Friday, January 14, 2011

Live up to our children's expectations

I was at my computer preparing for a program the next day entitled Communicating from Strength... and maintaining your sensitivity to others. The course explores the differences among communicating in a manner that is assertive, aggressive, passive or passive-aggressive. Then I noticed that the memorial in Tucson was about to begin. As President Obama began to speak, and I heard the reaction from the crowd gathered, I immediately went to my television to watch those present reacting to his words. I encourage you all to watch the speech. He honored everyone who was lost that terrible day and encouraged us as a nation of people. Here are some of the quotes that I quickly wrote down:

"Talking with each other in a way that heals, not wounds." Those who communicate aggressively and passive-aggressively aim to wound.

"Sharpen our instincts for empathy." The key to understanding one another is empathy.

"Listen to each other more carefully." Listening is the greatest gift we give one another.

"Nurture our relationships with those who are still with us." Oh yes, such a reminder about how fleeting life can be.

"Making sure we align our values with our actions." Do we walk the talk?

"That we live up to our children's expectations." I thought of the dear children in my life─three of whom are pictured. I'm sure everyone listening thought of the children in their lives. Those who had just lost their precious daughter─the parents of nine year old Christina Taylor Green─stood up and applauded as our president closed his remarks with that phrase. Our highest goal: to live up to the expectations of the children in our lives.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Understand your learning styles to engage your audiences

An understanding of our preferred learning styles helps us be a better presenter. We tend to teach in the same styles in which we learn. This means we can fail to engage some of the people in our audiences. Traditionally educators referred to three basic types of learning styles or modal preferences: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Most of us tend to use one of our senses more than the others to process information─and to use different learning styles for different tasks.

Howard Gardner took this further and developed a theory of Multiple Intelligences. He identified or defined seven intelligences:
• Linguistic/verbal
• Visual/spatial
• Auditory/musical
• Logical/mathematical
• Kinesthetic/hands on
• Interpersonal
• Intrapersonal

You can take a quick, self-scoring self-assessment and discover your preferred intelligences or learning styles. Gardner has since added two more intelligences: Naturalist and Existentialist.

You'll find slightly different terminology─and the addition of the Naturalist─in another assessment.

Self-awareness is important in the world of work and the world of life. The more we know, the more effectively we can adapt our style to positively influence others. And, as a presenter, engage them. Once engaged, they learn, they buy, they buy your ideas!