July 31, 2013

A Small Mantra

This past March, the social club I belong to had its Bi-Annual General Meeting. We have two such meetings: this one and the big Annual General Meeting in September. Such meetings are held to keep the membership apprised of what is going on with the club, and gives them the opportunity to ask questions, debate points, and effect change.

I am the club's current Membership Secretary, as such I have to give a report to the membership at these meetings and be available for all manner of questions, observations, and character assassination. At March's meeting, a member asked me about what direction our club needed to head in order to garner new members.

Anyone who has been to this club for any length of time knows that this place is stuck in the mid-twentieth century, and bringing it into the digital age has been slow and painful - I should know, I'm spearheading the effort! Therefore, when I answered the member's question I found that all of the passion I have for seeing the club succeed came pouring out.

I hate public speaking. But in that moment, I was the center of the universe. I felt every word come out. The people hushed. They listened. And for that moment, the general membership felt the spark of passion that I hold.

And just like that, the moment was over. But I took something away from it: the understanding that my passion for something is the key for my ability to speak in public. As soon as I made it back to my seat, I jotted down the following small mantra:
"When I talk about what I care about, my mind is calm and collected. My speech is exact and my energy is impassioned."
Simple, I know. But I do not want to forget how that moment felt, and I certainly don't want to forget that small key that allowed me to speak to an audience without stumbling over my own words and  thoughts. I don't want to forget how I captured their attention and brought them into my mind.

July 10, 2013

Some Random Observations...

From time to time, I compile small lists of things which I've randomly observed. Here is one such list:
  • People often give too much attention to unimportant tasks, and too little attention to critical goals. What ends up happening when we do this is that we will get caught up in the details. The idea is similar to the cliché, "Can't see the forest for the trees." Often we spend so much time focusing on the minute (the trees) that we forget that there is a goal to reach (navigating the forest).
  • Customers do not experience averages: they experience, and remember, variations. One of the most grievous errors any customer-based business can commit is to assume that there is an average customer. For instance: The average customer buys two cartons of milk; or, The average customer spends fifteen minutes speaking with a representative. For quantifying purposes, this may be acceptable, but for the customer - he is going to remember what he experiences. If he is on hold for 10 minutes or 20 minutes, this will form his opinion of what you are offering. We must strive to make all experiences better than the average!

July 8, 2013

The Cone of Learning

(click the photo for a .PDF copy)

The Cone of Learning was created by Edgar Dale in the 1960's. He theorized that learners retain more information when interacting than when simply observing.

The Cone is comprised of six sections, moving from top down in level of effectiveness. The first six sections are Passive methods, in that they don't require much interactivity. The final two are Active methods, requiring participation.

The Cone charts theoretical memory retention - there is scant information as to the truth to the actual numbers, but the concept may be valid: that the more you participate in an activity, the more likely you are to retain the learning involved.
"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him."