Four Ways to Stay Curious & Creative in Our Digital World
A Guest Post By Abby Bacardi, American University Student, PR Expanded Blog Post Winner
The role of technology in our digital age is more apparent than ever. We are surrounded by an overwhelming amount of social media platforms, communication channels, and mediums of interaction, making hard to differentiate our unique ideas from messages that we have already seen.
So, how do you stay creative when you are inundated with so many different platforms to promote your ideas? Of the thousands of messages that you see every day, how do you ensure that your message in interesting and fresh? How do you stay curious during a time where you have the world at your fingertips?
As a millennial who has grown up surrounded by technology, I have felt how its presence can damper our individuality. So, here are a few tips that I have learned which have helped me reclaim by curious, creative spirit.
1.) Ask Why
Instead of blindly swiping through profiles, messages, and ads on social media, stop for a minute and ask yourself why the material is presented that way. For example: Why is Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan short and concise instead of more descriptive and eloquent?
By taking just a few moments to question why people make the daily choices that they do on public platforms, you will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of their communication style and develop an eye for successful communication within your own work. By asking “why” and familiarizing yourself with the messages and tactics that others are using, you open the door to new opportunities to be creative and different.
You must know the mold to be able to break the mold.
2.) Visit a Bookstore
Humans are evolutionarily routine-oriented beings and as a result, this tunnel vision causes us to neglect opportunities and pass up experiences that are within reach. This phenomenon is exacerbated by our ever-present technology which satiates our craving for instant gratification. While the Google era ensures that we are always a click away from answering our latest question, we are much less likely to stumble upon information that is not relevant to our question and are less likely to explore after receiving our answer.
Getting out from behind the computer screen to flip through a book can not only facilitate personal growth, but it can also significantly enhance your creativity in the workplace. This intentional act of going beyond of your comfort zone and exploring the world outside of your professional field can give you a new perspective that your fellow PR professionals may not have.
By challenging yourself to do something that you would not typically do, you put yourself in a mind frame where you are more receptive to new ideas. Therefore, you will be more likely to follow an interesting thought that you would typically dismiss.
3.) Rekindle Your Inner Child!
Children are often overlooked in professional settings due to their age and lack of experience, but nobody has a larger capacity for creativity and curiosity than a child. As children’s book author Vince Gowman once said, “For every ‘Why?’ a child asks, they invite us into a different definition of reality, and ourselves.”
Children have the unique ability to leave logic and reality behind to envision endless possibilities, which can be an invaluable asset if you are in a creative rut. By simply hearing goofy, unrealistic ideas from a child, you begin to think more creatively as well. Once you begin to throw out the traditional rules of PR and start exploring other options, you can start creating unique content and begin a campaign in previously unexplored territory.
Finally, the excitement and a curiosity of a child is contagious. So, even if you don’t discover your million-dollar idea, you will feel rejuvenated and ready to hit the drawing board.
4.) Practice Unplugged Listening
Being in the business of communication, there are few things more refreshing than stimulating conversation and the exchange of thought-provoking ideas. However, the distractions of ringing phones, chiming inboxes, and dinging notifications make it difficult to have uninterrupted conversations.
When you practice unplugged listening, you become receptive to understanding different styles of communication. This increases your ability to be creative because understanding the different ways that people interact allows you to better engage your intended audience.
Additionally, when you learn more about a subject that you find interesting, you inherently become more curious and might even explore it outside of the conversation. These newfound interests then give you material that you can reference when professionally engaging with new audiences.
The ability to act creatively and operate curiously is the key component to making stand-out messages resonate with others. Although these tips may seem rudimentary, never underestimate the value of simplicity. Listen. Wonder. Imagine. Communicate. And never stop asking questions!
Abby Bacardi is going into her junior year at American University majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. She is also pursuing a double-minor in International Studies and Spanish Language. She is from Boulder, Colorado and spends her time outside of the classroom hiking, traveling, and walking her dog. You can connect with her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.