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Tips for the Wokeplace: Three Steps You Can Take to Be a Better Listener

 

Coworking offers the opportunities to be surrounded by unique, motivated individuals who can offer insights about work and give you genuine human connection. This new workplace landscape creates more opportunities for collaboration than ever before. But in order for conversations to flourish, each person must be able to listen to the other. Like, really actually listen. Not just smile and then forget about what they said five minutes after they walk away. Say your fellow co-worker is in the process of expanding their team and talks to you about having a hard time finding a good fit. Being able to fully engage in a conversation, both listening and responding, will help both people to spark new ideas about how to approach the hiring process.

 

I find that I listen best when I approach with the intent to understand and support, not to critique or analyze. For example, you might be eager to engage in conversation, but if you are constantly cutting others off mid sentence, they may start to feel misunderstood. Actively listening to your co-worker, rather than waiting for your turn to say something, encourages patience during a conversation. Here are three key techniques that help me become a better active listener:

 

1. Pay attention and stay engaged

Look at your conversation buddy directly and try not to get distracted by any passing thoughts or environmental factors.  We all have tasks and concerns on our minds, but making the effort to fully hear someone can offer you a chance to step out of your own head for a minute and show the other person that you care.

Example: you have a tiring weekend playing tour guide for cousins that are in town and you get to work on Monday still feeling drained. One of your fellow co-workers asks how your weekend was, and you respond by telling them about how you drove from Waikiki to North Shore to Kailua then back to Waikiki for a late dinner yesterday and are feeling pretty exhausted today. You know theyʻre working on a big project, but they seem genuinely interested in your story and offer you some expressions of shared tiredness. These small signals of engagement can make a big difference.

 

2. Provide feedback in an honest and respectful way

Once your partner had wrapped up their thoughts, summarize what you heard and start with things like “It sounds like…” or “what I’m hearing is…”. Ask questions if you need clarification on a point. If you start to take something personally, ask for more information. “I may not be understanding you correctly, is this what you meant…?” Being able to recognize when something said makes you feel angry or makes you want to respond defensively can be helpful in keeping the conversation respectful.

Take a second to process your emotions before reacting to what was said. Understand that almost all of the time, it’s not about you.

 

3. Ask questions and let the other person find the solution

Last but not least, unless directly asked for a solution, try to refrain from trying to “fix” the problem. Focus on letting the other person talk through their issues and expand on their ideas. Sometimes asking the right questions can help a friend come to their own solutions.

Example: someone is telling you about the string of difficult overseas clients sheʻs had to talk on the phone with recently. Instead of responding with a helpful tip about how to decompress after a stressful call, ask what specific things made the interactions hard to deal with, or ask what she usually does to relieve stress. This type of unbiased conversation will strengthen a healthy bond between you and your coworkers.

 

Lastly, SHARE and LISTEN – the more you share, the more you become integrated into the community. Being part of a co-working space allows us to share in the community’s success together. Being able to engage with the community gives an opportunity to share wins, creating authentic relationships that will foster growth for everyone involved.

 

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On Innovation and Creativity

We all know the age old expression, “Get with the times!” To build off of this notion of being up-to-date on your industry and social circle, the more appropriate saying for our day in age would be “Get with the future!” READ MORE

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Hacker Hours: Brought to you by OccamSec

Picture this: developers, programmers, designers, and creatives hunched over laptops as the clock ticks hours away. Through animated chatter and the sound of keystrokes, projects are created and completed in a short time span of 24 hours. There is an electricity in the air as innovators rush to create a working product in a race against the clock.READ MORE

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Small Business, Big Impact: How-To Make the Most of Social Media

Having a small business can be stressful. There is a constant strain on one’s attention; aside from operating the business itself, the task of building clientele and marketing your services can be both time consuming and confusing. As your small business or startup grows, finding a marketing and social media strategy can be a trying endeavor. Yet, with a little effort and quality ideas, there are simple ways to help your company benefit from social media marketing. Here are the seven best ways to use social media to boost your branding and online presence as a small business.  READ MORE

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Learning to Co-Focus

There’s a shift in the office culture and we are all about it. The traditional, 9-5, confined cubicle life has transformed in favor of new work spaces; one of which is coworking. A result of this model is a beautiful symbiotic relationship between professionals of all backgrounds and trades, creating an open space for learning and benefiting from each other’s individual skills. For young startups or the remote worker, coworking provides a convenient mode of networking, insight and collaboration.

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