Technology is changing very rapidly, and we communicate more and more through emojis, acronyms and buzz words that only some of us understand. Here are some ways to adjust to the new norm and make sure we are not leaving anyone behind:
How many times have we been in meetings and presentations when no context or explanation has been provided to level-set the meeting? Recently I was in such a meeting where the entire deck was acronym based and one of members who just came back from vacation was completely lost. Luckily this woman was brave enough to ask for a pause to take 2 minutes to review progress on the project and a key for the acronyms. No one wants to appear like they are the only person in the room without context, but perhaps only the courageous person is asking questions. These clarification questions may be helpful to others who have not asked them.
Listen and Be Curious
People learn in different ways. When you are interested in a topic, be mindful, take notes, make a recording or use any method that helps you learn best. In the environment of multi-tasking and information overload, it is important to pause and recognize which information is key vs supplemental. We can learn something from every person we meet and especially from people who have a distinctly different background or knowledge than us. Be curious. It is more important to learn and seek answers than to worry about how our questions are perceived. Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
Discover Wonder that we Lost Along the Way
Children have a natural sense of curiosity and desire to understand. Learning is a life long journey. In our day-to-day routine, pausing for even 10 minutes a day to understand about a new subject helps with keeping us engaged and motivated. This time does not have to be to be set aside to read a new article or master a new skill, it can be a conversation with someone who is a subject matter expert in their own area. To reciprocate, share what you know with someone who is interested in learning. Recently, I was sitting with a friend’s daughter in the backseat of a car. She was intently peering the clouds in the sky. I asked her if she was trying to identify shapes familiar to her and she answered that she is trying to find pictures as her mom uploaded into the cloud. What followed in the car was a discussion on how to explain photo storage in the cloud to a four-year-old which I believe she totally understood. Frequently, taking the time to explain a concept to someone is an investment that can be a very rewarding experience by itself.