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Posts Tagged ‘listening’

The role of a good facilitator

In Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Development, Personal Branding, Team, Training on March 20, 2017 at 4:38 am

Have you ever been to the symphony or watched a snippet of an orchestra playing on TV? Can you visualize the conductor at the front of the orchestra? What exactly is the role of the conductor? Do they simply stand at the front waving their batons madly? Or is there a crucial role they play that if there is no conductor, the orchestra falls apart and the music crumbles?

It seems with the baton, the conductor speaks a subtle language to the orchestra to remind them during the performance of how to play the piece. It’s almost hypnotic to watch.

In fact, with the baton, it’s almost as if the conductor gives each instrument a chance to play and each musician an opportunity to speak. As if without the conductor, the audience might overlook the presence of an instrument or musician in the orchestra. And it’s almost as if without the conductor, the audience would miss pivotal moments in the symphonic piece.

So when we think about it, could we compare the role of a facilitator to that of an orchestra conductor? Why not?

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The human side of negotiation

In Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Networking, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Strategy on March 6, 2017 at 11:02 pm

How often do you think you use negotiation skills? We may not realize it but negotiation is a big part of our daily life. We negotiate various factors in our roles at work, from project timelines to resources, to parameters for our performance indicators or salaries, and even in our personal lives, with conflicting opinions, or even something as simple as where to dine.

Negotiation is about reaching an agreement where both parties walk away with mutually acceptable terms. The ability to get what we want is only enhanced by our ability to negotiate effectively.

The word ‘negotiation’ has copped a bad reputation. Oftentimes, we associate the act with competition or confrontation or believe that only an all-or-nothing approach can win; the word ‘win’ supporting the act of competing.

But what if we take the notion of competing out of the equation and approach a negotiation in a more fair way?

After all, the reason you’re getting into a negotiation in the first place is either because one party wants something from another, or that both parties want something from each other. Once you each establish what is important and unimportant to each, the negotiations can begin. The questions that each person needs to ask is ‘What do I want from you?’ and ‘What can I give you in return?’

But how to do this? How exactly do you start asking those questions without sounding contentious?

Let’s explore.

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So you want to become a leader: here’s how

In Development, Leadership, Performance Management, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Strategy, Team on February 23, 2017 at 1:46 am

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In today’s competitive environment, standing out can actually be the thing that gives you an edge. For instance, if you’re positioning yourself for a leadership role or promotion, It’s important to develop a strategy to consistently demonstrate your personal leadership traits.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a peek into Tim’s profile. Tim is an inspired, hardworking and conscientious high performer. Tim is great at stakeholder meetings and client-facing events. He is also an empathetic listener and hands on team player.

You could say Tim has high potential to be a leader: he’s a HiPo, that is, he has been identified as having the potential, ability, and aspiration for succession to leadership positions within the organization. However, Tim has no management experience, having never officially led a team before. Apart from his own self-confidence and what some of his peers and his manager know, Tim has no concrete data to make a strong case. What’s more, Tim works in a dynamic firm with dozens of others who could possibly be vying for the same role.

So how can Tim progress his career? Tim could start preparing for his performance review conversations by gathering data. You see, future leaders are made long before they are earmarked for success. It comes from your own desire to excel. So what steps do you take to ensure you outshine those vying for that one coveted position?

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How mindfulness makes you a more effective leader

In culture, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on December 6, 2016 at 5:17 am

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According to research conducted by Harvard University, about 47 percent of us spend our waking hours thinking about something other than what we’re doing. What this means is that we are not present or conscious in the moment to fully listen, connect and engage with events, opportunity and people around us; all vital elements to being an effective leader.

The Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard University claims that mindfulness enhances the qualities organizations need. Qualities such as increased brain-wave activity, enhanced intuition and better focus. All also vital elements to being an effective leader.

Mindfulness contributes to raising your awareness of self and of those around you. It increases your ability to be mindful of your emotions, reactions and therefore, your behaviors. These are all exemplary qualities to have as a leader.

To be an effective leader, leaders are taught to lead via the three vital pillars of leadership:

  1. Leading from within
  2. Leading by example
  3. Leading others

So what if as a leader, you practice mindfulness? How much more engaging would your leadership presence be? How much more effective and focused would you be as a leader?

A mindful and focused leader is a leader with a strong leadership presence. Someone who can lead better towards his or her vision via a structured business strategy.

Let’s look at how mindfulness can boost each pillar of leadership.

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Dysfunctional habits that can damage your communication style and personal brand

In Branding, Communication, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Networking, Personal Branding on July 6, 2016 at 3:06 am

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Have you ever been in a conversation where no matter what you did, you struggled to engage with the other person?

What was it that they did? Or didn’t do? Having a conversation should not be a difficult thing to do. After all, we all do it every day. We have multiple conversations with various people in several settings, using a variety of mediums. The thing is, you could be the most charismatic, articulate speaker or communicator, but there are some common conversational habits that would absolutely kill your chances at engaging with the other party.

So what are they? Let’s consider six habits that can damage your communication style and personal brand, and what you can do to avoid them.

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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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