agent of arcadia

Posts Tagged ‘focus’

Five simple but powerful tips to increase your influential presence

In Change Management, Communication, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Performance Management, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on July 6, 2015 at 2:14 am

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Ever wondered why some people are so much more influential and persuasive than others?

American politician Jim Roth once said: “If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skilfully, you can work miracles.”

Now there’s a notion; working miracles. What exactly does that entail? A sense of power, achievement, and an ability to reach any desired goal. Profound attributes any leader would covet. Indeed, the quote certainly brings to mind the ability to communicate effectively with an aim to influence or persuade. Certainly an alluring quality. But not just for leaders. Why? Well, because influencing and persuading is a necessary skill for anyone, whether in the professional or personal sphere. It is a transferable skill that can be applied in various situations.

Influencing skills are critical to help you achieve your desired outcomes
Influencing is about being able to convince your stakeholder of the importance of an issue and to see things from a different perspective. If you haven’t got their buy-in, then you haven’t influenced or persuaded them effectively.

And here’s the thing. Influencing and persuading is not just about one conversation. I’m afraid there’s no shortcut. Sometimes, it can be a series  of conversations with the same or different stakeholder over a period of time. And in fact, how long it takes you to achieve the outcome that you’re looking for will depend on the rapport and quality of the relationship.

So what makes an effective influencer?

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Five simple listening tips that automatically change the way you listen

In Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Personal Branding, Philosophy on June 20, 2015 at 7:08 am

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I was sitting in a cafe recently and noticed the couple next to me. She was talking. He was on his smart phone. Scrolling. Reading. And nodding. Apparently he was listening. Apparently. She thought so, too. Because she kept talking. Mind you, she was looking at him. Talking and making eye contact. Or at least, attempting to. He had his eyes fixed on the phone.

Hands up those of you who have seen this scene. It’s not an unheard of situation. We see it all the time. But have we become so busy, we have to constantly multitask? Even at the detriment of how we connect with others?

If I was sitting across from someone who would dare do that, I would stop talking. It’s a waste of time. And energy. It is disrespectful. And it damages your personal brand to pretend to listen when you’re not. I wanted to shake that person sitting at that table across that poor woman.

But before we get there, there is hope. Here are five simple tips on how to listen actively.

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Three simple elements to stay focused

In Branding, Change Management, Communication, Development, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on August 10, 2014 at 10:51 pm

I was on a plane once traveling from point A to point B, as you do. In the last brief moments of the flight, a mini-documentary came on the screen to while away the last few moments of the flight.

It had been a long flight and the last thing anyone wanted to do was watch a documentary. Documentaries usually mean a dedicated cognitive presence and invested focus. You can’t simply tune out because you would miss the gist of the topic.

But this one caught my attention. A group of children were the focus of a study. Each child was placed alone in a room with nothing but a small plate on a table in front of them. On the plate was a marshmallow.

The kids were told that they could have the marshmallow. However, they were also told that if they resisted, waiting a mere fifteen minutes, they would get another one and could then have both.

I watched in fascination at the sometimes comical reactions of the children. Fifteen minutes to a child is but a lifetime. Some squirmed. Others contemplated. And others still negotiated within and with themselves.

And then there were those who persevered and doubled their takings.

This study, conducted in the late 1960s was known as the Stanford marshmallow experiment and focused on the concept of delayed gratification.

Years later, researchers found that the kids who resisted gobbling the marshmallow grew up into individuals who coped and performed better in school, the workplace, and life in general, asserting the same willpower that they had demonstrated as younglings. So it seems, delayed gratification has its perks. More importantly, it builds our willpower.

So in the face of adversity, change and tough times, how important is it to have the will to persevere? Very. Without it, we would all simply give up.

And why is it that some people seem to have more focus to willpower than others? And can this be nurtured?

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Change readiness in a constantly dynamic world

In Change Management, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on June 22, 2014 at 10:50 pm

When I was younger I believed that people don’t change. As an adult, I realize this is incorrect. People do change; we learn, we evolve, we grow.

In fact, change is the only constant. We’ve all heard it before. This is true. Look around you. Change is everywhere.

And change is good. If we don’t change, we’re stagnant. Change pushes our boundaries. Takes us out of our comfort zone. And inspires us.

The person you are today is not the person you were yesterday. I certainly am not. I needed to change to adapt to the constant shifts around me. We all do.

So instead of fighting change; it’s about embracing change.

The art of embracing change is therefore to be change ready.

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