Successful

5 Things To Give Up Immediately To Be Successful

People often read up about happiness, try all the happiness hacks and yet make very little progress in feeling happy.

We often forget that happiness is an inside job and no one else can make us happy other than us. Happiness begins with taking care of our thoughts and feelings.

The society has a very broken formula for happiness. We often attribute our happiness to things outside of us. Our relationships, our career, our bank balance. Often forgetting that happiness is an inside job and no one else can make us happy other than us.

Top five things to give up immediately if you want to be successful are:

1. Negative self-talk

Listen closely to what you say to yourself when things don’t go the way you had expected them. Do you blame, criticize yourself? Do you label yourself as a failure?

The one person who needs your love and compassion the most is you, yourself! Use positive affirmations. Affirmations are short positive sentences about ourselves and our future to help you get through challenges.

Speak kindly to yourself. How would you support if one of your closest friends was struggling? Would you blame the person, ridicule them, be unkind to them? The answer is mostly No. Yet, we end up treating ourselves harshly.

Be your own best friend and your own cheerleader first. Learn to love yourself unconditionally. Only when we fill our hearts with self-love, will the love spill into all our relationships with other people. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have.

2. Procrastination 

Are you a procrastinator? It’s imperative to use our time well. We mostly procrastinate when we find the task overwhelming, unpleasant or when we aren’t self-disciplined.

The best way to stop procrastinating is to start with the most difficult task first. once we get done with the most challenging task, the rest seems relatively easy.

If you have difficulty managing your time, divide your time into smaller blocks to get work done. For example, you may have four blocks of thirty minutes each to get the most important and urgent tasks completed first when you start your day.

3. Social Media 

Do not compare someone’s social media life to your real life. Take a social media detox occasionally. Ditch your mobile apps and go for a walk instead. Today instead of texting your friend on Whatsapp, call the person instead. Ask someone, how they are and genuinely listen to what they have to say.

4. Gossip 

Do not indulge in gossip. Instead, use that time to educate yourself. Watch documentaries, read books. Decide to spend your time wisely. After all, we are the books we read, the movies we watch, the conversations we have.

Excuse yourself from the negativity and drama that surrounds you. Spend your time expressing gratitude for the abundances in your life, Practice meditation, exercise, engage in activities that make you lose track of time and bring you pleasure.

Stay away from people who drain your energy or bring you down. Do not judge others too. We judge others because we want to feel good about ourselves. Things we judge in others are things we haven’t accepted in us. Ask yourself, Why is this person triggering me? What does it remind me of that I haven’t accepted in myself?

5. Stress 

One of the major cause of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and diseases is stress. Release the need to be perfect. Release the need to be in control. There are going to be situations and problems in our lives over which we will have no control or very little control.

Stressing over situations or problems over which we have no direct control is a waste of time and no matter how much we try, we will only end feeling frustrated and exhausted. We must realize that no matter what the problem is, we always have a choice.

Sometimes, the only choice we have is to control our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Learning to be decisive can reduce stress significantly.

Happiness and stress are both choices we make every day. We must learn to choose wisely. Life is ten per cent of what happens to us and 90 per cent of how we respond to it.

Lastly, I would like to end up with a quote:

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

If you need help with any of the above or other things that are holding you back, reach out to us. Click on the Request Consultation button above.

good-speech

What Makes A Good Speech, GREAT? (And Why Steve Jobs Is Still Inspiring People on YouTube)

When we first thought of deconstructing a good speech, it seemed like such a great and obvious idea to showcase our public speaking programme.

After exhausting a month’s worth of data on YouTube, we realised it’s not easy to pick just one. When it comes to great, world-changing orators, there are so many to choose from!

After much thought and discussion, we finally picked Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at the Stanford university’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 200529 million views and counting!

Wow! Right?

For us, two things immediately stand out –

  1. The power of storytelling
  2. He is reading it out from his notes!

But seriously, one of the reasons we chose this talk – apart from the fact that this is a great example of a memorable speech – is to debunk the myth that a good speech has to be memorised!

Now to be honest when it comes to the delivery style, this speech doesn’t hold a candle to Martin Luther King’s famous civil rights speech or Winston Churchill’s radio address or Hitler’s power-packed performances.

There are no quotable quotes, no deep voices, no arm throwing – yet it is memorable; you will remember his life stories, and you will remember the last few words (Stay hungry, stay foolish) forever!

Let’s find out why this is a good speech –

Humans are wired to listen to stories, and when those stories are about love and loss and overcoming difficult life situations, we empathise! We root for the underdog, and we revel in his victories. In the end, we come out feeling good!

The speech follows the arc of his life – mapping three crucial milestones and each reinforces the same core message – Do what you love, believe in yourself, and everything will work out!

Let’s look at the first story – we start with a baby boy left in limbo while his birth mother holds out for the right parents. He builds up the importance of education and then destroys it in favour of individuality, and he does this in one of the best and most expensive educational institutions in the world; in front of hundreds of graduates – how’s that for a beginning!

And before it all gets too heavy and sentimental, he times it just perfectly to give the story a happy ending with a little bit of fun in the form of a humorous swipe at his biggest competitor –

 “If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

Moreover, he returns and employs this storytelling structure in the other two stories as well – starts with an idea or a hint to what the core message could be; talks about a terrible period of his life and finally presents a uplifting success story – the audience is literally living the highs and lows of his life with him.

From –

“My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.”

To –

I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery, and I’m fine now.”

And then there is the message at the end of each story! He leaves the audience with these uplifting, life-changing mantra that inspires and transforms them. The 3 stories define a full circle – the speech is not just a collection of unrelated anecdotes from his life – they trace the pattern of birth, life, and death itself! And each episode come back to the core message – Find your calling, don’t settle for less.

We deconstructed this speech to find out some specific takeaways. We wanted to list some of the reasons that made this speech so memorable – it is certainly not the delivery style; there are no theatrics or even a slide.

After much discussion, we listed these features that we can replicate to make other speeches memorable –

  • Grab attention right at the start with a shocking or out of the box fact, story or an idea.
  • Use humour to gently bring down the audience from an emotional high.
  • Use the classic dramatical structure to build tension and give a resolution.
  • Work with one core message that you can reiterate again and again during the speech.
  • In the end, leave the audience with an inspiring thought or a vision that they can connect to personally. A universal idea that they can unite behind.
  • Finally, keep it short – Steve Jobs’ speech was barely 15 minutes!

This is just the tip of the iceberg! For those of you who might want to apply these learnings to your presentations and public speaking engagements, we have put together some more recommendations (all those hours on YouTube threw up some gems). So, if you have some time – take a look and be inspired!

A deconstruction of one of the most popular TED Talk given by Simon Sinek.

And certainly, take a look at this landmark talk on The Secret Structure of Great Talks by the guru of Presentations, Nancy Duarte

If you are feeling a tad overwhelmed before your big talk or presentation, then why do it alone. Reach out to us and we will be able to help you structure your content for maximum impact. Click on the Request Consultation button above.

presentation-skills

Getting Ready For An Upcoming Big Presentation? Then These Top 6 Tips Will Help You to Present Like A Pro!

All of us – from senior management to a fresher – have sat through at least one (if you are lucky) excruciatingly boring PowerPoint presentation! I remember my worst experience – it was this lady from a digital marketing agency who read out every single word of a 40-page PPT! Talk about zero presentation skills!

I distinctly remember thinking that I don’t care how good their offer is, there is no way I am giving my marketing budget to someone who is doing such a bad job of marketing themselves!

This little anecdote underscores a point we all already know – communicating well is the key to success. And not just in the corporate arena; being able to present your idea and vision clearly and with confidence, is critical to success in all professional spheres. Whether you are a small business owner, a blogger or a politician, if you cannot put across your ideas convincingly you will not grow professionally.

But presentations can be spruced up, and speaking skills can be polished. Sometimes you might need some professional guidance, but with a little bit of time and effort, it can be done. If you are looking for some quick tips to improve your presentation skills, then dive right in –

First off, know this – it is entirely possible to upgrade your presentation skills in very little time. While getting comfortable with public speaking might need some practice and experience; there is a lot you can do in a couple of days to improve your presentation skills.

Presentation Tips

A killer presentation is a combination of two things –

  1. Content structure
  2. The skill of the presenter

Take a look at your content and decide on a core message

Before you write down even one word or make your first slide, evaluate your entire content, and find the core message you want to leave with the audience. You could also jot down key points you want to reiterate or emphasize.

Tell a story

We all love a good tale, and nothing keeps people’s attention more effectively than a good narrative structure. Start with a bang, present problems, take them on your journey of finding a solution, and leave them on an uplifting note.

If you are presenting dry facts, then try not to do so directly; weave a story around them to make them more exciting and memorable. An excellent way to do this is to explain them through your own personal situation, through a case study or through an imaginary experience.

With every passing decade, attention spans are getting shorter, so you must structure your content to inject some excitement every 5 mins. This could be a quiz, a question, a multimedia component, a game, props or a joke – anything that breaks the content flow.

Humour always helps

Nothing breaks the ice and gets the audience behind the speaker more quickly than humour. A funny picture or a cartoon, an amusing anecdote, a quirky quote or a self-deprecating pun can lighten the atmosphere and put people in a more receptive mood.

Design visually appealing presentations

If you are using decks, then make sure that you keep these basics in mind –

  • Don’t put too much text on the each slide
  • Present one idea per slide
  • Make it visually appealing – there are so many templates available out there that the audience’s design expectations have gone up – simple bullet points no longer suffice
  • Use multimedia intelligently
  • Use fonts and font sizes that are readable
  • Keep a consistent colour or design format throughout the presentation

Body posture and expressions

Many people tend to shift from one foot to another and sway back and forth or continuously touch and adjust their clothing or hair – all this comes across as nervous, distracting behaviour. If you are not seated or don’t feel comfortable striding around on stage, then it’s best to just stand still and use hand gestures.

During a presentation, maintaining eye contact is also quite important; its best to select a bunch of people distributed evenly across the room whom you can look at directly. Along with eye contact, its also a good idea to smile –  not only does it help you keep your nervousness in check it will also project a positive attitude to your audience.

Prepare and practice your presentation

Nothing beats practice! There are very few natural speakers who can go extempore; for most people, it is advisable to memorize and practice the presentation several times. If you don’t want to bank on your memory alone, then carrying cue cards is highly recommended.

Naturally, if you are presenting along with a deck, you can always turn around casually and refer to the slide. But coming back to where we started – no matter what you do, don’t start reading off the slide! It is there to create a visual reference point to what you are talking about and cannot replace your energy and your passion.

I am sure you are reading this because you have an idea or vision bubbling inside you that is just waiting to come out and I hope reading these tips can help give it the attention it deserves.

Nancy Duarte, the guru of presentation skills, puts it so well –

“..an idea is powerless if it stays inside of you. If you never pull that idea out for others to contend with, it will die with you. Now, maybe some of you guys have tried to convey your idea, and it wasn’t adopted, it was rejected, and some other mediocre or average idea was adopted. And the only difference between those two is in the way it was communicated. Because if you communicate an idea in a way that resonates, change will happen, and you can change the world.”

For working professionals and business owners, a presentation is an essential part of their work. If you feel you need to upgrade your skills in this arena, click on the Request Consultation button above.

fear-of-public-speaking

Why Do We Fear Public Speaking? And What You Can Do Immediately To Vanquish This Fear Once And For All

Have you ever come across someone who tends to freeze in front of an audience, even a couple of people? They find that their mouth dries up, their voice goes weak and their body starts shaking. They may even start sweating profusely, go red in the face and feel their heart thumping rapidly.

Has this happened to you sometime? Do you often shy away from any opportunity to speak in public? Does the thought of speaking in public leave you frozen with fear?

Glossophobia – fear of public speaking

Yes, there is a cool Greek-inspired name for fear of public speaking as well! And as much as 75% of all people are affected by it. Not surprising really, we have all felt butterflies in our stomachs before going up on stage, and most of us have an anecdote or two about public speaking disasters.

But why does something as straightforward as speaking in front of a bunch of people, cause so much dread for so many people?

Studies across the globe have identified four main reasons –

An Anxious Nature

For some people predisposed to anxiety, public speaking can trigger a threat perception hyperarousal – basically your body senses and experiences it as a threat and reacts accordingly – making it even more difficult to perform well.

Your Thoughts

You build it up to be more important than it is, you don’t think you are good enough, you think everyone will judge you and so on – basically your thoughts take over and inflate the importance of the situation to such an extent that natural nervousness snowballs into full-blown fear of public speaking.

Past Experiences

Did you have a bad public speaking experience in the past? Do you speak in public regularly? Your skill and past success or failure play a big role in how you approach public speaking situations.

New or Unfamiliar Situations

It is natural to feel more anxious if you are encountering a new audience or trying out an untested idea or are in an unknown setting. Even something like speaking in your second language or on an unprepared topic can trigger anxiety.

If you are trying to grow your business or climb the corporate ladder or have a fantastic idea that you need to communicate – you need to look your fear in the face and vanquish it.

How? Well keep reading – we have put together some simple tips to help you become a better and more confident speaker.

Know your Content

With anxiety comes the loss of concentration and memory — the first thing to go out of the window is the speech or the presentation you memorised. To avoid a black-out its best to understand your content thoroughly. Don’t just learn the lines; you should know the content well enough to be able to convey the idea in entirely different words.

Practice

For nervous speakers, practice makes perfect! Practice the speech, the pauses, the stance, the gestures and practice in front of a mirror and front of friends. Rehearsing your speech or presentation bakes it in your mind and when anxiety strikes, being over prepared will come in handy.

Relax

Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, meditation or even some physical activity can help you tamp down the anxiety. The goal is to start the speech with a calm frame of mind, a lower heartbeat, and controlled breathing. If you start off nervous, chances are it will keep getting worse.

But relaxation techniques don’t just work overnight – you will need to make them a habit and practice them constantly to see the benefits.

Know your Limitations

Like everything else, public speaking also requires practice and time to perfect. Don’t try to just jump into a big gathering straight away – know your capabilities, start small. If you are having trouble memorising your content, carry bullet points; don’t force a joke or an anecdote if you don’t want to; don’t speak in front of hundreds of people if you can’t handle ten.

Becoming a good orator requires time and experience. Understand which stage you are at and take your time.

Lastly, ask for Help

You don’t have to go at it alone; if a big presentation or an important speech is coming up, then bring in the professionals.

Counsellors can help you structure your content, help you practice, give you useful and actionable tips to improve and also provide the much needed emotional support.

Don’t let the fear of public speaking close opportunities and stunt your professional or personal growth.

Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it so well,

“All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.”

If you want to become a confident and engaging speaker, then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

You might not end up loving the stage, but we promise you will learn not to hate it.

To know more, click on the Request Consultation button above.

secret-sauce

The Secret Sauce for Success

That day I learned something. And that is a learning I decided to apply to my life.

It was the new years’ eve and the entire family had gathered together to ring in the New Year. I decided to whip up something new, something different that evening. I began with confidence but each time I tasted the dish, I had the sense that the dish was lacking in something. Some 3 tastings later, I decided that there was an inherent weakness in the recipe. I kept trying to correct that weakness and in the process ruined what could have become a perfect Master Chef worthy experimental dish.

A couple of hours later, just as the clock was about to strike twelve, I reflected over what went wrong with the dish. I had looked at the cooking process all wrong. I was so obsessed with correcting the weaknesses in the dish that never once did I try to work on the strengths of the recipe. I could have done so much to enhance the taste, some of the flavours were so spot- on and the colour did look perfect.

That night I realized that we tend to focus on our weaknesses way too often when instead we should focus on our strengths, the actual secret sauce for success. I realized that if I want to excel in whatever I do, I need to focus on my strengths and draw out the best from myself.

According to Gallup Database of Strengths- based Interventions, employees who learn to use their strengths are 7.8% more productive on the job and have 14.9% lower turnover.

In fact, during the 1950s, Nebraska School Study Council carried out a state- wide research to identify which teaching method could help improve rapid reading speed. While the statistical results to identify the teaching methods did remain insignificant, two interesting results came to light. The data revealed that performance increased 1.6 times for average performers and performance increased by 8 times for students who were naturally able to read fast.

So what are the ingredients for this secret sauce?

Identify your Capabilities

Think about all your life experiences (the good and the bad) and ask yourself these five questions.

  1. What was so exciting about that experience?
  2. How did I handle that experience?
  3. What did I learn from that experience?
  4. What was unique about my experience?
  5. What exciting words can describe how I handled that situation?

Seek Feedback

Ask any five people you trust what they think are your strengths. Ask them to answer these three questions.

  1. When do you think I was at my best?
  2. What did I do well?
  3. What was unique about the way I handled myself/ the situation?

Invest Time in Developing the Capability

Once you have identified your strengths, invest time in honing them. Practice consistently so that you can perform better.

According to studies conducted by Gallup, an Employee who regularly applies her strengths at work is 5.1 times as likely to strongly agree that she knows what is expected of her at work and 6.2 times as likely to strongly agree that she has the opportunity to do what she does best every day.

Leverage your Strengths

Restructure your roles in such a way that you take on tasks which capitalize on your strengths. Are you excellent at creating presentations? Why not share a presentation with colleagues highlighting processes followed in the department? This will let the concerned people identify your strengths and the same time will highlight how you take initiatives.

So go out there and shine the light on your strengths and expertise and see success follow you around. If you want help in figuring out your strengths, you can explore the coaching programs offered by SoaringEagles. Click on the Request Consultation button above.

Interruptions-Interrupted

Interruptions, Interrupted

It is Monday morning and Marcia starts her week all committed and determined to deliver on all projects before deadline. She reaches work with a spring in her step and a song in her heart (Marcia loves her job and can’t wait for Mondays) and starts her laptop with gumption and alacrity. And lo behold, her colleague pops in and says, “Do you want to grab a cup of coffee before you get started?” And although there is a voice inside her head which is squeaking and pleading with her not to go, a huge monstrous desire to have that coffee and the amazing sandwich to go takes charge, thus quelling that squeak to a non- existent silence. And so, the day goes by with a phone call here, an email there and questions popping in from everywhere. And before she knows it, a whole week has flown by and the deadlines have all been again revised because they couldn’t be met. Does this sound familiar?

Basex research conducted in the US reveals that interruptions can impact an individual’s productivity, energy and work satisfaction and the estimated cost of this impact is close to $588 billion a year. The results of this study are startling given that a large part of our day just gets spent getting interrupted. This estimated figure does not include the rise in error rates and the resulting costs from these errors. 

According to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, error rates doubled following a 2.8-second interruption and tripled after a 4 and a half-second distraction. So, you can imagine the cost implications of interruptions.

So, who creates these interruptions? Others or do we create them? Dr. Gloria Mark, Associate Professor at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California conducted a survey of employees at Microsoft and found that 44% of the time employees ended up interrupting themselves.

So how do we deal with this huge problem of interruptions? You can use the ICAP strategy to deal with interruptions.

ICAP Strategy for Dealing with Interruptions

Identify

We all have To- do lists which help us identify what needs to be done. But we seldom create the Not- to- do lists. Identify all the things that you should not be doing such as peeking into your phone, randomly checking social network updates, compulsively refreshing to check for emails. Interruption could also be in the form of a person reaching out to you with requests. Identify all the elements that are interrupting your work.

According to a study conducted by The Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, when you spend your time constantly on emails, text messages and calls, your IQ drops by 10 points. This loss is the same as the loss you would experience when you miss a night’s sleep. (Yoga Journal, p. 22, 12/2005).

Control

Take control of the situation. Tell people when you will be available to talk to them. Show that you respect time and treat it as a valuable resource. You can do this by valuing others’ time. You can take efforts to show people that you value time by requesting for time on their calendar or being time- bound and not exceeding time allotted to you. Set up a time to check emails. And I know this may sound very drastic but keep your phone switched off during office hours. That way you won’t feel compelled to check for updates.

Assert

Learn to say no. Most often we allow ourselves to be interrupted because it is more difficult to say no or because we feel guilty when we say no. Learn to be Assertive. Remember that you are saying no to the request and are not rejecting the person. It is important to understand that when you are saying yes to this person, you are saying no to your work and the cost implications of saying no to your work are a lot higher that saying no to this person.

Plan

Sometimes, interruptions are unavoidable. You can however plan for these interruptions in your calendar. Most people get overwhelmed due to the ad- hoc tasks that come in and which don’t allow for planned tasks to get done. This is why planning is so critical. When you have your day planned and prioritized, little else can deter it. If the interruption at hand does not lead you closer towards your long-term strategy, it means you must not let interruption get hold of you. If the interruption leads you towards that long-term goal, go ahead and welcome the interruption. Plans can be more fruitful when you have clear understanding of your goals.

This ICAP strategy can help you manage interruptions much better and can help you be more productive. If you don’t have a long-term strategy sketched out yet, now is a good time to work on it. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, “The future depends on what you do today.”

Are you struggling with finding time to do strategic things? Do you find yourself mostly caught up with day-to-day execution challenges and firefighting? How is this impacting your performance and movement towards your goals? Do you want to get a hold over your time and focus on strategic initiatives? A coach can help you with this goal. Feel free to schedule a free consultation with us. 

Communicate-better

How to Communicate Well With Others: Top 5 Tips

Communication is at the core of our existence. Whether we know it or not, we are all communicating with others all the time – be it through words or through our body language. As a social animal, we cannot survive without communicating with other. Why do you think solitary confinement is one of the most stringent punishments in prison? So the first thing to acknowledge is that you can communicate. Don’t ever say or think that you cannot communicate, you will only pull yourself down.

The quality of your communication determines whether you get what you want or not. If you find yourself in situations where people just don’t get what you are saying, it is time to reflect and understand where the communication is not going right –

– is it that your idea is not clear; or

– is it that your words are not appropriate; or

– is it that you are not able to get the attention of the listener; or

– is it that you are not able to get the listener interested in what you have to say; or

– is it that you know what to say but just don’t have the confidence to say it well?

It is important to know where you may be getting stuck so that you can improve the quality of your communication and achieve your objectives. The top 5 tips to enhance the quality of your communication with others are as follows:

Enhance Your Active Vocabulary

It is important to use the appropriate words in our sentences to get our ideas across. If we do not have a strong vocabulary, we will struggle to express our ideas clearly and succinctly. If we have to use a lot of simple words to get across one idea which could have been expressed better with one appropriate word, we run the risk of the listener losing interest in what we have to say or worse our ideas get buried under a bunch of random words. So it is important to have a large active vocabulary, i.e., words that we can actually use while speaking and writing.

Everyone has a much larger passive vocabulary than an active one, and that is perfectly alright. However, if you make efforts to listen to how more advanced or difficult words are used by others and try to use it in your communication, you will develop your active vocabulary and then not be at loss of words. Focus on the type of words you will actually use or that are used actively in your industry.

Be Clear about what you want to say and what you want to get out of it

People have very short attention spans and they don’t like to listen to someone who rambles on without any clear purpose. So before you can engage anyone in a conversation, it is important that you are clear about your own thoughts and ideas. When you have that clarity of thought, you will be able to structure your message better.

It is important to be clear on what is it that you are trying to achieve while talking to someone so that you can guide the discussion towards getting that end objective. This does not mean that you show no interest in the person you are talking to. You objective could very well be to get to know the person better and understand what their challenges are so that you can then see how you can help them. At times we make the assumption that the listener knows what we want and will do the needful without us actually specifically asking for it. This approach may not get you the desired outcome. The better approach is to have a clear ‘call to action’ so that the listener knows what you expect or want them to do.

Grab the attention of the listener

Has this happened to you – you are sitting with a group of people and when you try to say something, you realize that no one is listening and then you just stop talking. Believe me, it happens to almost everybody. The important thing is to not give up and start believing that no one wants to listen to me. You have to make an effort to grab the attention of the listeners and say what you have to say. There are many ways of doing it. You can interject when there is a slight pause in the conversation or when one topic that was being discussed has reached its logical conclusion. You can use phrases like – “I want to add to that” or “I had a similar experience” or “Do you want to hear another perspective” or “I agree and ….” or something on these lines.

Another scenario very common these days is when you are trying to say something and the listener starts looking at their phone or doing something else. Before you can get your message across, you need to grab their attention.

Make it interesting for the listener

If you want to engage with someone and have them listen to your ideas, you need to make sure it is interesting for the listener. You need to look at things from their perspective and present your ideas in a way that makes it meaningful for them. If the listener does not see anything of interest to them in what you have to say, they will eventually switch off and your efforts would be wasted. So it is better to understand your audience and tailor your content so as to make it about your audience and not about you. This simple strategy will see your quality of communication improve dramatically.

Work on building your confidence

When you have confidence in yourself, it shows and it attracts others to you like a magnet. People want to get to know you and your self-confident attitude shows that you are worth their time and effort. A self-confident person also makes others feel better about themselves. People who lack confidence tend to avoid connecting with others, they avoid eye contact and project disinterest. This turns people off. For good conversation to take place, people need to make eye contact and need to show interest in each other. So to become a good conversationalist, work on building your self-confidence. When you feel good about yourself, you will be able to make others feel good about themselves.

Remember, a conversation is always a two–way street so both sides need to get to speak and should listen when the other person is talking. Being a good conversationalist is not only about speaking well but also about listening well. When you listen actively and understand the other person’s perspective, you will be able to present your ideas in a much more attractive manner.

confident-people

10 Traits of Truly Confident People

Have you come across people who appear at peace with themselves? Very few situations can actually get them frazzled. This quiet self-assurance is the sign of a naturally confident person. On the other hand, there are people who try to appear confident by being loud and aggressive but in reality, they are trying to mask their insecurities by putting on a show of strength.

Truly confident people don’t have to try hard to appear in control of a situation – they just are better geared to handle any situation. Confident people tend to have a big impact on everyone they encounter. However, this is achieved more out of the strong influence they have on their own thoughts and actions. They tend to inspire others by setting an example themselves.

So where does this confidence come from? This comes from an innate belief in themselves to be able to handle whatever is thrown at them. This confidence comes from experience and a sense of self-efficacy. This is also a result of actively following some habits consistently over time. The top 10 habits that most naturally confident people possess are as follows:

1. They see challenges as opportunities to learn

Challenges are a part of life. Our attitude towards these challenges determines how we manage them. If we see challenges as an opportunity to learn something new or test our limits, we will go in with the right attitude. On the other hand, if we see challenges as a roadblock, we will not even put the effort required and hence will not be able to manage it successfully. Confident people see challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow and it only adds to their sense of achievement when they overcome it.

2. They are willing to take risks

We grow when we step out of our comfort zone and try something new. Confident people willing take risks and step out of their comfort zone because they have the self-belief that they can handle it. Fear doesn’t hold them back because they know that if they never try, they will never succeed. On the other hand, people who are afraid to take chances tend to stagnate and go deeper into their shell.

3. They actively listen to others

Confident people are better communicators. They know that to really have a good connection, they need to listen. They don’t feel the need to prove themselves. Hence, they have the ability to listen and learn more and respond better.

4. They don’t judge others and themselves harshly

Confident people don’t feel the need to put other people down to feel good about themselves. They are not insecure about themselves and hence can be more balanced in their views about others. They don’t compare themselves to others. They have their own inner benchmarks for themselves. Given their more realistic assessment of themselves, they are also not overly harsh on themselves.

5. They are intrinsically motivated

Most confident people are intrinsically motivated which means that what drives them to do something is their own desire and not an external reward or punishment. This intrinsic motivation enables them to chart their own path and keep going at it.

6. They are doers

Confident people tend to be more action oriented. They have the ability to get things done. They know that if they want some outcome, they have to work for it. They don’t waste time complaining about things that bother them. They actually see what they can do about the situation and go ahead and do it.

7. They are assertive in their communication

Confident people has a heightened sense of self-awareness and know exactly how they feel about different situations. Hence they are able to communicate how they feel about something, assertively and respectfully. This trait actually leads to more respect from others around them for being able to speak their mind.

8. They don’t bother too much about what others think about them

People who always worry about what others will think tend to be unsure about themselves and hence are not confident. Conversely, confident people don’t worry about what others think and they are capable of stating how they themselves feel about any situation. Hence they have a better self-image and self-worth.

9. They are positive

Confident people have a positive attitude in life. Instead of finding faults and complaining and worrying about what can go wrong, they look at the positive side of any situation. Even challenging situations are approached by confident people in a very positive way. They generally feel that things will work out for the better over time.

10. They feel in control of their lives

Confident people have a high internal locus of control. They attribute their success and failures to their own actions and hence believe that they are capable of changing situations. This sense of control gives them a lot of confidence and contentment.

So the next question is, can someone learn to be more confident? Most definitely yes. As long as you are motivated to work on building your confidence, there is no reason why you cannot do so. It will require understanding yourself first and then learning some of these habits and religiously following them over a period of time to start seeing your world change for the better. This is where a coach can help you ensure that you stay on track and get to your goal.

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Why Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone is Important

Many years ago, when I was attending one of my favourite counselling classes, my mentor said, “In life, you can have comfort or growth, you can’t have both.” It is these words that have motivated me to keep moving ahead in life and to inspire others to do the same.

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone requires considerable effort. After all, venturing from a familiar territory to an unknown can appear to be a daunting task, at first. However, once you learn to look at anything new as a challenge, an opportunity to innovate or maximize your potential, you will also learn to embrace the new phases of your life with ease.

Learning to be more open-minded is the key to evolving continuously. Being open-minded means having optimism towards new ideas while viewing life as a journey and a learning experience. Being open to new ideas also means, learning to be accepting of others’ point of view, even if they are different from your own.

There are several ways to step out of your comfort zone, if you haven’t done it already. You could either choose to begin the new year by enrolling in something that’s new to you; be it a new sport, a cooking class, an adventurous trip or learning to play a musical instrument. These are just a few examples that have been listed. The point is, if you truly want to move ahead in life, you have to keep trying something new.

On the professional front, stepping out of your comfort zone could mean exploring opportunities in different places or learning to operate in known places, including your city and country of origin, from a fresh perspective.

Growing up is never easy. But every time, being flexible seems difficult, I’m reminded of what my good old friend from New York once told me before I moved back to India after completing my higher education and acquiring some work experience, “We cannot and should not live in the same chapter of our lives forever. Because the farther we go, the richer we get.”