Through the Looking Glass

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A Sherlock of Others, Part 1

To succeed in both our professional and social worlds, we must play well with others. The need to expertly tread the multifaceted arena of human interactions is crucial not just for work but also for the sake of mutual wellbeing. The need to successfully read others—to pick up on subtleties lurking beneath the surface–transcends physical offices and now permeates our virtual worlds.

Virtual vitriol is now, sadly, as common as sliced bread, as explored in this study published by ScienceDirect and further discussed by psychologist Mariana Plata. The absence of eye contact, of seeing the visceral effects of our behaviors on others may be to blame, especially as we become increasingly separate from one another.

With ever-increasing need to watch out for each other in both our physical and virtual environments, we ought to all don the classic deerstalker cap and become an observer worthy of Sherlock Holmes. We must detect and consider how our behaviors, our statements, and our tone—both in-person and online—affect others, without allowing walls, screens, or texts to blur the clues.

In this video, the learning platform Practical Psychology conveys strategies to use when taking a magnifying glass to the behaviors of others. Endeavor to pay careful attention to subtle changes in those we regularly correspond with. We can potentially build rapport by inquiring about those differences and demonstrating attentiveness.

As virtual offices become more prevalent, so too does the need for etiquette—or netiquette—as outlined here by Colorado State University. Through adherence to accepted netiquette norms, we maintain professional and approachable personas when online. Whether in person or online, it’s as critical as ever to exercise and encourage etiquette—to advocate for each other in everything we do.

Our keystrokes and mood affect people on the receiving side. Contribute not to the prevalent despondency clouding virtual interactions, but bring instead a glimmer of hope to cyberspace and all environments in between.

Be a bridge of humanity between the divide of in-person and on-screen. Be a detective of human interaction.

“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.”
– Marcus Aurelius

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

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