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Change your language

I love this video. It conveys so simply how our choice of words can radically change how people react to us.

It also shows how difficult it is to make an impact when we’re stuck in a rut of talking a particular way.

The way we use language in the technology sector is a funny old business. At one end of the scale we have acronyms galore, a list as long as my arm that I’m forever trying [and failing] to work my way through. At the other we have company names becoming common parlance verbs. Today there are millions of people around the world who Facebook, Google and Twitter.

The murky in-between is a mixture of techy specifications containing bits and bytes, or else roll-off-the-tongue phrases like broadband, plug-and-play and cloud computing that only a tiny minority of the world’s population truly understand. For many, the technology sector is amongst the worst for language that doesn’t invite people in.

This hasn’t stopped the relentless rise in the use of technology. But whilst the e-comfortable click ahead, those left behind just want to be talked to in a language they understand.

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Taking Risks

Feel the fear and do it anyway is a commonly used phrase when trying to persuade someone to try something new. It may seem like a cliché but taking risks can actually bring great rewards.

A friend of mine has recently returned from volunteering in Asia. Someone who is normally afraid of spiders at home chose to live and work in the middle of the jungle. She slept in a hammock, had to regularly check her sleeping bag for scorpions and lived side-by-side with a whole host of dangerous insects and animals with only 12 other people around her.  The task was not only physical but mentally very challenging as well.

I’m pleased to report that she survived, and not only that, she loved it! She wasn’t the only one taking on the new challenge, people from several countries and all walks of life chose to volunteer and work together as part of a team. They went into the unknown, becoming friends with people they would never normally meet back home and putting their all into whatever work was presented to them. The results, my friend says, were remarkable and the experience will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

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Deep Breath and… Go For It

May 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm PST

Sheryl Sandberg speaking at PBWC

“Opportunities are handed to people who reach for them. In those quiet moments when you’re not sure, take a deep breath and go for it.” Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, spoke at the Professional Business Women of California Conference in San Francisco last week.

She covered many of the topics she covered in her famous TED talk on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders; among them, how men will put themselves forward more than women, even if they have the same ability.  She encouraged attendees to be more aggressive about reaching for opportunities, as women tend to underrate themselves.

Sandberg also spoke about how a doctor changed his teaching style after hearing her speak.  Read More »

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Recognition and Implementation

In Laura’s previous post, How we plan to use Cisco’s Reverse Mentoring programme to encourage Inclusion and Diversity, she talks about several aspects of the Reverse Mentoring programme, such as having an internal and external focus, the importance of being people -centric, and that the real benefit lies in the programme being win-win. For these very reasons, and many more, Cisco Belgium caught the eye of A Great Place to Work and won a Special Award for Diversity.

Many people across multiple industries are recognising the importance of Inclusion and Diversity and leveraging it to create the aforementioned win-win situations. Most recently Nicola Mendelsohn, incoming IPA president, highlighted the merit of diversity within the advertising industry in her inaugural speech on April 6 2011, but the cross-industry relevance is clear:

“Diversity of background fuels tension and creativity, and we must fight continually to ensure that the industry never becomes a place of bland conformity.

However, the answer to greater diversity does not just lie in attracting fresh graduates. That is why I would like to explore ways that we become an attractive home for those who want a mid-career change.

Some of our best, most creative people came from outside the industry.” Read More »

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Inspiring people, inspiring minds

I have a favourite quote that I re-read every time I’m feeling a little lack lustre and needing inspiration. It’s by Eleanor Roosevelt, and says: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

It’s such a positive and empowering statement that you can’t help but feel that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Inspiration really does come in so many different forms and through different people.

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