Delicious Conversation

Last weekend I was engaged in a conversation with two people and we all had something to add, learn and ask. It was delicous and the energy was electric. It was hard to wait my turn to speak and yet, I had to because what was being said was too important to silence.

Not all conversations are as in the moment as this one (too bad for you!) but that’s ok. When you’re in a dull conversation, find something out of the ordinary to add to it and the dullness will evaporate!

Hello? Are You Listening??

Have you ever walked away from a conversation and couldn’t remember what was shared? Can you remember the person’s name or what they were wearing?

This type of mindlessness is often the case because we hold too many things in our head at once. If our conversation focuses on work, our thoughts may drift to a project due soon. If the topic goes to an illness, our thoughts wander again.

Active listening means being present in the moment and focusing your attention on the speaker. When the topic is about work, acknowledge in your head that you have a project due, then return your attention to the speaker.

In order to stay engaged, offer feedback and encouragement to keep the conversation going.  Your body language can send a signal that you’re listening when you face the person, nod your head, smile and look thoughtful as a way to encourage the speaker. 

Now, if you want to get rid of the person (for whatever reason) be sure to do the opposite. Look away, frown, refuse to make eye contact, cross your arms and turn your body away. Your body speaks volumes and you just have to decide what message you want to convey.

Active listening is when you are focused on the other person. You’re listening, commenting, asking questions, detecting the emotion that is associated with the words and creating a safe environment for the speaker. A safe environment is one where there is a balance of sharing. You share something about yourself and the other person does too. 

An imbalance occurs when one person does all the talking and shares too much information. In some cases, when it’s a friendship, this may be a healthy thing. However, in a casual conversation, too much information can make you feel uncomfortable.

The next time you are in a conversation … be there.  You will remember more, engage more and the other person will walk away with the gift of your time.

The Little BIG Things– 163 ways to pursue EXCELLENCE

Book Review:

This book written by Tom Peters, is about making your business better. Some ideas and suggestions will be the light bulb that you’ve been dreaming about and others will be easily dismissed.

The 163 ideas are cost-free and have a high rate of return.  Idea #19 is to celebrate failure because “screwing up a lot is a very good sign of progress”.  When someone is encouraged to try, knowing that failure is allowed, encouraged and expected – why not shoot for the moon?

Idea #37 Put the ‘eye-sparkle factor’ on your menu is a reminder to only hire people who glow. They may not have all the qualifications but their attitude will shine and they will 1) learn the ropes and 2) dazzle the clients and 3) help grow your business. Go for the shine!

Idea #59 inquires how many times you said the words, ‘thank you’ today. Although you already pay your employees for their work, you can’t pay them for their positive attitude. When you say thank you, their efforts are acknowledged and the reward is in the thanks.

Listening (Idea #96) is the mark of respect, the heart and soul of engagement, the basis for true collaboration, and the basis for community and on and on and on. Listening should be a core value for every organization and included in every mission statement. Listening is profitable.

Idea #161 – Retirement sucks. When there is so much to do and so little time, you don’t want to be pushed out the door because of the year of your birth. Change the world or die trying… literally!

The book has an idea for everyone. Read it and decide which 3 ideas apply to your business and apply them.  Then be sure to say Thank You when your sparkly-eyed employee fails. It means you’re listening!

Book Review: Small is the new big by Seth Godin

Seth Godin has been blogging for the past 100 years or so and finally realized that his insightful information was being read by the choir. They already knew the ideas, followed their bliss, thanked their mommas, ditched their nasty jobs, embraced change, paved new paths,  discarded safety, and stood apart from the ‘others’.

This book is a compilation of his posts put into book format as a way to reach those who are stuck in their 9-5 safe job, counting down the days until they retire. We know now, that their retirement is going to be much further away. Will they stick it out in their hum drum world? Would you?

Godin’s brief posts are easy to read, digest and comprehend. He reflected on blogging and the unique personality of the blogger. To be able to share your opinion in a world where people don’t read or don’t care is a rare talent. I have that talent and appreciate that you’re taking the time to read this review.

The book will remind you about things you promised to do (revise your mission statement, ask ‘why’, question progress) and forgot in the rapid speed of our everyday lives. When you read it, jot down three things to follow up on and then check them off your list. Those three things will be worth the cost of the book and probably much more down the road.

Small is the new big by Seth Godin

Before there were mice…

When I started using a computer in the early 1990’s, there was only a keyboard. There was no mouse to move around and help me to get in and out of places.

If I wanted to delete something, I would highlight it by putting my curser at one spot – drag it to the next to highlight it, and then select CTL+D to delete it.

miceTo copy something, I would highlight it and then select CTL+C to copy it and select CTL+V to paste it.

Remember, once you copy something you can paste it anywhere. If you write a document in MS Word and copy it, you can paste it to your blog, into a job application, as a comment in a browser… anywhere.

This tip can save you tons of time because you can write in MS Word and spell check it and then copy and paste it. If the internet goes down or for some reason rejects your input – that’s ok because you still have it saved as a Word document and you can copy and paste it again.

I still use many of these shortcuts because it’s easier to keep my fingers on the keyboard instead of reaching for the mouse. Here are the shortcuts I use daily:

  • CTRL+C: Copy
  • CTRL+X: Cut
  • CTRL+V: Paste
  • CTRL+Z: Undo
  • CTRL+B: Bold
  • CTRL+U: Underline
  • CTRL+I: Italic
  • CTRL+P: Print
  • CTRL+F: Find a word or phrase in a document
  • CTRL+HOME: Takes you to the start of the document
  • CTRL+END: Takes you to the end of the document

Ever have too many windows open and you just want to see something on your desktop and hate having to close each window one by one? A simple and quick way to view the desktop immediately is to click the Windows logo (find the logo at the bottom row of the keyboard on the left) + D and you’ll be looking at your desktop. All those other applications are still there and still open. To view them, select Alt + Tab.

  • Windows Logo+R: Run dialog box
  • Windows Logo+E: Windows Explorer
  • Windows Logo+F: Find files or folders
  • Windows Logo+D: Minimizes all open windows and displays the desktop

These shortcuts come in handy when you’re using a laptop and are using too much time trying to remember where all these commands are. They’re right here!

Another Great Time saver:

When you’re working on your desktop and want to find a file, select Windows Logo+R and a dialog box will open up. Enter the name of the file, folder, image, document or whatever it is and it will open it up for you. Very cool indeed!