A communication coach explains how to truly connect despite having half your face covered

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Photo: Tore F

By Jessica Stillman

With Covid cases spiking in America and much of Europe and cold weather driving us indoors more, it’s highly likely you’re going to be wearing a mask even more often in the coming months. That’s essential for the very important business of keeping people alive, but as we’ve all already discovered, it also creates communication challenges.

It’s easy enough to misunderstand each other without masks, and experts and common sense agree covering half your face makes it more difficult to convey emotions — particularly warmth — as well as distorting sound slightly. …

The more worried people are about their status, the more buzzwords they use

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Photo: Antenna

By Jessica Stillman

Imagine you’re hiring for an important position in your company and two candidates come in to interview. One peppers his sentences with jargon. The other speaks plainly in everyday language. What can you say about these two potential teammates from the way they choose to speak?

Your first impulse might be to view the candidate with all the buzzwords as more polished or intelligent, but be careful. A new study out of Columbia and the University of Southern California suggests that jargon isn’t a sign of competence or intelligence. More often it just shows someone is insecure.

Your status anxiety is showing.

To figure out just what was driving people to use jargon, study co-authors Zach Brown, Eric Anicich, and Adam Galinsky conducted a series of nine experiments. …

A VC outlines common reasons for shoddy thinking beyond the classics like stupidity, laziness, and arrogance

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Photo: Kelly Sikkema

By Jessica Stillman

No one gets up in the morning and says, ‘Today I am going to make a ton of bad decisions.’ All of us strive to avoid dumbs calls and unforced errors. We police ourselves for stupidity, laziness, and arrogance. If we’re smart, we even keep an eye out for the many biases that afflict the human brain.

Yet we still all sometimes make bad decisions. Why?

There may be as many answers to that question as there are human frailties, but according to one VC, some causes of dumb decisions pop up more frequently than others. On the blog of his firm recently, Morgan Housel outlined some of the most common ways he sees smart people go wrong in their thinking, beyond the obvious offenders like greed and fear of failure. …


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