reflection

Self-Control: The secret to successful speaking & listening

Technology allows us to communicate faster, more frequently, and to a wider audience. But who’s listening? The more we communicate, the harder it is to listen well—to focus on one person and their words. This is where self-control comes in—being able to pause yourself, and focus on the speaker and what they’re saying. Do You…

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Adding Silence: How to improve workshops, speeches & conversations

Silence is like flipflops for the brain; it helps us slow down and relax. Consider these 5 reasons to include silence in your speeches and conversations: Silence draws attention. Pauses emphasize what you’ve just said or alerts the listener to what you’re about to say. Silence helps listeners digest. Listeners get a moment to fully digest what…

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Personal Anecdotes: 6 Pro Tips for teachers, trainers, speakers and leaders

I was the wittiest teacher in town until that day. Mid-joke, I suddenly realized that my students laugh because I control their grades. Damn. I shut my mouth and got serious about my job. Which isn’t to say I’m solemn now—keeping things light helps learning, and personal anecdotes add depth to speeches. But my job is to…

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Teenagers: 15 Tips for Peaceful Communication

Sometimes it seems that all teens do is communicate—texting, instagramming, skyping. But when adults try to talk to teens, both sides often end up frustrated, annoyed or bewildered. How can we bridge this gap? First, Understand your Audience Consider what it is to be teenaged. Teens are in transition between childhood and adulthood. They look…

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Kids and Swearing: How to get the little ones to stop talking sh*t

Ahh the power of words: to inspire, teach and offend. Nothing beats the precision of a well-placed profanity, but swearing is like hot sauce—a little goes a long way. I hate hearing kids curse. Although it’s a natural part of their development, swearing is a harsh reminder of lost innocence, especially when it’s your own kid. I…

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Conversation Skills: Are you sharing or monopolizing?

Sitting in a coffee shop listening to two women talk over each other, I am reminded of that apt analogy of two TVs, both turned on and facing each other. Lots of words but little communication. We’re all guilty sometimes of talking at rather than to our listener; of delivering monologues instead of mutually exploring…

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Complaining: Committed vs Uncommitted

Committed complaining: have you heard of it? The idea is that we complain in two ways: committed or uncommitted to fixing the problem. Sometimes we’re just grousing: I’m cold, my office is cold, I hate working here, my boss is a nightmare… Uncommitted complaining begins and ends with the complaint. You don’t like something but…

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Beyond No! Communicating with Toddlers

Communicating with two-year-olds can be frustrating. They’re passionate and stubborn, as likely to bite as to speak. But it doesn’t have to be this way—spending time with toddlers can be fun! Yes, really. Toddlers are amazing—they’re still connected to their magic, and look at the world in a way we’ve forgotten. They have lots to…

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Are You an Interrupting Cow? How to be a better listener, and more popular too

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Interrupting Cow. Interrupting Cow wh– Moo! Are you an interrupting cow? How often do you allow a pause after someone’s finished speaking? Be honest, how often do you let people finish speaking? Interrupting is such a deeply ingrained habit for some that we don’t even notice when we do it. Kicking that habit…

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7 Swift Steps To Better Communication

Identify your goal—what exactly do you want your audience to know or do? Identify your audience—who are they, what do they need to know, what do they already know, what’s their preferred method of communication? Outline your message—are the important points included and in a logical order? Respect your audience—you are using moments of their…

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4 Wrong Reasons to Communicate

There’s a great acronym that makes me look smart and wise. It’s WAIT, and stands for Why Am I Talking? What a brilliant question to ask yourself! You might decide not to speak if your answer is any of the following: Gossip Is the “news” you’re sharing about someone else just veiled gossip? Even if it seems…

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18 Words At A Time: How to talk so kids will listen (and possibly do what you ask)

This post will help you talk clearly and kindly to the kids in your life. You’ll learn how to stay calm and retain authority while having wonderful relationships with magical and miraculous creatures.  Keep it Short With kids you have up to 18 words. After 18 they lose interest and your voice becomes only so much…

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The Power of Words

My heart broke as I watched a young dad yelling at his crying two-year-old. I wanted to swoop in, rescue the kid, and teach the dad how big and scary he was. The dad was obviously frustrated beyond belief, but yelling wasn’t a great choice. I too have felt that level of frustration, in my…

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Change Your Words, Change Your Worldview

Cleaning some research files, I stumble across this evocative statement: The Social model of disability …the general term disability is applied not because of an inability to function but rather because of an innate inability to operate by modern society’s standards… For example in a pre-literate society, someone with Dyslexia would have no problem functioning and…

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You Might Like To…

A famous teacher and community leader (Thich Nhat Hanh) gives instructions framed as “You might like to…” What a transformative concept. Saying “You might like to” instead of “You must” is refreshingly respectful and helpful. It’s not telling us what to do. It’s trusting us to find our own answers. As teachers and leaders we might…

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