Top 8 Interpersonal Skills for the Workplace

There are certain skill sets that are crucial for professionals to be able to exercise in their work environment. Regardless of your industry, interpersonal skills (such as being able to effectively communicate) are important because they:

  • Help employees develop and foster strong working relationships with each other and with their clients,
  • Contribute to increasing team and organizational productivity, and
  • Create an overall positive work environment.

One of the best and most basic ways to learn any skill, including various interpersonal skills, is to learn by doing and actively practising every day.

Here is a list of eight of the must-have interpersonal skills for every professional in the workplace

1) Exercising Self-Awareness

In general terms, self-awareness means that a person is able to consciously know what they’re feeling and why they’re feeling it. Self-awareness falls within the realm of emotional intelligence, a term coined by author, psychologist, and Big Think expert Daniel Goleman. Emotional intelligence is comprised of four primary components:

  1. Self-awareness,
  2. Emotions,
  3. Empathy, and
  4. Relationship building.

Being aware of your own feelings and emotions can help you be cognizant of the messages you convey to others whether through your words or non-verbal forms of communication. A lack of employee self-awareness can be detrimental to the success and productivity of an organization.

2) Being Cognizant of Nonverbal Communication

Are you conscious about the nonverbal messages you are sending throughout the work day? Nonverbal communication is an often overlooked bridge between yourself and others, including your colleagues, supervisor, partners, and clients.

However, nonverbal cues can either make relationships stronger or damage them depending on how they’re used and the context of the situation.

Some forms of nonverbal communication include:

  • Eye contact,
  • Facial expressions,
  • Body language,
  • Gestures, and
  • Physical contact (such as shaking hands, touching an arm, pushing, etc.).

3) Being Respectful of Others

It’s well known that respect can go a long way in fostering positive relationships and work environments. In fact, a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) listed respectful treatment of all employees as the top factor contributing to employee job satisfaction.

However, not all employers establish work environments that encourage respect. In some cases, managers themselves can be among the biggest offenders in terms of being disrespectful toward others.

Showing respect in the workplace can be done in any number of ways, including:

  • Showing appreciation for employees’ efforts and time;
  • Showing gratitude and courtesy;
  • Listening to what others have to say rather than listening only to respond;
  • Being respectful of others’ ideas and opinions, even when they differ from yours;
  • Not disparaging, insulting, or attacking others; and
  • Not taking credit for others’ work; even if you build or improve upon someone else’s work, be sure to acknowledge their initial contributions.

4) Showing Empathy and Understanding

Having empathy for others is a crucial part of relationship building in the workplace because it helps you take into account the thoughts, feelings, and needs of others. There are different ways that learning and development professionals can encourage employees to develop and grow these skills through empathy-building exercises.

Empathy, along with active listening and strong communication skills, also is useful in terms of negotiation tactics.

5) Being a Clear Communicator

Regardless of where you’re from, communication is an important part of life, as well as a necessary component of any personal or business relationship. Having effective communication skills can be the difference between success and failure.

According to a recent article from The Chronicle:

“For a business to thrive, meet deadlines and exceed goals, solid communication systems and relationships must be in place. When communication breaks down, so does the business. When stress, unmet expectations, relational breakdown, low morale, dissatisfied clients, family problems, health concerns and a smaller bottom line become chronic workplace issues, poor communication could be at the root of the problem.”

When poor communication takes place, it can place businesses at a significant (and costly) disadvantage. According to data cited by an article from the SHRM, ineffective communication to and among employees resulted in an average loss of $62.4 million per year, per company, for the 400 surveyed companies with 100,000 employees.

6) Engaging in Active Listening

Active listening is pretty self-explanatory. It’s all about actively listening to what someone else has to say rather than passively hearing their message. Approach each conversation like you have something to learn — because, in reality, you likely will find yourself doing just that.

Everyone has their own unique insights, experiences, and perspectives on different subjects. By actively listening to other viewpoints in the workplace (as well as in our personal lives), it helps us as humans to learn and grow. We’re able to increase our own understanding by having an open mind and considering new ideas.

7) Behaving Appropriately

Behaving appropriately should go without saying in the workplace. Depending on the culture of your individual organization, what’s considered appropriate can vary. However, there are some universally accepted behaviour that should be exercised by employees, including:

  • Being punctual;
  • Being friendly and respectful of others;
  • Showing courtesy;
  • Being cooperative and easy to work with;
  • Having a positive attitude;
  • Dressing appropriately; and
  • Taking personal responsibility and being accountable.

Be sure to check out National Public Radio’s (NPR) recent list of inappropriate behaviours that should be avoided in the workplace.

8) Being Receptive to Feedback

Feedback is necessary for personal and professional growth. However, no one likes to feel like they’re being criticised. This is why it’s important to recognise the difference between receiving feedback and criticism. Feedback — whether positive or negative in nature — is like criticism in that it involves an evaluation of some kind by another person. However, a significant difference between these two terms is intent.

Feedback, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is “the transmission of evaluative or corrective information about an action, event, or process to the original or controlling source.” The same online dictionary defines “criticise” as “to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly.” This would suggest that the goal of feedback is to provide corrective, constructive input based on an evaluation of information, whereas criticism is geared more toward delivering judgement based on that information.

If you are open and receptive to feedback, it will help you to learn and grow from what others — your colleagues, supervisors, and clients — have to say. All of the interpersonal skills that have been addressed in this blog are important not only your employees’ professional futures but also the success of your organization as a whole.

7 Keys to Becoming a Remarkably Effective Leader

For many businesspeople, the last thing you want to worry about (or do) is managing people. You want to get out there and meet customers and create awesome products and bring exciting new opportunities through your front door. But unless you’ve hired people to take on the task of managing your employees, then you’re still on the hook.

The good news is that you can make that task a little bit easier for yourself by remembering these 7 essential leadership keys, and your organization will benefit as a direct result.

1. Delegate wisely

The key to leadership success is to learn to effectively delegate both the responsibility for completing assignments and the authority required to get things done. Many bosses feel that they need to control every little thing that their employees do. This is a recipe for disaster. When you delegate work to employees, you multiply the amount of work you can accomplish while you develop your employees’ confidence, leadership and work skills.

2. Set goals

Every employee needs goals to strive for. Not only do goals give employees direction and purpose, but they ensure that your employees are working towards the overall organizational goals. Set specific and measurable goals with your employees, then regularly monitor their progress toward achieving them.

3. Communicate

Far too many bosses communicate far too little. It’s often difficult for busy business owners and executives to keep their employees up-to-date on the latest organisational news. Regardless, you must make every effort to get employees the information they need to do their jobs quickly and efficiently.

4. Make time for employees

Above all, leadership is a people job. When an employee needs to talk with you–whatever the reason–make sure that you set aside the time to do so. Put your work aside for a moment, put down your smartphone, and focus on the person standing in front of you.

5. Recognize achievements

Every employee wants to do a good job. And when they do a good job, employees want recognition from their bosses. Unfortunately, few bosses do much in the way of recognising and rewarding employees for a job well done. The good news is that there are many things bosses can do to recognise employees that cost little or no money, are easy to implement, and that take only a few minutes to accomplish.

6. Think about lasting solutions

No matter how difficult the problem, there is always a quick solution, and leaders are happiest when they are devising solutions to problems. The trouble is that, in our zeal to fix things quickly and move on to the next fire, we often overlook the lasting solution that may take longer to develop. Although it’s more fun to be a firefighter, the next time you have a problem to solve in your organization, deal with the cause of the problem instead of simply treating the symptoms.

7. Don’t take It all too seriously

Without a doubt, running a company is serious business. Products and services must be sold and delivered, and money must be made. Despite the gravity of these responsibilities, successful leaders make their organisations fun places to work. Instead of having employees who look for every possible reason to call in sick or to arrive to work late or go home early, organisations work hard and play hard end up with a more loyal, energised workforce.

Five Steps to an Effective Innovation Process

The Four-Step Innovation Process

For any growth company, the process of innovation can be both exciting and daunting. Your team has no shortage of ideas, but how do you make sure you’re generating viable ones? In essence, you need a solid framework and clear direction.

1. Observe Your Customers to Uncover New Problems—and Opportunities

By building an understanding your customers’ problems or pain points, you can think of ways your organization can provide solutions. Try creating customer journey maps to illuminate what your customers are doing, thinking, feeling, and experiencing during every stage of the shopping, purchasing, and consumption process.

2. Create New Solutions

Now you can use your customer insights to explore new ways to make a profit. Alexander Osterwalder’s business model canvas is an effective tool for visually plotting and identifying these opportunities.

3. Prototype and Learn in the Market

To arrive at an optimal final product, adhere to the principles of lean development: introduce your product to the market as a basic offer first. This enables you to learn continuously from customer behavior and change the offer quickly if it is not working.

4. Implement the Best Ideas

Take those successful prototypes to market—and keep learning.

Embracing this process as an iterative cycle of learning gives you the flexibility to try out new business possibilities and refine the ideas. This is the best practice for growth companies.

5. User Feedback

Throughout the pilot projects, we had received feedback from pioneering faculty who taught innovatively, had been part of IDEA, and were ready to imagine a whole new building that would reflect the lessons they had learned. We wanted an active, fluid learning environment — a flexible, open, and transparent space with light and movable furniture and state-of-the-art technology tools. We envisioned group-integrated experiential learning in flipped classrooms and many other possibilities.

How To Make Decisions And Stop Being Indecisive- 5 ways to Stop Being Indecisive

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Does it sometimes seem like you’re the only one who doesn’t know how to make decisions? When you’re not confident about making a decision in life, it’s tempting to just avoid them altogether. Perhaps you’ve become indecisive after a recent traumatic event, or maybe you’ve always lived in fear of doing the wrong thing. Regardless of the root of your indecisiveness, you probably feel frustrated and powerless. But what can you do to make things better and how can you stop being indecisive?

The good news is that there is a whole field of study devoted to the psychology of indecision, and it is possible to learn not just how to make decisions quickly, but also how to make the right decisions. This guide to indecisiveness explores how this way of thinking develops and impacts on your life, then presents five things you can do right now, today, to stop being indecisive.

The Psychology Of Indecision

Research into the psychology of indecision shows universally negative effects, with indecisiveness limiting your success in everything from your career to your romantic relationships. In addition, indecision psychology indicates there are diverse causes. So, what causes indecisiveness in you may not be the same thing that triggers someone else. However, there are certain key things that commonly impact on whether you’ve learned how to make good decisions. In particular:

  • You may be trying to please people. You might think that if you let others get their own way, they’ll like you more. If you get into the habit of letting everyone else go first when it comes to making a decision, you can almost lose the ability to make your own choices.
  • After a slew of bad choices leaves you disappointed, you can lose faith in your own judgement.
  • Modern society presents plentiful options. Whenever you want to decide what to eat for dinner, where to go on holiday or what jacket to buy, you’re bombarded by potential outcomes. Working out how to make up your mind can be that much harder when you’re overwhelmed in this way.

How To Make Decisions

Now that we’ve considered some of the basic contributing factors, let’s take a closer look at how to stop being indecisive. We’ll focus on five particularly straightforward but powerful techniques you can use when learning how to make good decisions in life. They all get more effective with practice, though you will typically start seeing results straight away.

However, it’s also worth noting that therapy can be useful in conjunction with these exercises, especially if you suspect that an underlying mental health issue (such as generalised anxiety disorder) might be playing a role for you.

5 Ways To Stop Being Indecisive

1. Tune Into Your Emotions

As an indecisive person, one of the first things you need to do is stop over-analysing. This tendency comes from the fact you don’t trust your gut. Consequently, if you work on tuning into your emotions more accurately, you’ll develop finely honed intuitions that help you make choices without over-analysing.

Whether you’re looking to learn how to stop being indecisive in relationships with others or are thinking more about your wider life choices, being more emotionally aware can help a great deal.

Of course, this may sound good in theory, but how do you reliably put it into practice?

  1. Try time-limiting your decisions. For example, make a list of your options then let your gut tell you how to rate them from 1 to 10. Go with the highest rated choice, and notice how often this is right.
  2. Prove the worth of your intuitions by making a list of five times in life when your gut was right.
  3. Cultivate generally broader self-knowledge by keeping a daily journal and reflecting on your emotions. Even just a page a day can help you tap into reflective and intuitive capacities that have been dormant or that you’ve ignored.

2. Learn To Trust Yourself

Pushing past a life of indecisiveness isn’t just about trusting your emotions. It’s also about finding your unique strengths and then figuring out how you can use those to help the decision-making process.

If you’re like most people who struggle with indecision, you might find it hard to inventory your strengths. After all, indecisiveness often comes with generally low self-esteem or wider insecurities.

Try to list at least five strengths you think you have, though if you can identify more then feel free to make the list as long as you can. When you find it difficult, think of the strengths others have highlighted. Are you particularly creative, or do you have a way with words? Perhaps you’ve always had top grades at school.

Alternatively, maybe you’re praised for your sense of humor or your optimism.

Next, think of at least one way that each strength could be used to facilitate better decision-making. For example, optimism can be used to convince yourself that you can survive any outcome of a decision. Meanwhile, you might use your creativity to draw or design a collage of pictures when you’re next struggling to make a choice.

3. Visualize Possible Outcomes

When figuring out how to make difficult life decisions, visualisation takes you closer to the reality of the different choices. This, in turn, can make the right choice much clearer. It can also offer some much-needed reassurance that a decision isn’t as significant or foreboding as you previously thought.

If you already have some experience with visualisation (e.g. through mindfulness meditations or Law of Attraction work), you’ll find this technique very easy.

However, even if you’re totally new to visualisation, you can pick it up quickly. Simply close your eyes and breathe deeply until you feel relaxed. Then, use the power of your imagination to embed yourself in all the possible choices before you. Notice how you feel in each scenario.

If creative visualisation really doesn’t work for you or you just don’t like it, there are other approaches. Drawing a mind map is another way of visualising decisions, just in a more linear and logical way. You can use different coloured pens and symbols to illustrate all the pros and cons of each choice. This process can really help you to make sense of information that has been racing around your head. Be careful, though, that this doesn’t collapse into over-analysing.

4. Take Your Time

While we have considered reasons why you should sometimes set a time limit when making decisions, there are some cases where more time is better.

In particular, compelling new psychological research shows that if you take a short break from thinking about a choice, you can end up making a better decision. We can sometimes get trapped in paranoia about having to make a decision now, and this can create anxiety. The anxiety, in turn, makes it almost impossible to zero in on a choice. When you have the sense this might be happening to you, put it all aside for a while.

It’s good to give some thought to how you’ll spend your time when taking a break from decision-making. For example, it’s no good if you just go straight to another stressful task, keeping your anxiety high. Instead, think about something simple and pleasurable that you can do.

Some people find that a walk does the trick, while others immerse themselves in a favourite book or do some exercise. Experiment with different activities and see which seem to make decision-making easier for you. This is all about finding things that make you feel genuinely relaxed, clear-headed and confident.

5. Take Action

When moving on from an indecisive lifestyle it’s important to remember that you can learn what works, and also learn from mistakes.

Firstly, don’t become indecisive about the process of battling indecision! Learning what works for you is a process of trial and error that relies on a willingness to experiment. It’s only when you attempt different techniques, like the ones above, that you’ll be able to assess what pushes you towards better, more effective decision-making.

Secondly, try to make a habit of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone more generally. Take action in all areas of life, safe in the knowledge that you can make something good out of every possible outcome. Even when things don’t turn out as you’d expected or would have liked, this provides fertile terrain for learning. Often, it is the lessons we learn from apparent mistakes that end up leading us to a better life further down the road. Start small, and slowly allow yourself to become more adept at trying new things. Proving your own versatility, resilience, and adaptability is one of the best ways to show you that indecision is not necessary. You have the power to handle whatever comes your way.

This Is How To Have A Happy Life: 10 Proven Secrets From Research

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Is happiness a feeling or a state of being? What is its nature, and what are its causes?

Wikipedia defines happiness as “a mental or emotional state of well-being characterised by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”. There can never be, any objective measurement of happiness based on external achievements. It is an interpretation of reality, and not a result of reality.

Actually, happiness is such a loaded term, that I wonder if it is the right one for what we are truly seeking. I personally prefer to speak of fulfilment, contentment, and well-being. The Greeks, on the other hand, spoke of eudamonia, the “well-lived life”

The problem seems to be understanding what causes human beings to continually experience this state. My research and self-experiments have led me to believe (that) there are three “kinds” of happiness: personal, trans-personal, (and) transcendental.

Sometimes just being happy is hard enough. Figuring out how to have a happy life can seem downright overwhelming.

The problem comes, however, when we keep delaying our happiness in favour of getting more things done so that we can be even happier later—or so we think. This delaying process can go on forever, turning into workaholic, which damages the very success and happiness we are seeking.

How to be happy according to Mahatma Gandhi

The reason we are so hooked on getting things done is that we believe the payoff that comes from achievements—an award or a larger savings account—will ultimately lead to the biggest payoff of all: happiness. But it doesn’t. We have the illusion that the success, fame, money—fill in the blank—that we are chasing will bring us some kind of lasting fulfilment. We often expect that we’ll be happy when we get this or that project over with. For example, you might think that if you work like a maniac, you’ll get a sought-after promotion with a big raise, which will ease your financial anxieties at home, and once that anxiety is gone . . . well, you’ll finally be happy. But there are major problems with constantly trying to get things done and focusing on the next thing: doing so ironically prevents you from being as successful as you want to be and wreaks havoc on body and mind. From the outside we may look like we have it all, but on the inside, we are burned out, not performing to our highest level, and feeling miserable both emotionally and physically, while our relationships suffer.

There’s an unfortunate reason why happiness is often elusive — our brains simply aren’t wired that way. Instead, our brains have evolved to survive, to protect ourselves, to keep us safe. Sure, we have moments of elation and periods of contentment and bliss. But many of us are plagued with persistent negative emotions — we are just plain stuck in the “blahs.”

 1. Focus on the positive.

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To find long-term happiness, you need to retrain your brain from a negative mindset to a positive mindset. Try these things: Spend one to two minutes looking for positives in your life. Do this three times a day for 45 days, and your brain will start doing it automatically.

Choose a positive mantra for the day — something you will repeat to yourself, such as “Today is beautiful” or “I feel grateful for all I have.” And when things go south, take a moment to try and see it from a positive light. Never underestimate the importance of recognising the silver linings in life.

2. Celebrate little victories.

Life is full of ups and downs, but in between we have a lot of little victories that go unnoticed. Take a moment to celebrate these small wins.

Did you check off all the things on your to-do list that you’ve been procrastinating on? Yay! Did you finally clear out a thousand emails that have been filling up your inbox? Woohoo! Take pleasure in these little achievements. They add up!

3. Find your work–life balance.

Work takes up a lot of our day, but it shouldn’t be the only thing we do. It’s important to pursue activities and interests beyond our job. Do you have a hobby? Are you spending time with friends and loved ones? Are you getting exercise? Creating balance in your life will reduce stress and give you other outlets to express yourself and have fun.

4. Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness mediation works by bringing your awareness and attention to the present moment. It’s about being nonjudgmental and accepting how you are feeling. Practising mindfulness means being present, aware and curious. Accepting what we are going through decreases stress and helps us see situations for what they are. Through mindfulness, we can find peace and affirmation in ourselves.

5. Be creative.

You may think of artists as being moody and depressed, but studies show that engaging in creative activities on a regular basis actually makes you happier. Those who spend time using their imagination and being creative have more enthusiasm and are more likely to have feelings of long-term happiness and well-being. Such creative activities can include writing, painting, drawing and musical performance.

6. Accept imperfection.

Many of us strive for perfection — we desire to push ourselves to be our best. But in order to be truly happy, you must embrace the imperfection that is part of life. Perfection is impossible, and holding ourselves and others to these standards is futile. We will always end up feeling let down. Accept that life is imperfect and recognise that there is beauty and grace in that imperfection.

7. Do what you love.

It’s pretty hard to maintain happiness if you hate your job. Don’t waste the best years of your life in a joyless job, even if it’s paying the bills. What are you interested in? What are you truly passionate about? Focus on building a career in an area that motivates you and will provide you with a high level of satisfaction, and your happiness factor will go up exponentially.

8. Spend wisely.

It’s tempting to believe that the more money you have, the happier you’ll be. But the reality is, it’s how you spend your money that helps you feel happier. The key is to do it wisely. Spending money on experiences — travel, dining, concerts and so on — can make us happier because we are sharing those experiences with others. Happiness connected to material possessions fades, but experiences help us define our purpose and passions in life.

9. Live in the moment.

Our thoughts and feelings often revolve around the past or the future. Reality is what you are experiencing in this very moment; what you are going through right now. Sometimes we want to escape that reality. But when we stay in the present, we are fully engaged in our lives. Endeavour to live in the moment, and you’ll begin to have a deeper appreciation for your life.

10. Cultivate gratitude.

Find ways to cultivate gratitude on a daily basis. Giving thanks and being grateful for all you have will make you happier and more content. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have received in life. Those gifts may be tangible or intangible. When you spend time each day acknowledging all that is good in life, you’ll see there is more good than you realise, and you’ll find that sadness, anxiety and depression are diminished.

10 Ways to Excel in Public Speaking

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health up to 75% of people have a phobia of public speaking, also known as Glossophobia. It doesn’t matter how many times you practice; as soon as you get in front of an audience, your voice starts shaking, your mind goes blank; you forget your own name, your face and neck go red and you suddenly have an over powering urge to go to the toilet.

It can happen when presenting formally or any time when asked to speak in front of others: team meetings, presenting to clients, even waiting for your turn as you go around the table introducing yourself at a training day. Everyone else seems to have come prepared with a great story, but the closer they get to you, suddenly you start thinking ‘why has my life been so dull?’ as the presenter quirkily says – “just say your name and something interesting about yourself” your mind goes completely blank.

magine what it would be like if you knew that the moment you entered a room, people would immediately take notice, want to hear what you have to say, and be eager to earn your approval.

For effective public speakers, this is a way of life. Everyone is impacted by their presence. People are magnetically drawn to them and feel strangely compelled by their every word.

An effective speaker is seen as a leader. People like you, trust you and want to be led by you. However, contrary to popular belief, people are not born public speakers. If public speaking were an inherent attribute, all public speakers would be captivating, and that’s just not the case.

You’re not on your own. Public speaking is one of the most common phobias and there is something you can do about it.

1. Practice Public Mindfulness 

If you are not fully present in your public performance, there is a good chance your eyes will wander or that your facial reactions will be a split-second delayed. Since the human mind can read facial expressions in as little as seventeen milliseconds, your audience will likely notice even the tiniest delays in your reactions.

Presence is a learnable skill. You can increase it with practice and patience. And being mindful of your audience means simply having a moment-to-moment awareness of what’s happening. Mindfulness also sets a pace at which the words flow from you. This prevents you from speaking too fast and getting lost in your message.

2. Challenge your thoughts

We all have an internal voice, and sometimes it becomes really loud with negative comments. Neuroscience tells us that our internal voice can actually wire the brain and cause certain behaviours. So if your internal dialogue is unhelpfully telling you that you’re going to die during the next presentation and urging you to run away fast then your brain will associate public speaking as a real threat, causing your fight or flight response to kick in. You must over ride your amygdala (emotional auto-response that causes fight or flight) by getting your rational brain to kick in. Talk to your amygdala and tell yourself the situation is not a threat. Even challenge the internal dialogue and recognise in the moment it’s a feeling driving the anxiety rather than reality itself.

3. Express Power And Warmth To Your Audience 

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To be considered a powerful speaker, you must be able to affect the people to whom you are speaking. We look for clues of power in someone’s appearance, in others reactions to this person, and most of all, in the persons body language.

Our reaction to power and warmth is deeply wired. We react to these qualities more than we do to intelligence and kindness, as our ancestors survived by having a strong reaction to those who displayed power and warmth in critical moments.Through the combination of warmth and power, you will be able to play powerfully on other peoples instincts

Warmth tells us whether or not people care, and are willing to impact the world in a positive way. Warmth is assed through body language and behaviour. Power can be expressed through clothing, and having a confident posture. Posture leads to assume the person has something to be confident about. In essence, people will accept whatever you project.

4. Accept Feelings Of Negativity And Discomfort 

Feeling internal discomfort and negativity is a natural part of life. Everyone experiences it. When it comes to public speaking, these feelings often arise without warning and can hinder our performance if we dwell on them.

We all feel the whole spectrum of emotions, no matter how good we think we are at public speaking. But somehow, we’ve gotten into the habit of viewing our physical or mental discomfort as a sign of something gone wrong.

When you experience unwanted feelings of negativity and discomfort, it is good to remind yourself that you are not alone, and that your favourite public speakers feel the same as you before making their speech. Rather than seeing negativity as one big emotion felt by one person, instead, see it as community of people struggling with it – a burden shared by many.

5. Stop Imitating Your FAVOURITE Speakers 

Because we have deep admiration for great public speakers, we sometimes wish we could be more like them. We can quite happily spend time viewing their public performances, learning to imitate their movements, tonality and words.

Excellent speakers have an authenticity about them that cannot be imitated. Their words, movements and tonality represent who they are at the core. If we try to imitate someone else, we lose ourselves in the process. We spend more time trying to be like them at the risk of our own personal development.

Instead, seek to learn from your favourite speakers, and not model their performances. Expect to learn and fail at the process of becoming the best you can.

6. Make Your Speech A Conversation

If you can easily talk about your subject to a friend for many hours, and discuss confidently about it, then your message has a natural flow. If, however, you feel the need to deliver your message by a formulated structure, you risk making errors live.

Instead, you should treat your speech more like a conversation, as if you were talking to a friend or family member. This will also lower the intensity of your performance, giving you a more natural flow. Your audience will feel more relaxed, if you feel more relaxed.

7. Smile

Smiling can greatly improve your mood and reduce stress. Even when “fake smiling”, you still get the same results. Smiling doesn’t just benefit you on the inside, it also works to your advantage from the outside. A study at Penn State University found that people who smile are more likeable, perceived as more courteous, and even more competent. This is reason enough to smile at every person you potentially want to do business with! Lifting those facial muscles into a smile is also contagious; if you smile and they smile, everyone in the room becomes a little happier. So why is a smile so powerful? It all comes down to how smiling can change your brain. When you smile, your brain is aware of the activity and actually keeps track of it. The more you smile, the more effective you are at breaking the brain’s natural tendency to think negatively. If you smile often enough, you end up rewiring your brain to make positive patterns more often than it does negative ones.

8. Think happy thoughts and memories – Distract your mind

The ability to be in control of your thoughts is a great trick to have. When we are in a heightened state of reaction of any kind, our thoughts tend to get hi-jacked by our feelings. Your feelings are driving irrational thoughts and your imagination starts to run wild, filling in all kinds of possibilities of what might happen. Your mind will automatically jump to negative thoughts if you’re feeling stressed. It does this to protect you from dangers and alert you to any potential hazards. The problem with this is that it just heightens our fear of threat. Use your imagination in a positive way. Allow yourself to think of memories of things that made you happy, relaxed, or even something that made you laugh. The more you allow these thoughts into your mind the more you are likely to relax and be diverted from negative thoughts. Write down as many different memories as you can, include things that have made you laugh or smile. Use these as happiness or laughter triggers when you need them most.

9. Remember Points. Not The Whole Speech.

We access information swiftly by association. Simple words have the power to help you access information that you would normally keep locked away. Instead of trying to remember your speech word-for-word, create a list of points you wish to discuss related to your talk.

Using this simple approach of making points will allow you access the information easily, and will prevent you from making mistakes during your performance. You can quite simply keep a small card in your hand, and take a quick glance when needed.

10. Keep going

Do as many presentations as you can, speak as often as you get the chance to in public, and speak out at events. You need to train your brain into thinking that doing this behaviour is easy and non-threatening and, like everything else, the more you do it the better you’ll get. There’s no such thing as natural presenters or speakers, or natural at anything. Science and neuroscience tells us the more you do something the better you get and the easier it gets, it is that simple!

Persistence paves the way for your progress

Persistence is the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Sometimes you may encounter what seem to be an overwhelming odds in your life. The going may be hard, but you have to always note that these are exams which many successful people have taken over and over again.

Persistence allows you to keep taking action even when you don’t feel motivated to do so, and therefore you keep producing results. Yes, there is a direct relationship between persistence and major successes.


As a key element of self-discipline, persistence also provides its own motivation. You become more eager to do something when your actions started showing results. For example when you want to lose weight and start training, you will be more eager when you lost 10kg and your old clothes are fitting loosely.

Persistence is very key in achieving your set goals. Like Brian Tracy said, “the more you persist, the more you believe in yourself, and the more you believe in yourself, the more you persist”. You have to believe that your success is guaranteed and no obstacle will stand your way. Billionaires like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apples & Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook have all dropped out of college but they have still make it big. Edison also made more than ten thousand experiments before he succeeded in making the first talking machine

If there is one word which should stand out in your mind in connection with these people, it is the word PERSISTENCE!

When getting starting on your vision to success, identify your wants and desires. It is when you know the WHY, you can get a source for inspiration and keep yourself motivated. Next, figure out HOW to get what you want. This makes it easier to achieve it. Make your goals actionable daily and follow through. All your goal-setting and planning will go to waste if you won’t be able to develop discipline and good habits. Be confident in your work that you WILL achieve what you want.

Know and accept that there will be obstacles and setbacks; then prepare for them. Nothing important was ever accomplished without adversity, setbacks and difficulties. One of the ways you can prepare for setbacks and obstacles is to anticipate potential problems and have a contingency plan.

If things do not work out the way you hoped, then review the steps you took and the process you followed. Reevaluate by examining what went wrong and where. Be very flexible and experiment to see what techniques and strategies worked best to get where you want to go.

how to be persistent

You may not be good at doing something for the first time but you will get better at it when you keep trying for the second time, third time and so on. With persistence, you will continue to do the same thing over and over again until you achieve complete success. This will make you an expert in whatever task you are doing.

Persistence of action comes from persistence of vision. When you’re super-clear about what you want in such a way that your vision doesn’t change much, you’ll be more consistent — and persistent — in your actions. And that consistency of action will produce consistency of results.

When you work on any big goal, your motivation can wax and wane. Sometimes you’ll feel motivated; sometimes you won’t. But it’s not your motivation that will produce results — it’s your action. The decision to persist. To make progress even when you don’t feel like it.

Persistence allows you to keep taking action even when you don’t feel motivated to do so, and therefore you keep accumulating results.

People who persist no matter the obstacles, sooner or later are bound to succeed. Despite the setbacks, it’s in your best interest to turn obstacles into stepping stones. Don’t choose to complain, or worse, to just give up. These choices do nothing to get you across the finish line.

Persistence in the service of a higher goal calls out many other virtues in you. You will push yourself to beyond what is comfortable to achieve your chosen goal.

And you should know why you want your goal in the first place. And your why must be bigger than the obstacles. The bigger your why the better.

Persistent people have a goal or vision in mind that motivates and drives them. Reaching this goal becomes the focal point of their life and they devote a greater percentage their energies and time toward reaching it.

Reward yourself for persisting. Big goals can take months or even years to achieve. The longer the time it takes to achieve the goal, the more you risk losing motivation. Reward small actions towards bigger goals. That way you are more likely to persist with reaching your bigger goal.

10 Steps to Leverage Body Language in conversations & Public Speaking

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You must understand your body Language:
It’s necessary to understand the meaning of body language so that you realise not only it’s Importance but also appreciate the problems that can face in case of any shabby use of the body language. Body language is the non-verbal communication between two persons or between a person and his or her audience. The ability to understand body language ensures that you make the right impression.

It’s necessary to understand the meaning of body language so that you realise not only it’s Importance but also appreciate the problems that can face in case of any shabby use of the body language. Body language is the non-verbal communication between two persons or between a person and his or her audience. The ability to understand body language ensures that you make the right impression.

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  1. You must know that eye contact is critical whenever you are talking to
    How much or how little you have to maintain eye contact is something that
    you must know. But there is no hard and fast rule. Generally speaking 60 to 70% of the
    time you meet your eye with that of the Listener is termed as a positive eye contact. Any
    eye contact less than that will show that you are not interested in your meeting with the
    other person. At the same time anything more than that will make you very aggressive
    and companion may feel uncomfortable or even threatened. So never cross the borders.
  2. Your posture is indicative of your confidence, amiability and
    Elegance in posture is a must not only at important places but at any place.
    You follow this practice day in and day out. Then it becomes a habit and you always make a nice impression on others. At the same time you also feel your own importance. Self esteem which is so very important that one’s life depends to a good extent on the positive that you maintain throughout the day. What are the blunders to be avoided? Never slouch. Never have drooping shoulders downwards. This shows your lack of enthusiasm and you disregard to life in general. Eradicate such a habit in case you have with whatever it takes.
  3. If you do not maintain the correct position of your head that is another big blunder. You need to maintain your head position straight horizontally as well as vertically. In case you have any habit of keeping your head tilted of grouping please ensure that this habit is removed from your personality. When you want to show that you are listening to someone attentively you can show only tilt your head slightly towards him or her but otherwise you must maintain your elegant position of your head.
  4. People do not know what to do with their arms. Crossing your arms in front of your body is a negative position. It shows that you are very close person. It shows that you are lacking interest with the person or persons whose company you are faced. Keeping your arms behind your back is equally bad. Gives and impression that you do not care for the people who are with you. You have to keep arms on both sides of
    your body. During conversation allow them to move whichever where do they choose to move as they know how to be explicit with what you are speaking.
  5. Your legs all the farthest away from your brain. Therefore it’s very difficult to control them. You might have observed many people oscillating side to side or two and fro while speaking. This is not only distracting also confusing to the listeners. Also shows your total lack of confidence. A self conscious person cannot stand still while talking to others. What you keep in mind is that you must not keep on having some kind of in voluntary movement. You lose an opportunity to make a good impact on the other if you do not confidently stand and make your body movements emphasise what you want to say. There is the best way to get your body movement right is yourself when you
    are in the company of others. It doesn’t matter whether sitting or standing. The important thing is that all your movement should only emphasise the proposition you are making at that particular time or what you are saying.
  6. Body Angle is another aspect of your body that you must be particular that you must keep in mind that you must control as per what effect you want to give. We angle away from others you don’t like. Do this small feature of our body movement is not observed. But the impact that it creates in the situation should not go unnoticed this would be a blunder to angle away while talking when we are actually trying to appreciate someone, when we are actually trying to build relations. Of course there are situations where we cannot control over body language so far is body and body angle is concerned.
  7. Gestures are so many that it is difficult to identify and talk about each of them. It is enough to understand that we cannot use excessive too much in company which is rather serious discussing important issues which require contemplation. The same times we should not restrict our hands from any moment when we want to be open friendly and cordial. And movement is particularly important when you are shaking hands with somebody. Position of your hands give indication of your
    relationship with the person with whom you are shaking hands. The best way to create a good impression is shake cans keeping in vertical position. This insures and exhibits equality which is the best way to go about.
  8. Physical distance from the person you’re talking to is equally important when we talk of body language. If you’re too close look very pushy or aggressive.If you are too far it will indicate that two lakh interest in what is going on. If you’re totally I’m aware of this aspect of your body language it is a blunder that you need to avoid. Next time when you are meeting people in a get together or in a party you should
    observe distance at which other people are standing and what of the impact of such distances. If anyone is moving away when you are trying to go close to a person you should understand the signal that you are moving in a zone which is uncomfortable.Everyone yes your personal space which we need to respect. If we do not do so it is yet
    another blunder of body language which we must avoid.
  9. Next we talk about ears. They play an important role in communication. However not many people can move their years if a tall if at all. But one thing is very clear that we are in doubt with two years And only one mouth. So therefore we should use bees in the same order it means that listen twice as much as you speak. Nevertheless it is Indus interesting to observe how people sometimes put their hands close to the years or hold their years to show that they
    are listening very attentively. Here I would like to say only if you do not use your ears and mouth in the order as explained above that this listen twice as much as you speak there is another plunder Which needs to be avoided.
  10. Your mouth moments give a clue on what is going on in your mind, what you’re thinking, or to propose to do. We persevered lisps and sometimes bless them to the side when we are thinking. Another occasion while we use this could be when we are angry and you do not appreciate the other person in our company but we avoid to make any verbal commands. Not understanding they both movements and the impact that the create or they can create is yet another blunder which planes no place in effective communication. I will smile is another important aspect of our body movement. Smiles can be of different kinds. You cannot give the same smile play child as your boss. It’s necessary to work out different kinds of smiles observe practice and use in company of others. Practice can be done in company of a mirror.



Let’s examine four possible combinations of speaking & listening. This will enable us to understand what communication can do to our lives and to our organizations.
Possibility 1. Effective speaking but poor listening. If this is the leader’s characteristics the results could be as under:
It will increase your focus. You may have generated good followers & good soldiers. But the potential leaders will leave. There will be practically no innovation. Stress level will increase.
Possibility 2. Effective speaking and active listening. That is the perfect combination for the leader. The focus of the leader and of the organization will remain in the forefront. Things will happen fast. Loyalty of employees will increase. Appreciation of mind and ability to enjoy the work will bring in more breakthroughs, more innovations. People will collaborate with each other and also compete with each other. The best will blossom with the leader’s effective speech and active listening. An atmosphere of sustainable leadership will prevail.
Possibility 3: Poor speaking but active listening. It will amount to lack of focus. Also, waste of time & money. There will be thrust on management by committees. People might get an impression that anything goes.
Meanwhile active listening will also result in the positives. The employees will become more self-expressed. Application of mind by them will increase. There would be greater innovation.
Possibility 4: Poor speaking and poor listening. It will be nothing but a slow death of the enterprise. The death of textile mills in Mumbai & Ahmadabad can be attributed to this syndrome. Misunderstanding and conflicts will rule. Opportunities will be missed. There would be high rate of attrition. Isolation will result in fragmentation, and finally extinction.
Just perusing the above possibilities would shake our slumber. Importance of communication will then be fully realized. So, I will deal with both aspect of communication- good speaking and good listening.
Effective Speaking:
First of all it is necessary to have strong content. Content is the king. Effective communications take this into account more than any other aspect of management or even life. Content means domain knowledge. You can’t fool people with shallow thoughts. Much less you can impress them. Lot of hard work goes into acquiring knowledge. The biggest problem is seen when you have worthwhile knowledge but you can’t use into your advantage due to lack of effective speech. Your expression remains impaired. People would barely know that you are a storehouse of useful information.
Then what should you do? Become a good speaker. Practice the art and science of speaking clearly, confidently and convincingly.
How do you speak clearly? You must understand that speech in the result of decision to communicate. First thinking clarifies the idea you want to project to the listener or a group of listeners. Then brain sends a signal to the lungs and some breath is released. Breath strikes the vocal cord to produce sound. But the words are created by the speech organs. So in order to speak clearly, think clearly. Cultivate habit of deep breathing. It enables to have sufficient breath to support strength of your voice. This will also enable you to speak longer sentence without breathing in between. The flow of speech will enable ideas to flow smoothly.
Active listening:

Communication does not mean only effective speaking. In fact, it is the beginning point. But even more important is active listening. Active listening will bring about the results that you are looking for. You communicate with someone or a group of listeners with an objective. How can you influence others? By listening to them actively or with your speech. How do you find whether you are a good listener or not? I give below a checklist which is self- expletory.

  1. Don’t think of what you are going to say next when another person is speaking. Just focus on understanding and assimilating what he/she has to say.
  2. You must listen with an open mind. Don’t try to relate with your own experience, similar experience. When someone is relating a story in support of his argument, your tendency to evaluate should be given a pause. Never be judgmental, as they say.
  3. When you are listening, try to recreate mentally what the other person is saying objectively.
  4. Try to see things from the speaker’s point of view. Empathize and be compassionate while listening.
  5. Try to uncover the intent of the speaker. All speakers may not be terse. Their verbosity may require a little extra effort on your part to understand the intent. Make this extra effort.
  6. Think what results you can produce through listening rather than speaking. If you want to influence people, you will be amazed to observe how listening comes in handy and helpful.
  7. Listen a minute longer than it is comfortable. That extra minute will give you extra input. In any case, you are having a dialogue for understanding the other’s point of view.
  8. Last but not the least; you must remember that your words of advice will be seen as unwanted noise. Never give an advice unless asked for. If you are not convinced and the solution demands that you must express your views, do that and say we agree to disagree!

Great destinations in the world – SPAIN

With an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi), Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the sixth largest in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. Spain’s capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Málaga and Bilbao. There are many beautiful and historically significant places in Spain. I describe below nine such places which are not to be missed by the tourist who wants to enjoy his holidays in Spain. These are:

1. The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Granada

The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Granada

No matter how much you have read or how many pictures you have seen of Granada’s Alhambra palaces, this Moorish pleasure palace will still take your breath away. The Nasrid dynasty’s royal palace is the artistic highlight of Spain’s Islamic period, when Al-Andalus — as they called Andalucía — represented the epitome of culture and civilization in Europe’s Middle Ages.

The Alhambra complex includes several buildings, towers, walls, gardens, and a mosque, but it’s the indescribably intricate stone carvings, the delicate filigrees, the magnificent tile-lined ceilings, the graceful arches, and serene courtyards of the Nasrid palace that will haunt your dreams.

That said, the adjoining palace built for the Emperor Charles V, even in its unfinished state is the finest example of High Renaissance architecture in Spain. And Generalife’s terraced gardens offer a peaceful respite from the grandeur, and splendid views back at the rest of the Alhambra.

2. Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and Gaudi Sites

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and Gaudi Sites | Leandro Neumann Ciuffo / photo modified

Antoni Gaudi took the architectural style known as Art Nouveau a step further, even, some have argued, into absurdity. The fanciful and outrageous buildings he created in Barcelona have become landmarks, the signature attractions of this Catalan city. Foremost is The Sagrada Família church, officially the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família or the Holy Family Church of the Atonement. One of Europe’s most unconventional churches, it is also unfinished, so as you look down from its tower, you can see the work in progress below.

You may search in vain for absolute straight lines in Gaudi’s Casa Milà, his last and most famous secular work; it resembles a piece of sculpture more than a functional building. Be sure to ascend to its roof — the chimneys are said to have inspired the image of Darth Vader from Star Wars.

Parc Güell overlooks the city from a hillside, the views and gardens framed by fantastical creatures — salamanders, fish, an octopus — and designs in bright ceramic-chard mosaics. A fanciful towered house near the entrance is largely covered in colored ceramics. Unlike most buildings, Gaudi’s appeal even to children and to adults who don’t care a thing about architecture, for one simple reason — they are just plain fun to look at.

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3. The Prado and Paseo del Artes, Madrid

4. San Lorenzo de El Escorial

San Lorenzo de El Escorial

San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometers northwest of Madrid, was the summer home of Spain’s kings, and in 1563, work was begun here on a huge complex, which would include a monastery, church, royal palace, mausoleum, library, and museum, all conceived as a monument to Philip II and his reign. The result is a staggering collection of attractions, built around 16 courtyards, its rooms and structures connected by 16 kilometers of corridors. At its core is the church, the highlight of which is Herrera’s 30-meter-high retablo, made of jasper and red marble and approached by a flight of 17 steps.

Along with the vaulted and frescoed ceilings by Tibaldi in the rooms off the lower cloister, highlights of the monastery are the Panteón de los Reyes (the Baroque burial vault of the Spanish kings) and the library, a grand room also decorated by Tibaldi frescoes.

In the palace, be sure to see the Bourbon Suite, where the state apartments of Charles IV are decorated with rare furnishings and 338 tapestries. Beyond are the art-filled private apartments of Philip II. The Picture Gallery below has a large collection of fine paintings, including works by Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Velázquez, and El Greco.

5. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

You really have to see this building to believe it — no photograph has ever done justice to this symphony of shapes, so alive that they seem ready to take wing. American architect Frank Gehry used blocks of limestone and undulating sheets of titanium to turn the notion of modern architecture on its ear. So thoroughly did he succeed that two new terms were born from it: “The Bilbao Effect” — the ability of a city to turn its fortunes around by constructing a single world-class building — and “architourism,” a whole segment of the travel industry revolving around landmarks of contemporary architecture. Inside the museum are traveling exhibitions and rotating displays of its own collections of modern art.

6. Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

The magnificent cathedral of Santiago (St. James) was built to house and honor the relics of the saint, and it has been the goal of pilgrims since the Middle Ages, the culmination of their completing the famed Camino de Santiago. One of the outstanding monuments of Early Romanesque architecture, the cathedral was built between 1060 and 1211, and despite the Baroque transformation of the exterior in the 16th to 18th centuries, the interior is still in the purest Early Romanesque style.

You’ll see both of these periods at play as you enter the west front, through one of Spain’s most impressive church facades. Step inside to face the Pórtico de la Gloria, part of the old west front now concealed by the 18th-century facade. This triple doorway is one of the largest and most magnificent collections of Romanesque sculpture in the world.

The focal point of the interior is the elaborately decorated Capilla Mayor, built over the Apostle’s tomb. In the center of the high altar of jasper, alabaster, and silver is a 13th-century wooden figure of the Apostle, richly adorned in precious metals and gems. On either side, narrow staircases lead up behind the figure so that pilgrims can kiss the Apostle’s cloak – culminating their pilgrimage. In a crypt under the altar, the Apostle’s remains are in a silver casket.

7. Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia

When Valencia diverted the course of the river that had repeatedly flooded the city, it was left with a broad, flat riverbed spanned by bridges. It was upon this clean palette that the brilliant Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava created a breathtaking ensemble of structures that have become a magnet for aficionados of contemporary architecture. Not only the buildings, but the museums, arts venues, and aquarium (by Félix Candela and the only building not designed by Calatrava) form a series of tourist attractions that rank among Spain’s most popular. Europe’s largest oceanographic aquarium, L’Oceanogràfic, was built in the shape of a water lily with buildings dedicated to different aquatic environments from the tropics to the poles.

8. Costa del Sol Beaches

Costa del Sol Beaches

With the record as Europe’s sunniest place, and mile after mile of white sands lapped by gentle seas, it’s no wonder that the Costa del Sol beaches are the goal of sun-starved northern Europeans looking for sun-and-sand getaways. This popularity caused serious over-development initially, but the Andalucian government has not only put a stop to this, it has begun the process of tearing down the worst offenders and returning entire sections of coast to natural landscapes, clean beaches, and attractive new buildings that are more in harmony with their surroundings.

The beaches are not Costa del Sol’s only attraction for tourists. Revitalizing its hub city of Málaga has made this coast even more alluring to everyone. Yachtsmen love the smart marina of Puerto Banus, and avid golfers head west from Marbella’s old-world charms to Nueva Andalucia, known as Golf Valley for its more than 50 courses. A few steps from the beach in Marbella is the old town of whitewashed houses and well-preserved remains of the Moorish Castillo.

9. La Rambla, Barcelona

La Rambla, Barcelona

La Rambla, Barcelona

Strolling along La Rambla on a summer evening, you might think that every single one of Barcelona’s inhabitants was there with you. It’s definitely the place to be after work on a summer evening or on a weekend. This tree-lined boulevard cuts a green line — not a very straight one — through the city center, stretching northwest from the Columbus Memorial near the port.

The section to the Plaça de Catalunya is lined with plane trees, its wide pedestrian zone flanked by a narrow road on each side. Along with its flower and bird markets, La Rambla has a number of book and newspaper stands, as well as restaurants and cafes with open-air tables. Pavement artists, street musicians, living statues, and impromptu performers all add to its lively atmosphere.