Do you really want to say that?

Some years ago I did the Honey and Mumford Learning Styles questionnaire as part of a personal development programme at work.  I had encountered it first some years before that when I was a student. According to this model there are 4 preferences for learning – Activist, Pragmatist. Theorist and Reflector. I came out strongly as an Activist. In simple terms where others liked to read first and try things out I would plough straight in. It made learning by being in a classroom quite challenging!

Now I want to be clear here I am not a huge fan of tests. They can have real value when there is some support to understanding, exploring and disagreeing with the findings but I have met so many people who have tried to live their lives by the “rules” of a test outcome that it makes me uncomfortable. However, I did learn something about myself in this test that has become really valuable. The turning point I think was when I realised that my then co-worker had a strong preference for reflection and had an insight into what a worry it was  working with someone like me on a project could feel like. Equally my frustration at how long it took for her to actually do something changed to something more understanding.

Over the years I have become better at reflection and as  leader of the Effective Manager programme at Edinburgh Napier University I can now explain  – from a position of experience – to the students how taking time to think can support their development as managers.

Why am I sharing this with you now? Well I haven’t blogged for a while. In the 7 years or so that this blog has existed this is the longest time without a new post.

In the early days I was very keen to keep my blog activity regular and relevant.  Back then bloggers were told that they needed to post lots of content to maintain their search engine ranking so that was what I did. What that meant then and what that means now are different. Things change.

I now only post when I think I have something valuable to contribute that I have not been able to express elsewhere. The opportunity to contribute meaningfully to discussions has never been easier.

But what I have learnt is – just because you can does not mean you should.

Taking a moment to consider both the impact of any tweet, update on Facebook or LinkedIn, comment on a group discussion – ie contributions to discussions anywhere is more important now than it ever was and it’s worth remembering in a business context though to be realistic online business and social lives are hard to keep apart now.

I started 2014 with the intention of helping as many people as I can to find their voice and have it heard. Now it appears I am advocating staying quiet.

It’s all about context.

There are times when your voice absolutely should be heard – out loud or online. Being able to recognise when that is, what to do and then getting on and doing it is your big challenge. Taking time to reflect could be an important and valuable first step!

I work  with individual clients and groups to help them work out what they want to say and why – and then practice how they will do that. If you would like to find out more just get in touch!