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Archive for business

Help Others to Learn

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.

Women need to understand what they are doing that undermines their authority

Women need to change what they are doing that undermines their authority

It is not just the power stance, though that is a good way to stand when talking to others at work.

Stand up when someone comes into your office.  It serves 2 purposes.  First it will keep the other person from acting like you have all the time in the world to listen to them.  Second, they are not looking down at you.

Train yourself not to end your statements as a question.  There are two ways women do this that undermines their authority.  First they end with OK? or right? or some time of question that means you are asking if what you said is ok with them.  Second, even if you don’t make it an obvious question, you use the question tone of voice at the end of you sentence.  You might want to record yourself and listen.

Back to the power stance, feet separated about a foot or foot and a half, facing the other person directly.  Don’t cross your legs or lean on anything.  Look directly at them.  Make eye contact.

BTW, this is true for men, too.  It just is observed more often in women.

Yes, everyone can draw using stick figures

Drawing or diagraming information you want to explain helps everyone understand it better, including you. When you sketch using stick figures, or flow diagrams, or a mind maps, or any way to help visualization, you will be able to show as well as verbally explain. The process of doing the diagram helps you simplify the ideas in your own mind. The process of explaining using a diagram helps others understand, and later remember, what you showed them.

Your Mental Shortcuts

Mental shortcuts, we all make them throughout the day. In a sense, they are necessary coping mechanisms your brain has been developing your whole life. Because there is no way to pay equal attention to everything within eyesight, earshot, and close enough to touch, our brain has developed filters to let in what it believes you need to know and leave out a large majority of what is going on around you.
Consider for a moment how you function during your daily drive or ride, or even walk, to work.
Most of what you pass by is a blur. Most of what you pass you take little or no interest. So much so that when you arrive at your destination you will not remember seeing or hearing most of what was actually there.
Your cognitive bias made those decisions for you. The filters you have built up to protect yourself from over stimulation and clutter worked.
But, and that is a big but, did you miss something that in the past wasn’t important but now is? Did you assume you knew what happened but really didn’t?
We can’t function in a busy world without our filters and we can’t take for granted that we didn’t miss anything important.
So what can you do? Ask others what they saw and heard. Ask for other viewpoints, other experiences, to add to your own. Be open minded about what you might have missed or added into a scene because of your filters, your own cognitive biases. They, too, have biases. Together you may both get a more complete picture.
Ask open questions and listen openly to the answers.

Multitasking means Asking for a ‘do over’

When you multitask you do a mediocre job of each, or worse. Think of the times you were doing email while on a conference call. No one could see you so you thought no one would notice; until, the boss calls out your name with, “what do think of that?”
Oh, oh! Now you have to admit you weren’t paying attention. Now you need to ask your boss for a ‘do over.’

To keep your focus on the meeting you might try listening so hard you are paying attention to the meaning, not just the words.
Or you can mind map the subjects during the meeting.

For sure, you don’t want to be thinking about what you will say when it is your turn. That, too, will mean you won’t be able to answer the boss’s question.

How to give a great talk without PowerPoint

Have you noticed that your eyes often glaze over and your mind wanders as someone gets up in front of your business meeting with another deck of typical bullet pointed slides? How can you avoid being the next boring speaker?

If you pride yourself on your analytical thinking you have a double whammy because your business associates, your audience, most likely wants you to be short and to the point. Get to the conclusion. Keep the data charts out. Executive summary please!

If you would like to know how to be the most appreciated speaker at your next meeting by using mind mapping instead of graphs and bullet points, let me know. I’ll teach you how. To get started you can watch my TedX talk https://youtu.be/5nTuScU70As

Which is More Important? Creativity or the Ability to Inspire

We can find research to support which ever side of an argument you need. Is that hard to believe? Here is an example.
I do seminars on creativity and powerbrainstorming (™) so this research supports its importance: “according to the Adobe® (Nasdaq:ADBE) State of Create global benchmark study. The research shows 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society, yet a striking minority – only 1 in 4 people – believe they are living up to their own creative potential.”

80% say creativity is most important.

But another study by IBM of 1700 CEOs by AMA of 50,000 leaders proved’ 80% say the ability to inspire (which I also teach and do seminars about) is the most important trait for leaders and teams.

So here is a take-away, both are important and you will get different statistics depending on how you ask the questions.

Skepticism vs Cynicism

Skepticism vs Cynicism

Both attitudes force us to question what we and others are doing or suggesting. Both can have some healthy self searching and lead to good debates. But skepticism can end in great support for new ideas once questions are explored and answered while cynicism doesn’t give in or give up.

Be careful of people who are cynics but say or think they are skeptics.

Ask questions like what would it take to change your mind? How will you support this new effort if the majority of evidence says to move ahead?

Does any of this describe Your Business Meetings?

Another Look at Your Business Meetings

Business Meetings are a microcosm of how your company includes and excludes ideas and contributions. Who speaks up, and even more important, who is listened to. Who gets credit for an idea, who takes credit for an idea. Who grumbles. Who rolls their eyes. Who keeps looking at their smart phone or laptop. And do they do it consistently when certain people are speaking.

Conscious and unconscious bias is contagious. Like a sneeze, we can pick up the disease without realizing it.

Business Meetings

Your Business Meetings

Even if your company is working hard on inclusiveness and diversity, it is important to pay attention to how you get everyone equal ‘floor time’ in the meeting. How do you do that?

One way is to use silent and anonymous idea generation. Hand out a pile of sticky note paper or 3×5 cards. Challenge everyone to come up with a minimum of 5 ways to solve a problem you’ve been working on or a new way to market a declining product. No talking and no sharing during this initial thinking and writing time.

Then all ideas get put up equally on a flip chart or white board. Organize by categories or similarity.

All ideas are valuable, some will work on their own. Most will work better in combination with others on the board. Some can be expanded by discussion.

You may decide to organize the ideas by how long they would take to do a trial or to implement in general, or by cost, effort, or ROI. You may even decide to try out the most outrageous first because standing out is better than blending in and being boring.