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14 Tips for Communicating Ideas

14 Tips for Communicating Ideas

I’m doing a lot of speaking all of a sudden, related to my pre-launch plans around a new media company. I’m finding that there are certain skills in communicating the information and building understanding that are important and useful. I thought I’d pass on some thoughts along those lines.

Use Analogies

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Okay, sometimes my analogies are bad, but the premise is still good. It’s important to be able to talk about something that interests you both in the “native tongue” of what you’re doing, as well as in the language of the person you’re speaking with. For instance, if I’m talking to someone who’s not into podcasting, and I’m explaining what my new business will be about. I say, “I’m just trying to be a whole bunch of different magazines in the magazine stand at the local bookstore.” It’s easy. They understand the building blocks: it’s not my store, it’s my magazine. It’s not my rack. It’s my magazine. Simple, easy to understand. I don’t have to waste a lot of breath.

Consider the following tips:

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  • Learn more than one way to present your idea.
  • Practice pitching your idea on friends, strangers, supportive and hostile listeners.
  • Tailor the way you talk about your idea to the person you’re talking with.
  • Check in. Are they following? Let them ask questions.
  • Use your audience’s words to explain your idea. You can correct misunderstandings later.
  • Allow “white space” around the ideas. Don’t overwhelm them with content.
  • Try to close with actions, even if that’s to get the person to critique the idea better than, “Oh, that sounds neat.”

Which leads me into the other half of this. I find that people pitch their ideas as if they’re never going to have a chance to talk about them ever again. Now, while that might be true when faced with the person in front of you at any given moment, you’ll have all the time in the world to practice. Don’t blow the person out of the water by overwhelming them with the guts of every aspect of the idea.

Distill Ideas

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You have to convey the most understanding in the shortest time frame. This is very similar to the concept of an elevator pitch: how would you explain your idea to a captive audience in an elevator if you had only sixty seconds to make the pitch? Think along the lines of how you can best craft your idea such that it hits the major points while not overwhelming the listener. Here are some ideas:

  • What are the BARE BONES of the idea?
  • How few words can you use, and still get meaning across? (example: we fill up your ipod).
  • Can you use “crossover” ideas. “Like TV and Radio, only two-way.”
  • What is most confusing? Can you change it?
  • Would a picture help?
  • How much can be explained later without hurting the conversation now?
  • What’s your next sentence, after this new, distilled one?

Ideas can be brilliant in your head and not translate well out of your mouth. Without understanding and buy-in from those you need to complete your idea, the information presented ends up being translated as “noise.” How can you apply these tips to ideas you have in your day to day life? Have you had this experience before? What other tips do you want to add to my 14?

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–Chris Brogan writes about self-improvement and creativity at [chrisbrogan.com]. He’s working on launching Grasshopper New Media, an audio and video podcast media company.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

Negativity affects ourselves and everyone around us. It limits our potential to become something great and live a fulfilling, purposeful life. Negativity has a tangible effect on our health, too. Research has shown that people who cultivate negative energy experience more stress, more sickness, and less opportunity over the course of their lives than those who choose to live positively.

When we make a decision to become positive, and follow that decision up with action, we will begin to encounter situations and people that are also positive. The negative energy gets edged out by all positive experiences. It’s a snowball effect.

Although negative and positive thoughts will always exist, the key to becoming positive is to limit the amount of negativity that we experience by filling ourselves up with more positivity.

Here are some ways to get rid of negativity and become more positive.

1. Become Grateful for Everything

When life is all about us, it’s easy to believe that we deserve what we have. An attitude of entitlement puts us at the center of the universe and sets up the unrealistic expectation that others should cater to us, our needs, and our wants. This vain state of existence is a surefire way to set yourself up for an unfulfilled life of negativity.

People living in this sort of entitlement are “energy suckers”–they are always searching for what they can get out of a situation. People that don’t appreciate the nuances of their lives live in a constant state of lacking. And it’s really difficult to live a positive life this way.

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When we begin to be grateful and appreciate everything in our lives–from the small struggles that make us better, to the car that gets us from A to B every day–we shift our attitude from one of selfishness, to one of appreciation. This appreciation gets noticed by others, and a positive harmony begins to form in our relationships.

We begin to receive more of that which we are grateful for, because we’ve opened ourselves up to the idea of receiving, instead of taking. This will make your life more fulfilling, and more positive.

2. Laugh More, Especially at Yourself

Life gets busy, our schedules fill up, we get into relationships, and work can feel task oriented and routine-driven at times. Being human can feel more like being a robot. But having this work-driven, serious attitude often results in negative and performance oriented thinking.

Becoming positive means taking life less seriously and letting yourself off the hook. This is the only life that you get to live, why not lighten up your mood?

Laughter helps us become positive by lightening our mood and reminding us not to take life so seriously. Are you sensitive to light sarcasm? Do you have trouble laughing at jokes? Usually, people who are stressed out and overly serious get most offended by sarcasm because their life is all work and no play.

If we can learn to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, life will become more of an experiment in finding out what makes us happy. And finding happiness means finding positivity.

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3. Help Others

Negativity goes hand in hand with selfishness. People that live only for themselves have no higher purpose in their lives. If the whole point of this world is only to take care of yourself and no one else, the road to a long-term fulfillment and purpose is going to be a long one.

Positivity accompanies purpose. The most basic way to create purpose and positivity in your life is to begin doing things for others. Start small; open the door for the person in front of you at Starbucks or ask someone how their day was before telling them about yours.

Helping others will give you an intangible sense of value that will translate into positivity. And people might just appreciate you in the process.

4. Change Your Thinking

We can either be our best coach or our best enemy. Change starts from within. If you want to become more positive, change the wording of your thoughts. We are the hardest on ourselves, and a stream of negative self talk is corrosive to a positive life.

The next time you have a negative thought, write it down and rephrase it with a positive spin. For example, change a thought like, “I can’t believe I did so horribly on the test–I suck.” to “I didn’t do as well as I hoped to on this test. But I know I’m capable and I’ll do better next time.”

Changing our self-talk is powerful.

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5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

We become most like the people that we surround ourselves with. If our friend group is full of negative energy-suckers and drama queens, we will emulate that behavior and become like them. It is very difficult to become more positive when the people around us don’t support or demonstrate positive behavior.

As you become more positive, you’ll find that your existing friends will either appreciate the new you or they will become resistant to your positive changes. This is a natural response.

Change is scary; but cutting out the negative people in your life is a huge step to becoming more positive. Positive people reflect and bounce their perspectives onto one another. Positivity is a step-by-step process when you do it solo, but a positive group of friends can be an escalator.

6. Get into Action

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Negativity is usually accompanied by a “freak-out” response, especially when tied to relationships, people and to worrying about the future. This is debilitating to becoming positive and usually snowballs into more worry, more stress and more freak-outs.

Turn the negative stress into positive action. The next time you’re in one of these situations, walk away and take a break. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths. Once you’re calm, approach the situation or problem with a pen and pad of paper. Write out four or five actions or solutions to begin solving the problem.

Taking yourself out of the emotionally charged negative by moving into the action-oriented positive will help you solve more problems rationally and live in positivity

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7. Take Full Responsibility, Stop Being the Victim

You are responsible for your thoughts.

People that consistently believe that things happen to them handicap themselves to a victim mentality. This is a subtle and deceptive negative thought pattern. Phrases like “I have to work” or “I can’t believe he did that to me” are indicators of a victim mentality. Blaming circumstances and blaming others only handicaps our decision to change something negative into something positive.

Taking full responsibility for your life, your thoughts and your actions is one of the biggest steps in creating a more positive life. We have unlimited potential within to create our own reality, change our life, and change our thoughts. When we begin to really internalize this, we discover that no one can make us feel or do anything. We choose our emotional and behavioral response to people and circumstances.

Make positive choices in favor of yourself.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny” ― Lao Tzu

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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