Is the Shut-Up Gun Aimed at You?

Accountability Be Accountable Innovation Kindness

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Key Point: I am going to share how two great innovations can help you at work. It is important to know when to shut-up and it is a practiced skill. Do you ever feel like someone is aiming the “Shut-up Gun” at you? When you do it’s probably a good time to zip it. I can certainly do better at this.

And do you know one way to give yourself more time during the day? Research says, take a minute to help someone else or initiate an act of kindness to increase productivity. Read more on how to become an innovator.

The New York Times Magazine’s Inno­va­tions issue is a good read. Of the 32 innovations listed, I want to highlight two written by Catherine Rampell:

No. 14,  The Shut-­up Gun: When you aim the SpeechJammer at someone, it records that person’s voice and plays it back to him with a delay of a few hundred milliseconds. This seems to gum up the brain’s cognitive processes, a phenomenon known as delayed auditory feedback. It can painlessly render the person unable to speak. Kazutaka Kurihara, one of SpeechJammer’s creators, sees it as a tool to prevent loud­mouths from overtaking meetings and public forums. He’d like to miniaturize his invention so that it can be built into cell­phones.

“It’s different from conventional weapons such as samurai swords,” Kurihara says.

“We hope it will build a more peaceful world.” adds Rampell.

No. 15, The Kindness Hack: “Researchers at Wharton, Yale and Harvard have figured out how to make employees feel less pressed for time: Force them to help others. According to a recent study, giving workers menial tasks or, surprisingly, longer breaks actually leads them to believe that they have less time, while hav­ing them write to a sick child, for instance, makes them feel more in control and ‘willing to commit to future engagements despite their busy schedules.’ The idea is that completing an altruistic task increases your sense of productivity, which in turn boosts your confidence about finishing everything else you need to do,” says Rampell. 

Character Move:

  1. Know when to aim the Shut-up Gun at yourself! I was at a meeting the other day and someone asked me a question I should have known the answer to. But instead of honestly stating I didn’t know the answer I blabbed some incoherent response. Where was the Shut-up Gun when I needed it? It is better to say nothing than to waste everyone’s time. Look for triggers to indicate it’s time to point the SpeechJammer your way. Two indicators for me are: When my ego tells me I “should” say something but I am not confident I have value to add. And when I’m starting to repeat myself. In that case I’m often using “blah, blah” to sound convincing rather than applying valued insight.
  2. Be a kindness hack every day! If you want to go home and feel productive make sure everyday has some genuine kindness and generosity attached to it. My best way of doing this is giving someone sincere, thoughtful recognition. Everyone wins!

Shut-up and practice kindness in The Triangle,

– Lorne