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.

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.

Avoiding Credit Card Lawsuit With Debt Negotiations

If your creditor is on the verge of filing a credit card lawsuit against you and you do not want to take the case all the way to court, you can save yourself and the other party all the trouble by simply negotiating debt settlement. Debt negotiation is one of the easiest way to get out of debt. However, there are also certain risks involved when negotiating with creditors and these risks will only lead to more problems if you are not careful. Some creditor will try to scam delinquent debtors to squeeze as much money as they can from the negotiation and will often use the credit card lawsuit as a bait.

In this article, we will discuss tips on how to successfully negotiate with your creditor and avoid credit card lawsuit.

Junk Debt Buyers

Dealing with a junk debt buyer is more complicated as opposed to dealing with original creditors because the former will do what they can to take advantage of the situation. In fact, cases wherein debtors paid money for debt negotiation that never took place! So the unknowing debtor thought all’s well with the case when all the while, his or her account was accumulating penalties without her knowledge. So when negotiating a deal with junk debt buyers, make sure everything is done in writing.

Debt Negotiator

Many debtors tend to not ask all the right questions when they are dealing with a company hired by the creditor to conduct the debt negotiation. Always ask questions when things are unclear to you and make sure you let the negotiator know that you are paying attention to the stuff he or she says. In addition, make sure you are always updated on the progress of the negotiation.

Original Creditor

It is within your rights to negotiate a settlement deal with your creditor in order to avoid credit card lawsuit. Unless you need assistance, there is no need for a third party negotiator. If you can hire an attorney to negotiate the deal for you, do so. Lawyers are well versed in negotiations and are bound by an ethical code of conduct. However, if you chose to do things on your own or through a third party negotiator, just make sure you play an active role and get everything done in writing. You cannot expect eve your original creditor to stick by what they say and not go on with the credit card lawsuit.