Tag: career

The simple act of sitting and breathing can put you in a very powerful position.

Everybody’s minds will wander during the day. This is how the mind works and it is necessary. All of the sensations and feelings we experience need to be assembled and stored away for future use. These experiences are usually short bursts of fresh information that are overlaid against stored data. For instance, our eyes can only focus on a very small area at any given time; the rest of what we see is mostly remembered. When we walk into a room, we might look around and notice the chairs, windows and doors. If we sit on one of the chairs by the window and start reading a book, we will still know where the door is without having to check every moment. These memories of where things are are constantly replayed into our consciousness.

But when we sit and breath, we are effectively interrupting ourselves. We can stop and examine events around us and by paying close attention can look at how they make us feel. Once we start to consider these feelings, we can look at whether they stand up to scrutiny.

For instance, you may be in a meeting where a colleague appears to be deliberately ignoring you and passing over you as you try to interject with your ideas. It is very easy to allow frustration to build up. A little narrative can quickly form – you may tell yourself that they feel threatened by you, or that they feel that because the ideas are yours they are not worth hearing. Your brain may quickly throw in other instances of when this has happened before and so the story grows. You remember that time at university when your entire class seemed to be laughing at your controversial summary of the plays of Samuel Beckett, or when your physics teacher at school scoffed at your understanding of the flow of electrons through a wire. The brain loves to find patterns regardless of whether they have positive or negative implications for you. It will root through all of your memories until it has assembled a story. But it is your decision whether you listen to the story or not.

So, you’re back in the meeting. You clearly have something to say. The person running the meeting has their focus elsewhere. Breathe. Interrupt yourself. Don’t let the story build. Accept that your brain wants to tell you a story. Let the thoughts go. Bring yourself back into the moment. Concentrate on what is being said around you. Use that to refine the idea that you want to share. At any moment something could come up that may blow your idea out of the water. If you’re indulging in self-critical reveries, there’s a good chance you won’t notice. If it doesn’t, the time will come when you can impart your thoughts. And because you’ve been paying full attention it will be great.



The one constant word in the buzz around the web’s emerging technologies and techniques is ‘Social’. Whether web, media, networks, enterprise, capital, currency or bookmarks, everything is social.


When you meet somebody in the real world, whether at a party, a networking event, a conference, or in a bar, do you try to build an ROI case first? Do you stay at home or in the office, eschewing all human contact until you can be sure that bumping into people and starting (or joining in) a conversation is worth your while? Do you ask people how much cash they’re carrying before you talk to them?

Looking to exploit social situations for your own personal benefit is a sure sign of psychopathy. Until businesses fully understand and accept that sometimes it’s just good to share, converse and communicate they will always make a mess of the whole social thing. Going into this looking for ROI will just leave you lost, alone and frustrated.

So, those of you wanting to build and prove an ROI case from the social web can go ahead and try. For my own safety, I will give you all a wide berth.


Posted via email from plainadvice’s posterous

Simple answer: Each and every presentation we give makes us a little bit more successful. Even the bad ones.

So if you measure success in terms of money, then every presentation makes us richer. Or if you prefer happiness to be your gauge of success, you will become happier each time you present.

If you’re looking for a little motivation before the next time you stand up to speak to an audience of colleagues, customers or prospects, take a moment to chew over that statement.

While you’re chewing, maybe have a look at a few job advertisments. Notice that for every job with a salary worth getting out of bed for, the candidate will need to have ‘excellent written and verbal communication skills’. Look closer and you’ll see that this is always in the top three requirements. If you’re still chewing, dig out your own job description. If you can’t find it, call HR. Go on, give them something to do. They’ll think that you are either thinking of leaving or asking for a pay rise and will fall into a flat tail-spin. But I’m digressing.

The point is this. The ‘communication skills’ bar is set pretty high. ‘Excellent’ is the requirement and nothing less will do. But interestingly, the bar never moves. ‘Excellent written and verbal communication skills’ are required for everyone from the most junior technician to the Chief Executive. This tells us two things. Firstly, the people that write job descriptions are inherently lazy, which is why asking your HR team to find your job description is such a fun thing to do. And secondly, it says that in order to progress in your career you need to be more excellent than the other excellent communicators around you.

So the next time you prepare a talk, think about how you are going to make it more than ‘excellent’. Then go out and do it. To get the next job on your career path, to get involved in the next exciting project at work, and to spread a little happiness to the world, give yourself permission to be excellent.