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Chivalry Might Be Dead, But the College Scene Proves that Online Dating is a Great, Controlled Opportunity

Chivalry Might Be Dead, But the College Scene Proves that Online Dating is a Great, Controlled Opportunity

College is exciting! It’s a new experience, filled with opportunities to meet new people and experience new things. I grew up in a small, Midwestern town. My friends were the kids on my block that I grew up with. My world was small, and I was excited about experiencing everything involved in the college promise.

Creating new friends was an exciting thought, but what would my love life be like? I had only dated two girls in high school, but I felt confident that I had worked through the awkwardness of navigating a relationship for the first couple times. College was my opportunity to experiment and discover; I wasn’t about to let that opportunity slip by.

The Hook Up Culture – Dating Has Become a Glorious Numbers Game

I was shocked to find that the party scene at school was totally different from the movies. Yeah, there was drinking, but people weren’t really “hooking up” with people they first came into contact with at the party. Everyone, for the most part, had already met virtually beforehand. I had always looked down on apps like Tinder and OKCupid as places for desperate people to find their “soulmate” or a no-string fling.

I’m not a techy person, but it became clear that I’d need to embrace the world of online dating and hooking up if I wanted to operate at the same level as my new friends. One of my first college friends / wingmen, we’ll call him Brad, had profiles on three different dating sites. He would go to a party and have two or three potential hookups lined up in advance. That meant he had done his homework before heading out; he knew the online profiles of these students like the back of his hand, and he had hedged his bets.

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Dating apps allowed me to “meet” and virtually screen hundreds of potential dates. Locking eyes and falling in love from across the room wasn’t necessary; true love, or an attempt at it, was just one more swipe away.

Recalibrating the Idea of Romance in an App-Based Environment

Forgive me, but I’m a hopeless romantic. I wanted to have that moment where I meet eyes with a striking woman across the room. Sparks would fly and I would walk over, using my best line to see if a conversation could be started in the moment. No online cheat-sheets or plans for hooking up. Totally fluid, totally natural and exciting; that, to me was my naive essence of an amazing relationship’s first moments.

In college today, it’s exceedingly rare to just meet someone in-person. We live in a virtual reality that seems to shape our physical reality, rather than the other way around. To have the best chance of leading an extraordinary real-life, you have to hone your virtual life skills.

Stepping Up My Game

At my first couple of parties, a line from Young MC’s Bust A Move kept playing on loop in my head. I walked in, saw some attractive woman and thought to myself: “…come on fatso, bust a move!” For the record, I’m pretty fit, but I was frozen with the thought that those women had already lined up a “match” before heading to the party. I didn’t want to start a conversation with someone that was there to meet someone else.

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So, before attending my third Saturday night frat party, I decided to get serious about virtual pre-dating. I needed a killer profile and a strategy for matching and flirting online with women I would meet the following weekend. Beyond chatting with Brad to get some initial pointers, I did what every good millennial does when they have a question; I googled it!

One of the best articles I read on the subject pointed out that if you’re going to be successful in finding a real match online, you have to understand the “purpose” of your profile, along with the “purpose” of your potential match’s profile.

Swiping right and getting a “MATCH!” notification is exciting. But, I didn’t want to waste my time on a casual hook-up. Remember? I’m the hopeless romantic. I wanted something real, serious and full of potential. I became an expert at analyzing the online profiles of my matches.

Here are the three things I looked for:

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  1. Is their profile serious, with real information about what makes them unique and interesting?
  2. Are their photos genuine looking? Are there any photos that aren’t at a weird angle, or in a group setting?
  3. Could they hold a real conversation when we chatted, while still keeping it fun and casual at first?

Your criteria will probably be different, but I was looking for a woman that was in-shape, able to hold a conversation and had a good sense of humor. Angeline Jolie would have worked out too! But, in all seriousness, you have to understand what it is you’re looking for.

And, if you’re worried about having something to say, you’ll want to learn how to play an instrument. As the founder of Trusty Guitar, is fond of saying, “Learning to play the guitar might only take a few months, but the romantic perks last a lifetime.” I learned very quickly that if you can teach a girl an instrument, you’ll capture her attention in a meaningful way. But, you’ll want to lay the groundwork first.

Chivalry has a new, 21st century definition. The world where people meet in real-life for the first time and develop an organic, meaningful relationship is becoming more and more rare. I’m sure there will be courses like “Dating Before the Internet 101” available for elective credits before too long. But, there’s no better place to witness the transformation in real-time than on a college campus.

More than a quarter of the US population under the age of 25 claims that online dating is an integral part of their dating life. That’s a massive jump from previous years, and if you’re not meeting people online, you’re going to have a hard time “gelling” at parties and other social events, because you’ve already missed half of the conversation before you’ve even stepped foot in the door.

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Of course it’s still possible to meet a great match in real life and if this happens to you, good for you. You’re one of the lucky ones! But if you find meeting people in real life hard, then your should embrace the opportunity that online dating provides. Expand your horizons and embrace new ideas and technology. I would not have met my wife if it weren’t for online dating. Are you letting opportunities pass you by?

Featured photo credit: Nathan Walker via hd.unsplash.com

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Ahmed Raza

CEO of Samurais.co

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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