Talk Shop https://www.talkshop.company Tue, 29 Dec 2020 19:07:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6 https://www.talkshop.company/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/cropped-bubble_square_512x512-1-32x32.png Talk Shop https://www.talkshop.company 32 32 It’s Time to Talk https://www.talkshop.company/blog/its-time-to-talk/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/its-time-to-talk/#respond Tue, 29 Dec 2020 19:07:10 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=589 “It’s Time to Talk.” As is often the case this week, many tend to reflect on what the last year has brought them and what they are looking to accomplish in the New Year.   The idea of focusing our energies on one prevailing idea, concept or thought has been with […]

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“It’s Time to Talk.”

As is often the case this week, many tend to reflect on what the last year has brought them and what they are looking to accomplish in the New Year.   The idea of focusing our energies on one prevailing idea, concept or thought has been with us for some time and yet, I feel at this moment, an opportunity to not just identify one big idea to carry me through another year, but an entire decade!

I reflected on some of my previous “one word” commitments, like Resilience, Transformation, Perseverance, and realized that these pronouncements seemed to focus on me, not the people I seek to serve. While not a bad thing, I thought, maybe if I tweak my perspective just a bit, I could make my one word commitment more meaningful.   More meaningful not only as a parent but  as my work as a business owner, author, speaker, announcer, perspective challenger and advocate for today’s students and young adults.   This came to me during a personal conversation I recently shared when I was enlightened that my answers to a specific question were nice, yet only serving of myself.

As some of you know I have indeed lived a few one-word commitments over the past decade.  Yes, I’ve been resilient and transformed my life 9 years after divorce delivered me a gut punch and a few smacks to the chin; I have persevered through choppy waters but again that’s about me.  (Although I did those one-word commitments for the sake of my boys and myself)

As I’ve made the move to create and launch Talk Shop in 2019, I thought to myself, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great to have one concept that really got at the essence of what I am trying to accomplish.” Well, as it sometimes happens, my ideas come to me while exercising, which is nice…but I don’t carry a notepad and pen and purposefully put my phone away while I work out.  Thankfully I was able to recall it.

Born from an early winter’s workout “It’s Time To Talk” entered my frontal lobe and has become this decade’s focus for me.

Are we making a difference that matters? Are we seeing positive outcomes occur due to the decisions we make?  Are answers we provide leading to improvement in the actual development of our children?  Are the strategies we employ as parents, coaches, educators and anyone else working with today’s youth effective?  Are they being evaluated with objectivity, and demonstrating with confidence that they are the correct strategies?  Is the instruction we are supporting and implementing, developing the most meaningful and relevant education that is actually targeted on improving specific issues, or at least in readying today’s youth for new skill sets that matter?

Are we all modeling and supporting real and authentic relationships for our children?

Now more than ever the world needs more conversations….and it’s time to talk!

But its more than just having the courage to have a difficult conversation with someone, its also about displaying patience and actually listening to one another.  It’s absolutely amazing what can happen when we listen, when we actually pause and actively listen to truly understand someone else.  I state this clearly multiple times in my workshops; “be careful when you listen, you may actually learn something.”

Today’s youth face a barrage of challenges vastly different than what I was exposed to in my youth….dare I say the words, screen time?   It’s created a whole new existence but the fact remains, “Its time To Talk!”

Whether it’s at home, in our relationships, at work, with coaches, with teachers, with college admissions officers…we all need to get back to sharing more conversations.  And oh yeah, did I mention getting our children life ready?  As in, the need to have more clear, confident face-to-face conversations, such as a job interview?

I end each and every one of my workshops and public speaking engagements with a quote.  It’s from the legendary Vince Lombardi.  “In life you don’t get to decide your future, you get to decide your habits.  It’s your habits that decide your future.”

“It’s Time to Talk!” Is my framework for the decade, I hope you will do the same and adjust your habits if need be.

We need to connect and interact socially now more than ever.  And when its safe to connect face to face, that’s even better!  So many are scrambling to adjust and how to fill their days in positive and productive ways.

– It’s never a bad time to improve communication habits

-There are numerous cancellations all around us…CONVERSATIONS should never be cancelled!

-CONVERSATIONS are pivotal in our day to day relationships at home, at school, and in the real work world.

I encourage you to give yourself an opportunity to adjust your habits not just next year but to make a bigger commitment to those in your world. You deserve it, they deserve it, and those that you aim to serve, surely deserve it.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2021!

-Matt

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New solution lineup! https://www.talkshop.company/blog/new-solution-lineup/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/new-solution-lineup/#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2020 15:31:33 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=553     One of the positives during this Covid time period, is that it has allowed me to think, innovate and create.  I’m excited to launch new programs that will compliment the existing Talk Shop lineup. “First Impressions”, which is geared for high school students is currently being offered virtually […]

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One of the positives during this Covid time period, is that it has allowed me to think, innovate and create.  I’m excited to launch new programs that will compliment the existing Talk Shop lineup.

“First Impressions”, which is geared for high school students is currently being offered virtually (for now) in small group workshop format.  Developing clear and confident conversations regardless of the situation and setting in a highly collaborative workshop.  Designed not only to improve students’ academic lives but also their family lives and personal relationships.  Please reach out to me direct to learn more about how this program benefits high school students and pricing options.

I’m really excited to offer a new online program:

“Lasting Impressions”  

The program is available here:  https://mattcrevin.podia.com/lasting-impression-how-articulating-your-personal-brand-with-clarity-and-confidence-is-pivotal-to-getting-the-job

It is geared specifically for college students on how to create and protect your personal brand.  (think; career readiness!)  We are all our own brand and supporting this pivotal skill as it relates to networking, interviewing and sharing your “unique story”  is paramount to landing a job.  Knowing how to articulate your personal brand with clarity and confidence is the key!

I am also teaching a series of ongoing classes for high school students on Outschool.

You can find the Outschool website for the classes I teach here: https://outschool.com/teachers/Matt-Crevin

Also, I’ve been working on the follow up to my first book (“Get in the Game”, 2012, which is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Get-Game-Ultimate-Transition-College/dp/0985434600/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=get+in+the+game&qid=1604437908&sr=8-8  and it should be ready for release in the coming months.   Stay tuned for more info soon!

And of course my live workshops as well as my private 1:1 coaching are being delivered virtually until we can gather in groups safely.

Here is a quick summary of Talk Shop:

Is there a 21st century skill more important than the ability to effectively communicate face to face?

We need to connect and interact socially now more than ever.  And when its safe to connect face to face, that’s even better!  So many are scrambling to adjust and how to fill their days in positive and productive ways.

– It’s never a bad time to improve communication habits

-There are numerous cancellations all around us…CONVERSATIONS should never be cancelled!

-CONVERSATIONS are pivotal in our day to day relationships at home, at school, and in the real work world.

I am confident the insight I deliver is an absolute game-changer for todays high school and college students and I am as committed as ever to my mission.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to explore any of the Talk Shop programs, I welcome the opportunity to set a day and time to talk live.  I sincerely appreciate you being receptive to my mission of being of service to todays high school and college students.  By sharing this message on your social media network as well as to 4 to 5 of your personal contacts will truly make a difference.

With gratitude!

Matt

 

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Internship Interviews https://www.talkshop.company/blog/internship-interviews/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/internship-interviews/#respond Thu, 10 Sep 2020 18:25:43 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=557 If you’re a college student struggling to secure you first ever internship, you’re not alone. The internship search is competitive regardless of what stage you’re at in the circuit.  Many times student’s look for internship to gain more experience before narrowing down a desired industry to focus in on.   […]

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If you’re a college student struggling to secure you first ever internship, you’re not alone. The internship search is competitive regardless of what stage you’re at in the circuit.  Many times student’s look for internship to gain more experience before narrowing down a desired industry to focus in on.

 

Internships are a good way to see if you like a company or industry, but also can be seen as an extended “trial period” or interview for a potential opening down the road. Securing an internship is still a process; from applying to interviewing, the journey may mimic that of a full-time position. Even if there is not an opportunity to join the company full-time at the end of the internship, you’re still expected to act as a contributing member of the team.

 

Before you can even consider being brought aboard full-time, you must pass the interview stage. The questions in an internship interview may vary from full-time position interviews.  But there are always a few common questions you can expect during your internship interview.

Why are you interested in this internship/company/industry, and what skills or experiences do you hope to gain?

 

Internships are a great way to learn about a specific company/industry, and see if you can picture yourself working there. Sometimes your career goals may not align with the internship opportunity, but luckily this experience is only temporary so you can take some time and figure out your next steps.

Like most interview questions, there is often a right and wrong way you should answer them.  When answering this question, you want to show your enthusiasm for the position and that you have done your research on the company. Additionally, tell them what you want to gain from the experience. After all, an internship should be approached as a learning experience, right?

Here is a question you may get:  Tell us about a situation where you took initiative or took on a leadership role?

 

This question usually helps the interview gauge whether or not you are a motivated and driven individual. If you’re a student, chances are most of your leadership experience has come from playing sports or group projects. Both are viable options when it comes to answering this question.

 

Another way to answer it is with an example of a time when you noticed something that needed to change or could be done better, and you took the initiative to take action on it.  This is a great way to show, not just tell the interviewer that you know how to take direction and take action.

How about this question:  Tell us about a time you had to learn something completely new?

 

In any opportunity, you likely won’t know everything that is thrown your way. How you approach the unknown can tell a lot about your willingness and openness to learn new skills. Hiring managers do not want to hire anyone, for a full-time position or an internship, who is not willing to learn. As mentioned before, internships are an opportunity to be a sponge and learn as much as you can during that time.

 

To answer this, it is perfectly acceptable to mention a class experience. Most classes you take during your college career must be taken because they’re required, not because you’re interested in the subject. Focus on a time where you were open minded when it came to a new class and what you learned from the experience.

 

Summer is a popular time for college students to pursue internship opportunities. While these experiences are not limited to the just the summer, finding and securing an internship that fits your career goals is a competitive process. The interview phase may differ slightly from that of a full-time position, but it is still a time to showcase your experience and interests to a potential employer. To do so, there are some questions you can expect to be asked during the interview phase.

Knowing your personal brand and articulating it clearly and confidently will be a huge game changer for you.  Especially during internship interview process.

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Class of 2020 Job Seekers Need Every Competitive Advantage – Talk Shop can Help! https://www.talkshop.company/blog/class-of-2020-job-seekers-need-every-competitive-advantage-talk-shop-can-help/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/class-of-2020-job-seekers-need-every-competitive-advantage-talk-shop-can-help/#respond Thu, 23 Apr 2020 17:39:28 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=538 The last few months of college are supposed to be filled with excitement and ceremonial “lasts.” Campuses bustle with preparations for graduations, and career placement offices are hard at work prepping soon-to-be graduates for interviews and aiding them in their job searches. Recruiters from companies large and small are a […]

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The last few months of college are supposed to be filled with excitement and ceremonial “lasts.” Campuses bustle with preparations for graduations, and career placement offices are hard at work prepping soon-to-be graduates for interviews and aiding them in their job searches. Recruiters from companies large and small are a frequent site and source of anticipation and opportunity. 

Of course, the class of 2020 is having a vastly different experience. Graduation ceremonies – cancelled. End of the year parties – gone virtual. As for employment, these class of 2020 job seekers have seen the employment landscape change drastically, literally overnight. 

According to the April 13th edition of USA Today, the class of 2020 is facing an uncertain job market due to the global pandemic. Hiring freezes, rescinded job offers, cancelled internships, and no job fairs or on-campus visits from companies are just some of the challenges being faced by these graduates. 

Businessinsider.com tells us “While it’s still too soon to know how the coronavirus pandemic is going to impact the economy in the long-term, it’s probably fair to say the graduate career fairs will be few and far between this spring. There will be no in-person employer events. The campus career center might not have all the answers. Long story short, the post-grad job search is likely to feel like more of a minefield than usual this year. And it’s likely to feel a lot lonelier, too.”

All is not completely bleak, however. There are companies hiring, particularly in the healthcare field or companies that support the remote work environment. Competition for these openings can be fierce. So how can today’s grads stand out from the crowd in an environment that is like nothing any of us has ever seen?

Being able to present yourself well has never been more important. Communicating your skills and abilities, why YOU are the person for the job is crucial. But what if you lack confidence in your ability to sell yourself, to get across to the person on the other end of the phone or the other side of the Zoom call. What then? 

Let’s let a recent Talk Shop student answer that question.

Matt Crevin, the Founder of Talk Shop is well prepared to answer any questions about developing effective networking strategies, creating positive first impressions, and conducting successful interviews.

As a college senior nearing graduation, the COVID-19 Pandemic has created uncertainties about how our current economy and job market will impact my early career. In order to take advantage of this situation, I decided to start networking with people in job positions and industries that interest me. 

BEFORE beginning this process, Matt helped me develop outreach strategies, refine my online presence, and develop virtual (and verbal) communication strategies to positively represent myself to working professionals.

Now is a great time to start networking. Before you begin, Matt is here to help!

~ Nathan Brickman, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Class of 2020

Whether you’re tackling the job market right now or thinking ahead to next semester or next year, there has never been a better time to work on your communication skills. Effective communication is at the top of nearly every company’s wishlist of traits for employees. Find out how Talk Shop can help you make sure you find yourself at the top of their list of candidates.

Contact Matt Crevin today – matt@talkshop.company

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Time to reflect https://www.talkshop.company/blog/time-to-reflect/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/time-to-reflect/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2020 01:38:05 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=437 Saying it plainly, “It’s Time to Talk.”   As often is the case, many tend to reflect this time of year on what the last year has brought them and what they are looking to accomplish in the New Year.   The idea of focusing our energies on one prevailing idea, […]

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Saying it plainly, “It’s Time to Talk.”

 

As often is the case, many tend to reflect this time of year on what the last year has brought them and what they are looking to accomplish in the New Year.   The idea of focusing our energies on one prevailing idea, concept or thought has been with us for some time and yet, I feel at this moment, an opportunity to not just identify one big idea to carry me through another year, but an entire decade!

I reflected on some of my previous “one word” commitments, like Resilience, Transformation, Perseverance, and realized that these pronouncements seemed to focus on me, not the people I seek to serve. While not a bad thing, I thought, maybe if I tweak my perspective just a bit, I could make my one word commitment more meaningful as a parent as well as my work as a trainer, author, speaker, perspective challenger and advocate for today’s students and young adults.   This came to me during a personal conversation I recently shared and was enlightened that my answers to a specific question were nice, yet only serving of myself.  I listened, sat back and realized I need to tweak a few things…maybe even change a habit.

As some of you know I have indeed lived the one-word commitments over the past decade. Yes, I’ve been resilient and transformed my life after divorce smacked me in the chin; I have persevered through choppy waters but again that’s about me. (Although I did those one-word commitments for the sake of my boys and myself)

As I’ve made the move to create and launch Talk Shop in 2019, I thought to myself, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great to have one concept that really got at the essence of what I am trying to accomplish. ” Well, as it sometimes happens, my ideas come to me while exercising, which is nice…but I don’t carry a notepad and pen and purposefully put my phone away while I work out. Thankfully I was able to recall it.

Born from an early winter’s workout “It’s Time To Talk” entered my frontal lobe and has become this decade’s focus for me.

Are we making a difference that matters? Are we tactfully and gracefully sharing live in person conversations?  Are we seeing positive outcomes occur due to the decisions we make? Are answers we provide leading to improvement in the actual development of our children? Are the strategies we employ as parents, coaches, educators and anyone else working with today’s youth effective? Are they being evaluated with objectivity, and demonstrating with confidence that they are the correct strategies? Is the instruction we are supporting, implementing, developing the most meaningful and relevant instruction that is actually targeted on improving specific issues, or at least in readying today’s youth for new skill sets that truly matter?

Are we all modeling and supporting real and authentic relationships for our children?

Now more than ever the world needs more conversations and it’s time to talk!

But its more than just having the courage to have a difficult conversation with someone, its also about displaying patience and actually listening to one another. It’s absolutely amazing when we listen, when we actually pause; actively listen to truly understand someone else.

Today’s youth face a barrage of challenges vastly different than what I was exposed to in my youth….(dare I say the words, screen time?)   It’s created a whole new existence but the fact remains, “Its time To Talk!”

Whether it is with our family at home, in our relationships, at work, with coaches, with teachers…we all need to get back to sharing more conversations. And oh yeah, did I mention anything about getting our children life ready? As in the need to have more clear, confident face-to-face conversations, such as a job interview?

Whenever I speak with today’s youth, or parents, I end each and every one of my public speaking engagements with a quote. It’s from the legendary Vince Lombardi. “In life you don’t get to decide your future, you get to decide your habits. It’s your habits that decide your future.”

It’s Time to Talk! Is my framework for the decade, I hope you will do the same to adjust your habits if need be.

I hope you give yourself an opportunity to adjust your habits not just this next year but to make a bigger commitment to those in your world. You deserve it, they deserve it, and those that you aim to serve, surely deserve it.

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Why are Soft skills so Hard? https://www.talkshop.company/blog/why-are-soft-skills-so-hard/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/why-are-soft-skills-so-hard/#respond Mon, 09 Dec 2019 21:56:59 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=431 Are we as parents, as educators, coaches, tutors and anyone else who work with today’s youth, doing all we can preparing middle and high school students for the workplace?  What about the real world?  Are we collectively doing all we can to best support the next generation?  There is still […]

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Are we as parents, as educators, coaches, tutors and anyone else who work with today’s youth, doing all we can preparing middle and high school students for the workplace?  What about the real world?  Are we collectively doing all we can to best support the next generation?  There is still the traditional focus on academic and technical/hard skills. But there’s another set of skills that’s also pivotal to students’ future workplace success—and its becoming clearer by the minute.

We’re talking about “soft skills,” or employ-ability skills. And, as a parent myself as well as someone whose sole purpose is to develop the life skill of effective communication strategies, our role in teaching these skills is growing.

What exactly are soft skills? They’re the non-technical “people” skills—often referred to as “21st century skills”—that help people secure and keep a job. They include skills related to professionalism, communication, a positive attitude and politeness, teamwork, problem-solving and critical thinking, and networking—the kinds of skills often mentioned in letters of recommendation.  The types of skills most commonly seen as the top one or two on a job description.

While of course also important, hard skills—knowledge and technical skills represented in test scores, school transcripts, and on-the-job training and performance measures—will take young professionals only so far. Without the necessary soft skills, they may not be viewed as valued employees. Its shocking how “connected” today’s youth are.  So connected that they can be in touch with someone around the corner or around the globe with a few twitches of their fingers and thumbs.  What’s also shocking is the high level of apprehension around having any face to face interactions, regardless of who its with or what the topic is.    I’m talking about a regular old fashioned conversation.  Not via a screen or by a phone, in person!  What about having a hard or difficult conversation?  Do most of us, not just today’s youth, have these challenging conversations?  Or do we run for the hills?  Now more than ever, the world needs more face to face conversations.

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Want your student to be college AND career ready? https://www.talkshop.company/blog/want-your-student-to-be-college-and-career-ready/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/want-your-student-to-be-college-and-career-ready/#respond Wed, 03 Apr 2019 17:49:23 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=391 If you look over most job descriptions, you will see how high on the list communication skills are.  Quick question:  Is there any 21st century life skill more important than being able to sustain confident, coherent face-to-face conversations?  Are today’s high school students truly college and career ready with this […]

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If you look over most job descriptions, you will see how high on the list communication skills are.  Quick question:  Is there any 21st century life skill more important than being able to sustain confident, coherent face-to-face conversations?  Are today’s high school students truly college and career ready with this pivotal life skill? It seems now more than ever that the gap in interpersonal communication skills in today’s youth is massive.  In the ever changing world of apps, devices and screens, the skill of having a face-to-face conversation is a lost art, yet it is so very important.

For today’s students that are looking ahead, the ability to communicate effectively is essential, no matter what college they want to go to or what career or industry they want be in. They need to be able to communicate effectively with peers, teachers, employees, managers and customers in-person.  Talk Shop is designed specifically to motivate and empower students to become impactful communicators, under any situation and in all facets of their lives.

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Why I started Talk Shop https://www.talkshop.company/blog/why-i-started-talk-shop/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/why-i-started-talk-shop/#respond Thu, 01 Nov 2018 18:38:31 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=386 There are new businesses that start every week.  Some people launch a new venture to capitalize on a business idea, others for wealth creation and there are those that want to have the freedom that business owners get to make their own decisions.  For me, starting Talk Shop is a […]

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There are new businesses that start every week.  Some people launch a new venture to capitalize on a business idea, others for wealth creation and there are those that want to have the freedom that business owners get to make their own decisions.  For me, starting Talk Shop is a combination of all of the above but for me its more… it is personal.

As a dedicated father to two boys with uniquely individual communication styles, It was clear that they are my case studies and I wanted to find a way bridge the “life skill” gap for all kids in the 14-24 age range to help them develop the way they communicate face-to-face.

Talk Shop is the culmination of not only me being a parent, but also a (former) youth sports coach, a College/University guest lecturer, a career coach, business development executive for two F500 firms, a volunteer mentor at my local high school, a long tenured public address announcer and a connoisseur of freshly baked homemade cookies.  (just checking to see if you are paying attention!)

Talk Shop has been in the making for years.  I’ve extracted the countless real world life lessons I’ve gained in business from some very sharp minds, combined it with what I’ve learned from having to engage in many positive and unpleasant conversations of my own (both in my personal and professional life) and what I’ve learned from them.  I’ve paired it with my deep rooted goal of developing kids, just like my own, to be better communicators.  I think we can all agree that the world could benefit from having our youth communicate with clarity and impact, face-to-face.  To develop their ability to articulate their message, to promote their unique brand, whether it be in the classroom, their family life, their social circles and needless to say, to get college and career ready!

Its pivotal and it needs to happen, today.  Are your students ready to Talk Shop?

 

 

 

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How was your day? https://www.talkshop.company/blog/how-was-your-day/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/how-was-your-day/#comments Fri, 19 Oct 2018 20:57:31 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=372 Ever wonder how many parents get the same one word answers that you get from your child when they ask their kids the all to familiar question…”how was your day?”  I’m not a betting man but I’d wager the percentage is fairly high. Is there one key factor in the […]

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Ever wonder how many parents get the same one word answers that you get from your child when they ask their kids the all to familiar question…”how was your day?”  I’m not a betting man but I’d wager the percentage is fairly high.

Is there one key factor in the mindset of todays youth that leads them to the inability to express themselves, in real authentic face to face conversation?    I’m of the thought of no….that there isn’t just one key factor but many.

Is technology at the root of the lack of interpersonal communications in today’s youth?  It certainly plays a large part, that much is certain.

 

Here is an abstract from a recent study done by Elon University:

Recent technological advancements have had a drastic impact on the way individuals communicate. In this research, previous studies were analyzed, field observations were conducted, and an online survey was administered to determine the level of engagement individuals have with their cell phones, other technologies and with each other in face-to-face situations. Findings suggest that technology has a negative effect on both the quality and quantity of face-to-face communication. Despite individuals’ awareness of the decrease of face-to-face communication as a result of technology, more than 62% of individuals observed on Elon’s campus continue to use mobile devices in the presence of others.

It’s no great mystery that kids in the 14-25 range, who have had access to electronic devices in their hands from an early age, are having some serious challenges in talking with someone, let alone clearly communicating an idea to their peer, parents or teacher.

There are arguments from research studies on both sides of the equation.

Little by little, technology has become an integral part of the way that people communicate with one another and has increasingly taken the place of face-to-face communication. To be clear, I’ve been guilty of this myself.  Due to the rapid expansion of technology, many individuals fear that people may be too immersed in this digital world and not present enough in the real world. It’s overwhelming how screen time has replaced face time (not the apple face time!) in todays youth.

Whats at stake here?  Plenty!

Being a parent of two boys I see a lot first hand.  When I have to repeatedly ask my kids, “please let me see your eyes when we are talking” is a tad troubling.  When I hear them reply, ” I can hear you dad at the same time I’m on my phone,”  is equally troubling.  Being connected means something so different today.  Multi tasking means something so different today too.  Being connected for todays youth is making sure they can access wi-fi.  Being connected for me is sharing live, authentic conversations.  Multi tasking for me is making a salad for dinner at the same time as making my lunch for work the next day.  Multi tasking for kids today is being on snapshat and  Instagram at the same time and oh ya, texting me from their room, “when is dinner ready?”  I used to manage a youth baseball team and we’d go to many team dinners, where all my players would be at the same table and on on their cell phones.

I see the tremendous benefits from technology like everyone else does…to a certain degree.  But when it comes to the presence of tech devices and the quality of real-life, in-person social interactions, I see a big problem that needs to be addressed.  In a field experiment, researchers found that conversations in the absence of mobile communication technologies were rated as significantly superior compared with those in the presence of a mobile device.  Kind of a no brainer moment, right?

Whether we are parents, educators, or part of the general public, I hope we can all agree that we want today’s youth to develop into the next generation of leaders at work and in their communities.  This wont happen until they ditch their device (for a little while at least) and develop a life skill of knowing how to have clear, confident and impactful conversations, face-to-face.

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Big Ears, Small Mouth- The Discipline of Listening https://www.talkshop.company/blog/big-ears-small-mouth-the-discipline-of-listening/ https://www.talkshop.company/blog/big-ears-small-mouth-the-discipline-of-listening/#respond Fri, 03 Aug 2018 22:11:19 +0000 https://www.talkshop.company/?p=245 Big Ears, Small mouth – The Discipline of Listening As the up-and-coming vice president and CEO candidate for a Fortune 500 technology corporation sat before the CEO for his annual review, he was baffled to discover that the feedback from his peers, customers, direct reports, and particularly from board members […]

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Big Ears, Small mouth – The Discipline of Listening

As the up-and-coming vice president and CEO candidate for a Fortune 500 technology corporation sat before the CEO for his annual review, he was baffled to discover that the feedback from his peers, customers, direct reports, and particularly from board members placed unusual emphasis on one potentially devastating problem: his listening deficit. This executive was widely considered among the best and brightest in his company, but it was evident that this issue needed immediate attention if he ever hoped to advance to the top spot.

He wasn’t alone in that regard. My knowledge from my days with FedEx and Microsoft, of corporate leaders’ 360-degree feedback indicates that one out of four of them has a listening deficit—the effects of which can paralyze cross-unit collaboration, sink careers, and if it’s the CEO with the deficit, derail the company. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Despite today’s fast-paced business environment, time-starved leaders can master the art of disciplined listening. Conventional advice for better listening is to be emotionally intelligent and available. However, truly good listening requires far more than that. As you move toward truly empathetic listening, consider these tips:

Pan for the nuggets. I saw how a former CEO did this. Sitting down with a business unit leader presenting him with information about a $300 million dollar technical investment opportunity, the CEO divided a sheet of paper about three-quarters across. On the larger left side of the paper, he scribbled detailed notes; on the smaller right side, he occasionally jotted down two or three words, capturing what he perceived to be the key insights and issues being brought to his attention. It was a simple technique that disciplined him to listen intently for the important content and focus follow-up questions on points that really mattered. Whether or not this is your method, you should train yourself to sift for the nuggets in a conversation. Then let the other person know that they were understood by probing, clarifying, or further shaping those thoughts. The benefits of this go beyond ensuring that you heard it right: first, the person on the other end of the conversation will be gratified that you are truly grasping the essence of their thoughts and ideas; second, this gratification will motivate and energize them to create more thoughts and solutions. Listening opens the door to truly connecting and is the gateway to building relationships and capability.

Consider the Source. When working with peers, in and across teams, work to understand each person’s frame of reference—where they are coming from. This is extremely important when disagreements arise. When you truly understand the perspective of others, you are most likely to reach productive solutions; further, all the participants will feel heard, whether their solution is adopted or not. Even better, it’s likely that the solution will not turn out to be one that was brought to the table by any one party; it will be a new approach crafted in the conversational environment you created. Active listening and probing (with humility, not aggression) energizes groups, encourages them to reach consensus, and helps them arrive at new and better solutions.

Consider this example of CEO of a massive tech company. Earlier in his career, as a business unit manager, he recognized that he must cut costs. But his division’s operations department was adamant it could not be done given the tremendous complexity of its processes. The CEO understood their frame of reference, which was that they were in favor of simplification, but couldn’t achieve it without the collaboration of the product departments. He got the two sides to collaborate and much better solutions were found. Not only were costs cut, but operations became more focused and simplified.

Prime the Pump. After GE achieved its goal of being first or second in several of its businesses with exceptional margins, then-CEO Jack Welch faced the challenge of how to spur continued growth. He actively listened to a Business Management Course team at GE’s Crotonville learning center. They suggested that, if a GE business had become the biggest fish in its pond, it was thinking about the pond too narrowly. The definition of the market needed to be changed based on an expanded understanding of its customers’ needs. As business unit managers prepared their next round of strategy presentations for the Chairman, Welch told them all to redefine their market in such a way that their share was less than 10 percent. This released GE managers’ energy to grow their businesses with new ideas. One of those ideas was to grow the services businesses across GE. Today, GE has a $200 billion backlog in its services business.

Slow Down. There is a reason that, over the years, you have lost your ability to listen. It feels too passive, like the opposite of action. It’s much faster to move to a decision based on the information you already have. But in doing so, you miss important considerations and sacrifice the opportunity to connect. Understand that as you begin to change your listening style to a more empathetic one, you may often feel inefficient. It takes time to truly hear someone and to replay the essence of their thoughts back them so that both parties are clear on what was said. The payback is dramatic, but it comes over the long run.

Keep Yourself Honest. No habit is broken without discipline, feedback, and practice. As well as installing a personal mirror to reflect on your own behavior, find a colleague to give you honest feedback on how well you are tuning into the thoughts and ideas of your colleagues, managers, board of directors, and others. Explicitly lay out an exercise regime by which you will practice empathetic listening every day and strengthen your skills. Make a habit of asking yourself after interactions whether you understood the essence of what was said to you, the person’s point of view, their context, and their emotion. Also ask yourself whether that person knows that they were heard and understood.

For leaders, listening is a central competence for success. At its core, listening is connecting. Your ability to understand the true spirit of a message as it is intended to be communicated, and demonstrate your understanding, is paramount in forming connections and leading effectively. This is why, in 2010, General Electric—long considered the preeminent company for producing leaders—redefined what it seeks in its leaders. Now it places “listening” among the most desirable traits in potential leaders. Indeed, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt has said that “humble listening” is among the top four characteristics in leaders.

Truly empathetic listening requires courage—the willingness to let go of the old habits and embrace new ones that may, at first, feel time-consuming and inefficient. But once acquired, these listening habits are the very skills that turn would-be leaders into true ones

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