Why Work Out Loud?
Living out loud—even at work
Way back when our first child was born (lo these many years ago), back before there was language, when crying and inchoate grunts were the sum total of signals this small being could muster (along with unblinking stares), a strange communication pattern emerged in our household: narration.
Mrs. Kirkistan and I both found ourselves narrating in real-time to this youngster. His wide eyes and (relative) silence seemed enough to make us think he was curious about, well, whatever. We narrated pacing the floor at 2am (“We’re walking back and forth because someone is crying. But we’re not pointing fingers. No sir.”). We narrated cooking and cleaning. We talked about sitting on the couch and driving in the car. We told the story of outside—every window had a story.
It seemed to work if only because it was met with silence which we took for interest. Eventually he started narrating back at us.
I’m reminded of this as I read John Stepper’s blog and anticipate his book, Working Out Loud: How to build a better network, career & life (Due Feb, 2015). Mr. Stepper makes the case that we do ourselves a favor when we “work in an open, generous, connected way.” The benefit is to ourselves and to others. Check out his “5 elements of working out loud.”
Lately I find myself talking more with clients about how they communicate internally and externally. I continue to see the emphasis wrought by free and open social venues (Twitter, bloggery, Facebook) working their way backwards into the way organizations conduct business. I predict more collaborative encounters and less monologue from a guy with a tie and a pen to sign your paycheck.
Stepper’s “working out loud” codifies some of that collaborative energy that rises like Spring sap with honest and open communication. I think of it as another perspective on the “dumb sketch” approach to life.
Narrating our day, asking for input, remarking on a remarkable idea—it’s all part of human contact and cannot be separated from the business of making meaning.
Image credit: Kirk Livingston