Weird Responses to Richard Armitage Post

Reactions to my blog post about Richard Armitage caught me off-guard in good and bad ways. Ladies who attended the Social Media Dames Un-conference will recall my brief presentation on the value of good content, even when it’s about a celebrity crush. I ran out of time to walk about the weird and unexpected responses I got from others. Loving Richard Armitage The second Hobbit movie, the Desolation of Smaug, comes out Friday. Richard Armitage plays Thorin Oakenshield, the leader and King of the dwarves. An immensely popular actor in the UK, the Hobbit movies introduce him to a global audience. I learned about him through my addiction to BBC TV shows and Netflix recommendations. I highly recommend the BBC version of Robin Hood and the mini-series North and South. Richard Armitage I am old enough that I am not quite a digital native. An early lover of the internet (anyone remember Live Journal?), I drifted away and missed the explosion of user generated content that has unfolded over the last 10 years. I discovered what I had missed as I began indulging my crush and seeking out all things Richard. I learned about his devoted fan following, the Armitage Army. I read fan fiction, watched endless YouTube clips, and learned how to navigate Tumblr. In the process, I started thinking about how all of the fan attention might help or hurt his image as a celebrity. What Happened My original post was a reflection of these musings. In an image conscious world, how does fan-generated content impact the celebrity? Are there types of content that impact the human dignity of the person? Does it matter?...

Mirror, Mirror

Another frequent challenge in communication is people not listening actively and hearing things correctly. So two people are talking to each other, the speaker thinks the listener is hearing and understanding. However, there is no guarantee the listener is accurately understanding what the speaker is saying. Sometimes people respond to what they think they heard, instead of what was actually said. I see this situation often when working with couples and families. Frequently someone is responding to what they heard, and what they heard doesn’t match what was said. Often there is fault in both the speaker and the listener. The speaker may, in fact, not be speaking clearly and directly, leaving much to interpretation. The listener may be reading in between the lines or may be thinking about what they’re going to say in return. Either way, an argument heats up because people are talking and no one is listening. In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey talks about “Listen to Understand.” The idea is to truly focus on the speaker and wait to respond, rather than half listening while waiting for our turn. This idea is similar to the concept of active listening, meaning choosing to attend to the speaker fully and completely. Both of these approaches help improve communication. Another communication or listening technique is called mirroring. Using this technique, the listener reflects or restates back to the speaker what they heard. The goal is not to interpret or respond, but instead accurately repeat what the listener has heard. It often starts with, “So what I’m hearing is…” followed by restating or reflecting...

I feel ____

Stop for a minute and think about the hardest information to communicate to another person. I’m betting you came up with strong feelings, particularly negative ones. Just about all of us have some feelings we are more comfortable sharing than others. On top of that, sharing feelings that are tied to someone else’s actions, that’s another ball game entirely. Whenever someone’s action is tied to a negative feeling we experience, we have an important choice to make. Do we let it go, possibly harboring resentment? Do we get them back in some way? Do we completely ignore it? Do we blow up at them? Do we communicate directly and head-on? Depending on the role models we’ve had during our life, one of the possible options will look the most attractive. Few of us have role models that use the last option: communicate directly and head-on. Fortunately there’s a really simple formula that can help make direct communication about negative feelings somewhat easier. It’s called “I feel…” statements. I feel… statements have a particular formula that help us clearly and directly communicate important information while minimizing the chance the other person gets defensive and communication stops. They are particularly useful when someone has hurt us or we are angry. Here’s the drill: Step 1: Take a deep breath and give yourself a moment to think Step 2: Identify the emotion as specifically as possible – is it anger? disappointment? sadness? Step 3: Use this formula to create the statement: I feel ____________ , when __________ . The first blank is the feeling word and the second blank is the context that...