• Home
  • Blog
  • Your obsession is becoming theirs as well

Your obsession is becoming theirs as well

Hi, this is Cyril from Work Smarter: Live Better. In this video I would like to discuss a business issue around communication which is becoming also a big personal issue.

A few years ago, people would tell me, “The first thing I do when I come to the office is my emails.” Now this has changed. Many people say to me, “The first thing I do when I wake up is my emails.” Many people use their mobile phones as their alarm clocks, and when it rings you switch the alarm off, have a look at it and say, “Oh, why don’t I check my emails?”

We have now a really interesting relationship with all these technology tools, and what we don’t realize is the relationship that we’ve built and how obsessed we’ve got with those tools is actually taking us away from real communication.

You would be surprised, the amount of time someone said to me, “Why did this person send me an email? They’re sitting two desks next to me. Come and talk to me. It’d be much quicker and much better quality.”

I want to talk about not only the business issue about this, and I’ve done a video for some of you which is called ‘The First Two Hours of Your Day”. So watch one of my previous video blog around that, “The First Two Hour of Your Day”. I would like to talk now about the personal impact it has.

I have a guest today. My guest is Neil Flett. Now, for those who don’t know Neil, Neil is a legend in the training industry.

Cyril: Neil, you started working in Rogen a long time ago.

Neil Flett: In 1969.

Cyril: 1969, ’69?

Neil Flett: No. That’s when I was born. 1987.

Cyril: I was getting scared, because I was born in ’67. I said, “Jesus!” And I’m not that young.

Neil Flett: 1987.

Cyril: 1987 and got really famous. The first time I heard about Rogen is because you helped the team that pitched for the Sydney Olympics. Is that correct?

Neil Flett: Yup, I was one of 8,000 involved in the pitch for the Sydney Olympics.

Cyril: Great.

Neil Flett: I coached the presenters and I wrote some of the speeches for the final presentation that we did in Monte Carlo.

Cyril: And they won, actually.

Neil Flett: Yes, it won.

Cyril: Great, which is amazing, and from that you did an amazing book called the Pitch Doctor.

Neil Flett: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Thank you.

Cyril: This book, if you don’t know about communication, is called ‘Pitch Doctor’, great classic, and took Rogen from a small company to a big
global company.

Neil Flett: Yes, we did, yes.

Cyril: How many countries?

Neil Flett: We’re in 14 countries but we coached in about 30 countries around the world. We had 200 consultants and staff at one point.

Cyril: So Neil, absolute legend in our industry, and Neil recently wrote a little book called …

Neil Flett: That’s My Kid Up There!.

Cyril: That’s My Kid Up There!. Neil, tell me, why did you write this book? What triggered your interest in this book and writing the book?

Neil Flett: Cyril, we learnt over many many years that all the skills that we were teaching to senior business people were in fact life skills, and communication, face-to-face communication, was primarily what we taught. What we realized was that the influx and the rapid overtaking of face-to-face communication by electronics, by e-mail and iPhones and iPads and computers, was going to pose a real problem in the world of face-to-face communication unless we stood up for face-to-face.

Now, where do we start?

The first thing I realized was that electronics and e-mails and the like, and iPhones and iPads especially, were impacting dramatically on children. They were growing up with an iPhone in their hand. They were being sent by their parents to go and sit in the corner and read their iPad because they were getting in the way of discussion. In restaurants, they were sitting there on iPads because it was a great babysitter.

Cyril: And you see this very often. You see it in restaurant and you see very often the kids be on the side with their iPad. You go everywhere now and you see kids on their mobile phone and so on.

Neil Flett: Yes, you do.

Cyril: Now you have four-year-old kids that can probably teach us how to use an iPad.

Neil Flett: And can use it better than I can.

Cyril: 100%.

Neil Flett: So, my fear was a fear held by many parents and grandparents right now, is … and we don’t know the answer, by the way … is what happens in the future to these children if they are brilliant at electronic communication but lousy at face-to-face communication?

So, I thought instead of just whingeing about it, I’ll do something positive about it. So I took a whole series of exercises that we used to train adults, and I turned it into a little handbook called That’s My Kid Up There!, for parents to use with their children, to coach them to improve their face-to-face communication.

Cyril: This book is a small thing with many golden nuggets. You share a study from UCLA about the impact that too much time spent on electronic tools has on empathy. Can you explain a little bit what was it?

Neil Flett: No, I can’t, because I’ve forgotten what …

Cyril: Okay.

Neil Flett: Cut. Cut.

Cyril: No, no, no, and we’re going to keep that.

Neil Flett: I knew you were going to do that. I knew you were going to ask that.

Cyril: This is live, so I have that. My book is underlined everywhere.

Neil Flett: Stop it. Read it, you read it.

Cyril: Okay, I’ll read it. UCLA scientists found that sixth-grader who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television, or other digital screens, did substantially better at reading human emotion than those who didn’t. They did much better at reading emotion in other people.

Neil Flett: Yeah, exactly.

Cyril: So the fact that you cut them for five day, five or six days, and you say that for five or six days you’re not looking at a computer, you’re just talking to people. Then suddenly they can read human emotions rather than just being completely closed about it.

Neil Flett: True, and I think to be fair, many, many parents are conscious of this and are doing something about it. The discipline of limiting the time that they spend on electronics is a very important discipline. This book isn’t about that. This book is about what else can you do positively to build them into far more effective communicators then they would be if you just let them go through life.

Cyril: What I found fascinating is all those aspects that which we teach to the corporate world are relevant in our private life. Like you, I have a lot of corporate clients, and I found that there’s such a strong links between what we see in the corporate and what people can apply in their personal life. In my world, around how you can be more efficient, how you plan, how you prioritize, how you change your work habits.

Now, one of the habits that I’ve incorporated in our program is what you do at the personal level. What I loved about your book is the same. We have here someone who’s got years and years of experience with communication, with large company around the world, and Rogen being one of the stellar company of that around the world, and you’ve taken this concept and written this simple little book about how you can apply that to your kids. Can you give us one example of thing that you suggest?

Neil Flett: Okay. The book is not a book to be read so much as a book to be done. It’s a series of 10 games that you can play with your children that will, whether they know it or not, dramatically improve the way they communicate.

For example there is one that we used for many, many years and still do, where we will sit two people facing each other and asked them to look at each other’s eyes in total silence, without laughing, without looking away, without talking, without fidgeting, without pulling a face, but just being really comfortable sitting in front of someone else.

Now, we’ve modified that slightly for a parent to do with their child, or for two children to do together. What does it do? It increases dramatically … because it’s an exaggerated exercise … it increases dramatically the amount of eye contact that they can use naturally. What we want to do is increase it from below five up to normal, five, and that’s not what happens when you are having one-way communication with a screen.

Cyril: I’m a great believer of practical. One of the feedback I get the most from the training we do with our client is it is down to earth, it’s practical. We don’t tell you how to prioritize. We say, “Let’s open your calendar and let’s do it,” and we do together.

We don’t tell you, “You need to have a clear inbox.”. We say, “Let’s open your inbox and let’s do it together.”

What I love about your book is how practical it is. It is very simple exercises that you can do, super-simple exercised that you can do with your kids, and my daughter and I have started. This weekend we’re continuing on those exercised, and I love it. Very simple exercises. So just to remind everyone, That’s My Kid Up There! From Neil Flett. Absolute legend. Where can you find the book?

Neil Flett: Go to youngcommunicator.com.

Cyril: Youngcommunicator.com, with an ‘s’ or no ‘s’?

Neil Flett: Youngcommunicator, singular, dot com.

Cyril: Youngcommunicator.com, or you Google Neil Flett. I’m sure that they will find you. Rogen, Neil Flett. Youngcommunicator.com. Neil, an absolute pleasure having you.

Neil Flett: Thanks, Cyril.

Cyril: This is this week Work Smarter: Live Better tip.

For once it’s an exception, it’s about your personal life, but at the end of the day what’s more important?

Hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you’ve got any other suggestion, don’t hesitate to share with everyone at the bottom.

Thanks very much, you have a lovely day.

Neil Flett: Ciao.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}