Jan 16 2015

Question your own authority

Published by under Musings

small_2123376519Research has shown that the best way to stick to a plan is to be self-interrogative rather than self-affirming. In other words, new year’s resolutions don’t really work by themselves unless you examine your resolve. You need to question what you are doing and be willing to study your own behavior.  I find it interesting to learn that one of my favorite blogs, Lifehacker, has a post focused on using the Socratic Method when you are in an argument with someone; you can diffuse the heat of the argument by asking questions rather than giving answers (or excuses!) This one is not exactly science, but makes a lot of sense nonetheless.

Is it a surprise that the best plans and conversations take thoughtful consideration?  This is called “inquiry,” and it is a terrific tool to bring to interpersonal communication because it increases understanding and opens doors to innovation.  Here are three more ways that inquiry can help you improve your communication:

 1. Some people get nervous about meeting new people.  Remember that everyone’s favorite topic is talking about himself or herself.  Be the one to ask questions about the other one and you will be their new best friend.

2. The next time you don’t understand someone’s actions, don’t assume anything.  Inquire.

3. When you need someone else to learn something, use inquiry to guide them to an answer.  (Think, “What would Socrates do?”) You might learn something, too!

For more on this topic, please see my post “3 Essential Ingredients of Meaningful Conversations.”

Please visit RightQuestion.org to learn about an organization that is using inquiry to improve education.

And here’s an organization that is using inquiry to change the way we talk to each other: The Center for Appreciative Inquiry

photo credit: Fred Seibert via photopin cc

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Dec 18 2014

Improve your voice over the holidays

Published by under Vocal Production

Designed to help you stay in the game, this is your weekly tip sheet for having maximum impact with your voice and in all your communication.


Many of you are planning to take some time off over the next couple of weeks. In fact, some of you are mandated to do so because of corporate shutdowns. Lucky you. It’s the perfect time to sit back relax, and become a better speaker. Here are three ways to let your holiday be a work out for your voice:

  1. Watch your favorite movie and listen for the use of cadence. (Remember “upspeak” and “downspeak?”) Then practice telling the story to someone and listen for your own use of cadence. Can you be more decisive? Use more downspeak. Can you be more open or friendly? Use more upspeak, but be careful on the latter. We’ve all got way too much of that going on!
  2. Is there a family member who lives far away? Record a message for them, and while you’re at it, analyze your recording for vocal variety. Can you use more? How? Try it until it sounds merry and bright.
  3. Sing holiday songs. Singing is great for your voice and great for your brain. Hum a lot and have a very happy holiday!

I will be on holiday myself over the next two weeks. I invite you to enjoy a tune from my holiday CD, Christmas Caravan,  and I look forward to reconnecting in 2015. Have a wonderful holiday season, and thank you all for reading my posts and e-blasts.

photo credit: mark plasma via photopin cc

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