Forum Tools at Work – The Value of a Single Word

One of the tools used in Forum is the One word open/close.  This tool has lots of value in Forum but did you ever consider its value at work?

Lets first talk about how and why the one word barometer is used in Forum. The specific question asked of the members is, “how do you feel at this moment in one word?” the truth is one word seems limiting to many people. This is particularly true when they are attempting to cram an entire thought into one word and that itself can be frustrating.  On the other hand, if that word truly reflected a feeling, that one word can tell an entire story. If I state just the facts about something that happened I’m only sharing a part of the story and I’m only sharing a part of my truth.

Consider the following example:  1. I have not seen or spoken to my brother in 15 years. 2.  I have not seen or spoken to my brother in 15 years and that makes me feel abandoned. 3.  I have not seen or spoken to my brother in 15 years and that makes me feel guilty. In number one we are simply left to assume how that might make the person feel and we may very well make false assumptions.  In example two, we are led to believe its the brother’s choice.  In number 3, we are led to believe a completely different story as guilt implies a responsibility and self-fault.

In Forum, these single words help the moderator to take a pulse of the group and to address issues of concern.

What about at work?  Really?  Is it weird to ask a co-worker, “how are you feeling?” Let’s consider the example above, can we really afford that big a miscommunication with the very people with whom we spend 40-60 hours a week? Furthermore, can we afford a misinterpretation because we are afraid to ask a simple word?  If we assume we understand, and we don’t that can lead to big problems.

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