Monthly Archives: August 2020

How to become a better communicator

In this post, we’ll have a quick discussion on how to be a better communicator.

communication is the most important part of a human to human interactions. We are at our core social beings, and to be social we need to have the ability to transmit the thoughts we have to other people. In essence, communication is an attempt to copy the thoughts and ideas we produce within our skulls and paste them into other brains that might be in different states or experiencing different things.

How to become a better communicator

To be a better communicator is more than just knowing what to say. We focus too much on the right works or body language postures that we forget the one and most important thing behind all of that, and this is what this post is about.

1.Learn to simulate other brains than your own


The first and most important thing to communicating better is to be able to enter other people’s perspectives. In a debate or argument, it’s common now to say we understand, even when we don’t. To truly understand is to enter someone else’s perspective. To feel what they feel. So see what they see, and to some degree be them and not us.

When you manage to do this successfully the right words and body language postures come more easily. It’s the old problem of the master trying to teach basic concepts to beginners. When the master truly understands the pains and difficulties of the beginner they can more easily tailor their explanation to the pupils.

To communicate better you need to truly understand your audience. Only then you can better say what you want to say in a way that will produce the desired effect. When you don’t know the audience you act more like the troops do when they don’t know their enemy. With a plan for sure, but no certainty with regards to the plan’s effectiveness.

2. Pay attention to your ego


The next important thing to think about when it comes to communication is the ego. The ego is there to show and tell us how awesome we are. Criticism no matter how constructive is off-limits. So they are never brought up and we go through life thinking we’re above everybody even as we try to pretend to be humble.

So anything we create is automatically subject to bias, even when the creation is our communication. The question of how well we communicated our ideas or feelings to the target audience will likely get the answer of “A+” from us. Asking whether that answer is biased or not is difficult since it might imply that we’re not perfect. It might imply that we haven’t’ the job well, or at least that not as perfect as we think we are.

The idea is to study our attempts at communication soberly. To know for sure when we did it successfully and to know when we failed at the task. Because it’s only when we can truthfully spot the mistakes that we can improve. We can study and practice. We can in essence become better communicators. Instead of just listening to what other people think makes better communication, we can also become contro=ibutors through our own experiences. We try something new and through feedback we can see what works and what doesn’t. and hopefully, we can share that with the world.

  1. Read more books
    The next tip might sound a bit counter-intuitive but hang in there. Reading books has the reputation of turning regular people into antisocials. The way Hollywood portrays reading is in a way that makes us think that reading automatically implies that your social interactions will somehow take a hit. The truth is that people who have social problems tend to gravitate into reading, but it’s not necessarily the case that the reverse is true.

The more you read the more you can share. The better you can understand your points of view, and with the increased understanding also comes an increased ability to explain regardless of the degree of knowledge of the target audience. Someone once said that if you can’t explain something simply then you don’t truly understand the concept. This is what reading books is about. To gain a deeper understanding of everything around us, including our deep-rooted beliefs and feelings.

4.Force yourself to be the center of attention


The next tip is to force yourself to be the center of attention and to handle it. For the most part, we avoid being the center of attention. This is so much of a widespread behavior that society tends to have a dirty look for those who go out of their way to be noticed. The thing about being the center of attention is that just like everything in life it’s a skill. The more you re the center of attention the better you can handle it. A part of social interactions is the anxiety of social interactions. The kind of anxiety that makes even the most eloquent of us mute. When you can handle being the center of attention you can manage to successfully bring out those eloquent aspects of your personality you keep caged in the private realm. The kind of eloquence only your friends and loved ones know about.

5.Monitor and control your energy levels


The next tip is to pay attention and attempt to take control of your energy levels. you might not notice it, but your energy levels have an effect on your peers through your communication. Giving a speech with a high/positive energy level versus giving it with a low/negative can literally make the difference between saying something inspirational and sating something downright pessimistic/negative. The right energy can make the difference between sounding like you’re knowledgable and confident and sounding like someone trying hard to sound knowledgable and confident.

So keep track of your energy levels and take the necessary steps to make sure they are at a peak when you have an important speech to give.

  1. Write more
    The next tip is to write more. There is a big difference between communicating an idea verbally versus doing it through the written word. When you communicate verbally you can afford to do it poorly, since humans are good at filling in the blanks of what you’re saying to extract the meaning. This is done for the most part with the aid of whatever non-verbal ques you happen to be displaying at the moment.

When you write on the other hand there are no non-verbal crouches. You either communicate your ideas clearly, or the reader will have a difficult time understanding what you’re trying to say. You’re forced to think more about what you’re trying to communicate, and since you can’t really communicate impulsively through writing, there is more time available to reflect on the validity of your ideas.

7.Develop relationships with all kinds of people


The next tip is to begin forming relationships with different kinds of people. We tend to gravitate around people who are in some way or another more like us. When like them better when we have shared experiences or backgrounds. The problem is that we missout on a large part of the population. People with different experiences and perspectives have the power to change us into something better. We learn that our own way of living or seeing things is not the only valid one, and that are different ways of doing things out there that might be just as good if not better.

How is this useful in communication? Well, the more varied your social circle the more training in different styles of communication you get. Now you can learn to appreciate the uniqueness of groups you’d previously put in a neat box. This is to say that in the same way that a member of a group can be unique in its own way, so can a group of people you already have some preconceived notions about. Sometimes a particular group of people borrows traits from other unrelated groups, and that’s where their uniqueness comes from.

Summary


At the end of the day communication like anything else in life is a skill. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Many of the tips written out here could have been easily learned without having to read this post. Many of them would come to you in the form of insights. The kind of insights only work in the field can reveal to you.

The more you practice the arts of communication and persuasion, the better you get at the very important skill of comfort. Comfort while addressing other humans is what ultimately allows you to be more creative on your approach. The anxiety of saying the wrong thing is often what makes you say the wrong thing. With experience comes comfort, and for a moment you get to lean back on your past experiences, and you can watch yourself perform just like a singer in a sold-out show.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉
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How to think like a craftsman

In this post, we’ll have a quick discussion on the importance of craftsmanship.

The mentality of getting better over time has been claimed by the self-help industry, but before there was such a thing as self-help, craftsmanship already existed.

How to think like a craftsman

When you think about craftsmanship what comes to mind is someone working on a piece relentlessly. With each turn, the craftsman makes the final product 1% better. All these 1%’s add up to more than just 1 or 2 percent, but to the point where the final product is 2x or 3x better than the original. You can be a craftsman/woman about anything, and it doesn’t have to be a work of art. You can be a craftsman about your career. You can be a craftsman/woman about your life. Below are a few tips on how to think like a craftsperson.

1.A growth mindset

The most important thing about craftsmanship is not the relentless pursuit of slightly better, but the original belief that slightly better is possible at all.

This requires the belief that the original work is by no means a demonstration of your talents, and much less the final product. You have to believe the first product is just what it is: a first. The first try in a sea of hundreds or thousands to come. When you believe you can make something slightly better you move from the self-absorption that you’re not good enough to the look for the flaws you can fix in your work.

2.Patience

The next pillar of craftsmanship is patience and not patience in the way you might be thinking. What I mean by patience is patience with yourself. What I mean is to have the patience to come up with potential minimal improvements for your current final product. Sometimes brilliant ideas come not when you spend 10 or 20 hours working relentlessly, but after a week of rest. The brain works even when you don’t tell it to do so actively. Don’t believe it? Then explain why ideas have a way of bubbling out of our minds even when we have decided to quit?

The point is to not assume you can’t come up with improvements ever just because you can’t think of any in the present. Eventually, something small comes to mind, and it’s that small domino that sets the bigger ones into motion that change your life overnight.

3. Look for small, not big improvements

The next tip is to look for small improvements. The reason why this is the case is the domino effect. What seems small might have the power to set the bigger pieces in motion. One small improvement can give rise to another bigger and more profound improvement, and that might give rise to even bigger and deeper improvements ad infinitum.

When you focus on major improvements and you can’t think of any, the frustration can make it more difficult to come up with better improvements.

So focus on the small. Be content when you find the small. Be happy with each step regardless of how insignificant it may seem because it’s often the case that small steps give birth to bigger and wider steps.

4. Be realistic

The next tip is to be realistic and not in the way you might be thinking. When we hear the sentence “be realistic”, it often means that we should be less ambitious because we somehow lack the gift or intelligence to accomplish what we set out to accomplish. What I mean by “realism” here is to not convince yourself your work is good to save your ego. When it comes to doing quality work the ego is your worst enemy. It will try to convince you what you did is better than it actually is because the work is yours and it wants you to feel good about yourself regardless of whether it’s grounded in reality or not.

Being realistic comes with the potential for the pain of inadequacy, but it also opens the windows and doors for better. When you’re honest about your work you save yourself the embarrassment of seeing people walking on eggshells when reviewing your work. So always be honest with yourself and demand honesty from whoever you assign to review your work.

5. Be stubborn

The next tip is to take advantage of your own inborn stubbornness. Don’t consider yourself stubborn? Think again. The reason why you managed to master complicated actions such as walking and speaking your native language fluently is not due to some inborn gift but due to your inborn stubbornness. We’re all born stubborn until like and our peers beat it out of us. Suddenly being stubborn is bad. We want to be good or at least be perceived as such, so we help society make us less stubborn.

Not all stubbornness is bad. Being stubborn is good or bad depending on what you’re stubborn about, and there is nothing better to be stubborn about than to be stubborn about improving your work. To never be content. To make sure something looks and feels right even when the end client will never have the chance or interest to appreciate your efforts.

6.Measure yourself against the greats

The next tip is to measure yourself not against your peers in talent and drive but the best in the field. It’s true that you’re more likely to be unhappy about your final work but the truth is that it will at least be an honest assessment of its goodness, and maybe even better than it would be if you did it otherwise. The point is to demand more of yourself than you currently do or what your immediate peers expect from you. The final product is likely to be better than anybody expected.

If your work is supposed to be good at a city level try to make it good at a country or global level instead. By demanding more of your work you make it better even if the final product doesn’t meet the demands.

7. Look for feedback

The next tip is to look for feedback and do as much as you can to take it seriously. The problem with feedback is that giving it and receiving it requires different states of mind. The first requires a state of mind in which you don’t have a stake on what you’re giving feedback to, because when you don’t have a stake you don’t feel the need to be as sensitive or light as possible. Whatever you feel in your gut is what your mouth says. When you get feedback on the other hand any attack on the work is an attack on your honor and abilities. This is why getting external feedback is so important. 

Other people who don’t have a stake in the work don’t have any emotions associated with it, which makes it easier for their opinions to be more grounded in reality, and reality is what matters at the end of the day.

Because any negative feedback is more likely to feel like a personal attack, it’s important to learn all negative feedback as constructive criticism. The reason for this is that even if the feedback is supposed to be hurtful, it often is grounded on something real. The worst attacks any person can perform on you are based on something real. On real weaknesses. On the real parts of you in which you come up short.

So make the effort to take all criticism as constructive criticism and when you feel like the critique doesn’t apply, make the effort to consider the possibility that you think that way because the attack is on your own creation and this the defensiveness comes as an attempt to preserve the illusion that you’re talented or even perfect.

Summary

At the end of the day, craftsmanship is a mindset. A mindset that drives the need for constant improvement. Because constant improvement is not a representation of your flaws and weaknesses, but because constant improvement is just that: an improvement. The desire to make things better because you can.

One thing you might realize is that there is a point in which your desire and efforts to make something better will go unnoticed. Steve Jobs is known for wanting the insides of his creations to be just as beautiful as the outsides even if most people will not ever have the chance to see the insides. It’s the peace of mind that counts. The feeling that you’ve done a good job even if only you’re aware of it. You feel peaceful because you’re ready for the 1 in 1000 chances that someone will want to or have an interest in seeing the insides of your work. The seemingly insignificant but still significant details most people overlook, but that you made the effort not to. The details you dedicated an extra hour day or week to make it just right. Just for the sake of it.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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