Learn more from your experiences by keeping a journal

February 13, 2018 | Writing


The French philosopher Blaise Pascal pointed out that “All of humanity’s problems come from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” He didn’t mean sitting quietly in front of a laptop responding to emails. The best thinking comes from structured reflection — and the best way to do that is keeping a personal journal.

Dan Ciampa (pictured), author of a recent online article for the Harvard Business Review notes that he started keeping a journal when he took over a manufacturing research, software and consulting firm. He was very young, his team was in crisis facing a challenging market, and he wasn’t sure who he could rely on. So he kept a journal through 12 years as chairman and CEO and have since recommended it to people moving into any senior position for the first time.

Whether you’re a senior executive or not, there is strong evidence that replaying events in our brain is essential to learning. While the brain records and holds what takes place in the moment, the learning from what one has gone through — that is, determining what is important and what lessons should be learned — happens after the fact during periods of quiet reflection. This where keeping a journal can pay big dividends.

Ciampa, now a former CEO, is an adviser to boards and chief executives, and the author of five books. Click here to read his Harvard Business Review article, and you too might find the power of writing has broader applications than you might think.

Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing workshops to companies and business professionals. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.

11 tips for confident public speaking

February 06, 2018 | Presentations, Verbal communication

Being confident while delivering a presentation is an ability that many of us would desire, but too often our nerves get in the way. While some people are truly born with confidence, it is definitely something that the rest of us can learn, writes Bill Rosenthal, CEO of Communispond. The best public speakers know how important confidence is for a successful presentation, and that it is as much about how you appear to your audience as it is about feeling it. Remember these 11 helpful tips — having to do with rehearing, pacing, body language, posture, hydration and eye contact, among other practices — for sounding and appearing confident during your next presentation to be successful. (Click the headline to real the full article.)

6 steps for writers to improve their creativity and productivity

January 31, 2018 | Writing

Cathy Pickens, author of the Southern Fried Mysteries, spent 30 years teaching graduate students at Queens University’s McColl School of Business, where she was a tenured professor with an endowed ch¬¬air. (There, students knew her not by her pen name but her real name, Cathy Anderson.) Pickens recognized that many of her pupils had creative interests, “but as business students, they hadn’t been encouraged to develop or use their creative side.” Since Pickens is a “doer” — a get-it-done type of person — she decided to develop an elective class on creativity. It was an enormous hit from the beginning. Pickens went on to conduct creativity workshops with Fortune 500 CEOs, dancers, painters, and more. And, of course, she’s taught many writers. Since leaving Queens University in 2016, Pickens has been concentrating on her creative consulting and working on a book about how to develop the creative process. In an article that features her in The Writer magazine, she provides some tips for increasing a writer’s creativity and productivity ... (click on the headline to continue reading)

The 7 pillars of self-aware public speaking

January 24, 2018 | Presentations, Verbal communication

We are all on the ultimate search to get to know ourselves. Along the way, we have resources to help up identity qualities and personality traits that match our unique self, writes Stephanie Fulton on the Ethos 3/Empowering Presenters website. Personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Predictive Index can help people gather a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Presenters should be more self-aware since they spend their days in front of others, Fulton says. While many people may think they understand self-awareness, one writer discovered the contrary. Organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich wrote the best-selling book Insight: Why We’re not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life. In an interview she says, “One of the things that I learned in the four years of researching self-awareness is that almost no one is as self-aware as they think they are. Part of it is that we have blind spots and live in a society that’s making us less and less self-aware.” Eurich, principal of The Eurich Group, identifies seven pillars that self-aware people possess. In an article published on Ethos 3, Fulton details Eurich’s seven pillars and how to apply them to public speaking career. (Click the headline to continue reading.)

Four of the most common business writing mistakes

January 17, 2018 | Writing

As the world has shifted further away from more “traditional” methods of communication, such as phone calls and in-person meetings, writing skills have become increasingly important. In the business world, this means that employees and leaders alike must always be proficient, effective, and concise in their writing. According to Bill Rosenthal, CEO of Communispond, there are several mistakes that are frequently made in business writing. Those mistakes include ... (click on the headline to continue reading)

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