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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pike Syndrome

Today’s post talks about an interesting phenomenon known as the Pike Syndrome. What is the Pike Syndrome all about and what are the implications that we can learn from it?

Firstly, lets learn about the Pike Syndrome.

The pike is a fierce carnivorous fish that eats smaller fishes. In an interesting experiment, scientists took a pike and placed it into a large tank with many smaller fishes.

The pike however, was separated from these smaller preys by a layer of glass, forming a barrier preventing the pike from reaching its prey.

The pike continuously smashed itself against the glass barrier while trying to reach its prey, but was unsuccessful in its attempts in penetrating this invisible barrier.

Gradually, it became discouraged and discontinued this behaviour. The pike eventually sank to the bottom of the tank and just laid there. When the pike finally stopped hitting the glass barrier, the scientists removed the barrier, allowing the pike to feast.

To their surprise, the pike continued ignoring the smaller fishes, even when they were swimming right next to the pike. Eventually, the pike starved to death, even when its food was swimming right in front of it. This behaviour was eventually known as the “Pike Syndrome”

So, what are the lessons we can take from this “Pike Syndrome?”

Well, the Pike Syndrome tells us that our minds are indeed very much in control of our behaviour.

In the experiment, when the barrier is removed, the fish were swimming right in front of the pike, yet the pike still perceive the barrier to be in place and starved to death. The pike still believed that the barrier was there.

In real life, people are limited by a whole host of barriers such as age, abilities or even self confidence. It does not matter if the barrier is physically there or not, but if our minds perceive a limitation, then a barrier is very much in place. If you perceive yourself to be inferior for instance, this could eventually become a self fulfilling prophecy

In addition, this experiment tells us that it is often difficult to identify the change, even when the barrier is removed. The pike was unable to change its mindset when the barrier was removed and starved to death. Similarly, people suffer from the same problem as well. We often assume that the barrier is still in place when in fact, it has already disappeared.

So, do try to identify cases of Pike Syndrome in your life. Remove the constraints that limit your life by critically examining the situation and remove any false assumptions that have been previously holding you back. You can change and be a better person! Achieve better interpersonal communication!

If you have enjoyed this post about Pike Syndrome, you might consider bookmarking this page or checking out related posts regarding life and interpersonal communication.
1) Can Money Really Buy Happiness?
2) How to Win Friends and Influence People
3) Find Meaning in Your Life

Friday, May 16, 2008

Public Speaking Via An Audience Centered Approach


Every public speech, regardless of its purpose, is always meant for an audience. Your audience could range from young children to corporate executives.
However, regardless of the composition of your audience, you must be prepared to analyse them in order to engage them effectively in the course of your speech.

So, how are you to achieve this? Here are 3 easy steps that you could apply

Step 1: List down the Needs of the Audience

In the first step, you need to identify what the audience should take away from your speech. What is their objective for coming to this talk?

Approach this situation from the audience’s point of view. Why is the audience here? What’s in it for them to be here? What sort of material are they looking for? Are they seeking information, inspiration or entertainment perhaps? Perhaps a combination of all three reasons? These factors have to be considered when planning your speech.

Step 2: Assess the Audience

The next step is to assess the audience. We can keep this in mind using the acronym KILL.

K – Knowledge
What is the knowledge level of the audience? Are they well informed of the subject matter or are they encountering this topic for the very first time?

I – Interest
Is the audience eager to listen? Or will they be hostile?

L – Language
Will the audience be familiar with the language of this presentation?

L – Level
What is the level of the audience? Will the audience consist of a homogeneous group such as a class of school children? Or will it contain people from all walks of life? In the latter case, the presenter will need to strike a good balance to appeal and meet the needs of the entire group.

By KILLING the audience, you will have a better idea of the technical level which you will be going to pitch the idea at.

For technical presentations, you might check out the article Presentation Tips for the Technical Professional for tips that can help you in making presentations of a technical nature.

Step 3: Decide on the outcome

Remember to maintain the focus on the audience. Based on the type of speech, you will need to decide beforehand what you want the audience to know, (for the case of an informative speech).

For a motivational speech, you will be required to know what you want them to feel. (Motivated, inspired or excited?)

Alternatively, for a speech which seeks a call for action, do decide beforehand what you want them to do with your message or information. Do you want them to use it? Or perhaps to be invited back for further events? You will have to decide beforehand before you even start crafting your speech.

This three step process should be the very first step in planning a speech. This allows you to focus and narrow the scope of your presentation allowing it to be more focus and relevant. After you have completed analysing your audience, you might consider preparing your speech according to the following six steps process.
I hope that with this recommended structure, you will be able to effectively wow your audience with a great prepared speech. Be a better communicator today!

You might also be interested in the following
- 10 Attention Grabbers for Better Public Speaking
- The 3 Simplest Steps to a Better Vocal Presentation
- Control your Presentation Fears

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Establishing Effective Communication Skills


Effective communication skills are indeed important, not only in our interpersonal relationships but also within the workplace. Fortunately, communication skills can be learned, and can also be improved upon over a period of time.

Apply the five following techniques of effective communication. These basic principles will help you achieve improved interpersonal relationships as well as outstanding workplace success.

Technique 1: Listen

It is ironic that the passive skill of listening is a core component of good communication. Listening focuses your attention on the other person, allowing you to be audience-centric your interactions.

Listening also allows the other person to get his or her point across and thus may cause him or her to reciprocate your kind attention and listen to what you have to say. Listening has also the added bonus of supplying the time needed to perform the next step well.

Technique 2: Speak Slowly and Clearly

The next step to better communication is to speak clearly at a suitable pace. Have you ever spoken to someone who rambled continuously in an incomprehensible manner? You can avoid this by framing your thoughts in a clear and concise manner.

When you do speak, do not rush; speak slowly, in a clear and logical tone. With the diverse nationalities in today’s globalised workplace, speaking clearly becomes even more important in the communication of thoughts and ideas in the workplace.

If you tend to get nervous when speaking, try this tip. Imagine the person whom you are speaking with to be a small child, and that you are trying to explain something simple to him. This will help to reduce any nervous tension out from your voice. However, try to avoid sounding condescending.

Technique 3: Be Considerate

Always be mindful of the other person’s feelings. Speak in terms of the other person’s interests. Don’t ramble on and on about something that the other person is not interested in. Do smile, and maintain good eye contact.

Technique 4: Give Complements

Everybody wants to be appreciated, and so the person who is able to give this recognition will be extremely valued. A complement, given sincerely, is a simple and effective way to create bonds with any individual you desire. It costs nothing to give, and is of infinite value to the person receiving it. John Maxwell, leadership expert has his 30 second rule. Give the other person a complement within 30 seconds of meeting him or her.

Technique 5: Have Confidence

Confidence helps you to communicate in many ways. People enjoy communicating with other people who appear to be confident. Maintain eye contact, smile. Initiate contact if the other person is shy. Show off your personality.

Be mindful of these five techniques highlighting the basic principles of effective interpersonal communication the next time you interact. Interpersonal skills are indeed important in our everyday life. With time and practice, you will definitely before a more effective and successful communicator.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Charlie Chaplin's Greatest Speech

Most people remember Charlie Chaplin for his silent comedic films, but Chaplin was much more than just a genius with his non-verbal communication. He was a master at vocal communication as well, and this can be seen from his speech in the movie "The Great Dictator".

This speech was choosen as the best movie speech according to List Universe.

Charlie Chaplin’s Speech in "The Great Dictator"

When I saw this speech, I was awestruck…. Charlie Chaplin, famous for his comedic monologs, actually pulled off one of the most powerful speeches of all time.

Whats more, he achieved it without the use of gestures with his arms. What he did employ, however, was the use of the powerful facial expression.

His voice is firm and dramatic, with the proper emphasis when it is needed. Chaplin changes speed smoothly and easily, and this helps to highlight the points that he is trying to make.

For example, he suddenly slows down and extends the word “Greed…” (1.42) for emphasis. His voice, rich with color and expression.

The use of contrasts is also used well here. “We think too much and feel to little.(2.02) We have developed speed, but have shut ourselves in.(1.50)

He uses triads effectively “Tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel.” (3.06)

At the climax of the speech (3.30), Chaplin lifts his pace of speaking and correspondingly gradually raises his tone of voice like a rising crescendo.

This speech, from one of Chaplin's most commercially successful films, is not only powerful and dramatic, but still remains relevent even in today's world.
It also highlights Chaplin's capability as a effective communicator, both verbally as well as non-verbally.

If you're interested, you can buy this classic DVD from Amazon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Give a Better Oral Presentation


'Hello, today's post is a compilation of my "Give a Better Oral Presentation" series.

The following guide will help you to prepare your message in a focused and organised manner.

Step 1: Clarify the Purpose of your Presentation
Step 1

Step 2: Clearly Define your Audience
Step 3: Research your Topic

Step 4. Organise your Information and Prepare your Message
Step 5. Prepare the Outline of your Message

Step 6. Rehearse your Presentation
Step 6

An oral presentation is actually communication to an audience. Achieve better interpersonal communication, today!!!