Offering a Continuum of Choices is a Trusted Collaborative Problem Solving Technique

When we’re stuck on a problem, and filled with negativity, the options lean to either/or.  When we articulate the spaces in-between, new possibilities emerge, a continuum of choices.   A continuum of choices reduces the risk of either/or, win/lose, and encourages collaborative problem solving. Offer a continuum As a contract court mediator with Mediate BC, […]

3 Preconditions for Effective Communications

Ever reached out, across the virtual divide, and found your communications efforts less than stellar?  (Yep.)   Somehow, the conversation seems to have barely begun, before the scene deteriorates and communications fall apart.   Puzzled as to why things unfolded that way?   Maybe, the conditions weren’t in-place to begin with, for effective communications to […]

Camp: The Professional Development Format of The Future

When I was kid, many summers would find me at camp.   Invariably camp was fun, challenging (new things, new people, different rules…), and always a learning experience.   What if today’s “professional development” experience was like camp? MuseumCamp 2014 Nina Simon is Executive Director of the Santa Cruz (California) Museum of Art & History.   […]

Communicating With Your Audience in Their Culture

To communicate effectively we need to already have some areas of commonness between us.  Culture is one of those areas.   When facilitating virtual teams or in local cross-cultural contexts, I sometimes underestimate the differences between cultures.  It’s easy to auto-pilot into my culture’s way of doing things.  And, that’s not always a good thing. […]

The risk of letting others do your work: Loss of connection

When I let others do my cooking, I hand over control.  And, in handing over that control, I sacrifice connection.  When I choose to go fast food over home cooking, I’ve removed myself from the connection between food ‘au naturel’ and finished product.  There is risk-reward in letting others do your work.    No human, […]

Adding Verbal and Non-Verbal Communications Capacity in Virtual Contexts

Working virtually can put the squeeze on our full range of verbal and nonverbal communication skills. This is a given with it comes to nonverbal. When we’re in the same physical space together, the success of our communication effort  is mightily influenced by our nonverbal, visual, actions.  Where is body language, and tone of voice, […]

Facilitating Organizational Change Through Creativity and Ensemble

When a new lens on organizational change comes along, I perk up.  As a mediator and consultant, I know the value of lens; of changing perspective, as a lead-in to problem resolution.      “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” […]

Effective Communications: Align virtual channel with feedback requirements

If you’ve ever fired off an email, and mistakenly thought your communication work was done, raise your hand.  Mine’s up; both of them! Feedback loops are about working with the effect of your actions, on the other person. Feedback loops get even more complicated, in the virtual arena. Here’s a two-minute screencast I created; explaining […]

Out of This World Collaboration

Summer is a time to chill with some good reads.  And what could be better than some ‘out of this world’ escapism!  This week I read An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth, by Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield).  Hadfield was the Canadian commander of the International Space Station (ISS), a multi-nation collaboration, for 5 months in […]

Effective communications: High-context in a low-context virtual world

Keeping communications high-context in the virtual world can be a frustrating exercise.  Virtual interactions tend to favour low-context, direct and impersonal, forms of communication.  If you’re from a high-context culture, beware. Here’s a two-minute screencast I created to look at the high/low context conundrum, and what you can do about it: This screencast is part […]