the -tion word

the -tion word

I might have not mentioned it in the blog, but I work for a tech company. My days are full of -tion words – localization, optimization, collaboration, integration – and all types of management – stakeholder management, project management, terminology management, or expectations management. The list can go on and on, but there is one -tion word which has a permanent spot in all of our lives – communication, and for that same reason it is often undervalued and neglected.

Without realizing it, we communicate in one way or another every single day, pretty much all day long. We communicate to buy that much needed coffee in the morning, we communicate to our colleagues to get things done at work, we communicate to our friends and family to keep those meaningful connections and bonds alive, we learn new languages to communicate and be understood abroad. We communicate with our voice, our gadgets, our gestures and facial expressions, our clothes (yes, I am not kidding – our fashion choices are just another way to communicate). Every day we send so many messages intentionally and so many more – unintentionally. And yet we do not often explicitly think whether we bring the right message across and whether we are understood in a way we intended it.

I am a firm believer that communication is a skill and not a talent that some are blessed with. It does take effort and time to acquire this skill and improve and some people do grasp it better than others, but still it is something that is accessible for everyone. But where do you start?

Key principle for communication broadly used in marketing is all about “ bringing the right message to the right audience at the right time in the right place”. However, if you think about it, this principle works not only when you want to sell something – it is equally relevant when you want to support a friend going through some difficult times. The only difference is that in social situations we often make those choices about message/ audience/ time/ place subconsciously and our decisions are driven by social norms and perception of what is contextually appropriate. However, even then it may get tricky.

So, what would you need to do to communicate more effectively (and trust me this will help you not only at work)?

Think of a key message that you want to bring across

You may think that you have so many great ideas that it is difficult to pick just one, but in reality if you do not focus on the key point you are trying to make, you risk losing the attention of your audience and having them remember a completely different idea to what you were really trying to convey.

Be conscious of your medium

Depending on your communication goal, target audience, importance of this specific message and other constraints, you go for different communication media. In one case you would want to have a longer face-to face meeting, while in another a simple text or email would be enough. In one case you would want to get more personal and informal, while in another – keep it strictly professional. And if you pick your medium right – chances are that you will be understood just the way you wanted.

Visual information is easier to consume

This is related to my previous point, but I really wanted to emphasise this: it is much easier for us to perceive and remember visual information (it is also scientifically proven, so it is not just imho). Now that you know it, the booming popularity of Instagram and Youtube make a lot more sense, right?

Be aware of cultural differences

We all grew up in different conditions which formed our perceptions of what is appropriate and what is not. I do realise that it is quite difficult to generalize these things to purely cultural differences, but this may help you to start moving into the right direction. It is cultural differences and being insensitive to them that may have even a harmless text cause some serious damage.

Be open and personal

Even in the most highly professional environment you are dealing with other humans just like you are, and you should not forget that. Simple things like being friendly, open and (when appropriate) personal will make you more relatable and pleasant to deal with, and in return you will be more likely to be heard.

I cannot claim that these tips will always save you from miscommunication disasters, but they will definitely help you to prevent some.

 

And now, tell me – would you be interested in topics like this on the blog?

 

why clothes can help you to break free

why clothes can help you to break free

The other day a good friend of mine told me: “You know, Al, I’ve been experimenting with my clothes recently… like I put on things I wouldn’t put on before, I mix them together… and I see people’s reactions sometimes like “wtf is she wearing”… and yet I just go for it and it’s been one of the most liberating experiences in my life!” 

She’s going through a lot of changes in her life right now, and this really made me think: why wearing what you like regardless of others is so liberating?

Since the time when prehistoric humans decided that they need clothes to cover up their bits, a lot has changed. We don’t just dress to keep ourselves warm, we dress for all sorts of other reasons: to fit in, to make a specific impression, to respond to societal expectations, or to show where we belong. All of this makes clothes so much more like another universal language that everyone can speak. And like with any language, not everyone can speak it to a full extent and there are certain grammar rules you should adhere to.

When you think about it, you realise how many pre-imposed restrictions we put on ourselves. We dress to impress and attract others in a conventional way while all we really want to do is to wear a colourful bandana. Or that weird dress that only you like. Or statement socks with crop pants. Or just anything that you like, but you’d say to yourself: “Nah, I might look weird in this”. 

You might even say that you don’t care about fashion, dressing rules or anything remotely related to it, but yet if you look deep down you will notice that, perhaps subconsciously, you still follow some gut feeling that tells you what will look appropriate and what not. But what if you try to break the cycle? 

This is why I truly believe that simply wearing what you like is extremely freeing. It helps you to break free and learn more about what you really like. And it allows you to finally speak up your real mind to others rather then say what they expect to hear.

So, tell me, do you truly know what you like? Do you dress to impress or do you dress against? What is really moving you when dressing? 

New year, new blog: why did I disappear & plans for 2019

New year, new blog: why did I disappear & plans for 2019

DISCLAIMER: this will not be a fashion post

Hey guys,

I know it’s been a while and I haven’t appeared here since Black Friday, which makes it good two months. I do have a good excuse though – as they say, life happens and sometimes your priorities have to shift. And for me, those priorities were moving houses and also sorting out my mental health.

It might sound like a contradiction, because moving houses is a stressful and at times painful process by definition… and how on earth can you try to deal with anxiety and stress in your life in parallel, right?! However, both needed to happen and it happened so that their timing coincided. 

And, most importantly, both are now over – or almost over – at least, we‘ve moved and (almost) settled in and I’ve made a significant step towards an anxiety-free existence (winning!). 

These last couple of months made me realise that even though I started my blog primarily focusing on fashion, I want to be sharing ideas beyond that. However, I feel like I need to vocalise it to truly commit, so there we go: in 2019 I’m hoping to make this blog something beyond fashion trends and style tips. I would still be writing about fashion and personal styling, but with a bit of a twist.

Because really – I am quite nerdy and I enjoy nerdy topics too! So, I was thinking to bring some nerdiness into my fashion posts – like how tech changes fashion, or whether fashion is another way of communicating with each other… hope you get the idea 🙂

In addition to that, I would like to inject some completely different topics that I find important, some of which would be my experience as an expat and some more personal things – because I want to keep it real.

And last, but not least… I do want to start working with more steady blogging schedule, so starting from today, you can expect a new blog post on Mondays & Fridays.

Stay tuned & let’s make 2019 another great year!