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Communication

We Can Learn Much About Our Cultural Divides From “Yanny” or “Laurel”

We Can Learn Much About Our Cultural Divides From “Yanny” or “Laurel”

By now, we have all forgotten about the whole Yanny or Laurel recording that supposedly divided America. Some people heard Yanny, others heard Laurel. I heard Laurel yet some of my friend heard Yanny. At first I didn’t understand how they didn’t hear Laurel. It was so clear in my mind that the voice was saying Laurel. How could anyone have heard Yanny? It really didn’t make any sense to me. I actually had semi-extensive conversations about how on Earth some of my friends could hear something different than I had. They in turn, felt the same way. But here’s the interesting lesson learned after I took a step back from the situation; I realized that this whole recording goes so much deeper than what was heard from that short audio clip...

So what does this recording have to do with anything other than a short pop culture related debate? In my opinion, our approach to this debate reflects how we handle our current divisions about culture, politics, and almost everything else. Our interpretation of this recording is highly representative of our varying perspectives and how we tend to process/react to information that differs from our own. What if we took the time to ask our friends who disagreed with us WHY they heard differently than we did? They may not have been able to explain why in this situation, but what if you both took the time to brainstorm some reasons why there were differing opinions? I bet you would have come up with some creative reasons rather than thinking the other person was just plain crazy. 

At one point after the initial debate we were all trying to UNDERSTAND why our perspectives were different with the recording. The key here is attempting to understand another view point. If we were so baffled by this recording enough to understand the root cause of these varying perspectives, why can’t we try to do the same in our daily lives? Why can’t we take time to understand different cultural perspectives or to understand why people believe in different political beliefs, and so on? Here's what I think....

We can do BETTER. We can be more THOUGHTFUL about HOW we approach our conversations, and actually LISTEN to what the other person is saying. 

We can take the initiative within ourselves to dig a little deeper when we disagree or even when we agree on issues. We can try to have a little more empathy than we typically have on a daily basis. The thought may sound daunting, but all it takes is one tiny step in the right direction. The next time you have a disagreement, perhaps you can ask the person why they believe what they do. You may learn a little something about the person, but a lot more about yourself. 

Just an FYI: People were hearing different names in the Yanny/Laurel recording because of the varying frequencies and quality of the recording. To read more about the reason why we tend to hear different words, click here.

7 Ways To Build Customer Confidence and Obtain Referrals

7 Ways To Build Customer Confidence and Obtain Referrals

We all have instincts that make us feel receptive to a product or turn us away from an offer. The question is WHY we feel the way we do. 

Developing healthy relationships is necessary for life, but it is not easy. Diverse backgrounds contribute to the complexity of a situation, but everyone is human. The phrase, “treat people the way you would like to be treated” sounds cliche but transcends cultural boundaries. Think about your last positive and negative interaction with someone. Why did you feel that way? 

After countless meetings as a client and with clients, I have identified seven attributes that have enriched my personal life and have helped me build effective relationships. The common factor among the seven = respecting and valuing TIME, our most precious commodity.


1. Confidence: I always do my homework before speaking with a client by researching pertinent topics and reading articles that relate to the topic of interest. The information from my research is used to ask my client informed follow-up questions. In return, I expect to receive responses that will help me tailor my implementation plan. By asking thoughtful questions, my clients trust that I can get the job done because I have taken time to understand their situation. 


2. Trust: Trust is developed through responsive interaction and intuition. I listen to my clients' needs before providing a response or interjecting my perspective. Honest and constructive feedback is provided as necessary, and I take client confidentiality very seriously. Gossiping about someone or something is bad practice, can damage your reputation, and is a waste of time. 


3. Honesty: I ask for clarification or provide my interpretation of the issue if I do not fully understand the clients' perspective. When I am not familiar with a topic, I admit it. Pretending to sound intelligent about something out of my purview tends to have a negative effect on the quality of my product and with relationships moving forward. 


4. Respect: I typically begin initial email exchanges by writing, " Dear Mr./Ms.," or "Hello Mr./Ms.," if I do not know the person. Similarly, I may call someone Mr. or Ms. depending on the context of the situation. Earning respect takes time, but addressing your client with his/her proper title will only help your situation. 


5. My client is my priority: Regardless of my schedule, I always give 100% of my attention to a client meeting whether it is in person or over the phone. They need to feel like they are #1, because they are.  

Tip: Never tell your client, “It’s been so long since we talked, and I haven’t looked at your file in a while.” I have had some people say that to me in the past, and they are automatically red flagged on my list of referrals. 


6. Punctuality: Time is valuable commodity. I cannot stress this enough. If I attend a meeting in person, I estimate the amount of time it will take to arrive, and I take unforeseen traffic delays into account. If I am late, I notify my client as soon as possible. Generally speaking, I try not to postpone meetings more than two times.   


7. Mind My Manners: I put myself on mute when I am on a call so the sound of keyboard strokes do not interrupt the flow of conversation. When I meet with people in person, my phone is placed on silent in my bag, I have a notebook out, and I make appropriate eye contact with the person who is speaking. Each situation varies, and observing social cues are critical to building client confidence and trust. 

Take these seven attributes into account the next time you are receiving services, or you are scheduling a meeting with a client regardless cultural background. Paying attention to these mannerisms have saved me a substantial amount of time and I have gained a reputation that reflects my persona.

When in doubt, ask yourself how you would like to be treated, and treat your client with equal respect. 

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Should You Go On That Trip With Your Beau, Friends, Or Solo?

Should You Go On That Trip With Your Beau, Friends, Or Solo?

Let's face it, planning and booking a trip anywhere can be exciting and scary at the same time. The thrill of exploration is fun, but it can also be bogged down by the unknown. There are many things out of our control, but you CAN control your travel companion(s). Our team is here to help you think through your decision making process so everyone is happy in the end. 

Here are five questions you need to ask yourself. 

1. What is the purpose of your trip? The kind of companion you want to travel with or without will depend on the nature of your trip. If it's for work or professional development purposes you may want to go with colleagues. If you are traveling for leisure, your travel companion will depend on the memories you would like to make. OR Maybe you just need to hit the reset button and go on a solo journey. 

1. TRIPS SHOULD BE FUN

1. TRIPS SHOULD BE FUN

 

2. What kind of expectations do you have for your trip? The right companion will depend on what you may need from them. If you are going for work, perhaps you need a mentor-like figure to guide you. If you are going for leisure, you may want to be around someone that makes you laugh or helps to give you a richer perspective on life. 

2. SET POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR TRIP

2. SET POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR TRIP

 

3. Do you want to share these memories with your beau, be solo, or with a group of old friends? Be honest with yourself and think about what you need out of this experience. You want to look back at the time spent on this trip with a smile. 

3. WHO DO YOU WANT TO CREATE MEMORIES WITH?

3. WHO DO YOU WANT TO CREATE MEMORIES WITH?

 

4. If it's not a solo trip, do you love the people you will be traveling with? You may not have the option of choosing work companions, but you may have a little more leeway choosing leisure companions. Some of your best friends may not be your favorite travel buddies. 

4. MAKE SURE YOU LOVE THE PEOPLE YOU ARE TRAVELING WITH

4. MAKE SURE YOU LOVE THE PEOPLE YOU ARE TRAVELING WITH

 

5. What was your state of mind when planning the trip? Your mood factors into the kind of trip you will want to experience. If you are grieving, you may want a quick get away. If you are stressed, you may want to go on a retreat. If you just had a break up, you may want to experience an 'Eat Love Pray' moment. You understand my point.

Be aware that you mood may change; so if you plan your trip way in advance you may not want to take that trip anymore. It's okay to change your plans, but be mindful of your travel companions. It is unfair if your cancellation disrupts plans for your friends.  

5. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR STATE OF MIND WHEN PLANNING A TRIP!

5. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR STATE OF MIND WHEN PLANNING A TRIP!

 

AND REMEMBER: This assessment will only work if you are honest with yourself!