Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

The “Science” and “Art” of Communication Part 3

Now that you have some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” let’s work on making sure when you are trying to communicate a message that you are not misunderstood.
 
The #1 Key is FEEDBACK! Think of feedback as evidence that your audience has heard and understood you. Keep in mind though, someone can hear and repeat your message but still not understand it. Sometimes it may become necessary to explain to your audience as if they were second graders. Reduce it to the irreducible minimums.
 
There are three modes of communication that are all about focus and important to be aware of as well.
 
1. Self Centered
Being pre-occupied with yourself… Did the audience like me? How did I sound? Did I look nervous? How was I coming across? This is being self-centered in your communication focus. The problem with this is that you are ignoring both the message and the audience. The focus then is on you.
 
2. Message Centered
Other times we are confident about ourselves and instead find ourselves over focusing on the message… How is the message being received? Am I getting it just right? Am I using the most appropriate words? Even though it may be better to focus a little more on the message than yourself, you still miss the goal doing this.
 
3. Listener Centered
The goal is to be focused on the audience, secure in your own abilities and confident in your message so that you can engage your audience and be focused on them.
Think of it this way…A good conversation is never like a speech, but a good speech is always like a good conversation.
Do you find yourself being able to connect with people who speak “to you”? More often than not the best speakers are not self centered or message centered but instead more focused on connecting with their audience. It typically has more of a “conversational” feel, we can relate and we feel like they are talking with us, not to us.
 
Think about the people you like to spend most of your time with? Why do you think that is? Sure you might like them because they are an old friend or a lot of fun to hang out with but if you were to dig deep enough would you agree it is because you like to hear what they have to say? They encourage, inspire, challenge amuse and entertain you.
Now think about those who you dread meeting with or spending time with because you know it is going to be like watching paint dry or chewing glass, just down right painful. It may not be that you have anything personal against them, you just don’t want anymore of what they “have to sell”.
 
Be that person that others can’t wait to hear more from. Tell a better story, paint a better picture and pay better attention. Remember when you communicate, people want to be entertained and engaged. Learn from others, study the things they are doing right and wrong. Do not do this to be critical of them but to be constructive for yourself so that you will never stop learning what works and what doesn’t work.
 
 

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Mastering Relationships Part 2

In Mastering Relationships Part 1 we went over a checklist of questions to ask yourself in an effort to help master your relationship with others.  Now that you have hopefully given yourself an assessment and know where your strengths and weaknesses are it is time to build upon this list.
 
Negotiation
 
For a moment think of a relationship as a “negotiation”.  Mastering relationships requires you to keep the “and” in mind.  In other words, How do they get what they want AND you get what you want?  A key tip is to always think of them first.  As I refer to many times, one of my montras and Zig Ziglar quotes, “You can have everything you want in life if you help others get what they want.”  This is not just a montra or quote but a true philosophy of life that when understood, embraced and executed will bring your relationships to a new level of mastery that can only be lived to believed.
 
Is the battle worth fighting?
 
How many times do you find yourself in a battle or argument and before you know it you forget why you were even fighting or arguing in the first place?  So often we feel like we just have to be “right” regardless of any other feelings.  The real question should be do you want to be “right” or happy?  To be “happy” first means you have to not care who is “right”, you are willing to rise above your inclination to have the last word and in essence ask yourself, “Is this even going to matter in a day, a week or a year?”  Grasping this way of thinking helps you grow one step closer to Mastering Relationships because you start to look at yourself and others in a completely different perspective and are able to evaluate what is worth truly standing your ground on and what is better just to rise above, walk away from and live to “fight” another day.
 
Agreements
 
Relationships are not only negotiations and the occasional battles but also about agreements.  A person who has mastered relationships understands that agreements start with complete clarity from the beginning.  Nothing is left vague or misunderstood.  Agreements are often much more powerful when put in writing.  This is very necessary when entering into a business relationship with others.  Mastering a business relationship means that both parties know exactly what is going on and the goal is of the relationship (or partnership).  Occasionally we may jump into agreements that are not even clear to ourselves.  This can become a tremendous hinderance as we cannot expect to be clear with others if we are not even clear with ourselves.
 
Growth
 
Mastering Relationships also require you to surround yourself with people who will help you grow.  Understanding the difference between a relationship that encourages your growth and a “friendship” that hold you back from reaching your greatness.  Knowing the importance of walking away from these relationships, as difficult as it may be at times, shows yet another step toward Mastering Relationships.
 
The circle of growth
 
You need to grow, to grow is to learn, to learn is to teach, to teach is to grow!
 
Get out there and Master the Relationships you have in your personal and professional lives using the checklist, the suggestions and even your own ideas that develop from applying them.
 
 

Setting Goals and Achieving Them! Part 1

Let’s start with the foundation of why setting goals is so important in life…
 
If you think of it from the standpoint of getting into your car and but having nowhere to go. If you didn’t have a job to go to, school to attend or someplace to go, you would just sit there in neutral. There is no forward progress, there is no backward progress, and you would just sit still. The key is to not over complicate it though; your goals are really like a road map, they give you direction or a destination. This allows us to chart out a path to get to that destination. This “road map”, much like in traveling, gives us direction in life and keeps us focused. Without it we run the risk of being totally lost.
 
I recall hearing about a trainer who did an exercise with two sheet of paper. The trainer said, “Write your goal down on the first sheet of paper.” After writing down their goals, the participants were instructed to crumble it up and throw it. The participants asked, “Where?” The trainer again simply said, “Throw it.” As you can imagine paper was thrown all over the place. Then the trainer asked them to again write their goals on the second sheet and crumble it up. He then walked to the center of the room and placed a trashcan on the floor and said, “Now, put it in that trash can.” People began to get up and really focus on throwing their paper into the trashcan. He even offered a prize for those who made it so some even walked their paper over to the trashcan and dropped it in. The difference between the first and second paper is that with the second paper they had something to focus on, the trashcan. The trashcan, in this example, represents what goal setting is.
 
You have, hopefully, heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals. If not, you should for sure study up on them and the importance of this acronym. I will give you the basics here:
 
S – (Specific) You have to be specific about your goal. It needs be definable. Nothing is dynamic until it becomes specific. It is important to understand the difference between a “dream” and a “goal” here. For example, to say, “I wan to make a lot of money” is a great dream but not a goal. To say, “I want to make $500,000 this year” is a specific goal.
 
M – (Measurable) You have to have a way to keep score. Imagine a sporting event with no scoreboard? How would you know who is winning the game? The same applies to your goal, if you can’t measure it how will ever know if you have reached it or not?
 
A – (Attainable) You have to base this one on your own resources and level of commitment. If it requires 35 – 40 hours a week and you are only willing or able to commit 10 – 15 hours, it is not attainable for you.
 
R – (Realistic) This is the one you have to be careful with. If people set goals that were always “realistic” imagine the lack of advancements we would have in technology and everyday life. You also have to make sure your goals are realistic from the standpoint of the laws of the universe and physics. For example, if it was April and you wanted to move into a million dollar mansion (that you are going to fully customize) in June and you have not even bought the land yet, it is obviously not be physically realistic.
 
T – (Time) It must be time certain. Without a timestamp it is a dream, not a goal.
 
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon….
 
 

The “Science” and “Art” of Communication Part 2

Common mistakes people make in Communicating
 
1. Not being specific enough
 
It is important to understand that often the biggest mistake you may be making is that you are not clear on what you are trying to achieve. Be very clear about what you are trying to accomplish. Ask yourself this question, “What is it I want my audience to think, feel and /or do?”
 
Keep in mind thinking is intellectual which changes the way they “perceive” things. Feeling is “emotional” and doing is about “taking action”. The best communication should touch on all three: Change how people think, create positive emotion, which in turn leads to positive action. If you find yourself failing in communicating it may not be from a lack of skill set, it may be as simple as you are just being unspecific. You leave it up to your audience to figure out what they want or need when in fact it is up to you, the communicator, to illicit the right response. If your audience does not “get it” you need to take responsibility and not place blame.
 
2. Not investing the effort and doing the hard work
 
We now live in the age of simple, easy and instantaneous. Convenience is nice but too often we forget that those who are really good at what they do are those who invest the effort to learn and develop necessary skills.
 
3. Not having something significant or important to say
 
Hubert Humphries said, “The right to be heard does not always automatically include the right to be taken seriously.” It is easy to write a blog or post something out on the internet but if what your putting out there has no significance or importance it will easily get lost in the noise, clutter and confusion. Your message needs to cut through those things and will affect people and make them care. If people don’t care, they don’t listen regardless of the clarity of the message.
 
Things that you can do RIGHT in Communicating
 
Think of the “C’s” of communicating. Commit these to memory and help yourself be a much more effective communicator.
 
1. CLEAR – Be pinpoint accurate on what you are trying to accomplish.
 
2. CONFIDENT – Believe that your message is important; that you are a good messenger and that your audience is important enough to invest time into communicating with them.
 
3. CONSISTENCE – Consistency is critical because of the amount of uncertainty typically communicated. Therefore sometimes the best tool you have for retention is to repeat your message so many times that the listener could repeat it in their sleep. Samuel Johnson said, “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.”
 
4. CATCHY – Remember to avoid or penetrate the noise, clutter and confusion. This is the difference between saying, for example, “It’s a really good car” or saying “It’s the ultimate driving machine”, a great example of this “C” from BMW. Even if you don’t own one you know it is “The Ultimate Driving Machine”.
 
5. COMPELLING – Arguably the most important one of all. Remember, you must create positive “emotion” to lead to positive “action”
 
Keep these in mind in order to master the “Science” and “Art” of Communication
 
 

Mastering Relationships Part 1


 
In one of my past articles 10 Things you should Know and Do before you are 40 I briefly touched on the importance of Creating Solid Relationships.  I would not like to take that a step further and focus on Mastering Relationships.  This will be Key Tips in bullet point fashion to help you start to Master Relationships.  Take a moment and reflect on the meaning of each point and how it applies to you.  Measure your success with relationships and allow the Key Tips to help you grow where necessary.

  • How can I give more value to the relationships in my life?
  • The quality of life is based on the balance of relationships.
  • All relationships start with “me”. I must love “me” before other can.
  • How do I value my relationships with others?
  • I decide how people treat me.  Do they walk all over me or treat me with respect?
  • I must love myself for who I am and visualize myself in my perfect state.
  • Treat yourself in a perfect way and others will too.
  • Take yourself seriously  and others will too.
  • Keep in mind that often what you don’t like in someone else may also be what you don’t like in yourself.
  • Vibrate on a higher plane.  To notice someone’s negatives, you have to be vibrating negatively yourself.
  • Strive to find something good in everyone.
  • Hold onto your beliefs as to inspire and empower others to do the same.
  • Remember that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have been given in life.
  • Show others how to be in a good relationship with you by being the example you would like them to be.
  • You can attract the people you need to help you achieve your dreams by being the person you want to be.
  • Connect with others on a personal level and then bring them up with your excitement.  also, allow them the bring you up with their’s when necessary.
  • See yourself more exciting, you will become more exciting and attract others
  • Be sure that what you communicate is being carried out by your actions.
  • Communicate to the RIGHT people.

 

This is a short but powerful checklist to help Master Relationships.  Stay tuned for Part 2 as we will build upon this initial checklist to help you Master your relationship with others.

 
 

10 Things you should Know and Do before you are 40


 
As I approach my 40th Birthday I started thinking about the things that were important to me.  While it was difficult to do, I was able to pick out a Top 10 Things to Know and Do before you are 40.  These are all simple and practical steps and truthfully can be applicable to any age.  Here we go:
 
1. Know Yourself – When I say “Know Yourself” I am referring to your strengths and weaknesses.  We all have them and just like fingerprints that vary for each one of us.  Knowing your strengths will help yo to know where to focus your efforts and opportunities to excel.  It will help you achieve your goals and attain personal satisfaction.  On the other hand, knowing your weaknesses can be equally if not more beneficial.  When you know your weakness and even more important, willing to admit your weaknesses, you have a foundation for growth.  You can create a list of areas to spend as much time getting better at as you do on the things that come natural.  You can also evaluate if the weakness is something you should avoid and allow others to accomplish.
 
2. Settle Your Family Life – This is mostly for the married couples but truthfully can exist with parents, children or any other relatives.  Recognize issues that may exist, things that are lingering and unaddressed.  It is important to get them out in the open and “handled”.  One thing we are not promised in life is time and once someone is gone the opportunity to set things right goes as well, yet the guilt of not doing so can last forever.  Relationships, especially marriages, require constant work and nurturing.
 
3. Determine Your Priorities – It is said that every seven years we change as people and everything from out tastes, likes & dislikes, ambitions and priorities.  It is vital to keep track of your priorities, write them down and occasionally review them for any changes, additions or subtractions.  This will help you keep focused on what is important and worth giving your time to.
 
4. Develop Your Philosophy – How do you define your life?  What is your vision for your future? It is critical to know what you believe in, what/who you are willing to die for and what things in your life are optional.  Alexander Hamilton said, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything”.
 
5. Get Physically Fit – As we get older and absorbed in our careers, goals, lives, etc. one of the areas we often overlook is our health.  This has become a VITAL area for me over the past few years and a journey that in a short time has taught me more about myself than anything before it.  Remember, don’t give up your “health” in an effort to gain “wealth”.  A strong body leads to a strong mind which leads to a strong future.
 
6. Learn Your Trade – Always be a student of your trade.  The day you think you cannot learn anything else  about your trade is the day you need to get out of it.  To be most successful at your trade; learn, earn and return.  the biggest key is to remember to give back more than you receive.
 
7. Pay The Price – Success cannot be accomplished without sacrifice.  You have heard it all, “Nothing in life is easy” “Anything worth having is worth working for” These and similar statements are profound and should not be taken lightly.  Your “ah hah” moment with this one is when you realize and are willing to accept that you may sacrifice and not see success but trust that those who follow will reap the success of your sacrifice.  Some would call it a characteristic of leadership.
 
8. Develop Solid Relationships – In the day and age of social media the word “friend” has a whole new meaning.  Solid relationships are important because life’s greatest experiences involve people.  I have had some of the best times of my life and created unforgettable memories with the guys I have developed solid relationships with, a brotherhood if you will.  Take a moment and review your social media “friends”.  How many do you have a solid relationship with?
 
9. Prepare For The Future – By nature we always want the biggest and best.  This is very prevalent in the Event Industry.  Often we are judged by the equipment we carry, the amount of lights we have, how many songs in our library, etc.  While these things are vital to our craft, in the grand scheme of life how important are they?  Consider living life in such a way that you have options later on when you have played that last song.  Consider purchasing the “second best” and saving the difference for retirement.
 
10. Find Purpose In You Life – True success comes from knowing and executing your purpose in life.  Never stop growing to your maximum potential and continue sewing seeds, even if only others down the line benefit from them.
 
The first Quarter of 2012 has already come to an end and no matter if you are 40, 20 or 60 do a self evaluation of these 10 things and see where you stand with them.  You may find that you need to work on some and also be right where you need to be with others.
 
Remember…You’re either Green and Growing or Ripe and Rotting!!!
 
 

The “Science” and “Art” of Communication Part 1

The “Science” and “Art” of Communication
 
Think of a bottle of wine. Sometimes you can have good wine in a bad bottle. You look at the bottle and it is not that impressive but it tastes wonderful. Sometimes you have a bottle that looks terrific but the wine inside is not so good. The goal in effective communication should be to have both substance and style.
 
Science is built on practices, rules and procedures while art is more of an inherent creative process. The best communicators will learn to combine the two. They will take the best of each and create an effective outcome. Science without art can make communication seem sterile while art without science can make communication very chaotic. Your goal should be to combine creativity with discipline to create the most favorable outcome.
 
Let’s look at some examples…
 
The perfect “right down the middle” would be the late Steve Jobs. People would hang on his every word. That was because he would always couple the good science of technology and products and talk about them in an informative, factual way with his own passion and enthusiasm about the design and end user effectiveness.
 
A good example of the Science right but the art wrong would be the prototypical college professor that goes on and on, for example the character that Ben Stein played in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A great example of someone who disseminates the information and then strives for involvement, “Anyone, anyone, anyone?” This individual has the information down but has diminished the impact because of poor delivery and lack of creativity.
 
A good example of getting the Art right but the science wrong, are those who tend to be very passionate. You find yourself connecting with their enthusiasm but in the find yourself asking, “What was that all about?” You knew they felt strongly about something, you are just not sure what about.
 
So what is “Winning Communication”?
 
George Bernard Shaw said, “The problem with communication is the illusion it has been accomplished.” The potential for bad communication is of great. Especially in the fast paced word of the Internet, mobile devices and busy lives we lead. I remember some years ago my son, as we walked into a restaurant, read a sign on a chalkboard the read “Fish – All You Can Eat”. He looked at me and said, “Oh No! All you can eat is fish???” This is a perfect example of how, even just subtlety, misinterpreting communication one can come to the wrong conclusion.
 
Therefore, “Winning Communication” can be defined as being heard and understood. For “Winning Communication” to take place your message needs to not only be heard (or read) but the intended effect of that communication also needs to be achieved.
 
Keep in mind communication is in fact “response you get”. How effective you are communicating is more about what is “heard” than what is “said”. Often times we find ourselves saying, “But this is what I said” but if the person who responded didn’t “get it” then the responsibility of poor communication falls onto the person who said it.
 
Stay tuned for Part Two when I will share some of the wrong ways to avoid when communicating and the “C”s of communication.