Tenacity through Tough Times

These are tough times.

Tenacity through Tough Times!

 
These are scary and very unusual times.
 
Neither I nor every elderly person I know or knew have experienced anything like this.
 
Yes, there was scurvy, leprosy, polio, WW1, WW2, Holocaust, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, SARS, HIV and even 9/11. They were all scary, lethal and very damaging.
 
Yet none of them was as invisible, as undetectable and with a potential to shroud and sicken in such large numbers over such vast distances, and at such a rapid speed.
 
It has brought the whole world to its knees, it has even slowed down time.
 
Yet, a part of me is telling me that even though our knees may have buckled, even though our hearts have been grabbed by a chilly, macabre hand our spirits still burn.
 
On the streets of Philippines where I live, where people love being close to each other, support and and care for each were for some days taken by surprise and shock.
 
It was against their very nature to keep away, to not support and not care. In the last two days small gestures and conversations of care, compassion and courage have begun to emerge.
 
Yesterday, I heard a young leader claim that she’d stand behind and support her small team of four, who still had to physically report for work.
 
Half the consultants and coaches I personally know have moved half their value creating work online for their clients at no cost.
 
Many doctors and health workers have swore to stay on and work in the hospitals until this battle is over.
 
This morning, a Sunday, a few homes across my place I heard church services being conducted. To me that is a sign. A big one. A sign that says we will all, across the world, break through and climb over to a shinier and a brighter day, to shinier and a brighter world.
Yes, it will be a totally brand new world from here on and it is bound to be a lot more creative, courageous and compassionate.
 
Raju Mandhyan
On April, I am inviting you to an online chat on “Tenacity through Tough Times,” please click to learn more and sign up. The first 25 seats are complimentary.
Learning to Learn

Nothing Beats Learning to Learn

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A few years ago, I had the honor of interviewing the Director of Application Services of Hewlett Packard, Philippines, one Mr. Noel Mendoza and though the subject of our discussions was information technology and its growing impact on the world, there was something he said outside of the interview that got velcroed to my heart and I share that thought with you here today.

Learning to Learn

Raju Mandhyan at the American Management Association

Noel Mendoza mentioned that his father, the distinguished Professor Gabby Mendoza of the Asian Institute of Management had left an indelible mark on him and that mark stated that nothing is more important in a human being’s life than building and sustaining one’s ability in learning to learn. No diplomas, no degrees or doctorates granted by any institution can match up to one’s ability to become a self-driven learner at work and in life.

And, what applies in our daily lives and in our self-development and leadership initiatives alos applies to selling and serving the needs of our customers.

Years ago there was this humorous story about an inept salesman selling Bibles across the small towns of America was going around the internet. It’s a great story and puts across the point of eagerness and learning.

This Bible salesman would knock upon the doors, mumble his way through his introduction, stumble through his presentation and make an overall mess of what was considered to be an easy sale back in the day.

Upon seeing his inadequacy at his job, most of the people answering the door would get frustrated at his approach and respond with,

“You don’t know a thing about selling, do you?”

“No, ma’am, not really! I am new to this job and also quite clumsy around it.”

“Oh, you nitwit you, there’s nothing tough about selling, you know!”

“Yes, ma’am, you’re absolutely right. I need to trust that fact.”

“Oh, come now,” they’d rebuke, “let me show you how.”

And, the customer would then go about teaching this nitwit of a salesperson how to sell correctly. Well, at the end, you guessed it. His sales multiplied and he often made it to superstar status in his company.

His approach might be considered tricky today, but the essence of the Bible salesperson’s story lies in our wanting to learn.  When your buyer senses and is convinced you want to learn about them to help them improve, then they often lean over backwards and hand you their trust in spades.

My belief is this ‘wanting to learn’ is about innate curiosity. This desire to learn and add value is the anti-thesis, the opposite of what has been considered a standard selling process. In the standard selling process, the seller shamelessly shoves features, advantages and benefits to the prospective buyer.  The reversal of this attitude and the desire to learn creates a good vacuum that draws the buyer in to where solutions can be created.

I massively trust and profess success from the process of inquiry and questioning at any time and place.  This is the process of diagnostics and counselling that community workers, therapists, and doctors utilize. It is the process of interacting, learning and understanding our clients prior to prescribing solutions.  Interacting, inquiring deeply to learn about the customer is the true Heart of the Close.

A good teacher makes for a non-intrusive and gentle guide who creates an atmosphere to encourage students to think boldly, to talk freely, and to act judiciously. He makes available opportunities for them to exercise initiative, to grow and shape their own growth and development. A good sales leader does the same for his customers. He helps them create their own solutions and own them for tomorrow.

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

Raju MAndhyan

Respect, Renunciation and Resilience in Sales

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It’s sad enough that the world is broken up into so many geographical parts. We have drawn lines of differentiation from the North to the South Pole, from the East to the West. Our beliefs, ethnicities and cultural mindset further influence our attitude and treatment of others, putting them into stereo-typed segments. Effective and successful leaders must strive to rise above all this murk. They have an open and supportive mindset backed by immense tolerance for other people who do not reason, romanticize or react to issues the way they do.

Although the human brain is divided into the three functional segments of reasoning, romanticizing and reacting, every single one of us is a unique individual because of different genetic permutations, diverse backgrounds, and variances in education and exposures. Unfortunately, societal programming leads us into generalizing and stereotyping people at first glance.  Effective and successful leaders respect diversity by accepting that people are different. Their behavior is simply different; not necessarily bad or worse than our own uniqueness. In addition, leaders and successful salespeople profoundly recognize that human circumstances and perspectives are in a state of constant flux. Perceived realities vary and these realities change from moment to moment all the time.

A buyer who shows interest in your product on Monday morning may suddenly have a shift in his circumstances and could change his mind on Tuesday afternoon. The ultimate reality is:  different realities and they are changing all the time. It’s easy to say “different strokes for different folks” or “the only constant in this world is change” but it’s totally another matter to live out these truths. To succeed across diversity and constant change, we must live out these beliefs and practice open-mindedness, flexibility and adaptability… all the time, evert time.

In the world of neurosciences and its application to work, there exists a respected group of consultants who do not at all use the word ‘is’ when describing another person in their communications and interactions. Why?  They believe what ‘is’ means to the speaker is simply that particular speaker’s perspective; not solid fact.  What ‘is’ today may not be what ‘is’ tomorrow. Everything and everyone is always changing.

Raju MAndhyan

Respect, Resilience and Renunciation

Respecting diversity amongst people is a challenging habit to live out and practice. Yet it can grant us the power of being a super sales performer and human being above par.  With this habit we can become active learners, early adapters and resilient Samurais of interpersonal skills in every sales and selling interaction. It keeps our proverbial ‘saw’ eternally sharp and smooth so it can cut, softly and subtly, through the hardest of challenges.

An attitude and mindset like this builds resiliency, help us practice Zen-like renunciation from short-term results and instant gratifications common in the business of selling and driving positive change. So go leap of those cliffs every day and should you fall then get up, dust yourself off and get into the pit again and again.  Remember to respect differences, renunciate from the anguish of failure and keep your spirits bouncy.

Article inspired by The HeART of the CLOSE

 

Raju Mandhyan, Author, Coach and Learning Facilitator

www.mandhyan.com

 

Raju Mandhyan and Ram Charan

What Your Customer Wants You to Know

In his book, What the Customer Wants You to Know, Professor Ram Charan shares the story of Unifi Inc., a textile maker in Greensboro, North Carolina.  This is a company that rolled in serious trouble in the past caused by low-priced goods from China and India flooding the US markets.  Professor Ram Charan writes about how the CEO of Unifi Inc. placed their Chief Information Officer in charge of sales.

Raju Mandhyan and Ram Charan

What Your Customer Wants You to Know

Instead of utilizing traditional methods to motivate and move sales, the CIO assembled his whole sales team and asked them not sell but to instead just focus on gathering maximum information about their customers.  His sales team studied the business models of each of their former customers and their prospects to learn about their supply chain as well as the businesses of their customer’s customer.  Day after day, the CIO  pushed the sales team not sell but to learn, so they hit the road to learn everything, including the end users’ consumption habits of the textile they made.  Unify Inc. represented, by their sales representatives, figured out how mothers, fathers and children perceived the fabrics and the goods made from fabrics they manufactured.

Professor Ram Charan claims the process was unusual and extremely frustrating for the seasoned business-to-business sales persons. They found it unproductive and tiresome. But after several weeks of information gathering and insight accumulation about the consumers and the end customers, business began to gradually pick up. The customers, dealers and other converters of their raw material were amazed by the unusual approach of the Unifi Inc. sales team and they eagerly offered insights and tips for changing the game.  The learning held relevance across industries, business models and economies engaged in all kinds of textile and fabric.  Information and insights into the customer’s business made up the art of giving value for the customer.  Eventually, business picked up for Unify Inc. and they successfully got out of the red.

Find out what they do and how they do it.  Find out how their business systems work–where and how their products and services reach their users.  Discover the kind of corporate culture they have.  How are decisions made? What type of internal communication is used?  How is the company doing in terms of profitability and growth?  How are they perceived by their customers?

Conduct this probing carefully and diligently.  The more focus and time you give to this aspect, the easier it will be to pin-point your customers’ needs. Employ a combination of Research and Reflective questioning.  Refrain from going, “I know exactly what you need.”  Even if you reach this conclusion about what exactly your customer needs, wait until your customer is willing to see the solution you visualize in your mind’s eye.

Often times, the customers themselves try to blur the need because they don’t want to expose their needy, vulnerable side or show their concern about the change and investment they’ll need to make to resolve their needs.  They could be exercising caution against revealing too much while you are searching deeply for details.  Understand this dance and stay focused only on solving and serving rather than on selling at this stage.

Knowing deeply and thoroughly what your customer needs is more than half the journey to serving your customers delightfully.

 

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

Make Them March

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I have, forever, been in love with this quote “When Cicero speaks, the world marvels. When Demosthenes speaks, the world marches!”

The source and origins of this quote is unknown to me. It could be Plutarch or it could have been former Prime Minister Gordon Brown of United Kingdom. What I know is that I relate to it powerfully, and I like to make everything I put out into the world about leadership communications or influence, align with the essence and the power that is in this quote.

For me, it consolidates and catapults what throbs inside my HeART whenever I deliver keynote addresses. Every time I speak, I strive to churn out massive, constructive and positive action more than I try to impress people with my words and language.

You say, “Ok, Raju, I get it. I see what you say but as a leader-speaker how do I go about having it?”

Make Them March

Here are three powerful insights:

Love Your People

Your audience can, first, be you yourself. Appreciate yourself and when you talk to yourself, as we all do. Speak to yourself with kindness, with nurture and with the purpose of boosting rather than sabotaging your self-worth.

On the other hand your audience can be a real audience of one, as in a coaching conversation, or an audience of a 1,000 at a conference. Apply the same principle of appreciation. Appreciate who they are, appreciate whatever background they hail from and respect whatever future they are seeking. “When you change the way you look at people, the people you look at change,” claims Wayne Dyer.

Be Authentic & Congruent

What the heck does that mean? Very simple! If, inside of you, you want to achieve one goal but, outside of you, you are promoting another then you are not being congruent. There is discord and dissonance in your professing and in your behavior. As and when that happens, then, my friends, something is bound to give, to shatter. That something could, first, be you and then your audience and, eventually, your whole world.

Thus, get totally and intrinsically clear about what EXACTLY do you want. No “ifs” and “buts” about it. After that go ahead and figure out what is that you have to say and do, to get what you want.  After that it’ll be a cinch to create value and meaning for your audience and your world.

Give Them Time

To pause in life is to appreciate the gift of life. To pause while speaking is gifting your audience to appreciate what you are sharing with them. They need a little time to absorb and savor it. Time and tide don’t wait for anyone but when a leader pauses for his people to catch up he displays power, presence and true pizzazz.

While speaking on stage, pause before you begin speaking. Pause after you have begun the speech. Pause in the middle, pause at commas, pause at periods and pause after you throw out a question. Pause and slow down when you are shifting topics as you do when shifting gears in a car. Pause like Al Pacino, pause like Anthony Hopkins and, definitely and truly pause like Demosthenes might have done when he had people marching for him instead of just marveling at his speech. Thus, pause while speaking to make them march.

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

 

The One, Most Important Thing in Public Speaking

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It did not take me long to think about when I was asked the question, “What is that one, most thing about succeeding at public speaking?”

Well, some people call it the fear of public speaking and the naturally shy people call it nervousness. My choice of the word to represent this malady is anxiety? Most people, whether they are the front-liners or the head honchos of an organization, they are all anxious about having to face an audience.

So, before we go into how to manage it and succeed at the interaction let us consider the source of this anxiety and the cause of this malady.

In my opinion this anxiety is generated from two aspects, two sources.  First, it is generated by the fact that the speaker thinks that the audience may be too good for her. That means, they may be too knowledgeable, way too intelligent and way to classy for her. And, that they may perceive her wrongly and may judge her too harshly. The second source to this is that the speaker may feel that he is too classy, much too knowledgeable and much too advanced for the audience he is to address.

Both these extremes rise from the dimension of a misplaced self-image, a warped self-esteem or the manifestation of a false ego, if I may. This internal misperception and an external behavior that makes an effort to put on a show create a discord, a dissonance and a lack of congruence in the speaker. That lack of congruence is seen and sensed by the audience and thus, they too tune out. When they tune out, the speaker and his performance come crashing down too. This does not just happen on the speaking stage but also occurs on all leadership platforms. Scroll down the history of the world and you will see that leaders came crashing down, when they did not say or do what they meant or meant to do what they had said they would.

How do you manage to survive and thrive through this?

As a speaker just before you speak and throughout speaking you need to be stepping out of your own skin and stay vulnerable. You need to stop excessively focusing upon how good you look or not; how well you speak or not and how perfectly placed your content is for the event and the customer- audience. Your heart, your mind and, sometimes, even your smartphone needs to just living and breathing in kindness and a deep desire for creating value for the audience. To make the customer king, while speaking is to get out of your own way; get out of your own skin.

How is this done?

Considering that you have done all the homework you need to have done before the speaking event, you need to calm down. You need to let go all concerns of not doing a good job. You need, also, let go of the entire negative and excessively brittle and moral self-talk. You need to deflate. You need to bring your attention to how you are breathing. When your breathing stops sounding and feeling like you were pumping iron or when you choked your breath upon the sight of a dog that you were scared. Your breathing needs to even down to like that of a baby at sleep. It needs to go easy in, easy out and through the diaphragm. Rhythmic and calm with your shoulders, eyes and tongue as relaxed as possible.

The moment you deflate, ground and calm down then your attention will stop obsessing with yourself and move towards being present and conscious of your audience’s space, their current state and then their learning needs. It is then that you can and will begin to shine as a speaker, a great communicator and a leader that inspires and makes her world evolve beautifully. At this stage your interaction with your audience becomes a dance of love, of engagement and co-creation.

That which works in public speaking, works in running fruitful meetings. That which works in public speaking works in bringing the best out of others. That which works in public speaking, works in leading your world a brighter tomorrow. This is the one, most important thing in most everything in life; being in the here and now and then taking the world into their future with humility and with compassion.

Attend the one day workshop of The HeART of Public Speaking in Cebu on September 24, 2019. Register Here:

 

 

 

Our Words Influence Our Worlds

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There are many titles and versions of this fable and the author also is unknown. Inspired by the paradigms of Appreciative Inquiry, a research and a process facilitation method, let’s call this version as, ’Our Words Influence Our Worlds.’

Decades ago, an aged father used to let his ten year old son do some chores around their farm on weekends to keep him away from mischief, and hopefully impart some values into the boy. Much like Mr. Miyagi, the father would have the boy go draw water from the well all day long on one weekend. On another weekend, he would have him go paint the whole fence around the house. And, then there weekends where he would have the boy milk a dozen cows at dawn. The boy, as you may have guessed, needed to be kept busy to prevent him from his mischief and also the fact that he was quick to anger.

One such weekend, the father handed him a bag of nails and hammer and asked the boy to go and hammer all the nails into a large oak tree at the outskirts of their farm. The boy, though a little pesky, was quite obedient.  A few hours later he rushes back to his father claiming the job was done. The father lets him dip into the cookie bar as a reward and allows him go play with his pals.

Come the following weekend, the little boy shows up again in front of the father asking for his assignment for this weekend. The father hands him the empty bag of nails and the same hammer from last week and has him go back to the oak tree and pull out all the nails he had hammered last week. The boy goes off, and in few hours rushes back with all the nails and hands them to his father. His father, this time, flips him a silver dollar as a reward and lets him go play with his pals again. Boy flies off to meet his pals, but halfway to them he stops, turns around to runs back to his father.

“I don’t get it, Father. Last week you had me hammer them’ nails in the tree and this week you had me pull them out. What’s the deal here?”

“Son, if you go back to the tree, you will notice that even though the nails are back in the bag and you have had your cookies and a dollar to boot, but the nail holes in that oak tree will be there forever,” replied the father gently and with love in his eyes. The son, though young, but quick of learning, stood there quietly basking in the warmth of his father’s gentle glance. “The same bunch of nails that can uselessly pierce holes into wood can also build a boat or a bridge. And, in exactly the same our words can draw blood or express kindness and build relationships and communities” added the father, lovingly.

Yes, just like nails, words can draw blood or bring together ideas such that new worlds get built. Words, once uttered out can never be drawn back just like a nails hammered in then pulled out will always leave marks.  Many a times, mindlessly, we pour out words that cut holes into the hearts and spirits. And, there are times that we do such things on purpose.

Whether we do such things consciously or unconsciously the real issue is that the damage we do has a, long-term, systemic effect not just on individuals but on communities, countries and beyond.

What makes a word or a bunch of words put together draw blood or heal wounds? What makes a word or a bunch of words seal the deals to a bigger, brighter future?

There are certain words which are in essence toxic and harmful. No matter where and how you place them, these words are in bad taste and harmful. For example the word ‘hate’ instead of ‘love.’ For example the word ‘problem’ compared to the word ‘challenge.’  When we say ‘problem’ it then it requires digging down, holding back things and worry about resolving. Instead, when we use the word ‘challenge’ then it sounds like something that can be overcome and it has a tinge of possibility and potential built in into it. At the onset it may seem there is barely any difference but think of scores of other such words used in conversations and used in abundance too.

Next, we may use essentially positive words but if they are morphed together in such a way that they influence doubt or mislead people then, too, we are using words not build but to destroy our world. Words and ideas that deliberately employed at the wrong, time and place to distort context are equally harmful.

Then there are words and thoughts that are perfect but the hue and the tone that they are expressed in can give an evil twist to them and deliver disastrous results.  Yes, the words ‘evil twist’ and ‘disastrous’ are words we should refrain from using as far as possible.

And, “Yes, you are right!” said with a sneer and curl of the mouth can still cut and draw blood like a rusted knife would. Even the ‘three little words’ expressed at the wrong time, in a wrong way and with a mean intention create more harm than good.

Think about this. Think about all the times we use all the kinds of word to write, speak or influence our worlds. Choose and study them the way a good mason picks, chooses his bricks and cements them on top of each other with alignment; with care and love. The more cautious and selective we are with every grain, every brick and every wall we build then the better and more beautiful our cathedrals will turn out to be.  Our words will influence our worlds.

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

A Turning Point Interview

Please briefly intro yourself in terms of who you are, what you do and the companies you own now.

People spend a lifetime trying to “know thyself.” I just know that I provide services like keynote speaking, management training, development facilitation and cross-cultural executive coaching.

Please share with us your childhood, where you were born, where you grew up and your formative years.

I was born in Mumbai, raised in a city called Pune. I grew up surrounded by Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities but I went to Parsi (also known as Zorastrian) school. I grew up with a motto: Think Good, Speak Good and Do Good.

What kind of student were you in primary and high school and university?

I was a top ranker all the way up until I graduated from high school. In the university my academic skills took a downturn. Though I studied engineering and economics I stayed interested in the arts and humanities.

What were your first few years upon your graduation and entering the job market?

I changed professions often. I was good at most any tasks but found fulfillment in dealing and negotiating with people. Thus, the five books on communication skills in the last 15 years.

Coaching is the Air I Breathe

 

Which did you discover your passion for speaking? When did you start to realize that you can make a living from your passion speaking and improving lives?

I did not discover my skill in communicating. I was discovered by the British Council of the Philippines. I was asked to come, train and speak for them even though I had no qualifications or experience in it. I loved it. It paid well and I, naturally, got addicted. So here I am almost 19 years later.

 

How challenging was for to start your business? Can you share some of your early mistakes and failures and the lessons you have learnt from those failures?

This second phase of my life at the age of 40; this turnaround from being an international businessman to a speaker, trainer and a coach was very challenging. I realized having talent and potential and passion is not enough. You need to put in the 10,000 hours to gain mastery….I have put in 50,000 hours and more.

 

What are your top three strengths and top three weaknesses?

My strengths are my weaknesses too….I am sensitive therefore I feel things quickly and I care for other also very quickly. I am a big-picture, spatial thinker and that’s a strength but then I shrink away from detailed, routine administrative work.  I am always looking for new experiences thus I am adventurous and innovative. That also makes me restless towards mediocre stuff and attitude.

What are some (around three) turning points in your life?

At age 15, I was beaten up badly by a bunch of hooligans and that, at first, made me afraid but then years later it made me a sort of daredevil. Now at 62, I still will do rappelling, mountain climbing, scuba-diving and participate in thrill rides. I will walk into any kind of a crowd and audience and be not afraid.

Who are the three to five people you want to thank for your success today?

  • My Mom for saving pennies to put me through school and college and then instilling me in strong values and ethics. She said I must always do the right and the good thing no matter what and be compassionate towards the weak and meek.
  • My mentor and idol, the late Wayne Dyer, who brought to light the power of intention and inter-connectedness in this world.
  • My three children inspired me to be cool, laid back and make sure that happiness is not a “be” thing but a “do” thing. That means you have to work your mind to be happy. It is mental action.

What’s your purpose in life?

To help people unleash the power hidden within them the way others helped me.

What’re some do your future plans for both your business and your life?

I would like to convert all my books and training programs into online, easily accessible learning programs. My business and my life is the same.

Five things young people must know and apply in order to do well in life?

  • Get crystal clear about what exactly they like and want. The key word is “What do you WANT?”
  • Be not afraid. Just form a plan and work the plan day in day out towards your dream.
  • When faced with failure think of it as the first stone towards success because it teaches you what not to do with your next step.
  • Forgive others fastidiously and easily. Remember those that do you wrong, really know not what they do.
  • Accept the fact that we are mortal and make that fact become your daily reality. In the olden days Samurais were qualified to be Samurais when they showed no fear for death.

Is there anything you would have done differently knowing what you know now?

I would have started early but then I wouldn’t have been as good and matured as I am now. So the answer is I would have done all that I have done and be happy with it. I have NO regrets in life.

Thank you very much. Any message for our readers?

When you chase your goals relentlessly and ethically and with love in your heart for the world then you become a magnificent sight to behold and be inspired by.

Questions by Ken Loong, Australia

Asnwers by Raju Mandhyan, Philippines.

Influencing Disruption

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There are two ways to look at disruption.

Influencing Disruption

The first one is to be Zen-like and let the future unfold on its own, organically. The second one is to strike a spark, within our minds first, and then let the flames mold the world.

We would not qualify as the fittest of all the species if we just sat back and let external change take total control of our own evolution. We stand apart from all other species because we make choices and take a step ahead. Thus, we need not just stay ahead of the curve but influence the occurrence of curves.

First, let’s get cognizant of what is changing at an unprecedented pace around us and then figure a way out to step ahead of it.

What is changing rapidly is data exchange, amounts of automation, computing in the cloud and the interactions between these artificial, systemic intelligences with humans and the human mind in real-time.

Though these changes are, originally and essentially, human created and did not drop from unknown heavens, they are creating a sense of trepidation and massive uncertainty among the larger part of the population. It is like all the futuristic stories and the science fiction we created a hundred years ago is becoming reality. It is like all of Isaac Asimov’s imaginations are coming alive. It is like the heavens are sneering down at us and saying “You are getting what you wished for.”

While it is true that 4.0 is our own creation many sectors and industries have no idea what to do. Some believe digitizing and automating their work will place them ahead of the curve. Others are hoping these waves of change will pass them by and they will be good like before. Consider the impact this change has had on traditional publishing, traditional travel services and, of course, the traditional taxi services. In Mumbai, last month, I saw scores of the yellow-black cabs collecting dust by the road-sides and those that were moving were actually stumbling through the times with drivers from times gone by.

To ride these waves of change, don’t play the game ‘tag’ but play ‘follow the leader.’

Recognize that disruption is not just change or adapting to change. Disruption is also not just thinking creatively of innovating. Disruption is smashing the fish bowl onto the ground and making sure that the fish learn to fly and breathe air through their gills. Disruption is putting off all the lights of the world and using the moon to brighten the earth. Disruption is accepting nothing as the status quo and then deeply connecting large variables with precision and razor sharpness.

Think about that. Companies and business models like SpaceX, Airbnb and Uber did not even exist in the wildest dreams of business leaders and innovators twenty years ago. And, given what is looming in the near future, the imaginations off Isaac Asimov will appear like child’s play.

In the world of learning and development where I hail from we believe in the habits of storming, forming and norming. In the world of ancient myth and spirituality it is believed that the world is created, sustained and then disrupted. There are parallels in these beliefs and storming and disruptions are necessary for renewals and evolution.

Here are three ideas on how business leaders can empower their organizations and positive influence disruption.

  1. Hunger with the fact that you need to disrupt your own belief systems and mindsets before you influence the world around you to become new. Do the same with your people.
  2. Practice emotional grit and resiliency towards setback and failures. Empower your people and give them huge space to fail. Recognize that failure is cornerstone for all success. The iPhone did not just come along. Others like Nokia, Handspring and Blackberry had to fail for it to be born,
  3. Recognize interconnectedness and think in systems. Make learning and agility your daily mantra. Everything is about learning. Everything needs to be stormed, formed and then normed and stormed again.

Revolutions and renewals require courage to take action despite uncertainty. There are no best practices and no strategies that guarantee success.  And, as with all things in life, the first step is the hardest. Lift the first stone of your choice and then slam it down to break ground for a brand new world.

P.S.

  1. This and many other articles of mine appear in Business World, Philippines. https://www.bworldonline.com/influencing-disruption/
  2. This article is also a build up towards my speaking tour this July with Scott Friedman of Together We Can Change the World in July 2019. Check: http://twcctw.org/

 

 

Eleven Audience Energizers for Public Speaking

Thousands of executives across the world strive to get a large audience moving, talking, laughing and learning is like King Sisyphus wanting to roll up a rock onto a hill. It is hard, it is tough and like the proverbial rock, the audience can come tumbling down. Yet, there are many who appear to have been born with the abilities to rouse up audiences and work the room naturally. The truth be told no matter how skilled and natural certain speakers appear, they all drill themselves mad through scores of techniques and tricks to rack up engagement and learning transfer.

This is not to downplay authenticity of intentions, quality of content and meaningfulness of purpose in public speaking, but to highlight the fact that the best of intentions and purposes need to be packaged prettily and brandished with fun.

To back up an article, Large Crowd Energizing Techniques, that I wrote a few years ago, here are eleven more easy ideas we can use. Besides the science that is explained in the aforementioned article the simple reason behind energizing our audiences is that every speech, every presentation and every conversation is an exchange and play of energy. When the speaker steps up to the lectern all eyes are on her and, thus, so is all the energy upon her. Call it the burden of leadership at that moment. Now when a speaker begins to dialogue or engage with the audience the energy begins to churn constructively.

To unburden and then brace your-self to rock and roll, here are eleven ideas:

  1. Ask a few positive closed questions with good chances of ‘yes’ as an answer. Keep these questions closed, short and simple. Like, “all feeling good?” “Looking forward to a fun day?” “Feel this quarter is going to be a better than the last one?” Manage to keep this activity less than 90 seconds.
  2. Ask them to talk to the person next to them and share, for less than 60 seconds each, “how they started their day this morning?” While they are at it, take a sip of water, check your clicker and slides and manage to keep the whole thing less than three minutes.
  3. Ask them simply to stand up, stretch and greet and welcome a few people they haven’t yet met. The hustle, the bustle and the smiles will unburden the energy off your shoulders and churn it around the room. Keep this activity also under three minutes for larger crowds and short keynotes, but allow five to seven minutes for smaller training sessions.
  4. If you are conversant with mindfulness meditations then have them sit up, sit silent, close eyes, focus upon their in and out breathes while thinking about how they want their day to turn out. Give them a minute of silence. Have them open their eyes and share their thoughts with the person next to them. Keep the whole activity down to less than three minutes. It is called a ‘minute to arrive.’ A minute to let their awareness and focus blend in and settle into their bodies.
  5. If there is paper and pencil available, have them caricature a self-image and add an event expectation. Something like, “today, Joseph the accountant, wants to learn how to authentically influence others.” This will generate laughter, relax and cue you into your topic of the day, ‘Authentic Leadership Influence’ or whatever. Manage to wrap this up, also, in less than five minutes.
  6. Flash a sensational statistic, a report or a headline on the screens and pause for them to grapple with it for a ten to fifteen seconds. An example: An average person spends One Hundred and Twenty Minutes, or better still, Seven Thousand Breaths a Day, on social media. That is like taking a shower twenty times in a day! And, when the surprise and murmuring tones down you can plunge into your talk.
  7. Flash a very rare and unique photograph that has some sort of relevancy to the audience or to the subject matter at hand. The picture can also be of incident that you will tell a story about during your presentation. Make sure the picture is not unpleasant, is easy to recognize and recall but carries meaning and purpose to the topic at hand. A good and a relevant picture works like a good prop. It takes the eyes away from you and directs them onto the picture. Thus, it moves the energy around.
  8. Display a real prop, a model or a gadget. Years ago, a motivational speaker friend of mine, Harry Pound, used to carry an old-fashioned, hand-operated water pump in the back of his car. At every speaking opportunity he’d place it on stage and mime pumping it while explaining that water, results only flow when effort is consistently made. Effort and hard work in, results and water out. The physical activity takes away attention and helps you, the speaker, get over herself and become one with the audience and vice versa.
  9. Employ gentle and benign humor. The powerful science behind humor is that the speaker has to herself the target of the joke. She has to belittle and humble herself, this deflates self-consciousness and endears the audience to the speaker. Refrain from trying complex humor. Keep it simple and light. Manage proper timing between setup and punch. Make an effort to relate it to the event. Years ago, I was to greet a guest speaker at the gates of a hotel and then escort him in and introduce him to the audience. Somehow I missed him at the gate and he was already on stage. At his introduction, I claimed that I was so dense that I’d never get a job in the immigration services. That earned me a lot of laughs because our guest was the then commissioner of immigration in the country.
  10. Tell an analogical story that somehow relates to the subject at hand. A friend of mine tells a story about how tigers when cornered fight back ten times more ferociously than normal. He takes his time in describing the mindset and the fighting nuances of a tiger. He then goes on to add how his sales and marketing teams work with ferocity during bad times. Spend just a few minutes painting a word picture of a cornered tiger. During the rest of your talk, compare how cornered tiger-like traits are found in salespeople. Spend three to paint the word picture and throughout your speech make a call back to it, like “rise and roar like a tiger!” It acts like a non-tangible prop and keeps your audience hooked for good.
  11. Tell a story which kind of spins off into a question. Years ago, I made up a fictional story of a farmer who digs for oil and fails several times and then eventually succeeds. At the near end of the story I ask the audience why he fails so many times, and where was the wealth during all those times. While they ponder upon possible answers, I deliver my message about discovering strengths and at the end of it give out the correct answer to the story. A roar goes through the audience because they then see the connection between the story and my presentation.

Understand this, the sight of any audience can give the heebie-jeebies to the best of us on stage. Lawrence Olivier, Meryl Streep and Amitabh Bachchan all claim rights to stage fright. Winston Churchill would claim to have bats in his belfry before any talk. To get nervous is normal. To be in awe of the energy pulsating from crowds is also normal. There are across the world scores of speakers who know how to motivate large groups by using the energy that emanates out of crowds.

Some methods work and some fail. There is no silver bullet solution to this malady and there is no such thing as the perfect and ultimate formula for success in delivering keynotes. The ones that you, sometimes, see and hear have been well planned, well-rehearsed and choreographed such that they appear as extremely natural. Only after a lot of practice will you become unconsciously competent with the sciences audience engagement and motivation. Even then you will always be striving for perfection but never reach it. Nobody has reached it. No, not even Socrates, Demosthenes, Twain, Churchill, Roosevelt, Gandhi, Mandela, Obama or Trump. They have just done well with what they had, and then created their own styles.

Study all the flavors, try the ones you like often and mix your very own cocktails. Just remember to be kind, courteous, compassionate and refrain from laughing at your own jokes.

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com