Monday, September 13, 2021

Active Listening: Attunement

It is not always enough to simply listen to a person and have the sense of "waiting to speak." This type of listening will cause us to lose out on important information and deny us the chance to make any real connection. By using active listening, we are more apt to learn about other people and take an active interest in what they have to say and offer. This concept can not only improve our overall listening skills but our overall connections with other people as well.


Attunement is defined as being aware and responsive to another person. When developing active listening skills, this tool is used to better connect with the person and become more in tune with what they are saying. Since attunement relies heavily on nonverbal communication such as body language, it is important to pay attention to the signals that the other person gives off as well as the ones we use. Key gestures such as smiling, hand gesturing, eye contact, and body movement can signal a connection or a break in communication. When we use these gestures toward other people, it can make them feel more connected with us and encourage them to open up to us. These connections can form bonds that can benefit both individuals and build networks for the future.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Empathy: Don’t Show Fake Emotions

In social situations, it is never a good idea to fake our emotions or how we feel toward others. Of course, this does not mean we have full permission to start tearing into people and ripping them to shreds if we didn’t like their recent speech. But if you are not entirely happy about something in the group or feel anxious about something else, it is not a good idea to fake a smile or laugh just to appear happy. 

This "fakeness" will more than likely be detected which can offend others around you or even make them feel insecure. Instead, be honest about how you feel and show honest concern for your peers. Be tactful if delivering negative feedback and offers helpful tips for improvement or changes. Although they may not accept your true feelings at first and may even seem angry about it, in the end they will likely appreciate the fact that you were honest with them.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Empathy: Shift Your View

Empathy is simply defined as putting yourself in another person’s shoes and seeing things from their point of view. When communicating with another person, think about how it would feel to be in their shoes and do the things they have to do. How would you feel if you have to complete their assignment in the weekly meeting or if you have to conduct a speech in front of hundreds of people? 

Shifting your view does not mean that you have to entirely give up your opinions and what you think. It involves taking a few minutes to stop and reflect on the actions and words of the other person and picturing yourself in their situation. Think about what it would be like to stand in their shoes in the conference room or in front of the new manager. By doing this, we can better understand why they may act or speak a certain way and what can drive them to do what they do. By showing empathy, you are able to connect with this person and create an important relationship in the workplace.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Empathy: Don’t Judge

No matter how many times we hear the old phrase, “Don’t judge people” or “It’s not our place to judge,” we more than likely find ourselves doing it anyway; we just don’t want to admit it. Whether subconsciously or not, we still find ourselves judging those around us, whether it is based on their clothes, job title, the way the talk or walk, gender, hair color, skin color, etc. When someone is speaking or completes a task, what do you think in your head? Do you automatically make comments on how their assignment was too easy or that the way they speak is subpar to the group? Of course you would never say this out loud or tell them directly, but in your mind you have already made up your mind about them.

Thoughts like this cause us to judge people more and more which can create barriers between people and lose connections and chances to network over time. Every person has an “inside person” and an “outside person.” We see the outside person every day and try to form our own opinions without seeing everything first. Don’t forget that there is an inside person as well that has an entirely different side.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Empathy: Listening and Paying Attention

"The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy." -- Meryl Streep

Empathy is one of our greatest interpersonal skills because it allows us to have better communication with people around us and increases our understanding of others. We know empathy can simply mean to "put ourselves in the other person’s shoes," but it can also mean to take an active role in getting to know the people around you and treating them with the respect they deserve.

Listening and Paying Attention

We all know that there is a difference between hearing and listening, yet we still seem to confuse the two when we communicate with other people. Listening is considered a skill, so like any other skill, it must be implemented and strengthened. Listening allows for you to understand what the person is talking about and register what they are trying to communicate. Building better listening skills starts with learning to pay attention when someone speaks and actively listening to what they are saying. Key tips to help accomplish this are to give your attention to the person by facing them and making eye contact. Turn off any cell phones or pagers or remove any item from the area that can distract you and make you lose focus. You’ll find that you will catch more of what the person is saying and be able to retain more. Paying attention and building better listening skills can show support for the other person and build rapport with them.

Tips for better listening skills:

• Remove any distractions

• Make eye contact with the person speaking

• Nod your head periodically as appropriate

• Ask for follow-up details or information

• Ask the person to repeat anything you may have missed

Until next time ...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Sunday, August 1, 2021

More Tips to Increase Self-Awareness

Ask For Feedback

We often forget one of the easiest tools to increase our own self-awareness is to simply ask for feedback from those around us. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy or complicated process and can be done very professionally or casually. The people around us can see our usual actions and behaviors and can give an honest opinion about them. The thought of asking someone to share their opinions and thoughts about us can seem unnerving and even downright scary, but the advice and thoughts can prove invaluable. If possible, let the person know in advance you will want feedback later so they have time to form an impression and gather any tips or hints. 

A random request for feedback (such as right after a meeting) can be acceptable too, but keep in mind that the person may be caught off guard and will not be able to give a good answer right away.  The most important part about asking for feedback is to prepare yourself for what you may hear. Not all feedback is positive. Take the advice and tips that the person offers as tools to help you improve. Don’t turn defensive or angry just because the person delivering the feedback may have said something you don’t particularly want to hear.

Be Open to Change

Humans are designed to be creatures of habit. We often have the mindset of, “we want what we want when we want it,” and if something throws a kink in our routine, we can go a little crazy sometimes. However, being open to change allows us to adapt to new surroundings and situations and helps us grow. Changing our attitude about ourselves and others can help determine how we build our connections. Sometimes, after we receive feedback from our peers, we may need to change how we do things or behave in a group. Perhaps after a meeting we decide we need to change how we plan our presentations. Whatever the reason, it is important to not disregard the importance of your willingness to change and not turn a blind eye to its prospects. Changing how we see ourselves and the people that surround us can have a positive impact on our attitudes and can help build better relationships with our peers.

Tips for accepting change:

• Determine how the change can benefit you
• Don’t assume a need for change is negative
• Recognize that change is a chance for improvement

Reflect on Your Actions

While feedback from other people can be a great tool to use, feedback from ourselves can be just as valuable without being self-deceptive. Being reflective gives us a chance to learn from our past experiences (even our mistakes) and recognize the chance for learning opportunities. By reflecting on our actions, we can see firsthand what actions we took, how they played out, and what kind of effect they had on people. 

Use all of your senses to recreate an experience in your mind and the actions that you took:

• What behaviors did you show? 
• What did you feel at the time? 
• What type of reactions did you receive from other people?

Reflect back on any body language cues you may have used and make note of any cues you may have seen in others:

• What intuitions or gut feelings do you feel from the experience?  
• Do you feel as though you have learned anything new from the experience? 

These steps and process can help you reflect back on your actions and increase not only your self-awareness but your awareness of others.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Increase Your Self-Awareness

Social intelligence is something we deal with every day, and it can help us navigate better experiences from our social environment. Whether we’re at home or at work, knowing how to be more aware of ourselves and our surroundings can help us make the best out of any social situation.

Many times we wonder why the situations around us change simply because we are relying on the people around us to change. Being aware of our own actions and behaviors is one of the key tools to change not only ourselves but our surroundings. We must be aware of what communication we are putting out there and how our behaviors can affect others.

Remove or Limit Self-Deception

Self-deception is a tool we commonly use to try to hide something from ourselves or prevent ourselves from accepting something. We can often try to make ourselves believe whatever we want and alter facts in our mind by self-deceiving ourselves. No one is exempt from this habit, and we can find ourselves practicing it more often than we think. For instance, we can self-deceive ourselves into thinking that our presentation was the best in the group or self-deceive ourselves to believe that people are talking about us when we walk away. It can affect our relationships with others and give people the wrong impression. One of the simplest ways we can help prevent this type of deception is to simply be direct with ourselves and others.

Always say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t try to deceive with alternative phrases or meanings. When taking in information, review it before making conclusions. Recognize facts and events that could form a final thought. For instance, your presentation may have been very good, but do not assume it was the best. While it is all right to build confidence and esteem by believing in yourself or believing you know what is best, it is not beneficial to deceive ourselves since it can cause us to damage our future relationships with others.

Until next time... 


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP