Many see the word communication and think only about speaking.Communication includes both sides, speaking and listening.And good communicators listen effectively.They listen more than they speak.They listen to understand the meaning of what someone is saying—not just the words.They pay attention to other clues to the meaning, body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice.
We are all capable of remembering the words someone says, especially if it was short, but that may not be enough to understand and remember the meaning. Pay close attention to the other person.Check that you understood by paraphrasing and then asking, ‘Did I understand what you meant?’
In my next blog I will list some important attributes of being an understood speaker.
Do your memories often consist of a picture in your mind?Where were you?Who else was there? What did the scene look like?
Maybe you can even feel the warmth or coolness of the air around you.Maybe you remember how you reacted.
If you are a visual thinker it would be natural to use drawings or mind maps to visualize a topic, a plan, or a presentation.If you don’t think you are a natural visual thinker, it is worth learning to use drawings , diagrams, stick figures, and mind maps to visualize and to help your brain.
Mind Maps are easy to draw and use to organize a topic.You can learn more about them from my Ted talk (https://youtu.be/5nTuScU70As). You can also suggest how I can help you with this topic by commenting or sending me your questions.
Communication, good communication, means expressing your ideas and opinions as best you can including the fact that they are your thoughts and opinions…after being open and listening to others’ opinions.
Communication is both expressing yourself and listening effectively.
Communication includes the three V’s, verbal (the words), vocal (the sound, tone, expressiveness), and visual (the body language).
All three V’s are important and in many, perhaps most, cases the vocal and visual say more than the words.
How do you learn? How do you link your new learning with your memory? How do you take in any information? Of course, it comes in as data through one of your senses. The obvious ones are sight and hearing but they are not the only ones at work. You may have touched something, or it may have touched you. You may have tasted a new food. You may have noticed an unusual odor. There is also a 6th sense which means we take note of a feeling though may not be sure how or why it happened. All your senses are receptors bringing in information that your brain will record, maybe store, maybe making it easy for you to remember later.
When we pay more attention we will help our brain execute that process called memory: receive, store, be able to retrieve. It also helps to get that information through multiple senses, hence, drawing, diagraming, and writing notes, can all improve the memory.
Let’s continue to explore this set of ideas about learning and memory through this newsletter. Please comment, add ideas, and ask questions.
Being a leader means you can’t avoid difficult conversations, even when addressing conflict makes you uncomfortable, Marlene Chism writes. One of her four suggestions for inviting discomfort is to avoid interrupting during triggering conversations, instead encouraging the speaker to express themselves.
” from SmartBrief on Leadership
Rather than avoidance, engage to understand. Rather than terminating or firing the speaker, encourage the offering of alternative ideas, options to explore.
Attract people to your inner circle who are willing to disagree with you and who bring alternative viewpoints.
As the leader it is your responsibility to make the final decisions but listening and learning first will allow you to make better decisions. You don’t want your assumptions to get in the way of deep and exploratory thinking about a subject.
Unless you have a perfect memory for everything you hear and everything you read, you will need to make notes of important points you DO want to remember. By that I mean not writing everything down because you don’t know what you will want later, but instead just noting the keywords and ideas. Learning to focus and to listen to understand and parse is a worthwhile skill.
Connecting the important ideas and writing down only key words and phrases can most easily be done by taking notes as a mind map. The mind map allows you to add keywords or phrases to the topic branches as they come up.
It is also much easier to review your notes in a mind map than to reread whole paragraphs or outlines.
You will find that making notes about a topic you want to write or speak about in a mind map form allows you to organize your disparate ideas into logical branches before proceeding. You may find that if the purpose is to give a short informal talk, you can follow the mind map and give the whole talk without writing out a speech. Your talk will sound much more natural and you will appear well versed in your topic versus looking like you are reading from a document or note cards.
To learn more about how to take notes and make notes using mind maps, see my TEDx talk or contact me.
What makes a great coach? Everyone needs a coach. Even the best players in sports use coaches. Coaches may not be physically better than the recipient of the coaching but they are observant and great at asking questions that make the recipient more aware. They help the recipient learn and improve.
We may need someone to remind, to listen, to be a better alter ego, to catch us when we fall, to pick us back up and encourage.
We can’t always see our own faults. Sometimes we need the coach to be a magnifying mirror.
Think about how you learned to ride a bike. Your coach, probably your Mom or Dad or a neighbor, held the back of the seat to steady the bike as you got a feel for balancing. They ran along, picked you and the bike up if you fell, maybe disinfected and bandaged the scrapes, and let go at the appropriate time.
During this difficult time I do all my coaching virtually, but I forecast that virtual will continue even when we can get back together so that distance doesn’t become a problem. You will be able to choose a coach from anywhere in the world, you may even decide to choose me.
There are so many good things that happen when you learn to use mind mapping that I had to make you a mind map to show them all…and there are even more than the ones that I listed.
I’d like to hear the reasons it would be helpful to you. Would you like to learn to pay attention and take notes better when listening to someone speak, or when you are reading a book or article? Would you like it to be easier to review notes you made instead of laboriously rereading all of the sentences? Would you like to be able to have collaborative meetings with others over Zoom or another online shared meeting? An that could be just the beginning of the advantages of learning to mind map.
What would be your reasons or interests in mind mapping? Let me know.
Helping Others Learn
The well known old Chinese proverb says, If you give a person a fish, he eats for a day, if you teach him to fish, you feed him for life.
Teaching a concept to others is like that. They learn and can apply the concept. But teach someone how to learn, how to increase their knowledge, and you have given them a gift for life.
Teach someone how to read or listen effectively, so they remember what they read or heard, is like teaching them to fish.
Most people hardly listen. They can’t remember someone’s name nor what they said. When you learn to listen for content and context, for the meaning, then you will remember and those who feel listened to will remember you for that appreciation you showed.