Archives for the month of: December, 2008

I got off the phone with my wife about an hour ago.  She was just checking in and was telling me about her plans for the day. I had just remembered something I wanted to tell her and started to ring her back when it hit me – I couldn’t remember what she said she was doing today and if she would answer the phone at home or on her mobile. Didn’t she just tell me this only an hour ago? Is my memory failing me as I get one year closer to 40? Or, was I not listening when she told me?

We are all guilty of multi-tasking. Despite trying to rationalize it as being productive, it has been proven to make us less efficient and, when conversing with someone, less attentive.

Here’s a top 10 list from the Dumb Little Man – Tips for Life blog to help improve our listening. Now, if I can just remember where I left my keys…

  1. Minimize both internal and external distractions. You can’t always get rid of a headache, but you can close the windows if the driver of a truck is outside revving his engine.
  2. Adjust your listening to the situation. If you’re listening to a lecture for an exam in Biology class, you’ll want to pay closer attention than if you’re watching the local news. In the former situation, you’ll probably take notes.
  3. Show you’re listening by your nonverbal communication. You might nod, shake your head, or raise your eyebrows. Adjust your posture accordingly. Make eye contact.
  4. If you’re listening to a speech or attending a business meeting, determine the most important points and develop a method to remember them. You might repeat them mentally or even jot them down briefly.
  5. When you’re listening to a friend with a problem, demonstrate empathy. Show her you understand what she is going through.
  6. Realize that people don’t necessarily want you to solve their problem. They may simply want to share how they are feeling. Save advice for another time, unless you’re asked for it.
  7. Don’t interrupt. Let the person finish what he is saying before you explain your point of view or ask questions.
  8. Don’t prejudge a person’s message by the way he looks. You can learn something from almost anyone.
  9. Stay focused on the subject. It’s easy to let your mind wander, especially if the subject isn’t important to you. Train yourself to concentrate.
  10. Remain clearheaded, even if the topic is emotional. Perhaps someone is discussing the victories of the recent election, and you were passionate about a losing candidate. When emotions become involved, you may end up in the middle of a shouting match, which will resolve nothing. Present your points calmly. You’ll gain credibility by doing so.

Just the facts, ma’am.

A recent Technorati report provides us with some interesting stats on the Blogosphere:blogging.jpg

  • 133 million blogs have been indexed by Technorati since 2002
  • Only 7.4 million of those blogs have posted in the last 120 days
  • 1.5 million have posted in the last 7 days

The numbers are quite interesting for a number of reasons.

  1. They show the great enthusiasm surrounding blogging, if not the ease in which one can get started (take for instance how easy it is to start a BlogCentral blog.)
  2. They indicate that the initial enthusiasm becomes subdued overtime after the ideas run out or the blog loses its place on the owner’s priority list or the owner realizes that it is a bit difficult to generate content on a consistent basis.
  3. The numbers provide a peek into why as consumers of information we can feel overwhelmed with keeping up on the continuing influx of data.

Until recently, ‘the Blogosphere’ referred to a small cluster of geeks circled around a single tool. Now it refers to hundreds of millions of people using a vast warehouse of tools that allow people to behave increasingly online like they do in real life. We have entered the Age of Normalization in the Blogosphere.

Shel Israel
Social Media writer & speaker co-author, Naked Conversations

We have all been through it. We join a meeting in a darkened room..the projector is humming…the presenter is standing anxiously by the screen…slide 1 of 200 looms before us. Something stirs inside of us and we drop into an available seat giving in to fate.sleeping-audience.jpg

Whether you are the perpetrator or the victim of this crime, now is the time to stop the madness!

The brothers who authored the book Made to Stick write monthly for Fast Company magazine. In a recent article titled “Presentation Pep Talk” they provide some tips for preventing bad Powerpoint that I’d like to share with y’all (and try to start doing more myself):

  • “Show, don’t tell” doesn’t mean to seek out the best clip art to help make your point. Adding pictures to a slide is decoration, not communication. Bring reality into the room. Use physical props and stories to emphasize your point.
  • If your slide has more text than a King James Bible then you need to focus more on your main points. The authors advise, “Think about yourself as the Director of a play, and you’re allocating speaking parts among your main points. You can create a great dialogue, but if you’ve got 22 characters speaking, you haven’t developed any of them properly.” Don’t sweat cutting out all the supporting content. Give more lines to your main characters.
  • Before your audience will value the information you’re giving, they’ve got to want it. You need to create curiosity and pull from the audience. If you put 8 points up on a slide your audience will have read through all 8 prior to you have completed explaining the first one – then they’re bored. What if you put up 8 questions instead?

Interested in seeing some really talented presenters and interesting presentations? Visit Ted Talks at