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Are You Ignoring the Important People?

Are You Ignoring the Important People?
    IGNORE by wannaoreo from flickr

    Do you read people’s e-mail auto-replies? They can be pretty interesting. In the last few weeks, I’ve had not one, but two friends respond to my e-mail with an auto-reply that says something to the tune of: “I’m traveling to A, or doing B, and I’m not available to answer your message right now. Please don’t be offended. I’m not even reading mail from my family!”

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    Work Will Always Be There

    In my humble opinion, this is not acceptable. What could these people possibly be doing that necessitates ignoring their family members? If it is work related, I call foul. Folks, work will always be there. When you finish this big project, another will soon appear to take its place. But family members are only with us a short time on earth. It’s a cliché, but somehow people still don’t get it: at the end of your life, will you regret not working more or not being there for your loved ones more?

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    They Should Make Your To Do List

    It’s critical that you make an effort to respond to and show interest in the people closest to you. If this means they get a spot on your to do list so that you can remind yourself to keep in touch, then so be it. If you are a productive individual, I’m sure that you allot certain times each day to answer e-mail.  Your family members and friends should be addressed at that time. Do not allow weeks to go by, or god forbid, not get back to them at all.

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    The Calendar Box Approach

    Here’s a strategy I use that you might find helpful. I have an annual calendar – you know, the kind with the boxes. In each Sunday box, I list two close friends and family members who I plan to call. I also note in the boxes if someone important calls me and I was able to connect with them. The calendar box view lets me see if it has been a month or more since I’ve talked with someone meaningful to me.

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    “I’ll Be Back Soon”

    I often hear from frazzled people: “But this is just a really busy period in my life. It’s going to be over soon. I know so-and-so will understand if I’m off the grid for a while.” This may be true, but the danger is that you will make being missing in action a habit. Your loved ones may understand, but only to a point. Eventually, they will figure out that you are prioritizing everything ahead of them, and they will be hurt and irritated. The only thing that makes long-term neglect of relationships okay is a personal tragedy, and I hope nothing like death, serious illness, or divorce happens to you all this year.

    Time-Suck is the Eye of the Beholder

    If it seems like a pain to check in with people now, just think about what it was like to live in the nineteenth century or earlier. Those people had to hand-write letters and mail each one individually! Many of them still corresponded with geographically-dispersed loved ones every day. Now, it takes five seconds to dash off a happy birthday message to someone on Facebook. It couldn’t be easier. It also couldn’t be more important.

    I know that some people are reading this post and saying, “Wow, it never crossed my mind that I’m neglecting my loved ones because I’m so crazed at work.” That doesn’t give you a free pass. Remember that the key to a good life is to focus on what matters, and put the rest second. By being strategic in how you choose to do this, you won’t mix them up.

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

    You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

    1. Connecting them with each other

    Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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    It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

    2. Connect with their emotions

    Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

    For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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    3. Keep going back to the beginning

    Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

    On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

    4. Link to your audience’s motivation

    After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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    Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

    5. Entertain them

    While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

    Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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    6. Appeal to loyalty

    Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

    In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

    7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

    Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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