Why Be Pre-Occupied? “Just Being Present” – Part 2

Being in the lion’s pit of life is interesting at times, isn’t it? This is real tongue-in-cheek stuff. One day or even one afternoon can present so many opportunities to become waylaid with worries, fears and anxieties… enough to last the rest of the day, and into the next, easy!

But, this is where control over the mind and our mental processes can come to our rescue.

Recently, I had the privilege of reading an extraordinary piece of wisdom titled, “Practicing awareness in everyday life.”[1] It’s all about the subject of awareness; the skill of staying in the present. The author says it’s the most important skill that we could acquire.

The issue is about how much of our awake time we spend partially or completely distracted from our present activities, because we’re focused on the past or future–”neither of which exist.”

As we experience life, there are so many things that have just gone or are about to hit us that consume our ordinary thinking. This leaves us drained of the attention we could place in the present. No wonder we struggle to listen to people properly half the time.

This subject is all about staying ‘in the truth.’ It’s about sticking with our senses and what they tell us to feel, in the moment. We’re told to focus, particularly around decision-making, on what we’re actually thinking, feeling, saying and doing–that is, we need to be intimately aware of ourselves.

Even simple tasks such as brushing our teeth should require all our ‘manual’ attention. The objective here is to train the mind to think manually, and resist our preponderance to go into mental autopilot. We should “practise awareness until we can operate ‘automatically on manual’, so we can choose to ‘manually go to automatic’.”

What this means is once we’re trained to be aware at will, we then have the ability to become more competent over our attitudes; we become ‘attitudinally competent.’ We can then screen out the unhelpful emotional distractions, scheduling our focus on these for times when we wish to deliberately reflect on the past and plan for the future. We effectively hold the moment (emotionally) and deal with it at a predetermined time later.

We should become adept at being a silent observer of ourselves, being attuned to our thoughts, feelings, words and actions. There is no more basic a goal for a person to have than to become self-aware, and that continually so.

We must resist allowing our minds to wander and meander in undisciplined ways; sure, when we watch a movie and want to relax, a free mind is fine; but truly, do we think an unfocused mind dribbling through the immediate past or near future is helpful? It can’t possibly be and “running of ‘old part-fiction movies’ is insanity.”

Reflection and planning must be restricted to “fully truthful” aspects. We need to determine what truth there is, sifting out the innuendo and assumptions.

So, let’s get to work on not being pre-occupied mentally and simply stay in the moment practicing awareness. Even during so-called stressful times, we’ll benefit from the fresh perspective and strength that comes as a result.

How SMS API Integration Can Improve Your Business Communications

Communication is the key, be it maintaining a personal connection or growing business relationships. Maintaining seamless communication with customers has become even more important today as the competition is at an all-time high. Therefore, having an SMS API has become more of a necessity. An SMS API allows businesses to integrate SMS gateway into existing business software. With quick messages, you can update the customers in real-time which is important for targeting marketing. There are several other advantages of SMS API Integration that can help you improve your business communications.

1. Higher Visibility and Tracking
An SMS API can considerably enhance visibility in your communication efforts. It does so by facilitating message tracking through real-time delivery receipts. Through on-spot delivery receipts, you can fix any anomaly in case of non-delivery.

It also has a tagging feature that informs your application of a suitable outbound message that befits any given response. This is especially important for transactional messaging applications where you have to streamline ongoing communication response times.

2. Better Efficiency In Operations
SMS APIs enable great efficiency by reducing the need for manual intervention. With the help of SMS API, you can automate text messaging that ensures your communication rolls out as planned. For commercial purposes where you have to send similar messages regularly, an SMS API could be a lifesaver.

It saves you from the monotonous job of mechanically sending these messages to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of recipients. For more time-sensitive messages, you can also schedule the message so that the customers receive the messages at a strategic time that invokes action in them.

3. Fast and Secure Delivery
SMS API ensures a quick and safe distribution of text messages to a large number of people. As the SMS API provides direct access to the SMS gateway, you can get the advantage of direct access to enhanced speed and security.

A good SMS API provider, such as mTalkz in India, allows you to have a very secure and reliable connection between your system and the service provider. It does so by ensuring that your messages are sent over a secured internet connection.

4. Better Focus on Other Tasks
One of the most important yet the least talked about advantages of SMS API is that it saves a lot of time and energy. When the marketing department is relieved of the monotonous task of sending bulk messages daily, they are in a better position to devise new and more effective marketing strategies.

The time and energy saved from messaging can be invested in other important marketing activities. In addition to that, automation of SMS reduces the chance of error which could prove to be very detrimental for the goodwill of the organization.

5. Integration with Business System
The SMS API works across your business applications and platforms. It integrates the business functions by enabling you to manage your messages from a single interface. This unified experience provides a more integrated and cohesive communication that eliminates the chances of error or miscommunication.

This ease of integration is very fruitful for ensuring seamless communication with the customers. This is because the single interface of an Bulk SMS API is very user-centric. It puts everything in one place so that you can easily access all the important information without going back and forth on different apps. It also gives you a clear picture of the impact that your communication strategies are leaving on the business’s goodwill and profits.

Hence, we see that although new communication technologies are emerging every year, SMS still enjoys the reputation of being the most easily accessible channel to connect with present and potential customers. Therefore, as a business owner, you should prudently invest in a competent SMS API service provided by a renowned mobility service provider.

Presentations – Stand Out Tip – Listen Actively

Standing out is a function of how your present yourself to others and how you react to others. The ability to be a good listener is a strong stand out quality.

However, you need to recognize what good listening is not. Obviously, it is not marginal listening — giving half an ear to the speaker while you’re watching television, reading the paper, or working on your computer. You might be surprised to know it’s also not evaluative listening — where you do hear the gist of what the speaker says, but you’re evaluating the content so you can prepare your response. The dead giveaway when you use this type of listening is when your response starts out with, “Yes, but…”

The best and most powerful form of listening is “active listening.” It fulfills two very basic human needs-to be heard and to be understood. There are three crucial steps to active listening. Think of the acronym EAR to help you remember these steps:

ENGAGE THE SPEAKER. In other words, show the speaker that you’re listening by looking him in the eye, nodding occasionally, showing appropriate facial expressions (a smile for good news, concern for distressing news). Project open and relaxed body language. Also keep in mind that total silence does not imply listening. Give vocal signals such as: “mm-hmm,” “yes,” “really?,” “I see,” etc.

ACTUALLY HEAR WHAT’S BEING SAID. This means you have to pay attention and process the information. You must concentrate on the content of the message, which is what the speaker is saying, plus the intent, which is what she’s feeling or what she means. It may help by repeating to yourself her key words or main ideas and also observing the nonverbal cues she’s giving.

RESPOND APPROPRIATELY. This third step is the key to effectively wielding the power of listening. Instead of saying, “Yes, but…”, you let the other party know you’ve heard and understood him. It can take three forms:

1. Paraphrasing. This means repeating the gist of the message. It’s generally preceded by, “So what you’re saying is…” or “In other words…” or “If I understand you correctly…” The ability to do this lets the speaker know you did in fact hear the content of what he said. The amazing thing about paraphrasing is that once people feel like you heard them, they can be more receptive and open to what you have to say.

2. Probing. This is a particularly important technique in diffusing the tension that comes with disagreement. After the speaker has made a statement, instead of launching into your rebuttal, you probe for more information. “Why do you think that?” “What’s the downside to that?” “Can you give me some examples?” This lets the speaker know you’re interested in hearing his side, which in turn will make him more likely to listen to your side. 

3. Reflecting back feelings. This is the finer-tuned skill of interpreting how the speaker feels about what she said. “You must be so proud,” or “That certainly must have made you angry,” or “I imagine you’re very hurt by that…” are examples of reflecting. This is the ultimate validation a speaker can receive: being heard and being understood. When you give that gift to others, it opens doors, breaks down barriers, reduces anger, decreases resistance.

 Listening actively is a magical skill. Its mastery can have a profound, positive impact on giving you “stand out” presence.