Showing Category: Professional Development
The often-repeated statement that ‘Americans fear public speaking more than they fear death’ may be a vast overstatement in today’s society, nevertheless studies show that public speaking is at the top of the list of fears that Americans have.
There is no magic formula to becoming an effective speaker. Like any other skill it must be worked at. Regardless of your background or the size of your audience, you too can learn to connect with those you wish to influence. If you keep in mind that your audience wants to learn from you as much as you want to share information with them, you will be well on your way to effective public speaking.
Here are seven steps to becoming an effective speaker:
1. Embrace your Subject: You don’t have to know everything there is to know about your subject matter but you must know enough to provide quality content and to be able to respond to relevant questions. Knowing your topic and being comfortable in that knowledge, are crucial steps to effective presentations.
Face yourself in the mirror and ask your reflecting countenance, honestly and without evasion, the following questions:
- Am I living the vision I had for my life?
- Has the fulfillment I yearned for passed me by?
- If I have not achieved my heart’s desires, what is really keeping me from living my dreams?
The answer, in many cases, will be the small yet potent word, FEAR!
For many of us, there seems much to fear: fear of the unknown, fear of making the wrong decisions, fear of stepping out on faith; fear of committing to something or someone and the list goes on.
It is a truism that effective leadership is needed on the organizational, professional as well as personal levels. It is also true that leaders, particularly those in the public eye, whose actions and behavior can be more readily scrutinized, are held to a high standard.
For Christian leaders, the expectation of leadership is raised even higher and such leaders are held to much higher moral, ethical, and social standards. It will surprise no one that Christians and non-Christians alike do expect that Christian and other religious leaders measure up to their self-proclaimed moral and ethical standards and mirror the principles they espouse.
If you consider yourself, or if others identify you as, a Christian leader, what can you do to be sure you ‘measure up’ in the area of Christian leadership?
As children, many of us got used to hearing from the adults in our lives, No, Don’t, or Can’t. No, leave that alone! Don’t do this! You can’t do that! Many of our parents told us to keep quiet and not intrude upon adult conversations. This pattern continued into high school with many teachers telling us what we could do and couldn’t do and what was possible. Many were told their dreams were foolish and beyond their reach.
Then you went off to colleges and unfortunately the traditional educational system didn’t provide practical steps on how to become leaders in either your professional or personal lives. Instead of learning to become creative, independent, self-reliant, and thought leaders, most of us learned how to obey and intelligently follow rules.
Developing the Leader in you, in order to live your highest life, requires a process of disavowing the limiting beliefs of the past and seeing your possibilities in a whole new light. Here are ten pivotal steps that the young professional can take to develop their leadership potential, thus positioning themselves for professional and personal fulfillment.
In a previous post, I posed the question as to whether using the services of a Life Coach made sense and briefly discussed the evolution of coaching as a profession. In this blog the discussion centers on the positive aspects of hiring a coach.
Benefits of Hiring a Life Coach
As coaches with varying expertise continue to develop, coaching has now spread to various aspects of life beyond the business venue. Correspondingly as the interest in hiring coaches expands, so does the specialization by coaches increase to meet specific needs. For example, one can also find Bereavement, Co-Parent, Men’s, Women’s, Military Transitional, Singles, New Age, Spiritual, Nature Coaches and the list goes on and on.
Regardless of the initial reason for hiring a coach, the benefits can be enormous. A skilled outsider who is not involved in the daily grind can see the big picture of your business, your life, your family, your faith, your actions or inaction. A coach provides an objective view that you may find difficult to have when engrossed in the day to day operations of your professional or personal life.
A life coach is someone who works with you to help you with some aspect of your business and/or personal life and to help you improve your performance. Coaches are individuals who aid you by observing your behavior, asking the right questions, giving feedback, and guiding you in developing your skills.
The International Association of Coaching describes coaching as ‘a transformative process for personal and professional awareness, discovery and growth.’
The Coaching Evolution
A review of the history of coaching shows that reference to it in the literature goes back to the 1930’s. However, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that business coaching emerged as a distinct discipline and as an important tool used by major corporations to develop their senior managers.
During the last several decades I’ve had the chance to interact with various types of leaders –professional, political and social – both great and small. As I observed each of them I was able to see the leadership principles they put into practice that made them the leaders they had become. As I continued to observe them, I uncovered several recurring themes regarding leadership success that put to rest many of my initial assumptions about leadership and who could became a leader. I also came to realize that many others also shared the same mistaken assumptions which ought to be corrected.
1. Are Leaders born or made?
Many of us may look at the political, professional or social leaders of our time, or those of the past and believe them to be born leaders – Lincoln; Eisenhower; JFK; Reagan, MLK, and we think they were born leaders. Very few leaders, if any, are born. They each made a decision at some point in their lives to learn and master skills of Leadership
In a previous blog article I defined leadership as ‘a process whereby an individual influences others to act in order to achieve a common goal.’ I also discussed in a subsequent post that ‘developing the right leadership skills is open to those willing to do the hard work necessary to achieve success.’ The next query is, what price do you pay professionally for failing to be a leader in your own life?
Have you ever entered a room, observed a group of people and were soon able to figure out who the most influential person in that group was? Have you ever attended a staff, business or professional meeting where your opinions held little or no weight? Then you hear someone else in the group repeat the very same thing you said five minutes ago, and suddenly everyone else in the meeting thinks it’s the greatest idea since the invention of smart phones!
In an earlier blog post, I defined Leadership as a process whereby an individual influences others to act in order to achieve a common goal. Nowhere in that definition is there a requirement that one is required to have a title – whether that of company president, vice president, executive, supervisor or manager. The reality is, having a title may cause others to believe you are a leader, but do you actually possess the necessary influence to lead others? There are also those without the trappings of a title, who possess the power to influence those with whom they come in contact.
Developing the right leadership skills is open to those willing to do the hard work necessary to achieve success, and it can include any of the following types of individuals:
First: A company executive, a business owner or a budding entrepreneur who is looking to attract or retain clients or customers, increase sales and/or improve the bottom line.
What is leadership? In its simplest form leadership can be defined as a process whereby an individual influences others to act in order to achieve a common goal. It is not about having the power to use coercion, force or threat against others, or be obnoxious to get people to do what you want done. The optimum word in the definition is that of ‘Influence.’
How might learning principles of leadership impact your life? Becoming a better leader in your business life can cause you to reap untold dividends: a better leader is more confident, more productive in the tasks he/she undertakes, feels more in command of him/herself and the decisions that are made and, more importantly, become better able to get things done through other people.