I need to get this out of the way straight away– Keeping up with the Kardashians is a (very) guilty pleasure of mine. I was introduced to it by my wife a couple of months back and although I have yet to establish what any of these people do for a living, I seem to find myself drawn to it, much like a bee to honey or maybe a hobo to Special Brew.
I really cracked up watching the families attempts to clear out Bruce Jenner’s ears, the father/step father of the family, with a candle and plate set up. The act itself was funny (candle in the ear on fire whilst your head is on its side – sounds like something you would do for a drinking game punishment no?) but also made me think about how, in someways, it was a bit of a compliment to all of them that they wanted to find a way in which he was able to listen more clearly to what they were saying. This was a bit of a
change in that they are normally seeing how best they can pump out information and updates on their brand, yet here they were (on a most practical level) looking for ways to listen better.
We all promote ourselves on a day-to-day basis to a lesser or greater extent (don’t think so? So you have never casually dropped in to conversation to a senior about how well project went? Really?! Maybe you should start?). However do we stop enough to listen to what we are saying? And, perhaps more importantly, look to hear what people are trying to tell us back in return?
– Are you actively listening?
There are three elements you need to remember in order to be an effective listener – comprehending, retaining, responding. If you are not doing these when you are listening or picking up information start – and if you still don’t feel engaged in the subject to do so change it, you owe it to yourself to make more productive use of your time.
– Is information getting to you?
Are you really getting all the information you need? Not just in terms of day-to-day professional performance from managers etc, but from other resources such as publications or journals? Also what is the latest buzz or area of interest within your network? Is it something that might be of interest to you? If not, why not?
Your information is only as good as your sources so keep an eye on them. Information can act as a catalyst for change – so make sure there are no road blocks to all the data that is relevant to what you do and who you do it with.
If you do not reading print media about what it is you do, then have you thought that maybe there could be a better use of your time in a different career? Why should you not be doing something that you are engrossed by and really enjoy? The chances are that there will be someone who will come along who is – and they will progress quicker and further than you ever will, so do yourself a favour and get involved in what you enjoy.
– Get an MOT
So you have decided that you do enjoy what it is you do but are just not sure where or what information you need/want. Maybe mastermind with peers a little or approach someone you would want to role model yourself on and think about what sources they us and how. Also, on a personal level, do others feel as though it is worth sharing
info with you? i.e. are you someone who people look upon as being a person to share ideas with and who is interested in them? If not they you need to change this – to do so will mean that you will have information coming to you as well as seeking it out, helping your odds improvement no end.
– Start doing some of that proper PR
I said at the start I don’t know what it is that the Kardashian’s do for a living but yet I watch it. Part of that is a reflection on my viewing tastes (yeah? You want to make something of it?) but it is also a reflection on access – there are mediums through which I can watch the show on a regular basis.
Now you have lots of information to hand that you want to share, why not start spreading the good news about how you think it could be applied to your work? Or maybe you think you have managed to get on top of how you listen to others and where you get information from, so now act on it. Spread the wealth about what you have learnt with others and see how it compares. In some ways this will make sure that your MOT and checking sources stages are maintained as you will find people will either respond with a suggestion in kind – how often has someone said to you “Yeah that is great, but have you heard about this author/book/website? It blew my mind!”.
If not show an interest in others and ask what they think or what their suggestions are. No one likes a know-it-all and you are too cool to be like that (you read this blog for a start!) – so what have you got to lose?
– Rinse and repeat the first four steps
So they you go – how the Kardashians inspired me to think about listening more closely. If you have any other relevant examples that you think might be better suited I would love to hear them.
Now if only I could listen closely enough during the show to find out what it is these people do all day for a living…