The Application of Listening

stop and friskSocial Media has afforded us the opportunity to bear witness to events occurring locally, regionally, and internationally. For instance, the  Stop-and-Frisk phenomena happening in New York City, enabled us to see the injustices afflicted on disenfranchised persons. Also, the high profile case of Trayvon Martin, kept millions all over the world glued to the story, the outcome, and the impact of rooted racism. These cases move us because they pigeon-hold certain individuals from achieving the American Dream. Therefore, we begin to see marches and campaigns for justice. However, one must consider the first step before action can take place and that is to listen. Trayvon-Martin-Rally

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. “ — Epictetus

life-coaching-listenListening is not only an auditory function that the body is able to perform but connects us to the outside world. When we begin to listen we become more informed by our surroundings, gain knowledge, and perhaps effect change. Kivi Miller offers us 17 tips to do with the things we hear, that can enhance organizations as well as personal growth. All her suggestions are beneficial and provide food for thought. I believe her most important point was to BETTER UNDERSTAND THE PEOPLE THAT MATTER THE MOST.

Constituents within non-profit organizations should be the most valued and sought after resource when constructing goals for agencies. Yet, this has been proven to be the opposite. It is no secret that non-profits are in competition for resources and depend upon sponsors to keep them afloat. Consequently, these precarious circumstances leave clients unheard, ignored, and invisible to the very organization they seek help from. Goodconversationgoodlistening

Roger Chapman, puts an interesting twist on how listening impacts blogging. Similar to Kivi Miller’s understanding your audience, he highlights how learning styles may influence public perception. He defines each learning style, commonly used phrases of each style, and what techniques better impact these learning styles. It is very imperative that we remain relevant and aware of the audience we are trying to reach. Listening will be our gateway into breaking barriers.

Are you at Risk?

THIS IS NOT A TEST!!!! I REPEAT. THIS IS NOT A TEST. There has been a virus running rampant all over the world. There appears to be a low survivor rate of non-users. Medical professionals and scientists have not been able to isolate this disease due to its astronomical rates worldwide. People affected by this virus may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

1.       Withdrawals when they are away from their phone or other technology

2.       Check Facebook before they get out of bed

3.       Talk in text terminology

If you display any of these symptoms you may already have….technomania. Crazy Facebook Dress 4

Clearly, technomania is a disorder I just created, so don’t go seeking medical advice from your physician or therapist about the symptoms listed above. Technology is an amazing resource that we have been provided. It has impacted many avenues of our lives for the better and worse. Social Media is a virtual method to communicate, share and participate with a larger audience. The question of the day is: How has social media changed our communication?

        1.       We have become a more fast-paced society. Due to the boundless access to information we are able to find information on any person or subject with one click. This is great!!! Let me provide you with a scenario:

 I’m invited to an event at the white house (only in my wildest dreams) and President Barack Obama says, “Monique, how did you like my speech in Kentucky the other day?” Now I could panic and run away…OR I could make an excuse to run to the restroom and watch it really quick. The choice is up to you.

                The down side to a fast-paced society is that it breeds impatience and a disregard for the smaller things in life. We no longer have the attention span to watch a video that is longer than five minutes without turning or speeding it up. Libraries have become a distant memory for children because of the internet. Consequently, these institutions encounter limited funding, less hours, or risk of closure.

 rationing-cell-phone-minutes1     2.       Do not call me. How many of us have been guilty of ignoring a phone call because we didn’t feel like talking? Texting is a popular form of communication between youth and young adults because it gives you an instant response without having to engage in proper phone etiquette. You know… “Hi. How was your day? Mines was great. And yours?”…even when you don’t care to know.

Texting is a non-personable medium to communication that has transferred into how we interact in society.  Texting terminology has been integrated into conversation, advertisements, and music. This causes us not to have interpersonal connections with others which leads to desensitization to human emotion. When we become so wrapped in technology that we are no longer able to talk to others or allow things to become an extension of ourselves, we need to reevaluate our lives.

The Art of Good Storytelling

storytelling“ENGAGE ME!!!”  This was bellowed by my English 101 professor the first semester of my undergraduate career. Everyone was startled and a bit out of sorts by his reaction. I was very nervous that this guy was mentally unstable and had somehow conned his way through a psych evaluation. Do professors take those? Although I was slightly nervous, I found myself just as intrigued. He was a medium built guy with cropped brown hair and deep eyes filled with excitement. “Now that I have your attention. Welcome to English 101.”

He proceeded to explain his expectations of us and how classes would be facilitated for the rest of the semester. “I yelled engage me in the beginning of class because your writing is your artistry. That is your voice when you are not in front of me. I want to be consumed by your words and feel like I am a part of the story. Take me on this journey with you.”

This encounter stuck with me always. It alerted me to the fact that people love a good story.  This is illustrated by the precedence of the halftime show and commercials played at the Super bowl.  Stories can be told in various ways, such as, traditional oracle storytelling or innovative ways to advertise. A good story keeps you actively involved that time seems to fly. teacher

Storytelling begins with defining the purpose of your message and how you want to engage your audience.  The old adage of “Art Imitating Life” is more than a saying. Stories develop from common themes that have been portrayed in life which creates relatability. That’s why we are able to empathize with the adolescent nervous about the first day of school or the person that dreamt more for their life. Good storytelling captures all these emotions and has us reflect on our own lives. What is good storytelling to you? or Even a story that moved you?

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Professional vs. Personal

Technology has become the new means of communication within our society and is steadily taking over. No longer are we in the days of book reading, going to pay bills in person, or simply writing a letter. These modes have become outdated and just as extinct as the dinosaurs we hear about in our learning institutions. What has replaced these former interactions is technology that yield quicker tangible results and an overabundance of access. While these essential components have created a more productive society by creating awareness, helping organizations to thrive, and connect diverse populations; it is key to weigh the negative impacts of too much liberty.

Social sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have become the top picks for displaying individual talents and achievements within our personal lives. However, these networks have left many in precarious situations that has led to possible unemployment and imprisonment. Being a student on the brink of the professional arena, I have taken certain precautions when using these sites:
1) Be cognizant of posts and pictures you put up
2) Place control settings that approves everything that is put on your page
3) Place privacy settings on your account

These techniques can be helpful when navigating social networks and limiting the access that many may have if you. Just remember….if you wouldn’t do it in front of a priest or your mother…it may not be a good idea to post it.

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