How to develop 2 critical Skills which are Life Changing?

Education is necessary, but skills are essential. Unfortunately, our education system per se is such that it hardly helps an individual develop skills. Much less the skills, I think, are most important for living life happily and successfully.  I am talking about following two skills in particular –

  1. Skill of managing self.
  2. Skill of managing relationships.

A child is born with some tendencies which may have a lot to do with his/her parentage. What is his father’s attitude to life, what is that of his mother, and more importantly how is their relationship with each other. While these factors continue to have their influence on the growth of the child, various other influences start playing an important role during the growing years. The teacher, the class mates, friends, relatives, and neighbors – all influence the child. It is hard to say how much these help in developing either of the two skills which I have mentioned above – skill with self, and skill with other people.
So what should be done?  What are the best steps that can be taken by all concerned for developing both these skills – skill with self & skill with people?
The education system, as it is today, can hardly help. Teachers are bound by the curriculum and the parents may not be able to find the time from their busy schedule in the modern competitive life.  But the ever growing media today can play a very important role provided parents are able to guide and regulate the exposure and use of the media by the child.
The significance of Internet must not be undermined. All the knowledge required is available on the net. But one may say that a skill cannot be delivered by the information/knowledge on the net. Yes it is true to a large extent. Yet, YouTube  presentations and other interactive programs make it possible to learn a lot from the net. In times to come, I am sure; the growth of the social media with websites focusing on special subjects will bring about a revolution in the concept of education and training. The need is that the parents, teachers and mentors motivate learners to be focused and stick to what they need to do. They should not be distracted.
Developing skill with yourself, to me, means your ability to listen and talk to your own self. It also means to understand your heart, identify what you really like. Thereafter, one needs to concentrate one’s energies towards these. You must leverage your talent and your fondness.
Developing skill with people, simple means to understand basic human psychology. Your interaction with them should never ignore the following fundamental principles;

  1. That each person is interested in himself/herself more than you.
  2. That I, me, mine put people off.
  3. That making people talk makes them feel important.
  4. That when you win an argument you lose a friend.
  5. That listening attentively to others will impress them. They like you most when you do that
  6. That you need to skillfully convince people. If you say something that is obviously to your advantage, people will be skeptical. So do it differently. Say how an important third person appreciated your products/efforts/services. This will help build confidence in the minds of people about you.

Thanks for reading.

4 Tips on Developing a Good Presentation

We all have to make presentations these days. Presentations, when we have to speak in Public. Undoubtedly, it is difficult and often avoided slyly. There could be various reasons, but the foremost among them is ‘Stage Fright’. Primarily stage fright occurs because of inadequate preparation and/or because of faulty preparation.

Let me give 4 important tips which will help you to prepare a good presentation.

1. Be clear about Objective:

The first tip is that you must be clear about your objective. Why you have been asked to speak on the subject and why you have accepted the invitation? Both must be understood and realized.

The best thing is to write it down. What is the expectation of your audience is something of cardinal importance. So, contemplate on it and note down the main points. It may require you to define the group, the profile, age group, gender mix, no of people, likesand dislikes or whatever other information you can gather.

2. Understand your audience:

Understanding an audience is at the core of any speaker’s reputation. It’s what drives effective marketing strategies, gets you more assignments and reconition.

But “understanding” isn’t a destination. It’s a journey. It’s a process of constant review, refinement and readjustment. Without regularly revisiting its target audience, the performance of a brand will decline at worst or stagnate at best. To ensure you have the tools and knowledge you need to understand your audience and grow your brand, we’ve constructed this guide to researching your audience, dividing it into segments and ultimately building accurate, useful buyer personas to drive your strategies.

3. Content is the King:

The next and critical step is the content. Even when you know the subject very well, you have to modify it every time you speak regarding the same subject. Redesign it, keeping in view your new audience and their objectives. Content is the king.

If you don’t have anything significant to say, anything which will improve then knowledge or something they can use in their daily life; then keep your mouth shut. In short, there must be good amount of takeaway from your speech for your audience.

One thing that has been helping speakers lately is to batch these types of activities. Have a content creation day or research day. Today, we have so many possibilities to find out stories behind any significant subject. Websites like, Wikipedia, Wiki how, Quora constitute great resource for seekers of serious research.

4. Express Effectively:

The third but most important part of your speech is your ability to express yourself effectively. Never think of impressing anyone. But you just have to express yourself. You should be able to communicate exactly what you have in mind. You are already clear about your objective and the objective of your audience. You have already gathered information which will interest them. You already know what you are going to give them as takeaways. But if you lose out in holding their attention, if your audience is not hooked by you on the subject, all knowledge might get wasted.

There’ s lots to consider when expressing yourself. Get the overview of effective expression and learn the Most Important Rule for Effective Communicating.

If you want to be a great leader you will have to get good at expressing yourself effectively to engage others and influence them.  

Thanks for reading.

How to be a good learner?

One needs to be a learner throughout his or her life. I suggest the following to be a good learner:

1. Always be curious to know things.

Always be curious to know things, to understand as well as assimilate. This is helpful in your wanting to know more. Curiosity, or the strong desire to learn or know something, originates from the Latin word ‘curious’ – eager to know, inquisitive.  As children, we are born with an almost insatiable curiosity which, according to famous psychologist Jean Piaget, is critical for our cognitive development – for as children almost everything we encounter is a new experience. It is children’s need to make sense of the world that results in their incessant questioning – “why is the sky blue?”, “what makes it rain?” – And it’s their lack of self-consciousness that enables them to admit to their lack of knowledge or understanding.         

                                                                     

2. Be focused.

In order that you enjoy the process of learning, be focused. If you focus you get the best out of your efforts of learning.      Focus can help you accomplish a variety of professional and personal tasks, from studying for a test to finishing your work an hour early. There are various practical steps you can take to help yourself focus better and to stop checking your Facebook or phone every fifteen minutes. To stay focused on the task ahead of you, resist the impulse to give in to distractions, make a to-do list (which has built-in breaks) and resist the temptation to multi-task.

3. Never be afraid of failure. Never be afraid of criticism. It is only this fear that does not allow you to use your mind and soul into what you do. As a learner you have to be totally dedicated to what you want to learn and therefore be fearless.  Fear is something we all experience, especially when setting out on any new undertaking. Failure is one of the most common and most damaging fears that many people struggle with. However, failure is often the first step toward success: highly successful people such as Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson are very vocal about how often they have failed and how that has shaped their success.

 

4. Learning is a serious matter. Learning is not fun. It’s a serious matter. Give the attention and the required time that the learning deserves. Be patient and try to look for the final details of any process or anything about the subject that you are learning. One of the best things about life is that we never have to stop learning. There are always new skills to learn and techniques for us to adopt. The best entrepreneurs in the world don’t act like they know everything. They all understand the fact that they have to continuously learn to be successful.

5. Whatever you learn you should make it your own.

Whatever you learn you should make it your own. You should not learn only with a short time goal like to pass the exam, the interview et cetera. You should learn with a view to imbibe you’re learning into your personality. What you learn, you must use. When you use what you have learnt. You reinforce your learning. It you have a chance you teach someone what you have learnt .In the process this knowledge becomes your own and you can use it when needed.

6. Question everything for thorough learning. A good learner questions everything. Simple because these are written words or somebody has said it; don’t just accept. Questions that come to your mind need to be answered. Consult your mentor, teacher or your colleague.  Questioning is a revered teaching technique from the days of Socrates, but there are ways, some traditional and some a bit more radical, to increase its impact and better prepare students to move beyond school in a way that provides deeper meaning and encourages greater contribution. Asking a variety of questions and question types is key to student achievement, along with increasing the amount of time allotted for students to think about the questions, but it is also vital that we move away from teachers asking questions as a solution to student learning.

7. Share whatever you have learnt.

You should share whatever you have learnt. If anybody has some different opinion just don’t override with your assumptions. Listen to him or her and check out if they know better. Sharing knowledge, while it is a noble cause, helps you to identify if you have left any missing links. Besides, you may learn more from the person you share with. However, you need to share with the right people or group. For example, if you share any learning about HR on LinkedIn, your connections will very happy.

8. Listen to experts on the subject.

Listen to experts on the subject. Attend a lecture if it is possible or simple go to the YouTube where videos are available on all possible thinkable subjects. Today, we are fortunate. We have Google. We have Quora and a number of other platforms that provide great information on any subject. Above all, we have YouTube. YouTube in the second biggest search en give on the net. It you don’t like to read, you just listen. There are many classroom lectures ever.   

   

9. Don’t multitask, for better learning.

Always follow the dictum of one thing at a time. Don’t ever do multitasking. That’s not the way a good learner should learn. Always follow the dictum of one thing at a time. Don’t ever do multitasking. That is not a way, a good learner should learn.      You may have heard that multitask is bad for you, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain. Every time you multitask you aren’t just harming your performance in the moment; you may very well be damaging an area of your brain that’s critical to your future success at work.

10. Don’t expect too much for your efforts.

Don’t expect too much of your efforts. Real learning requires persistent efforts and sometimes you need to persevere. Be prepared for that. Why do we expect great things and end up crying over it, people tend to exert too much effort in some things that’s impossible and expect it to turn out in their favor. We must learn that a person can’t have all the things in the world.

11. Develop emotional intelligence.

Develop your emotional intelligence under guidance of a teacher or a mentor. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to tap into your emotions and use them to make your life better. Being in touch with your feelings allows you to manage stress levels and communicate effectively with other people, two skills that enhance your life both personally and professionally. Unlike IQ, which remains constant throughout your life, EQ can be developed and honed over time. Do all that you can to strengthen your emotional intelligence. It in an investment that will help you throughout your life. Daniel Goleman has made a yeoman’s service to the development of the society with his work on emotional intelligence.

  

If you follow above there is nothing that you can’t learn and you will really enjoy learning and be proud of it.

Thanks for reading!

                                                           

                      

 

                    

                                                               

Communication is a double edged sword; which is your edge?

What is communication? How can we define it? First of all let’s understand it’s origin and it’s meaning. Communication is derived from the Latin word “communis” meaning to share something or hold in common. Communication can be defined in following ways:

Communication is the process of exchanging information, ideas, thoughts, speech, signals, writing or behaviour.  First, let’s try to answer the most pertinent management question. What is important in motivating people, forming a successful team, getting all your work done? Answer is simple. Successful communication skills! It demands efforts, it needs motivation.  Motivational speaker, Tony Robin stated that for effective communication we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceiveg. So we must respect each other’s perspective, then only we would lead to a successful communication.

Arguing is not communication. It is noise. But responding without understanding is also not communication. We all have our own choice to say yes or no. That choice is the medium of communication. If you express that answer politely then only you can have an effective communication. “You should know how to present your point in front of others. There should be no chance of confusion with you.”

Winston Churchill said “it is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip”. If you qualify telling even rude words in such a way that they turn to as good words for the listener than you are the master of communication. This is how communication impacts the world.

In today’s fast going world one needs to understand the importance of connecting with others and the ways to do so. Most of us take the meaning of word communication as verbal conversation. Does it mean only verbal communication?  No, it’s half the statement. Communication can be verbal, nonverbal or the body language. It simply states that in today’s world what is said is important but what is not said is equally important, Even the hidden objective is taken into consideration.  Communication skills are of more importance than anything else, as it holds the personality of a person.  As the old saying says that there is a large difference in the word ‘having something to say and having to say something’. They look similar but meaning of both is different.

Content, being the king in communication, plays a major role in changing the whole personality. Here again who takes the hold of audience or the listeners? More patient the audience more is your benefit. But understanding audience is critical. They can understand even what you have not spoken. You might be thinking what is the difference? Difference is as clear. The one who understands what you have not spoken is living in the present. He is there with his mind and soul in what you are doing. Your communication skills including verbal, nonverbal and your body language play a vital role here. So if the listener is impressed by your communication skills then only he will be active in the process and further interaction or communication is possible.

It’s not one way process. It is open and two way path. It can be either the speaker affects the listeners by asking questions, seeing to his body language or understanding him/her, can be the other way round also. Again a question arises on the lifestyle which you are living. Are you satisfied with it? Is your concentration level upto the mark to meet the present day requirement? Or you are still in some dreams while a lecture or another topic has started?

Today’s requirement demands near 100% accuracy and concentration for a wonderful and beneficial communication. The famous Management Consultant, Peter Drucker has stated that most important thing in communication does, understand what is not said. Observing this way, you can understand the full concept of what is being spoken. Hence communication is not defined by its effectiveness but   the response of effectiveness. Audience plays a major role no matter it is one or many. Until and unless communication serves the purpose of the listeners, it is of no use. A well said quote will completely set your minds to it. “Communication is dream more – compare less, listen more – talk less, love more – argue less, hope more – fear less, relax more – worry less, believe more – complain less, play more – work less.”

These quotes can be taken as the steps to a successful communication. Author of the book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey has well said that often people have character strength but they lack communication skills. And that affects the quality of relationships. Generation gap is the best example to support the above statement.

Communication must not be complicated. It may not use very extensive vocabulary, it may be as simple but as clear as possible. If ideas are not drawn into action, they just turn to be simple paper work. Only with the help of communication skills ideas can turn the dreams to a reality.

4 Intriguing Possibilities of Communications 

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 organisations.

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 organisation 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 realised. So, I will deal with both aspect of communication- good speaking and good listening.

What should one do to become an excellent Communicator?

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. You must also understand what goes into making voice and the speech. The process in simple words is as follows. First of all ‘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.

Listening intently is equally important for good communication 

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- explanatory.

You must always use this checklist to prepare for any important meeting particularly when you have to speak to an audience!

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. Empathise 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!

Communications pervade our lives in more ways than we know.

Right from the time we get up in the morning, we start communicating. We speak to our people at home. Each word that we speak has some kind of signification. Either we request for help or we do something for others at home.

We receive telephonic calls. Our talk on telephone is either verbose or we are to the point. We efficacy of our words determine to what extent we can influence the people we speak to.

If we word to list all the jobs that we have to do during the day, our productivity will be reflected in the complication of our tasks. Normally one would not relate productivity with our speech or with our communication.

If you are a team leader, you’re expected to motivate your team members to perform certain tasks. Your success as a leader depends on how successful your team members are in their performance.

If you are working for someone, your performance will depend on how best you can assimilate the instruction. Evidently you may need some clarification on the job assign to you this will also require you to communicate.

Effective communication has certain prerequisites. These are:

1. Language: you must have adequate knowledge of the language. These include grammar a reasonable vocabulary and ability to make perfect sentences to express exactly what you want to convey.

2. Body language: If you are talking in person your body language plays an important role in your interaction.

3. If you are talking on the telephone the clarity of your speech and be efficacy of expression will determine your effectiveness.

4.  I f you are sending a written communication making some request, again the result will depend on the effectiveness of your letter or Email.

5. If you’re communicating with a group of friends through social media, the success of your task will depend on the words that you use while communicating.

6. If you are making a presentation to a group of people, your objective will be archive partially or holy depending on your performance during the communication.

7. If you are a teacher and teach the students. The knowledge that your students may acquire depending on how effective you are in your expression.

8. If you are an advocate you will be able to convince the judge about you clients in a since provided you use the language effectively. Otherwise even your solid evidence can sometimes be our looked.

9. As a journalist you are supposed to report the news as it may happen. You are not expected to include your opinion in your report. But if you don’t have adequate control over your written or spoken language, you will not be able to remain objective.

10. There is no scope for any letup or fault by the General or the officer who is leading an operation.

What has been said above, when assimilated, will empower you to always use the ‘Double Edged Sword’ of Communications to make you a winner.

Thanking for reading,

3 Tips on Developing a Good Presentation

We all have to make presentations these days. Presentations, when we have to speak in Public. Undoubtedly, it is difficult and often avoided slyly. There could be various reasons, but the foremost among them is ‘Stage Fright’. Primarily stage fright occurs because of inadequate preparation and/or because of faulty preparation.
Today, I will give you 3 important tips which will help you to prepare a good presentation.

Be clear about Objective:

The first tip is that you must be clear about your objective. Why you have been asked to speak on the subject and why you have accepted the invitation? Both must be understood and realized. The best thing is to write it down. What is the expectation of your audience is something of cardinal importance. So, contemplate on it and note down the main points. It may require you to define the group, the profile, age group, gender mix, no of people, likes and dislikes or whatever other information you can gather.

Content is the King:

The next and critical step is the content. Even when you know the subject very well, you have to modify it every time you speak regarding the same subject. Redesign it, keeping in view your new audience and their objectives. Content is the king. It you don’t have anything significant to say, anything which will improve then knowledge or something they can use in their daily life; then keep your mouth shut. In short, there must be good amount of takeaway from your speech for your audience.

Express Effectively:

The third but most important part of your speech is your ability to express yourself effectively. Never think of impressing anyone. But you just have to express yourself. You should be able to communicate exactly what you have in mind. You are already clear about your objective and the objective of your audience. You have already gather information which will interest them. You already know what you are going to give them as takeaways. But if you lose out in holding their attention, if your audience is not hooked by you on the subject, all knowledge might get wasted.
So, the third and the vital tip is master your verbal skills.
Thanks for reading.