Breaking Through the Isolation

February 12th, 2008

This month I was asked to be the Feb 08 Advice Guest on on Working Women Forum.

This is such an interesting experience for me. Daily, I check the site and read and respond to the questions posted. Take a look if you are curious….ask a question!

Unlike my usual consulting opportunities, I am operating without benefit of seeing and hearing the individual, of probing, learning more about the context and conditions underneath the “presenting problem”.

Questions asked are mostly “quick” solutions to some rather complex issues such as reinventing one’s self, getting along with a new boss, getting out of a “rut”. So, I find myself wondering about these question writers.

Are they taking their development seriously?

Do they truly believe that a few tips and tools will resolve their concerns?

What I find so challenging about this message board “coaching” is that I have very little data, no input or feedback to work with…and after providing thoughtful responses, often absolutely no reaction, acknowledgment or feedback.

My comments go into a total black hole, or are responded to by a third person who adds to or argues with my ideas. It is a kind of a “one-way dialog.”

This is a microcosm for the way we are now living in 2008. So many of my clients tell me that they are working in a vacuum; that they feel misunderstood, without a voice, without a sense of place or connection, without guidance and appreciation for their 24/7 work. Their day is riddled with email attacks, instant message missiles and their leisure activities involve social networking on their computers.

The internet seems interactive…but it is not human. It lacks texture, nuance, sound and “touch”.

In contrast to our computer-based relating is the message of an article in today’s New York Times Science section about the importance of being able to decode subtle clues which lead to rapport. Human connections, it seems, still depend on what the article refers to as “social music”.

Tips for Connecting:

Go talk in person with someone several times a day.

Dial the phone rather than hitting the keys when you know a voice would make a difference.

Smile at a colleague and see what happens.

Before making a request, or conducting a transaction, ask the person how s/he is.

Practice rapport.

Show your appreciation in person, on the phone, and, yes, in instant messages!

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