January’s Word: Connect

Starting this month, we added a new twist to our monthly Coffee & Ideas events.

In addition to our casual coffee-magic environment, we are adding a new spin in 2018. Each month’s event will have a focus word.

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”
– Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ✨

January’s #coffeeandideas focus word was Connect. And we had a great opportunity this Tuesday morning to connect with those who stopped by.

We’re going to ask Reify team members to nominate these words each month. Since I nominated “Connect” for January, I brought along a few articles that inspired me to “connect” this January:

  • Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Better Listener – HBR

    Part of my January “Connect” goal is to practice my listening skills – trying to really focus on a topic, but also trying to empathize. So even if a person shares something that goes against my point of view, I can try and put myself in their position to truly listen before thinking about myself and my POV. I think this is also an invaluable skill for the instructional design work we do – we have to listen to the subject matter experts, to the instructors leading the training sessions, to the attendees who will have to implement the training – and we have to connect with the content with their POV in mind.

  • The 7 Pillars of Connecting With Absolutely Anyone – Forbes

    I sometimes feel awkward in large crowds, or when meeting someone for the first time. I say the wrong word or laugh a little too loud – standard introvert stuff. But if I focus on trying to make real connections with people – to listen to them with a mind for how I might be able to help or support their idea – then I find that the pressure of saying the “right” thing often fades away. Plus, I think it helps you stand out – it’s rare that we can have a one-on-one conversation with someone these days and really feel like we’re the focus of that person’s full attention. I can certainly work on that in my conversations. And I don’t want to stretch this too far, but I think this also connects with making a good impression on the web and with social media. We’re always encouraging our clients to consider what resources, information, or advice they can offer to others – content that’s really needed in the world. Because we know that when we try to help others, we also help ourselves by making a great connection. (And yes, we should also just help to help, because it’s a good thing to do. But even that has selfish benefits; people are happier when they give. So sorry, either way it’s a win-win.)

  • Can’t Sleep? Blame Your Screen Time – DAILYLIFE

    I actually have zero problems sleeping – it’s kind of my superpower. I could rest my head on this desk right now and be out in two minutes. BUT, interestingly, even for Super Sleepers like me, there’s research showing that screen time may affect the quality of our sleep. And hey, I have a three-year-old. I need all the sleep quality I can get. I think this also reminds me about an important editing principle – need something to be proofread, then you should print it. The screen really affects how we view information. If I’m proofreading a storyboard or finalizing a video script, it always helps if I print it out. (On recyclable paper, that’s then recycled again – promise, universe!)

  • Just Hearing Your Phone Buzz Hurts Your Productivity – HBR and Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work – Forbes

    I think I can multitask. I’m incredibly wrong. We really can’t multitask on much – even though we think, especially with our zillion browser windows and devices, that we can. I really need to put the phone/notifications/digital distractions away and focus, both in my conversations at work, in my work at work – and in my non-work away-from-work life. It’s… a work in progress. But I know, especially with some of our more daunting projects, that content is always better when I’m fully connected to it – no distractions, please.

Of course, getting to the root of “connecting” in this sense actually means “disconnecting” from many things – including the three screens I can see in front of me without so much as turning my head. (They’re also all three Apple devices. Am I a type or what?)

And with that in mind, I hope to carry “Connect” with me through January and beyond. Whether you joined us for Coffee & Ideas this month or just cheers-ed us in spirit, I hope you have some great coffee and some great Connections this January.

Oh – and if you find yourself in conversation with me sometime soon, feel free to judge how connected I seem. I welcome your feedback.

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Next month, we’ll pick a different word. (Extra points if you know a barista who can frothe them into the tops of our lattes.) Hope to see you at Coffee & Ideas – or celebrate from afar with our Coffee-Themed Infographics!