Content of the material
- What are observation skills?
- Technology Distractions
- Mobile phones and technology:
- The Web:
- How to highlight observation skills
- Observation skills for resume and cover letter
- Observation skills for the job interview
- Walk instead of drive
- Observing Power of a Champion weightlifter
- Sit in a public place and journal
- Improving Personal Observation Skills
What are observation skills?
Observation skills refer to the ability to use all five of your senses to recognize, analyze and recall your surroundings. This practice is often associated with mindfulness because it encourages you to be present and aware of the details of your daily life.
Today’s technologies connect us to unlimited resources and communication channels optimized to grab our attention. Emails, messaging, phone calls, and the Web, announced by a ping and a buzz are often just a pocket away. When used appropriately, these powerful tools keep us on track and can help resolve problems in the workplace. Most of the time, smartphones are used to fill in the small gaps of time when we believe a few seconds of shifted attention is no big deal.
Mobile phones and technology:
In 1973, Martin Cooper , a Motorola engineer, made the first call on a mobile phone. The Motorola DynaTAC 8000x weighed 2.5 pounds, measured 10 inches long, and only delivered 20 minutes of battery time. Four decades later, smartphones live in the pocket of nearly everyone in the United States. Our phones tell us the time, give us directions, take pictures, and keep us connected to family, friends, and work. Used appropriately, these devices can make our lives easier and more enjoyable, but they can be a huge distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, and an estimated 387,000 were injured. [NHSTA, 2011]
Emails are an effective and convenient channel of communication, but they are also a source of stress and distraction. Responding to emails immediately prevents having too many emails to address later, but it also means you are directing your attention away from your work and from the people you are talking to. Building the expectation that you will not immediately respond, can help alleviate stress and anxiety.
Tips Turn email sound and vibration alerts off. Schedule 30 minutes during your least productive time of day to check and respond to emails. For most people, this is after lunch or around 2pm. If you are expected to respond more frequently, schedule email checking for 15 minutes twice a day.
Instant messaging and texts are convenient ways for coworkers and friends to get in touch about issues that need to be addressed quickly. Being always available online means you leave yourself open to distractions.
Tips Set your status to “busy” when you do not want to be disturbed. Schedule times when you are online, and let people know they can contact you during those times.
The Web is a powerful resource for answering questions, learning skills, looking up information, reading the news, and having fun. Web browsing has become a source of leisure both at work and at home. When looking something up for work, it is easy to get sidetracked by interconnected links.
Tips Stay focused by having a clear goal in mind when looking something up online. Taking a short break for casual Web browsing after a long duration of focused work can help refresh your energy. If you’re on your computer, use personalized timed site-blocking software for websites you easily get sidetracked on. Here are some apps recommended by Mashable Check your social media and news sites before work so you aren’t tempted to do so during work.
How to highlight observation skills
Observation skills are highly sought after by employers, so it's important that you showcase them throughout the hiring process.
Observation skills for resume and cover letter
One of the best ways that you can communicate your observation skills on a resume and cover letter is by crafting documents that are relevant to the position and free of errors. By tailoring your resume and cover letter to the role, you're emphasizing to hiring managers that you're familiar with the job description and actively interested in the opportunity. Aside from showing that you possess these skills, you should include observation skills in your resume's skills section as well as some of the other examples of observation skills, such as active listening.
It can be helpful to mention how you used observation in past positions on both your resume and your cover letter. If you can, provide quantifiable results that demonstrate how your use of these skills contributed to the organization in some way.
Observation skills for the job interview
Because observation skills are key to communication, one of the best ways you can showcase them in an interview is by actively listening, asking thoughtful questions and responding to the interviewer's queues. For example, you can try to match the interviewer's tone of voice and volume to ensure that you're speaking appropriately for the situation.
Walk instead of drive
Walking allows you to interact more with your environment, which is helpful in honing observation skills. Note the weather, the amount of commercialization and traffic, the influence of nature, and whether the scene around you is calm or chaotic. Guess what urban planners, residential developers, or landscape architects had in mind when they designed the locale.
Observing Power of a Champion weightlifter
For example, a champion weightlifter says my performance was a big average of 5 years before I started weight lifting. I used to think that I do not know of any good workout routine. That is why I am not able to lift much weight.
Many people were doing such things around me, I was also waiting for 5 years for any formula. There were long discussions about the new exercise in the daily gym.
But one day suddenly it became understood that everyone else would keep waiting for the perfect routine. I started focusing on small things myself and started observing diet and gym routine, and found that my body responds better by setting more. This means I can lift more weight.
I felt that more work could be done on the variations of deadlifts and squats. As soon as I focused all my attention on my routine, I started seeing the scope of hidden improvement and small victories as well. All this was happening before my eyes for five years but there was never any discipline to pay attention to them. When I started learning from observation, within a few months I started lifting weights at the next level.
So the next question is,
Sit in a public place and journal
Take a few minutes to sit in the park, library, or shopping mall. Really see the people around you and pay attention to what they’re wearing, how they’re walking, and the interactions they have with others.
Record the details coming through your senses, such as the construction work that just began one street over, or a late customer banging on the door of a closed store. Write whatever comes to mind, including how the scene makes you feel.
Improving Personal Observation Skills
Observation is more than just noticing details to answer questions you already have. It also involves engaging with your environment, deliberately noticing details, and using logic and imagination to visualize possible outcomes.
Tips Build a habit of being mindful of your surroundings, especially ones that you think you’re already familiar with. Keep an observation journal detailing irregular occurrences, sounds, and events happening around you. This builds a habit of observing details. You can also do this conscientiously without writing everything down. When talking to someone, take into account their body language. If they seem distracted, slow down and ask what they are focused on. Make logical deductions from your observations. Be wary of fallacies ! Play engaging board games with other people. Games require exercising your logic, and playing board games gives you the opportunity to test your assumptions.