We live in not only a dangerous world, but a surreal and caustic one in which the most powerful and influential man in the world indulges his flights of fantasy in a stream of interminable incoherence and contradiction, with contradictory opinions in taunting an increasingly confused and exasperated public with a constant stream of incoherent messages.
Beyond the initial amusement and bemusement of his messages, the longer-lasting effect of Trump’s communication is one of profound destabilisation, and as such, although much of the impact of his comments and policies is utterly wretched, we should also look to them as being an opportunity to transform and entirely re-think how we respond to his aggression.
In this vein, the following article, from Rebecca Solnit writing for The Guardian, talks about how, far from being discouraged by Trump’s trail of chaos and destruction, we should be encouraged by people’s growing engagement with what’s happening, and desire to change things:
The questions we ask determine the answers we get.
The current political tension between Catalonia and the rest of the Spanish State is a perfect, though painful, opportunity for exploring communication and the limitations on its effectiveness when taking place in what seems to be a vacuum, in terms of mutual understanding..
Fortunately for most of us, we don’t have to deal with this level of complexity in our day-to-day negotiations, but it’s worth being aware of how high-stake scenarios have the potential to force us unwittingly into a terrain of no-return. The best way of dealing with this is by avoiding it happening in the first place. From a coaching perspective, there are some useful tools that can help us kick off on the right foot:
This approach will automatically raise the bar of conversational effectiveness, and will enable greater depth of communication while helping us deal more effectively with the assumptions we may be holding about the situation.
I have no evidence to back up this assertion, but I’m pretty sure Puigdemont has never really asked himself: “What can we do to build common ground in this situation?”
The questions we ask determine the answers we get. Powerful questions lead to powerful answers and greater understanding.
Mid-September is a critical time in the school diary in Spain, and while as adults most of us don't go "back to school" it feels inherently like a good time to take stock, re-evaluate where we are and if we don't feel entirely happy with what we've got in our day-to-day lives, plan changes in our lifestyle and routines to reflect a better "us".
We usually greet these endeavours with enthusiasm and intent, but often find it hard to commit in the long-term. One of the most important areas to focus on is the language we use to communicate the changes we're making in our lives. In a recent coaching session, I encouraged my client to reflect her new exercise programme as something already established in her routine, despite the fact that she'd only recently started working out. So instead of saying "I've been to the gym three times this week and I hope I can keep it up" if we say "Because I go to the gym three times a week I feel healthier and fitter, and find I can do my job more effectively than before". By visualising our exercise regime as something that's in place, happening and part of our lives, it becomes much more feasible to keep it going.
In this fascinating talk, neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky discusses the origins of our best and worst selves, delving into the origins of what makes us behave in different ways. Based on his recent book "Behave: The Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst" Sapolsky encourages us to look and think more carefully about our immediate reactions to others' thoughts and actions.
WELCOME TO MY BLOG
After many, many months of trial and error I’m finally up and running with my new website, and having spent hours trawling through websites giving advice on creating the ultimate blog post, I’ve decided to Just. Start. Writing.
So here it is: my first blog spot.
The concept of Bridging the Gap comes from my interest in the communications issues that come up in my everyday working life. Communication in a monolingual environment has plenty of challenges as we attempt to transfer what’s going on in our head into someone else’s, and how we decode the traffic coming from the other direction, and the effectiveness or otherwise of our “gap-bridging”. But this challenge becomes even more complex in an international environment and especially for non-native speakers: my work takes place in the Anglo-Spanish world, and it's the communication between those worlds that really ticks my box.
This blog will therefore have a pretty broad remit encompassing a range of issues and topics related to the theme of communications in the international business environment, so whether you're interested in getting the best deal in an upcoming negotiation, or giving your best presentation or asking the right kinds of questions in an interview, there'll be something for you here.
There will also be some purely language-focused stuff to satisfy the curiosity of those non-native speakers looking to really hone their understanding of tricky phrasal verbs and idiomatic usage in English.