Education

Education
Strategies to Use When You’re Feeling Anxious

Strategies to Use When You’re Feeling Anxious

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
It’s normal to experience occasional anxiety — for example, when we’re faced with a high-stakes meeting, a stressed-out boss, or a conflict with a colleague. Feeling anxious can make you more vigilant, engaged, and productive, but it can also exacerbate negative thoughts. To regain control of your internal monologue, there are a few strategies you can try. First, take note of any physical cues: a churning stomach, sweaty palms, or flaring nostrils. When you experience these systems, divert your attention away from the stressor. One technique is to do a tough math problem in your head. Then, identify the “thought trap” you’re falling into. Are you catastrophizing (i.e. imagining the worst possible outcome)? Mind reading (i.e. imagining what others might think?) Or black-and-white thinking (i.e. considering only two possible outcomes)?…
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For Cybersecurity Even ‘Trusted Sources’ Need To Be Watched.

For Cybersecurity Even ‘Trusted Sources’ Need To Be Watched.

Featured, Process
The prevailing wisdom when protecting yourself from online scams is never open files sent to you by people you don't know. While this is good advice, it still leaves you open to problems caused by "trusted sources." You may know that the file sent to you by your child's school is not a scam, but you don't know that their system hasn't been infected. Your trusted sources obviously aren't trying to hack your computer. You don't know if their computer systems have viruses and malware that could affect you. My son learned this the hard way when he brought his laptop to school and logged into the school network. His virus protection software went crazy as it detected all of the problems from the school's network drive. The same school…
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Stop Second-Guessing Your Decisions

Stop Second-Guessing Your Decisions

Evaluate, Featured
Do you find yourself revisiting every decision you make, agonizing over whether it really was the right one? While everyone has doubts, second-guessing yourself too often can affect your leadership— and the perception of your leadership among other people. If you aren’t initially feeling confident about a chosen path, don’t discount where your intuition has led you. Try keeping a journal of recent decisions. Hopefully, you’ll find that your intuition has led you in the right direction over time and that even when you made mistakes, they were easily corrected. Another powerful way to stop questioning a decision in the moment is to make a plan to formally review it at a later date. It could be in a few weeks, or a few months — whatever feels appropriate. Add…
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Set A Timer When Making A Tough Decision

Set A Timer When Making A Tough Decision

Evaluate, Featured
We spend a lot of time and energy each day making choices — some minor, and some serious. But it’s possible to handle decisions of all kinds more efficiently. One strategy is to use a timer for the most difficult and unpredictable decisions. Some decisions are so complicated that you may never come to a conclusion that feels exactly right. So, set a specific amount of time, and when time’s up: make your best choice and move forward. It helps if you can make the decision smaller, with minimal investment, to test it. But if you can’t, then just make the decision. The time you save by not deliberating pointlessly will pay massive dividends in productivity. To learn how a Modern Observer Group coach can help your decision making process, contact…
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Focus on Your Breath to Sound More Persuasive

Focus on Your Breath to Sound More Persuasive

Communication, Featured
Breathing plays a big role in how you sound. The ability to harness your breath is critical when you’re speaking up in a meeting or giving a speech or presentation. To speak with more confidence and power, focus on your breath. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise your arms up over your head. Breathe in deeply. As you exhale, slowly lower your arms down to your sides. Make sure your shoulders are back, not hunched. This is the best posture for speaking: you are standing tall, owning your full height, and resonating confidence. Put one hand on your belly button and one hand on your chest. Breathe deeply and notice which hand moves. Keep your chest steady and breathe into your stomach. Then exhale slowly, and speak “on…
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Developing Ideas Requires More than A Presentation

Developing Ideas Requires More than A Presentation

Featured, Innovation
We often think a one-way presentation during meetings is the best way to share ideas. But presentations are really meant to inform or persuade an audience. If you're looking to develop, build upon, and get consensus on an idea, you need to facilitate a conversation. This isn't easy to do. You have to encourage people to share thoughts freely and honestly, which means you're juggling multiple viewpoints, managing conflicts, and making sure everyone's voice is heard. One way to make the process engaging (and easier for you) is to use sticky notes and flip charts to get people to brainstorm and build on each other's ideas. This makes participation more dynamic and collaborative. Team members can capture ideas quickly on sticky notes, post them to a chart on the wall,…
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Motivate People By Changing One Word

Motivate People By Changing One Word

Communication, Featured
If you’re trying to motivate someone make the decision to act, it’s important to show that you’re focused on their needs, not yours. Pronouns can help. They’re small, but potent, signals that communicate a speaker’s focus of attention. The key to helping people make the decision can be as simple as using "we" instead of "I" when you communicate. When people feel insecure, they are more likely to focus their thoughts and behaviors inward and use more first-person singular pronouns (e.g., “I,” “my,” “me”) when speaking. By contrast, first-person plural and second-person pronouns (such as “we,” “us,” or “you”) are used when considering the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others. So try using “we” more often when speaking to your team. It will show that you are more focused on…
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Lean Into Adversity

Lean Into Adversity

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
When times get tough, many people think the first thing they need to do is minimize the pain. It's a reasonable idea. No one wants to suffer after all. If you minimize the pain it's easier to get through the adversity. That may or may not be true but minimizing the pain, can actually make the situation worse. Adversity brings out who people are. It breaks people and organizations down and builds them back up. Thins about the worst things that have happened in your life. You would not be the same person you are today if they didn't happen. To be stronger you need to lean into adversity. Focus on solving the problem: What caused the adversity? Fix it.Deal with the fallout: What's the fallout from the problem? Accept…
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Don’t Brush Off Positive Feedback — Study It

Don’t Brush Off Positive Feedback — Study It

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
Most of us remember critical feedback. Criticism is jarring and threatening, so it tends to stick in our brains. Most of us dismiss positive feedback, sometimes people think of it as people being nice and sometimes people assume that it's sarcasm. We have been conditioned not to pay attention to positive feedback. Positive feedback is an invaluable way to learn about your strengths and growth areas. Create a space (digital or physical) where you save the praise you get, anything from thank-you cards to written notes in your evaluations to comments in email threads. When you get mixed feedback, tease apart the positive and negative aspects, and put the positive ones in your kudos folder as well. Set a time in your calendar to periodically review and reflect on what…
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Losing Your Audience During a Presentation? Try This

Losing Your Audience During a Presentation? Try This

Communication, Featured
You can tell when an audience has stopped listening to a presentation. Phones come out, people slouch in their seats, maybe someone dozes off. If you notice this happening during your talk, try a few techniques to grab people’s attention. Move around the room. It keeps audience members guessing where you’ll go next, which means their eyes are trained on you.Lower your voice, or even pause. Speaking in a monotone isn’t very engaging, of course, and neither is always speaking at the same volume. To regain attention, try speaking softly so that people need to focus in order to follow along, or using a well-timed pause to create suspense around what’s coming next. Speak faster or slower. When you change speeds, people take note: What’s different here? Why does this part sound distinct? And that means…
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