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Learning to Network – from Stress to Pleasure

by Joseph McGuire on 29th November 2018 Comments Off on Learning to Network – from Stress to Pleasure

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All successful networking is dependent on two key things: reciprocity and curiosity.”
Phyllis Weiss Haserot

Unlike many people I enjoy networking, but it certainly wasn’t always the case. Now I’m happy to go into a room to meet people whether I know them beforehand or not. When I first began networking I found the experience particularly daunting. Generally I coped by helping set up the room, hanging around with someone I knew, standing silently in a group and frequent visits to the bathroom to calm my nerves.

After a while I began to learn the value of listening. Appearing at least to be interested rather than trying to be interesting served me better. I even went as far as compiling a list of stock open-ended questions to use at events so that people would talk to me, avoid dead air and ensure I didn’t look like Billy-No-Mates! Being willing to ask questions also had another benefit. It made me more approachable as people saw that I was willing to engage and listen. It also transpired that I was sometimes asking questions which others wanted to but felt too awkward to ask. It saved them from appearing foolish as they saw it. For me it meant I learnt something new and my often naïve questions often prompted fresh reflection on the part of the speaker.

It began to dawn on me that many others were also uncomfortable in the situation. As I paid more attention to listening and observing it became apparent that quite a few individuals in virtually every gathering were making small talk to fill the silence rather than speaking to connect. Many will also gravitate towards those they already know. If those individuals are speaking to someone new it presents the opportunity of a fresh introduction. Otherwise why not introduce yourself to someone you haven’t met and learn about them? You may be able to help them directly or indirectly which will benefit them and make you look good.

In preparing myself to enter a room I have several key points to remember:

  • It’s often a good idea if you’re new to arrive early and help the organizers setup. It makes you look good and provides you with immediate introductions.
  • If possible get a list of registered attendees beforehand and target specific people to meet. Bear in mind you’re not looking initially to sell anything but to arrange a meeting.
  • Make sure to follow up on all such introductions within 48 hours at most.
  • Bring a buddy if you’re nervous and speak to other attendees about each other. Promoting the interests of someone else may be easier than speaking about oneself.
  • Keep your questions concise but open and demonstrate that you are listening.
  • Stand tall when entering the room, make eye contact and smile – always remember to smile!
  • Know why you’re there, move around, meet the people you want to meet and learn to effectively and politely disengage!

If you like this article feel free to share it.

Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales communications and HR. He is also the author of the recently published book  Face Facts:The Art of Reading Your Clients and Prospects for Sales, Negotiation and Recruitment’. Now available:

https://clearsightcommunications.com/face-facts-book

Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group training and presentations, private functions and conferences. Contact: joseph@clearsightcommunications.com

Or call: + 353-(0)87-246 1853

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Joseph McGuireLearning to Network – from Stress to Pleasure

You May Be Listening But Are You Hearing?

by Joseph McGuire on 11th November 2018 Comments Off on You May Be Listening But Are You Hearing?
Listen To The Listening Bronze To Listen Sculpture

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Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.” – Jim Rohn

Listening is a key component of successful and effective communication between any two or more humans. How often do we hear ‘debates’ on radio or TV where there is an almost total absence of listening. So often these exchanges are marked and fuelled by an apparent compulsion by participants to talk, often to the extent of going completely off topic.

I’ll leave it to psychologists to analyse the reasons why this phenomenon is so prevalent. My focus here is on the positive benefits of learning to listen. Doing so enables us to hear not just what is being said but also the tone and intent behind them. We can also learn to listen for what is being omitted, whether intentionally or otherwise.

But behaviour in the human being is sometimes a defence, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication.”Abraham Maslow

Albert Mehrabians oft misquoted study refers to the percentages of understanding and congruency in conversations with a strong emotional content. His breakdown of 38%, 55% and 7% relates to tone and syntax, body language, and the words themselves. Too often we focus our attention on the words and allow ourselves to be distracted and even misdirected. It then becomes easy to miss the incongruencies in the mix of body language etc, especially if the speaker is eloquent, or more technologically competent than we are.

The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” – Joseph Priestley

It requires confidence, awareness and willingness to listen with care. Whether in interviews, negotiations or sales processes the potential misdirections are plentiful. Extending our listening skills beyond our ears and intellect to ‘whole body listening’ helps greatly. Aligning all our faculties enables us to hear what is said, the intention behind it and what is left unsaid. Having a more complete picture allows us to give a much more informed response.

Start practicing by putting your feet on the ground and rest your hands on your thighs. Pay attention to your breath both in and out, and focus on the rhythm. Briefly scan your body from head to toe for any areas of tension. Gently roll/shake any such areas to begin a relaxation process – it won’t all happen at once but you’re making a start. Repeat daily for even 5 minutes at a time and you’ll see obvious benefits. Cultivating the awareness of your own body and its signals will increase your alertness for incongruencies in those you’re interviewing/negotiating with.

Relaxed alertness without straining facilitates a deeper level of understanding and is a means to differentiating between clear and hopeful decisions, leading to better deals!

If you like this article feel free to share it.

Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales communications and HR. He is also the author of the recently published book  Face Facts:The Art of Reading Your Clients and Prospects for Sales, Negotiation and Recruitment’. Now available:

https://clearsightcommunications.com/face-facts-book

Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group training and presentations, private functions and conferences. Contact: joseph@clearsightcommunications.com

Or call: + 353-(0)87-246 1853

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Joseph McGuireYou May Be Listening But Are You Hearing?

My Journey to Becoming an Author

by Joseph McGuire on 13th September 2018 Comments Off on My Journey to Becoming an Author

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A book is not a book! Well it is to the reader, but to the author it represents two journeys. It is both the end point of one and the beginning of a new one. It’s the emergence into the light of a new day with a badge of achievement and a newly minted identity.

For some the journey to authorship may be smooth sailing, but for others it is like a Masters from the University of Blood, Sweat and Tears – thanks Dave Russell! My parents introduced me to the joys of reading via comics and library books at an early age. Whether it was fiction, comedy, social history, history, travel journals, biographies or even anthropology I became voracious in my reading habits. However alongside the joy it was an attempt to find keys to understanding a world that had me confused and bewildered, and left me floundering in my attempts to make sense of things.

Over time as a young man growing I developed a façade of toughness to hide behind. The confusion and sense of not belonging built and hardened the shell from the inside to a point of deep emotional incapacity and increased feelings of isolation. I was functioning but certainly not thriving. School results were fine until a point where they simply fell apart, and I had no idea why.

My English teacher up to Inter – now Junior – Certificate level, the late J.J. Murphy inspired in me a desire to write, and as I grew I developed a small network of pen pals around the globe. Our hand written letters allowed us to share our philosophical musings and provided a private refuge from the world. With the advent of the internet the letter writing dropped away, and email never offered the same degree of connection to one’s own inner processes.

Some years ago my then partner and I visited an astrologer together. As soon as we sat down he turned to her and asked “Has he written it yet?” On one level it was very affirming that someone else, however he did it, could connect to my love of and capacity to write. On another it triggered feelings of despair and absolute desolation. It brought back a multitude of memories from childhood of being told what I should do or be capable of doing, and the young me silently screaming “But I don’t know how! Please listen!” I was never beaten or abused, and it is not to compare my story with others. It’s simply that my abiding perception was of being abandoned by life and of being utterly ill equipped and uninformed.

Many years later we arrive at a book. There’s very little of my story in the book as it is not relevant in what is a practical communication manual. For me though, as the author, the book is not a book. It reflects a journey into belief, self-acceptance, deep self-confidence and a desire and capacity to engage and share with the world. So much of that is down to the façade of toughness crumbling as my life fell apart and a group of very special friends helped me rebuild and learn to truly value myself.  I’ve learned that in life timing is everything. I was faced with stark choices, and am beyond grateful for the rock-solid loving support I received, and for the fact that despite how I felt I was ready to receive.

So a book is not a book. For me it’s a rebirth and an emergence into the world with solid confidence and a new – and rapidly expanding – appreciation of the myriad joys that life offers.

If you like this article feel free to share it.

Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales communications and HR. He is also the author of the soon to be published book ‘Face Facts:The Art of Reading Your Clients and Prospects for Sales, Negotiation and Recruitment’. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group presentations, private functions and conferences. Contact: joseph@clearsightcommunications.com

Or call: + 353-(0)87-246 1853

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Joseph McGuireMy Journey to Becoming an Author