Monday, March 17, 2014

It's Less About Opinion, and More About Consideration

While most everyone has an opinion on many things, our opinions are not sought on all things.  And, while expertise and degrees, practices and professions warrant many seeking opinions and input from us, it is important we first think through both the reason for that request, and how the idea will be received.

In a cycle of opinion-sharing, it often entails two steps:  Someone asks something, and we share our opinion.  Done.  Another two-step flow is:  Someone or something is observed, and we share our opinion.  Done (except for the rejection or the disagreement regarding appropriateness).

Instead of either two-step approaches, the following five-step flow allows for less “done”, and more “relating”.

Hear.  Is someone saying something, asking something?  It is important we hear another person, rather than presumptively step-in, or on their approach or conversation.  The words and ideas must physically be heard.  And, if nothing is said, per se, then asking if someone wants to discuss XYZ is a form of hearing, as that person may say “yes” or “no”, and hearing that response is vital.

Listen.  While words are being said, not all of us really listen.  What?  Exactly!  We often think we know where someone is going, or finish a thought for someone else because we listened long enough to know…at least in our minds.  When people are speaking, it is more than just hearing words, it’s listening to that person, in that moment, about that issue or opportunity, that creates trust and exchange.

Comprehend.  While we listen, we are processing.  In that processing, some things seem out of the realm of possibility to us, and others seem “normal”, or feasible.  Comprehension involves engagement beyond the hearing and listening, as it engages potential, resources, and perspective.  Questions of “what?” and “how?” here allow for further investigation.  “Why?” questions often evoke defense, so as we are comprehending what someone else is sharing or asking, it is considerate not to put that person on the defensive…remember, we want to comprehend, no offend!

Decide.  With data, emotion, background and even hope being considered, we decide what we are able, and willing, to use.  As we decide our stance, this is the first time this process is about us, as the previous steps were us doing something for/with the person inquiring.  This is where our opinion is formed internally.  Our decision is something we own, and is not to be reached until we have the information we believe necessary for us to move on.

Share.  Eventually, and believe it or not, often quickly, after hearing, listening, comprehending and deciding, remember, someone wanted our opinion, it is time to share.  How we share is equally as important as the sharing of a view itself.  Starting off with something like “Having heard you are looking to X, and appreciating your shared Y, based on my experience, you may want to consider Z”.  A stronger approach is to offer “Respecting you want to X, and considering Y, it is my opinion that Z.”  In neither of the examples did the statement start with “I” or “You”.  This is intentional, as it is about the view and not vanity or correctness.  An opinion does not have to be accepted or rejected, rather shared.

Having an opinion, and our opinion being sought, are two different things.  Respecting the words, intent and details of the exchange, as mentioned above, will keep the expressing of views less about just the opinion, and more about consideration.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Flight Etiquette

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”
-      Friedrich Nietzsche
German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer.
(1844 – 1900)

As a frequent traveler, some of these things I have observed and learned, may assist you in traveling successfully and tactfully in airports and on planes, too:

1)      Ensure you arrive early enough to get parked or inside, through security and to your gate.
2)      Be ready with TSA Pre-check or to take things out and off when asked.  Being a rebel at the security line is not the time for it!  And please be mindful that the workers are people, and put your cellular phone away while engaging with others.
3)      When you are at the gate, be mindful of conversations on your phone so that others do not have to hear you, or worse yet, move away from you. Turn off sounds on your phone in regards to texts and emails, as nobody wants to hear beeps and ticks during their wait time.
4)      Know how the airline boards.  Ask the gate attendant if you are unclear. And, resist being on the phone when boarding, as you may miss announcements, or minimally be rude to the gate agent and others around you.
5)      When you board, ensure you have only two bags, and that you can manage them…meaning one you can lift over your head.
6)      Once aboard, resist eating stinky things – we are trapped together on this plane!
7)      Keep videos/games to yourself by using headphones before you start the “noise”.
8)      Remember, the person in the middle seats gets the armrests.
9)      Be kind and considerate to the passengers and crew.
10)   Exit like you do at a wedding, row by row, not “who can get to the door first”!

With these courtesies and considerations in mind, the flight, or flights may be as long or short as they have been in the past, and hopefully in the future, the experience will be a little less turbulent from your perspective!