Category Archives: Revealing Excellence Business Blog

Be A Good Listener

Be a good listener…I was in my office the other day and overheard an interesting conversation…

Mary was telling Kim (not their real names) about what her boy friend said to her that hurt her feelings. Kim said that she knew just how she felt because her boy friend had done something similar to her just last week. Kim then went on for a good 15 minutes describing in detail her incident. I’m sure her intent was to help Mary feel she wasn’t alone. Yet I’m not sure that’s what Mary felt.

I confess that I do the same thing sometimes. I have to catch myself and remember that who I am talking to didn’t ask for my advice or my commiseration. They simply wanted someone to listen to them. They don’t want me to fix anything, they want me to hear them. Hear how they are feeling and what they think.

We all yearn to be ‘gotten’, to be heard and understood.

More upsets are solved by listening than by offering advice. Dale Carnegie’s principle; Be A Good Listener, Encourage Other To Talk About Themselves is another pathway to more fruitful relationships.

Let’s all focus on being a better listener. We have two ears and one mouth for good reason… We should listen twice was much as we talk.

Be a good listener,

Steve

Talk In Terms

‘Talk In Terms of the Other Person’s Interest’

The last principal was about listening instead of talking. Dale Carnegie said that listening to someone is enlivening to them. Yet if you must talk, talk about something that they are interested in.

 I admit it, I would talk about gadgets and technology and Apple computer all day nonstop, if I could.  Its actually embarrassing to admit,  but its true. Anyone who really knows me, knows that.  If you want my attention, talk to me about the iPhone, or iPad.  Sometimes people stop me in the store and ask me how I like my Apple Watch. I have to be careful not to take up a half hour of their time in the store lauding The Dick Tracy gadget on my wrist. 

 We are all like that with regard to some topic. So really, our job is to find that topic for other people.  

 Theodore Roosevelt is purported to have made a habit of staying up late reading up on topics that the people he was meeting the next day, were interested in so he could have meaningful conversations with them about something that was of great interest to them. People were always impressed with his extent of his knowledge on many subjects.

Too often people seem to be interested the other person when in reality they end up talking about what they personally are interested in. Such as; oh, Im sorry you hurt your wrist. I hurt mine a few years ago…” and then launch into a long story about themselves. Talking in terms of their interests, not yours.

Lets all take the time to learn and talk about what other people are interested in. We will all be richer for it. 

~Steve

Importance To ‘Be Here Now’

Be here now…Years ago I trained with a wilderness tracker named Tom Brown.  There are so many things that I awakened to spending time with him. One thing I think you might be able to relate to is when people go out  into  the woods  and see a  bird or on animal  they immediately want to know what it is, what’s their name. And immediately upon learning the name, they are satisfied that they know something about the animal. Except that, they really know nothing. And the remarkable thing is that’s okay with them. They  want to be able to point to a cardinal and say, “see that’s a Cardinal”. They don’t know that Cardinals mate for life, are predominantly ground feeders and a myriad of other interesting facts about them.  Simply by putting a name on something they can avoid a deeper relationship by learning more.

My wife of 24 years died yesterday.  She had been trying to recover from injuries she sustained over a year and a half ago.  Something I have noticed is how much people are interested in what she died from.  They want to label for themselves what happened because they think that will help them understand. But if I told them she died of cancer, that would be it.  They would have all the information they needed.  They could then protect themselves from the profound sadness by putting it in the ‘cancer’ drawer, where the “too bads” and “thats horrible” live, with the “ I knew X who died of cancer” that also live there.

In the end does it really matter what she died from?

Our wish to protect ourselves, often is invisible.

Our interest in the cause is completely understandable, but not necessary.

What is necessary is to BE with the one you are with.

Relationships are not built on how or why, they are built on being present, right here, right now. They are built on feeling you’re feelings and being empathetic, characteristics our society recognize as weaknesses.

But only the bravest cry and the strongest show empathy. Be here now. Feel what there is to feel.

~Steve

Make The Other Person Feel Important

Make the other person feel important…

How often does someone stop to ask a question, and since we’re in the middle of doing something, we don’t look up and let them ask the question to the side of our head? It’s not like we’re not listening, it’s just we’re busy.  We have taught ourselves to multitask, and to be able to listen to someone while working on the task at hand.

The practice of stopping what we’re doing, turning and facing them,  and giving them our full attention, sends the message that they are important. I can hear what you are thinking, (because I’ve  thought it myself). They are the ones interrupting me. They are the ones not respecting my time… This is where my favorite quote from Wayne Dyer changes my attitude every time… He said:  “We have a choice.  Do we want to be right, or kind?”

What’s the end of the game here? Do we want better, more fulfilling relationships? If so, the answer is very clear.  

Let’s do whatever we can to make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely.

There is  wonderful story about a little girl saying to her mother, “mommy, I know you love me”. When her mother asked how she knew, she replied “because whenever I talk to you, you stop what you are doing to listen to me.”

It is a very simple process to stop ,to listen, make eye contact and to pay attention, yet in reality it seems quite difficult because of our inner dialogue. So, regard this as a friendly reminder on your journey to build stronger, more fulfilling relationships both in personal life and in your work life.

Use Dale Carnegie’s principle Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

i hope you too, feel important.

~Steve

Never Say ‘You’re Wrong”

Never say ‘ You’re wrong!’….I know that if you are like me, you have found yourself in a discussion where you know the other person is so wrong it is laughable. The urge is to quickly and emphatically set them straight with the facts.  

Here is my favorite example from Dale Carnegie as to why that may not be the most prudent thing to do… 

“Carnegie was attending a banquet one night given in Sir Rosss honor, and during the dinner, the man sitting next to him told a humorous story that hinged on the quotation Theres a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.The raconteur mentioned that the quotation was from the Bible. He was wrong, and Carnegie knew it positively. By his own admission, he appointed himself as an unsolicited and unwelcome committee of one to correct the storyteller. The other man stuck to his guns. From Shakespeare? Absurd! That quotation was from the Bible. And the man knew it. Frank Gammond, an old friend of Carnegies, was seated to his left. Gammond had devoted years to the study of Shakespeare. So the storyteller and Carnegie agreed to submit the question to the expert. Mr. Gammond listened, kicked Carnegie under the table, and then said, Dale, you are wrong. The gentleman is right. It is from the Bible.On their way home that night, Carnegie said to Mr. Gammond, Frank, you knew that quotation was from Shakespeare.” “Yes, of course,he replied, Hamlet, act five, scene two. But we were guests at a festive occasion, my dear Dale. Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is that going to make him like you? Why not let him save his face? He didnt ask for your opinion. He didnt want it. Always avoid the acute angle.It taught Carnegie a lesson he never forgot.”
 from “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age” by Dale Carnegie

I have never convinced anyone that they were wrong and I was right. In the past, all my arguments left us more convinced in our own rightnessand the others wrongness. Nothing has ever been gained by trying to prove Im right, so why do it? My ego is the only seeming winner, but I have found that feeding my ego is ALWAYS a losing proposition. I dont have to agree with the other person, I can agree to disagree or simply keep quiet.

~Steve

I Have The Best Office Assistant

I have the best office assistant and if you own an iPhone, iMac or iPad, then you do too. Its Apples built in app called Reminders.

For most people it shows up like a glorified to do list where you keep standard and custom lists, like a shopping list or things to get done at home or workand although it’’s true it will do that but if that is all you are using it for, you are selling yourself short.

I am dangerous because I dont check my calendar, which is why I need an ‘office assistant, as often as I should and have been known to miss an appointment or two (or many) in the past. That is until I started using Reminders the way Apple intended.

When I create a new meeting now, I choose the option to remind me 15 minutes before the time so I can finish what I am doing or gather what I need. Pretty basic right? Well how about having Siri do all of this for you? I simply say Hey Siri, create a meeting with Jim at 2pm on Thursday at Starbucks in WillistonSiri will do all of that without me having to fill in all the details. But wait.I have a call every Tuesday at 12 pm, no problem say hey Siri, call Mary every Tuesday at 12pmand as long as Mary is in your contacts, Siri will include her number in addition to setting the appointment.

What if you are on your way home and want to remember to take the chicken out of the freezer as soon as you get home? Just tell Siri that and when you drive up youre drive, you will get that reminder as long as you have your address in your contact file. Same thing if you want a reminder when you get to work. Just make sure your work address is in your contact file.

I have praised Siri before, because of all she can dothis is just another example of her magical powers, the best office assistant.

~Steve

If You Are Wrong, Admit It

If you are wrong, admit It quickly and emphatically…

This is another of Dale Carnegie’s principles, one that is unfortunately not applied as often as it should be. The thought of admitting you have made a mistake, to many people, shows weakness. Except being vulnerable is a strength. Being willing to be known and take responsibility is also. 

 A long time ago I learned this lesson well.

I was driving my car up to an intersection that I did not have the right-of-way at. As I pulled up, I looked to the right, then to the left and having seen nothing I started to pull across the intersection. As I did, I glanced again to my right and saw a large man on a large motorcycle seemingly inches away from my right fender. I slammed on my brakes and he swerved out-of-the-way and completed his left turn without incident. Shaken, I continued on my way and glanced in my rearview mirror only to see the motorcycle turning around and coming after me.

I was wrong, and I knew it.  

The man on a motorcycle was wearing a black leather jacket, black helmet, and was sitting on top of a black motorcycle. It was somewhat understandable that I didn’t see him, but it was still my fault.

What I did next,  might seem a little risky and counterintuitive. I pulled over onto the shoulder and got out of my car, just as the biker pulled up. He was clearly angry. He also probably thought I was going to give him a hard time. What I did then was throw up my hands up and say how very sorry I was, that it was clearly my fault, and was he all right?

He was totally caught off guard. He stammered a little and then said “you just better be more careful in the future“, then turned his bike around and went on his way.

I have no way of knowing what would have transpired had I not stopped, but it turned a potentially bad situation into a very valuable life lesson.

When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

~Steve

Apple’s Notes App Review

I confess I am a bit extreme when it comes to loading apps onto my digital devices. Currently, I have 215 apps on my iPad and its 387 on my iPhone. I am constantly downloading new applications that do something new or solve a problem. Admittedly , I have never used some of the apps I have on my devices, but that doesnt stop me in my search to streamlining my workflow.

Apple has the reputation of improving their own apps to incorporate innovations from third-party apps. The built-in notes app has been updated recently to include enough features for me to get rid of four or five third party apps I have on my devices. The obvious advantage to using apples software is the way it integrates across all devices.

I always thought of the notes app as a glorified stickeys app. But it has grown up quite a bit in recent years. Now its capable of scanning and marking up documents, importing photos and PDFs, creating to do lists, and more. You can create folders and/or files that are password-protected for security as well.

For instance, last month I opened a new savings account and needed to sign a document to complete the process. My banker emailed me the document, I brought it into notes on my iPad, signed it with my Apple Pencil and emailed it back to her, all in about 10 minutes. A year ago that same process would have taken me almost a half hour and the use of two separate apps on my iPad.

I am a long time user and fan of Evernote. I am not quite ready to move everything over to Notes, but it is looking likely in the near future. I am able to scan receipts, business cards, and documents. I can create a password-protected folder to keep a copy of my license, insurance information, passport, and credit cards for instant access rather than having to hunt through pockets and wallets and file folders. The search capabilities are also first class in Notes so you can effortlessly find anything you have stored anywhere.

One of my favorite features on my iPad is that I can simply tap my pencil on screen, even if it is in sleep mode, and it will immediately open up to a new note, so I can get going that much faster.

If you search on You Tube you will find a variety of tutorials that go into great detail about all of the Notes features.

~Steve

Begin In A Friendly Way

Begin in a friendly way….Years ago, when Dale Carnegie was a barefoot boy walking through the woods to a country school in northwest Missouri, he read a fable about the sun and the wind. It serves as a vivid reminder of the power of this principle of earning others’ trust. The sun and wind debated about which was the stronger, and the wind said, “I’ll prove I am. See the old man down there with a coat? I bet I can get his coat off him quicker than you can.” So the sun went behind a cloud, and the wind blew until it was almost a tornado, but the harder it blew, the tighter the old man clutched his coat to him. Finally the wind calmed down and gave up, and then the sun came out from behind the clouds and smiled kindly on the old man. Presently, the man mopped his brow and pulled off his coat. The sun then reminded the wind that gentleness and friendliness were always stronger than fury and force. – quoted from How To Win Friends And Influence People In The Digital Age
Remember to always begin in a friendly way.
Some people have asked “isn’t that manipulative if you don’t feel friendly?” The answer is yes it is. The importance with all of Dale Carnegie’s advice is to be genuine and sincere. If you can’t do that, wait until you can. The hard truth is that the issue you might have with someone has little to do with them.
Gary Vanerchuk says “Engagement has to be heartfelt, or it won’t work. . . . You cannot underestimate people’s ability to spot a soulless, bureaucratic tactic a million miles away. It’s a big reason why so many companies that have dipped a toe in social media waters have failed miserably.”
You are a good person, prove it.
~Steve

Siri Is My Friend

Siri is my friend.

There is a commonly held idea that men don’t like to ask directions.

As a guy, I am here to say it’s true.

We could get into a long discussion about whether it’s true or not and why,
but that’s for another time.

With Siri, you can ask directions without anyone knowing.

First, open settings on your iPhone and go to Siri & Search and make sure ‘listen for hey Siri’ is toggled on.

Then what you do is say “hey Siri” to start up, and say the address you are going to, for instance,”Directions to 302 Mountain View Dr., Colchester, VT”and Siri plots the route in Maps. It really is that simple.

You can also ask for directions to businesses like, ‘Directions to Starbucks’.

If you have your home and work addresses on your contact file, you ask for directions home or to work.

But then here is the little known magic you can perform. If you don’t like Maps and would like to get those directions through Google Maps or Waze or some other mapping app you have on your phone, add the app name to the end of the command.

For instance ‘directions home with Waze’ and presto, pulling up directions using that app instead of Apple Maps.

I use Siri exclusively while in my car, since in most states it’s now illegal to hold a phone while driving. She can read my texts and emails to me and let me respond if I want, play a particular song, open Audible so I can listen to an audiobook…she is multi talented if you speak to her correctly. All this while she also helps me be a safer driver.

~Steve