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Archive for the category “communication”

How to create action in people – a simple and effective recipe

How to create action in people – a simple and effective recipe 

Photo credit; Pablo by Buffer

There is a simple formula for creating action in people. It goes like this: Thoughts create feelings; feelings create action.

In our noisy world it is getting more and more difficult for people to pay attention to anything. This is true in business as it is in almost any social setting. Even our families are not safe from this phenomenon.

Here is your opportunity to increase your chances for people to hear your message and actually do something about it. Think about how you can use a compelling story to invoke strong thoughts in your listeners. The best is to wear your heart on your sleeve. Give of yourself to the audience, be vulnerable, show your imperfections, and share how you learned your lessons the hard way.

This sets the stage for folks to be able to relate to you. Emotions ensue. Do not forget your call to action. Perhaps that is the most important detail that often gets overlooked. Make sure to voice your expectations and actions to the audience.

Deliver on your promises and repeat this cycle time and again. It does take a little extra work in preparing for any thought invoking work. But the moment you have managed building a routine out of this principle, you will be able to make major changes for yourself and others.


Death by meeting part IV (and how you and the meeting can be resuscitated)

Death by meeting part IV (and how you and the meeting can be resuscitated) 

Meetings. Sometimes I think I the conference room is my office. How often do you feel that way, or have you been in more meetings than the workweek has hours?

Seriously, many meetings just keep on running on and on with little to nothing show for at the end of it in terms of getting tangible results. When folks get an even fuzzier picture at the end of the meeting than what they went in with, you will have some very unhappy campers to deal with sooner or later.

It does not need to be this way. Preparation is the key word in making a difference. Have you ever painted anything like a room or piece of furniture? If so, you may appreciate when I say that +75% of the total work going into this is the prep work leading up to it. The actual painting job takes a fraction of time. This is no different with meeting prep work. Properly executed this can save you many a nerves and of course time, money and frustration. Please also see the meeting planner free for you to use in the download area.

  1. Sit on a mental rock and ponder why you need to have a meeting in the first place. If you can avoid it, do not have it. Have personal conversations instead and make good use of your capability walking the four corners of your business.
    1. A good reason to have a meeting is when you get more than 3 people e-mailing each other discussing a point and consensus does not emerge.
    2. Have a meeting immediately if this banter goes on more than two business days.
    3. Have it immediately if there is more than just 1 department or stake holder involved.
  2. Clarify what kind of a communication you want to have. Is it a communication for interpretation? Communication for clarity? Communication for action? Communication for exploration?
  3. Identify the goal of the meeting. What is the desired outcome?
  4. Define location, attendees, time scheduled to start and stop. Make sure to book your rooms well in advance and all the props that you need.
  5. Who should attend? Err on the minimalistic side. More than five people at a time make for really slow meetings. Pay attention who of your people are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Make sure everyone is being considered.
  6. When you start the meeting make sure to start on time and end on time. Neat trick starting on time is to make the last person to arrive at the meeting the scribe. You will have some hilarious antics going on when you do this, but it has proven extremely effective.
  7. Define the roles of facilitator, scribe, and time keeper. Time keeper, no time to tread lightly on this; make certain that the time limits are kept.
  8. Plan out the topics that will be discussed. Upon starting the meetings give every team member a chance adding topics, or of course eliminating any.
  9. Sometimes it may be necessary having side bar meetings leading up the meeting that you are planning. When the topic is too vague, scope creep set in, or there are too many people in the main meeting, prevent major headaches this way.
  10. Scribe: Keep copious notes. For the technical savvy folks amongst you, use a version of the Meeting Planner on the Download page in your MS One Note folder and share it with the team members.
  11. At the end of the meeting go over the captured action items. Make absolutely, positively certain to doing this. Identify the responsible person to deliver results and by when.
  12. End on time. If you have a pattern of going over all the time, have a few meetings standing up. Trust me it helps keeping a fast pace and not to start rambling through the meeting agenda. If you must go over one hour time then plan on a 90 max meeting time before walking around, and get a bit of fresh air.

Nothing is worse than having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting. If need be, speak with you supervisor and take a break at no more than 90 minutes max meeting time.


Do you treat your friends as friends?

Do you treat your friends as friends? 

Or are you a catch and release kind of a friend? The term catch and release comes from the fishing world of things and refers to folks catching fish just to later release them. The “thrill” of the catch is, I suppose, why they do it. It serves only the fisherman and there is no further purpose to this kind of fishing other than to bring some sort of pleasure to the person doing it. The fish’s purpose is merely to be around and to play its sorry role in this sad play.

I use this analogy because I think we approach friendships the same way too often. We get close to people because it can serve us. It may be fun to be on the lookout for prospects and then to connect with them. We may even have the audacity asking them for favors. Are we in it for the long run though, or is it just another form of friendship “catch and release”?

Perhaps we are just not using the correct term for this. To me a friend is someone who will bail you out of prison in the middle of the night. It is someone who has got your back no matter what. True friends look out for each other and lift each other up. They see the potential that each person has. It is someone whose friendship does not come with an expiration date. Once you “catch” and connect, you stick around forever. Anything else would need to be called an acquaintance, I suppose.

Growing up I really liked going fishing. There was a lot of catching, but we never released unless the fish were too young to keep. It served a purpose and I might add a sacred one to us. Whatever we caught ended up as food. It sustained us and no creature needed to suffer for the mere gratification of the hunt.

That’s how I feel it ought to be with friends. If it only serves one party or the other you are acquaintances. If you are in it for the long haul you are friends – true friends, forever. So how do you treat your friends? Happy pondering.


Avoid one cardinal mistake in life – Do not abdicate your voice and power to others

Avoid one cardinal mistake in life – Do not abdicate your voice and power to others 

There appear to be an ever-growing number of people who think that their opinions and actions do not count. They leave it to others to vote, challenging leaders, managers, politicians, friends, co-workers etc. to do the right thing. “Who am I to say or do something? Nobody ever listens anyway” is something that I hear frequently. This is just plain wrong. Who are you not to live to your full potential? Who are you to willingly admit to yourself and announce it to others that your are almost giving up being a fully empowered human being. This sets you up for living a life set adrift – stuff just happens to you instead of you determining your future.

This topic is not foreign to me. I once thought that way as well. It took me a while to believe in myself enough to feel comfortable challenging others and myself making better choices. Especially during the last year I have faced many a challenges that I thought I could not overcome. I did it anyway and it is this experience that finally allowed me to experience what it means to let my inner light shine and not to be scared of it.

So, here is to you! Believe in yourself and push your boundaries to new limits.



Here is my favorite writing by Marianne Williamson:

Our Greatest Fear

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,

talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of

God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people

permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

Our presence automatically liberates others.

— Marianne Williamson

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