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Posts tagged ‘Art of Communication’

Being Mindful

It would seem superfluous disputing that the mind is the most important cognitive part of the body; assuming that’s so, being ‘mindful’ should be at least in the highest echelon of good default positions.

What does mindfulness mean? An article in the February edition of Toastmaster magazine gives this a thoughtful (as it were) look.

The author wastes no time in maximizing the scope of mind matters: she uses the example of a familiar cartoon called ‘The Worrier Pose’, which illustrates that we typically juggle a miasma of concerns, to make the point that what may be top of the whirlpool of our mind is – everything!

Engaging in mindfulness helps divert us from self-judgement and other distractions of consciousness. It has been a part of practices such as yoga and Buddhism for centuries. In our times, this subject had come to influence a range of fields, from psychotherapy to sports.

To dissect what mindfulness really encompasses, consider these elements:

  • Focusing on the moment: ‘secular’ mindfulness is considered to mean paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment in a non-judgemental way; in this way one’s senses are tuned in to now; accepting that the mind will wander, meditation can be a valuable way to address this, as an “activity of bringing your mind back when it wanders”, training it to settle on the present
  • Focusing on the mind itself: another perspective sees mindfulness as being aware of our mental states, non-judgementally; adhering to this practice helps one to breed an inner balance along with self-confidence, and moreover one can “more readily access creativity and intuition necessary for publicly communicating a vision and problem-solving”; feelings such as anxiety can be recognized for what they are, minimizing their impact
  • Focusing on colleagues and others in supportive groups and professional organizations: understand and encourage the diversity in others one encounters in these groups, reducing barriers and increasing connection, as well as enhancing our communicative skills in speaking and listening

There are also a few suggestions on to how to ‘cultivate’ mindfulness.

  • Keep some physical distance from one’s cell phone
  • Concentrate on one task at a time (multi-tasking is multi-muddling)
  • Try changing habitual responses, such as using the less dominant hand for tasks usually done with the other
  • Pay attention to all of one’s senses
  • Use the meditative practice of focusing on the centre of the body, which substitutes awareness of the present moment in lieu of attention on thinking

These approaches contribute to enhancing ‘mental strength and clarity’, laudable resources for coping with our fast-paced lifestyle.

Adding Value

The proposition of ‘adding value’ has been an underlying foundation for success in service-oriented businesses for many years.

If one wants to generate a positive, lasting and loyal, relationship with customers, providing those extra ingredients of value is vital. This could be indirectly related to business, i.e. taking clients to lunch, paying for tickets to events, etc., or more directly, such as keeping in regular contact, or going the extra mile in solving problems quickly, or obtaining more helpful data for decision making.

As someone who spent more than two decades in the financial services industry, I can attest that these qualities helped me retain clients for the long term.

An article in the January edition of The Insurance & Investment Journal looks at the value proposition playing out in the marketplace for current advisors. The gist of the perspective is that, to cope with technological change, not least of which is the growing impact of artificial intelligence, advisors need to exploit adding value through specialization and breadth of product knowledge. Changes involving online selling and administration demand making positive use of technology.

Into this mix one can add the evolving demands of consumers, to which advisors and businesses both must adapt if they want to remain in the picture.

There are, of course, other creative ways in which to add value:

  • Hand out colourful PLUS signs to help keep top of mind the goal of having an ‘add(ed)’ mindset
  • Provide clients with pocket magnifiers so they can more easily see data they actually want
  • Sensitize frequently used forms to personify them in presentations and administration requirements
  • Have some delicately coded ‘dirt’ on robot advisors to make it easier to damage their competitive credibility if need be
  • Secretly buy share certificates in AI technology, and include them as promotional gifts to clients
  • Bring along visual specialists, to strive to make every environment shown in the best light

TOP 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

It may be a new year, but there’s still baggage on the horizon…

  1. Lose weight by trimming your bling or dysfunctional cosmetic implants, whichever is heavier
  2. Get brochures or postcards of travel destinations you would have gone to if they were more affordable
  3. Set up a dart board with images of individuals or businesses which would benefit from getting the point
  4. Post a list of resolutions in declining font size and brightness so the later ones can be overlooked more easily
  5. Use a business card with a chip which allows for it to be remotely dissolved if the cardholder proves unworthy
  6. Invent a new species and become its trusted advisor in bilateral negotiations
  7. Memorize the first and last lines of book chapters so you sound like you are well read
  8. Develop a new social networking site which functions strictly to vote and comment on other social networking sites
  9. Eliminate any references to ‘trumped-up’, since that expression now has an inescapably deflating political connection
  10. Take back-to-back courses on empathy and callousness, then have a point-counterpoint debate with yourself


TOP 10 ‘Black Friday’ Shopping Realities

Tis the time of year for great expectations – on the part of shoppers looking for bargain prices.

Be it pre-Black Friday, Black Friday week, or the day itself, not to mention Cyber Monday, with surely in time more marketing lures to come, there is an aura of ‘spend now, to save later’ in the air. This seems to be going on for an expanding time frame every year. (more…)

The Look of Reflection

How vulnerable are you to an overload of envy about the success of others, especially people you know well?

An article in the December issue of Psychology Today delves into this subject, with a subtext of measuring how happy and successful we feel about our own lives. The ease with which this can become a personal issue has been dramatically escalated by the rise in access to and influence of social media. (more…)

A Multidimensional Palette

An item in the December issue of Psychology Today covers the arena of colours, which are not perceived the same universally, since many of us literally see them differently.

The article focuses on the daughter of a London florist, as such well acquainted with a wide palette from an early age, who has authored a book titled, “The Secret Lives of Color” (not British spelling, for some reason). The latter covers the history of seventy-five colours, including such obscure varieties as hematite and obsidian. (more…)

How to Increase Business as Much as 500%

Anyone involved with building a successful business knows that it grows, or it founders. If increasing the pool of customers or sales does not occur each year, then the business will go downhill; no matter how effective one is, drop-offs inevitably occur with the current base, for a variety of reasons.

In the October issue of The Insurance & Investment Journal, the ‘advice’ column addresses the issue of staying on track with goals, with the carrot-on-a-stick of increasing results by as much as 500%. (more…)