Things I Like…

My cousin challenged me to write an essay on things I like and this was the result

I like writing, it really makes me happy but strangely I need to be in the right mood and that doesn’t happen all the time. But today is one of those days and I have been writing a lot, case in point being this essay!

The other thing I really enjoy is something that doesn’t have an exact word to describe it. It’s basically about enjoying the little things in life. So a cool breeze at the end of a hot summer’s day, the sound of rain on the window pane, reading my favourite books, falling asleep to nice music, just laying in bed relaxing doing absolutely nothing and the list goes on!

I like making plans, and some of them can be extremely improbable and most of the time I do nothing about them just build them up in my head and then put them away. Let’s see maybe someday I’ll actually put one of them to action!

I like having interesting conversation, discovering a new point of view or finding that someone shares your view can both be exhilarating. We can learn so much from every single conversation that we have, it’s amazing, all you have to do is open your mind to it. It usually works best when you don’t have an agenda to fulfill!

Lastly, (and this is something that I learnt today in Facilitation School) I will make a genuine effort to connect with people who are very different from me in their thought process and approach to work. I will not judge them for it, I will still do what I already do in my personal life and look for the best in them because I believe that there is something good in the worst of us and something bad in the best of us.

The Beauty Of Different

Karen Walrond is a writer and photographer and the author of ‘The Beauty of Different’, a book about celebrating the uniqueness of each individual and proving that everyone is beautiful. I know her from a TED talk video where she talks about the theme of resonance.

In this video she outlines 2 beautiful themes. 

The first is the simple concept of the fact that whenever we are in a situation where we are the ones who are different, we start looking for whats familiar since that is what stands out. If you reverse the situation and you are in familiar territory, and someone else is different, you no longer try to find the resonance and dismiss it as different. This very simple (but powerful) concept is what leads to any number of societal evils: the minute we don’t stop to see the familiar in the different we stop connecting to the situation or person and biases begin to form. 

The second one derives from the first and tells us what we could do to make that connection everywhere we go. As in photography, she advises that we should ‘always look for the light’. The light that shines from each one of us is what resonates with others and that is what we connect to. Whenever you meet or interact with someone, consider yourself a tourist in their world and look for the light in them that you can connect to and then you shall be able to look past the different and find the familiar which ultimately leads to our own growth and joy. Every time that we don’t attempt to do this, we are stunting ourselves and also contributing to the restrictions in society which shun everything different.

Hope you enjoy the talk as much as I did. Cheers!

Harvard Business Review Blog: How To Give a Killer Presentation

Read two amazing articles on the Harvard Business Review blog.

The first one can be found here.

The second one titled, How To Give a Killer Presentation (need to sign up on the HBR site for reading the complete article) is a must read for anyone who has ever had stage fright. Speaking from experience I know just how terrified I get when getting up and speaking in front of an audience. Well this article is heaven sent, it provides a systematic process of how to prepare yourself to give a great (actually killer :P)  presentation. Now while it might not be very practical to follow this method for every single presentation we ever make, but if we shortlist the most important ones and prepare really well, very soon it will become a habit, a habit that will give us the confidence to speak up (and well!) every time.It’s quite a long article but well worth the read. Summarizing the key points here..

1/ Frame your story (figure out where to start and where to end)
2/ Plan your delivery (decide whether to memorize your speech word for word or develop bullet points and then rehearse it over and over)
3/ Work on stage presence (but remember that your story matters more than how you stand or whether you’re visibly nervous)
4/ Plan the multimedia (whatever you do, don’t read from PowerPoint slides)
5/ Put it together (play to your strengths and be authentic)

The summary really doesn’t do justice to the complete article which is written by the curator of TED Talks, Chris Anderson. For more than 30 years, the TED conference series has presented enlightening talks that people enjoy watching and the article is interspersed with plenty of examples of brilliant talks from the series.

Happy Reading. Cheers!

Harvard Business Review Blog: Battle-Tested Tips for Effective Explanation

Read two amazing articles on the Harvard Business Review blog.

The first one titled, Battle-Tested Tips for Effective Explanation is the very interesting concept of dazzling with clarity and simplicity. It gives you 7 simple tips on communicating effectively. It doesn’t matter if your audience is one or hundred, selling your idea is essentially just good communication and good communication is good explanation. So the 7 tips in a nutshell go as follows:

1/ Make Your Audience Feel Smart, Instead of Making Yourself Look Smart
2/ Explain the Forest, Not Just the Trees
3/ Add Details Sparingly
4/ Write Less Copy, Use More Visuals
5/ Remember Your Audience is Human
6/ Focus on Why
7/ Your Job is to Inform Smart People

Highly recommended reading for anyone who has a lot of communicating to do but finds themselves unable to quite clinch it. Cheers!