#N4L: Sheila P Says…

-part of the N4L Series; celebrating Learning at Work Week-

It’s my great pleasure to introduce Sheila Parry…

About Sheila

Independent consultant, specialising in leadership communications, culture and business performance.  Passionate about people, business and organisations and how work can be better for everyone.

Sheila on Twitter    |    Sheila on LinkedIn

What networked for learning means to me

When my oldest son was five, he was confronted with his ‘first day at school’ for the third time.  He hadn’t been expelled from the others, it was just that we had moved countries for the third time in his short life.  He had already experienced a Portuguese Nursery and a Belgian Primary, before arriving in a cosy CofE school in Surrey.

While I was worried about how he would fit in and he was worried about whether I’d packed the right sandwiches in his lunchbox, neither of us were prepared for his first homework assignment: “What does God mean to you?”

Asked about “Networked For Learning”, I think I had the same ‘rabbit in headlights’ look on my face that my son did, all those years ago.  It’s probably something I should know about, but, to be honest, I have never thought about it before.  And yet, when I did, it seems to me to be a fine term for exactly what I believe to be important, beneficial and potentially inspirational.

Being “Networked For Learning” is about having the attitude to learn from and share with others, and having the energy to do something about it.

For starters, you need to be open to new ideas, depth of thinking and keen to explore beyond your own small world to discover points of difference.  But you also need to be generous with your time to make and maintain connections with lots of people and sources.

I guess in this digitally-connected world, we have the opportunity of powerful technology and platforms to make connections and harvest knowledge like never before, beyond our wildest dreams.  But to me, the human factors are essential: to be curious, ready to connect, open to challenge and hungry for inspiration from others.

My personal learning insights

I recently attended a European conference of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in Copenhagen and presented my thinking on individuals and organisations, and how to build personal and professional pride in what we do.

I have been thinking about this for three years and will have a book published on the topic in September 2018.  I had a great conversation with one of the delegates, who challenged me on the ethics of employee engagement and whether, or how, to draw a line between personal and professional motivations, and the role of communications in the process.  I learnt from this experience that I should qualify my claims about ‘the individual’ and must always, always state the potential points of difference.

I already knew that the most important bit about communication is the listening part, but this reminded me of the value of really listening to another individual perspective.

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