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How Emotional Stress harms Communication Skills
One of the most frustrating experiences one can have is when we are not able to understand each other. The most common but also less frustrating situation is of course travelling to a country we don’t speak the language of or when meeting a tourist in our town who does not speak our language.
Being an expat, I have been living in France for five years now, and I still have these moments on a regular basis. I would say that my French is nowadays at a “Full professional proficiency” like they say on LinkedIn, and I am pretty sure that most of my French contacts would agree.
I speak French on a daily basis in both my social and private life but also in a professional context. But there is this phenomenon of the German accent.
Amongst my friends and also in a work related situation, I have never encountered any problem or even confusion. To the contrary, French people actually appreciate when us foreigners speak French with them. There is one odd scenario though.
At least once a month and particularly during summer time when all the young, untrained summer jobbers work in the bakeries and supermarkets I get stuck in a dialogue, even multiple times per week.
I call this phenomenon the “accent kill switch”. As soon as I order something and the person behind the counter notices that I speak French with an accent, the kill switch clicks and they think that they cannot understand me, supposedly because I was not speaking French.
Yes, I know, I am pronouncing some French words a little differently than the locals but there is really no objective reason that it could not be understood.
It then usually takes me three to four times to get the message across, sometimes longer when the other person tries to activate his or her English. Sometimes the situation gets so far that I start to doubt my ability to speak French.
Stress seems to have a severe impact on our ability to think clearly and a natural reaction is the need to get out of this situation as quickly as possible.
While those every day life situations are frustrating but not harmful, there are also situations that go far beyond the usual problem of not speaking or understanding a foreign language.
How do you deal with a speech disabled person or how to deal with the local population in a war zone where clear communication can even decide over life or death?
Today, technology can play a key role in lowering the stress in for most people unusual situations, from the local coffee shop to a mountain village in Afghanistan. Let’s take a look some examples.
MyVoice - Location based App for the Speech-Disabled
MyVoice can best be described as a mix between Foursquare and a text-to-speech dictionary. Depending on the location the speech disabled person is at the moment, MyVoice will recognize different locations like supermarkets, hotels or restaurants around and provide a set of useful phrases for related situations like ordering coffee.
The app will evolve over time as the user himself or his family can add new sets of phrases to it, even remotely over the Internet from the other side of the country.
Verbally - Assisted Speech for the iPad
Verbally is an application for the iPad, making use of the bigger screen and full keyboard layout. The speech disabled can either choose words from a word grid or type phrases on the keyboard. There are multiple features to make the process of writing sentences quicker like predictions of the words written or pre-loaded sentences. The app also features a text-to-speech function.
TripLingo - Dari iPhone App
This iPhone app is created for the soldiers and NGO workers in Afghanistan. TripLingo creates culture centered travel applications that features a set of useful phrases in four different versions from formal to casual and slang up to crazy. The Dari app features 750 phrases and 500 common words with pronunciation. To put all this into context, users can also learn about the culture, customs, etiquette and religion of Afghanistan.
To sum this up, technology especially the new mobile devices can give us a feeling of security which leads to less stressful situations which then helps us to open our mind for the really important part of human interaction, to listen to and to understand and communicate with the other side.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.