. But not that far out…
Still, about 10 minutes in, I knew I was going to watch the complete 3 hours and that this experience will change how I communicate and how I look onto the world.
You don’t have to wait for the One-on-One. Give feedback when the event occurs and both parties still remember what it’s about.
“The was a great presentation!” is not as helpful as “The part with the examples was great!” is not as helpful as “The part with the examples was great! I think this helped everyone to orientate and get started quickly.”
The “specific” bit is the one I struggle with the most. Fortunately the following three feedback models help me with that:
1) Situation – Behaviour – Impact
Applicable after you’ve witnessed specific behaviour. Even suited when you do not have formal authority with someone, because you’re not telling them what to do. You merely mirror their behaviour back to them as factual as possible.
In the meeting, when you started to sketch on the whiteboard you really helped getting everyone on the same page.
In the meeting, when your cell rang and you answered it, it distracted us all a lot.
Wir alle freuen uns über gute Doku, wenn wir etwas Neues lernen. Doch wie sieht es mit der Doku für unsere eigenen Projekte aus? Ist sie a) vorhanden und b) verständlich geschrieben?
Gut zu schreiben kann man lernen. Darum gebe ich am 13. April einen Workshop in dem wir “fertige” Texte in mehreren Schritten verbessern. Bring also gerne Deine vorhandenen Texte mit! Es muss auch nicht unbedingt eine Dokumentation sein, da die meisten Regeln für alle Arten von Text gelten. Für alle die noch keine Texte haben bringt Corinna Übungstexte mit.
Das Überarbeiten geht am besten mit einem Laptop. Alternativ kannst Du auf totem Baum mitmachen.
Zeit: Samstag, 13. April 2013 – 15 Uhr
Ort: Chaosdorf, Hüttenstr. 25 in Düsseldorf
This week I’m attending OOP in Munich. As Open Spaces / Un-Conferences have become the norm for me it’s strange to be at “real” conference for a change. I have not been “siezed” (formal way to address in German) that often in a long time. Still, the other participants are amiable enough
Today was tutorial day. These are the two I attended:
Humans are hard-wired for stories – in the traditional sense, not just user stories. We remember stories much better than lists of facts. So stories suggest themselves to capture knowledge and to relay values to new employees. A story about what collaboration could look like and how it saved the day that one time is a tad more meaningful than a motivational poster with “Collaboration – It’s one of our core values!” on it.
Anne Hoffmann and Andrea Herrmann introduced the arc of suspense and phases a story usually covers:
Set the scene: When? Where? Who?
Introduce the problem
Present the solution
To practise, we took turns in groups of 5, telling 3-sentence-stories – one sentence per person. One such story could be:
1st person: On the ISS a scientist is pouring water on the plants.
2nd person: As there’s no gravity, the water is floating away and the plants stay dry.
3rd person: So the astronaut moves the plant pots to catch the water bubbles.
Socializing and networking are an integral part of Agile2011. If you’ll be attending Agile2011 alone, make sure to stop by the registration desk and sign up for “Dinner with a Stranger” on Tuesday, August 9th. Just add your name to one of the sign-up sheets with the names of nearby restaurants and grab your “I’m a stranger” ribbon. Later that night, put it on and meet your fellow participants for dinner and great conversation.
Most excellent idea! I wouldn’t limit it to those “attending alone”, though. It’s when I’m with a group that I have difficulty meeting someone new. When I’m alone, I meet new people because I more or less have to. But in a group I get all my information and communication needs fulfilled without stepping out of my comfort zone and reaching out to a stranger.
I’ve just spend a lovely weekend at FrOSCon, the “Free and Open Source Software Conference”, in Bonn. One of the talks I attended was “Projektstatus: Nachrichten vom anderen Stern” (“Project status: Messages from a different star”) about communication. I wish I could have listened to this, when I started out as a Scrum master. It would have been so helpful! The speaker Judith Andresen revisited the Four-sides model and that communication is all about relationships:
Four-sides model of communication
The Four-sides model (“Hamburger Modell”) by Friedemann Schulz von Thun is in every German textbook on communication. It states that every message has 4 layers:
Facts and data
What the sender (speaker) wants to happen
What the sender reveals about themselves – motives, values, emotions
How sender and receiver (listener) get along; what the sender thinks of the receiver
Following up on my ode to whiteboards, here’s some very practical advice for people researching what flipchart to buy:
Don’t buy one of the 3-legged ones like shown in the image on the left. Maybe it’s just me, but I keep falling over the front legs. Especially when I’m writing while still trying to keep eye contact with other attendees.
I can recommend this model on 5 wheels. Before ordering it, I was worried, that balance might be an issue. I.e. that it might not be possible to write on it without stabilizing the chart with the other hand. I’m glad I ordered it anyway as stability is not a problem and there are no legs to get in the way. You can use it even in very small spaces. Oh, and it’s easier to carry than the 3-legged version, too.
While searching pictures I saw three other types of flipcharts: 1) 4-legged, 2) on 4 wheels in a square, 3) on a bent-back plastic pillar. Unfortunately I’ve never used one of these. Do you know them? Can you advise for or against one of these types?
Two months ago I started a new job. I left nice old colleagues and got nice new colleagues. The companies are the same size. No big diff there. But there is a very visible difference in the respective offices:
Old workplace: 200 square metres of whiteboard surface + glass walls – all of them covered with drawings, notes and print-outs
New workplace: 4 square metres of hardly used whiteboard surface and empty walls
The impact on communication is tremendous. Meetings in which we talk about systems I’m not yet familiar with and no one draws a picture… I’ve always thought I’m the visual learning type. Now I’m sure of it, because without a sketch I can only follow half of what is being said. I find myself unable to picture it in my head.
Unfortunately I can’t remember what it was like before my last job…
Was I once better at picturing stuff in my head, then lost the ability, because visualization made it unnecessary? Like an untrained muscle?
Or was I never able to do it? (But since I hadn’t known that 98% understanding are possible, I didn’t realize I was missing out.)