CONTINUING ON CHAPTER 4: LISTENING



There are many misconconceptions about listening. Generally people overestimate their own listening abilities and underestimate the listening abilities of others. Good listening is not a skill that we are born with, it is not a natural gift. Without practice and training we are unlikely to be particularly effective listeners.

Moreover, there is no link between intelligence and how well we listen.  Although being bright and having a good vocabulary may make it easier to process information and gain understanding, these qualities do not necessarily make clever people better listeners. Very intelligent people may be more likely to get bored with a conversation and ‘tune out’, thinking about other things and therefore not listening.

People with higher emotional intelligence, on the other hand, are more likely to be better listeners. Emotional Intelligence is the measure of a person’s likelihood to consider the emotional needs of others - and that often comes about through good listening. 

CHAPTER 4: LISTENING



Are you a good listener?

My grandmother used to tell me that God had given us two ears and one mouth so we could have listened twice as much as we speak. Most people think that to become a good communicator you have to focus on becoming great speakers, but listening is just as important as speaking in the communication process active listening is a skill worthy of developing, if for no other reason than it is becoming an increasingly rare commodity. Well...and how can we improve that?

First of all,  Make Eye Contact. If you don’t look at the person while they’re speaking, you give them the impression that you don’t care what they say.
Then, let the person speak uninterrupted: shine the spotlight on them, not on you. Meanwhile, show you understand. Simple gestures -- nodding, raising the eyebrows, or leaning forward -- all can convey interest. Occasional comments, such as "I see," "that's interest," or "tell me more about that," if said with genuine interest, can go a long way toward reassuring the speaker.
Learn to  listen without thinking and judging. To effectively master the art of listening it’s extremely important to concentrate on the speaker and withhold any negative evaluations or judgments. Resist the temptation to monopolize conversation. If you like to dominate a situation or feel you know everything there is to know about a subject, you're probably a poor listener. Because we usually think three to four times faster than we talk, we often get impatient with a speaker's slow progress, and our minds wander. Try using the extra time by silently reviewing and summarizing the speaker's main points. Then, when he's finished, you can paraphrase. When you restate in your own words what the speaker is saying, you prove that you’re listening carefully.

CONTINUING ON CHAPTER 3: BRANDING



Keep building your credibility. Be true to not only who you are today, but who you are committed to being down the road. Your personal brand must be authentic in order to truly resonate with others. 

Consistency is crucial. Once you have your message, engage with your audience while monitoring their engagement and use the results to guide your strategy. Having a large and engaged following  comes with two main benefits: it grows your brand awareness and builds your credibility as an expert in your field.

Be transparent: share what you do, what you think. Knowing who you are includes identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and being familiar with your character flaws and special skills. Once you know yourself and what you stand for, you will be able to effectively communicate. 

You must become memorable to people.

CHAPTER 3: BRANDING



What an incredible paradox...As children we don’t know the world but we all know who we want to be in life: ask a four-year-old kid about his dreamt-to-be job and he will have no doubt in answering. How come that, as adults and with all our experience, it gets so complicated? We are often unable to find our essence, unable to communicate it.

Personal branding is the art of building a unique brand around yourself as an individual. It requires you to find a signature image, a unique voice that can be recognized.
Personal branding is becoming increasingly important because people want to do business with other people, not with companies. A well-defined personal brand can also assist in establishing your credibility, standing out from your peers and showcasing your best self. Everyone has a personal brand, whether you want one or not. If you are not taking control and managing your brand, that means others are doing it for you. Therefore, you need to define your personal, “branded-to measure” strategy.

As a first step, you have to determine your area of expertise: you have to decide what you want to be known for in a very specific niche. Once you know your area of focus, it's time to start building your reputation through Content marketing. If you can become a trusted source of information through your content, over time you'll become collectively known as the expert of your specific field. It's best to start your own blog and update it on a regular (at least weekly) basis, but it's also a good idea to start guest blogging on other reputable blogs. If content is the fuel for your personal brand, social media is the engine.

Then, start networking. You should consider looking for speaking events in your area, which will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise while connecting with new audiences. Attend professional networking events to meet influencers in your area, and in the online world, engage in community discussions whenever you can. The more opportunities you have to meet people and talk, the better.

The process of defining your personal brand requires time and many iterations to refine, since most of us are changing personally and professionally all the time. Your personal brand should be organic and evolve with you, as it is a never-ending journey of self-discovery.

CONTINUING ON CHAPTER TWO: ELOCUTION

Convincing could be the mantra for a narration. No matter what subject you’re talking about the ability to sound convincing encompasses skills of coherent explanation, a measured neutral or sometimes friendly tone, an appropriate amount of conversationality and energy, and an authoritativeness that’s believable and approachable. 

Then, consistency. In volume, energy, pacing, articulation, characterization in your eye-brain-mouth coordination. This will allow you to stay connected to what you’re reading, which is vital to your performance and the believability of your interpretation. If you’re not enthusiastic about what they’re talking about, why should the listener be interested in what you have to say? 

The other mantra is control. You need to control your pitch, volume and breath. You can control your pitch by understanding intonation, realizing that there are many musical applications to the spoken word. You can control your volume by understanding that volume for the most part has to be consistent. It’s the intensity that varies throughout a read. You have to maintain excellent breath control by constantly replenishing the amount of air in order to get through words and phrases confidently. 

So…breath..and enjoy the Art of Speaking.