Trust by Raju Mandhyan

How to Trust and Acquire Trust

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Tony Meloto is to the Philippines what Mohammed Yunus is to Bangladesh and what Jimmy Carter is to the United States of America. They are all founders of these NGOs that support the underprivileged. Tony Meloto gave up a lucrative career to build and grow Gawad Kalinga, which means to bestow care and support. In the last 25-30 years

Trust by Raju Mandhyan

Trust and Acquire Trust

they have built millions of humble homes across the Philippines, Asia, and the world. The initiative is creative, colorful and has succeeded with flying colors. Money, support, and volunteers flood in from all walks and all parts of the world.

One day at a conference that I was hosting, I cornered Tony Meloto and asked him how he manages this incoming wealth and support. How does he screen, filter, sort, and keep the whole thing transparent and running ethically? Are you not worried about corruption, politics, or fraud?

He paused, looked at me gently, and said, “We begin with trust.” We begin by first giving it abundantly at the get-go level, at the face value of the donor and the volunteer. In return, he said, we get it back trust back in spades and shiploads. That is how the system is structured, and that is how it works and it has not failed us so far. When we grant trust to people, they rise up to our positive expectations and often surpass them.

Such is the essential nature of trust and humankind. We wish to be trusted, we wish to trust others and the exchange occurs when we lead by offering it first. The offering of trust journeys through three phases. Call them the ABCs of trust. That is it needs to journey through appearances, behaviors, and communications with others.

When we regard another human being our deepest brain, the Amygdala, and the Hippocampus sections, within seconds makes an assessment of whether we like them or not; whether we should fear them or not; whether we should trust them or not. Thus, at this appearance level take in this assessment as data to be used for an integrated analysis of whether they can be trusted or not. Refrain from passing judgment just yet. Refrain from taking any action just yet. This information is only a third of the information needed to come to a conclusion.

The second phase is that of us watching and sensing their behavior. From years of watching and dealing with people each, one of us has a storehouse of behavior matching cards and metrics by which we assess likable or dislikeable behavior. Take note of these feelings, nudges of thoughts triggered by past memories. This is valuable data. Perhaps enough to come to a conclusion and then act but exercise pragmatism and hold back from judging the book by its cover.

The third phase is that of us listening to their words, their thoughts, their ideas about work and life. Hear them out totally. Maybe their appearance and behavior might be the total opposite of what they say, claim and commit.

Now you have data gathered from three different sources, three different modalities of communications. You have data gathered from sight, sense, and sound. Each of these sources has provided fodder that is data to crunched by our three brains; the deepest brain known as the Reactive brain which processes in the most primal way. We have behavioral data to be processed by our mid, limbic brain known as the Romantic brain and then we have data, cognitive-spoken kind, to be processed by our neo-cortex known as the Reasoning brain.

When all this data is done processing by these three brains and the final analysis compliments each other then you have found congruence. Then you have found trustworthiness. Now you can move ahead, take action.

That is the neural pathway, the journey of the thing called trust. That is how we trust and that is how we begin the process of trusting. Tony Meloto and Kalinga warriors, of course, do this in an accelerated way. They do it in a way that works for them fine and fruitfully.

What does it take from us, from leaders to trust others, and let our minds journey through these three neural phases?

It takes observing people through lenses that have the least possible bias. I am not saying without any bias, I am saying with the least possible and by staying conscious of our biases. If we observed people without any bias then we would have no opinions whatsoever. Thus, watch people closely, wholly, and gently.

It takes becoming sensitive to people’s behavior. It takes noticing and understanding of why people do what they do. It takes recognizing what kind of emotions are triggered with us when we watch and sense other people and their actions. It is about awareness, sensitivity, and being intelligent about emotions.

Finally, it takes active and acute listening to take in all that is being said and also exploring and understanding parts that are, sometimes, left unsaid.

These three phases of trusting others are tied in to three things we need to do, and all of them are in alignment with the structure and processing system of our triune brains. When we gather optimum data gently and process it quietly and thoroughly our abilities to assess and trust others improve.

 

Acquiring trust, on the other hand, is the reversal of this three-phase journey. When we want others to trust us then we must offer them the correct and honest appearances and presentations of ourselves. We need to let them see us plainly and openly. Masking our appearances is going to give others the heebie-jeebies over us. We need to become conscious of our behaviors and actions in the presence of others. Raising your voice, moving frantically or even positioning yourself where there is a lack of light will make others wonder about us. Lastly, thinking well before speaking gently and succinctly about things helps others get a clearer picture of us. It helps them go through the process of integrating the data and the analysis through the three phases and with the triune brain efficiently. This when practiced with consistency builds relationship trust. We can do the same with acquiring trust in our competencies; be good at something consistently.

Building a culture of trust in other organizations is an enhanced and a multi-layered approach of this interpersonal process of giving and acquiring trust. When the process becomes clear to the leaders of any organization, they begin to live out the process. Living out the process makes it habitual and, eventually, becomes second nature to leaders. When leaders are good at giving and getting trust then the philosophy and the practice cascade across to become the culture of that organization. Trust me.

Resilience and Rapid Business Recovery

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We are in the midst of a crisis, the kind people have not seen in a hundred years. Neither has all the workforce of the world been kept away from being industrious for such a long time. This lack of activity, lack of being able to produce will have a huge impact on the global economy; on production, trade, services and the flow of money across nations.

What it means to large corporations is that they will have to drain their liquid and non-liquid assets. Smaller business will have to get back to work as if they were starting up all over again. Both, the big and small, will also have to scrape the bottom of their resources. We will have to renew structures, rehash systems and respond to a brand new world, a brand new normal. We will all have to bounce back faster and stronger as if we were an amalgam of steel and rubber.

There are five things that every business may find wisdom in:

1.Assess all impact:

When the earth heaves and hoes, all plant and animal life gets displaced. When the global economy will turn a side, every industry will be impacted. Travel and tourism will come crashing down while food production and delivery will take an upward swing. Education may not win or gain but will have to scramble to stay steady.

Conduct an honest SWOT analysis of how hard you will be hit. Do remember that being hit positively also will require adjustments and adapting. Grabbing new opportunities require renewed strengths.

An extremely popular ramen restaurant in Makati, Philippines has an obsessively loyal clientele. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, people would line up and wait for hours to dine there.  They were an eat-in restaurant only.  Now they’ve had to shift to delivery only and their loyal clients still wait for several weeks for their dinner to arrive. Imagine pre-ordering a dinner three weeks in advance.

It is a happy challenge. It is still something that needs focused attention.

2.Reinforce partnerships:

Most everything atrophies. Most everything atrophies a lot more rapidly when its environment is unsupportive. With the slowdown, the focus of people in all industries will have shifted inwards. As and when they get back to work, they may have difficulty remembering where the power switch to their machines might be. This will not be true just for your own teams but also for the teams of your partners on the supply as well as the demand side.

As and when things begin to look like normal, one of your first priorities ought to be catchup with and energize relationships both with your suppliers and buyers. Get an idea on how they were impacted, what their new needs might be and how you can support them back to their feet too.

No man, no business is an island. Even islands, in reality, are connected to each other inside the core of the earth. When we help our associates, our partners and even those that we consider our competition, providence opens up new connections and new doors for us, for our businesses.

3.Tighten the organization:

Weeks before any bout, professional boxers turn away from indulging, eating or drinking anything that is non-essential to their preparation. They spend a large part of their time training, studying the opposition and visualizing success. The discipline is fiercely rigorous, and it usually brings success.

Likewise businesses will have to cut down fat, inefficient processes and costs. Make your machine a lot leaner than it already might be. Let the fire in your belly rage ethically and consistently. This may also mean letting go of assets, investments and projects that are weighing your ship down. Dump them. Cut losses fast and early. There will come a season to recover.

Seek alignment from your people, work on increasing employee engagement and become obsessive about indulging in value-creating, measurable activities only.

4. Upskill abilities, agilities:

Chances are your empathetic culture makes you carry people-assets that may be slow moving and low on performance. Practicality says let go of low-performers, wisdom claims that this may not be the time because it will dampen the emotional resolve of the whole organization. Instead spend on upskilling them all.  Learning and development is a discipline that aligns itself with the doddering educational industry. It stands on unsteady ground in a crisis such as this, but when tightening your organization and changing the course of your vessel, it is people we will need.

It thus, makes a lot of sense to sharpen the abilities and the agilities of your human resource. Train them fast, train them hard. Enroll them to stretch their limits and master new systems and machinery. Encourage a mindset of maximum frugality when it comes to investing time, money and effort.

Alliance Global Group Inc., which owns Emperador, rapidly swung their ship around, mid-storm, from producing alcohol for consumption to alcohol for disinfecting in less than three weeks in this current crisis. Not only did they swing around their output but they also donated 1 million liters of their produce worth $5 million to the community at large. More than just resetting their machines, they also had to sustain employee engagement and upskill their abilities and agilities.

5. Go beyond borders:

Up from the time when we sent our first email, the world has been going digital but with a certain lethargy towards it. Gartner, Inc., a research and consulting company claimed that only 12% of the world’s businesses were ready for the current crisis and only 32% of the world’s business leaders update their business model.

Yet in the last six weeks almost 35% of the world’s learning and development community have moved up their services to online versions. They have agrresively reacahed out beyond their usual geographical and familiar limits.

It is not just about getting digital but it is also about harnessing big data, increasing accessibility, improving communications and insuring security and safety on the digital space.

Tata Consultancy Services, the Indian IT services firm, plans to adapt remote working conditions introduced as a response to coronavirus into a permanent working model for 75% of their employees globally by 2025.

Not that these five ideas are the most brilliant in the world. Like all plans and strategies they involve a lot of guesswork and gutwork. Take what works for you. In any and all cases stay eco-conscious and be kind to the earth. A decade ago we were talking about surviving disruptions brought about by technological advances in a VUCA world. This disruption is brought about biological mishaps. Use these five simple ideas to build a brand new, better world ahead. Remember that when the night seems too long, the days ahead will be brighter and beautiful. Check video on Traits of the RESILIENT.

Raju Mandhyan

the ABC’s of Higher Impact on ZOOM

Assess and improve impact on ZOOM

COVID 19 and Community Quarantine across the world has had a major impact on how we run meetings. Up until seven weeks less than 10% of us worked from home. Last week MIT ran a survey on 25,000 executives and found that nearly 35% of them have hopped on the virtual workspace and are working from home.

After these tough times are over and I do believe that this too shall pass but working virtually and business meeting on Zoom and other platforms will become the new normal. Most all the skills and competencies that we’d learned in the past for connecting, engaging and influencing small and large audiences will have to be flipped around to fit onto laptop screen or a handheld phone.

Here are a few ABC’s of higher impact and influence on Zoom which you may find handy in these fast-changing times.

 

First, the A about you appearance:

  1. Dress and groom yourself appropriately for the kind of meeting you are going to participate in. Had the real-life, physical meeting called for business formal then, from home, wear at least business casual clothing. My preferred colors are plain with no prints and usually on the dark side.
  2. Make sure that your workspace and background looks presentable and is not too distracting. On Zoom there are features which will allow you to create virtual backgrounds like on a green screen but this sometimes chips away at the outlines of your face. So be careful and test it first.
  3. When you face the camera, make an effort to sit upright and look straight into the tiny camera most off the time. Make it also a point to fill up at least 50% of the screen real estate. Do also make sure to sit facing the light rather than having a light drop in from behind, above or below you.

 

Second, the B, about behavior:

  1. Do remember that you are on camera and the camera watches you 100% of the time mercilessly and without blinking. There’s also a good chance that the host of the meeting, if not you, maybe recording the meeting.
  2. Thus, stay focused, fresh and attentive. That means manage your movements and keep your gestures close enough to stay in the frame. Refrain from twitching, scratching, grimacing, making a face, raising your eyebrows etc. Do remember that action speaks louder than words. In this case of virtual meeting even your micro-gestures will get magnified and caught on tape and remembered forever.
  3. If it helps keep a notepad by your side to help you with your talking points and point to remember from the meeting. This will help you stay focused, structured and will subdue unnecessary non-verbal communication.

Third, the C, for communications:

  1. Our words create our worlds. Words once uttered out cannot be withdrawn, erased or deleted. My father, a tailor by profession, used to always say “measure twice, cut once.” Same is true for speaking out. Before speaking out listen thrice as much, think twice and then speak once.
  2. When you speak a few decibels louder than your usual and speak a wee bit slower than you normally do. Pause often and take longer pauses after expressing a thought or an idea.
  3. In the physical world good pausing adds drama and increases impact. In the virtual world it does all that plus it allows you to check the smiles, the nods and the responses of scores of faces on your laptop screen.

Lastly, the most important  ABC’s of higher impact and influence in virtual meeting is that for heaven’s sake sit down or stand upright calmly during a virtual meeting. One time, I was in this online meeting of speakers and trainers from across the world when one of the ladies was jogging on the streets of her hometown while talking to all of us. Though I was properly seated at home all that bouncing and jiggling of one of the little images on my screen was giving me motion sickness. It was terrible.

Anyway, I hope these ABC’s of higher impact and influence in virtual meeting help you. I also hope that we, all the people of this beautiful earth come out on top of this current crisis quickly and safely. I am sure it will be a brand new and a better world that we will be living in from here on.

 

Raju Mandhyan

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.

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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