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Communication

Public Speaking: From Know Fear to No Fear…Part Uno

By August 8, 2017 Communication, Personal Development

Does the idea of public speaking scare the boogers right out of you? Do you start to get nervous? Does it feel like your brain shuts down and you can’t think? Well… I get it! I recently reached out to some friends on Facebook and asked the question to those who “fear public speaking,” “what causes that fear”. The response varied. Some people fear what others will say. Others fear what they will say. Some feel judged while others feel like they have nothing to say. It was very interesting as I read through the comments. Therefore, I want to share with you the first of two categories that everyone who responded fell into and how to address them. Meet Preparation!

Preparation: So here is the thing. NO ONE feels prepared enough. Even when speaking on a topic that one has spoken on hundreds of times there are always doubts that go through your head. No matter if you fear the importance or relevance of what you might say or what you look like the following is a checklist with some associated thoughts.

Prepare – Know your subject. Sometimes asking some questions will help you organize your thoughts so that you can better present your thoughts. Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Why are you giving this speech? Is it persuasive? Is it informational? Are you pushing for an action?
  • Ask all the questions…. “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “how,” and the most important AGAIN… “WHY”.

Practice – If you can practice in the area that you are going to speak that is the best. This will give you confidence in the space you are working in. If you can’t practice there practice somewhere. Imagine what it will be like in the space you will speak. (Great segue for the next thought.)

Visualize – Take some time to visualize the entire message. How will people respond to you? How do you want them to respond to you? How will you best facilitate that response? Do any changes need to be made after practicing once or twice or three times or…? Visualize a response ~ THE response that you are looking for! How will they do it? In what way could they respond? How will you help them get there?

I want you to know that you can do this! You have been given the ability that is needed because you were created with purpose (Check out this blog on being created on purpose and with purpose). Part 2 to this blog will address “looks” the second category that most people fall into!

 

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Communication: Do you hate talking on the phone, texting, or emailing? (Pros and Cons)

By July 28, 2017 Communication, Leadership

So… what is your primary preferred way to communicate electronically? This is a hot topic! As a pastor, I have people who will only communicate one way and sometimes refuse to communicate any other way. FRUSTRATING! Especially when I have to connect quickly.

Let’s take some time to look at each medium and discuss pros and cons.

Talking:

Often this is the type of person who just does not enjoy their phone… better said “smartphone” or they grew up in a time where talking on the phone was a priority. When the phone rang in their home someone (or everyone) went running for the phone! They may say something like “texting or emailing doesn’t feel very personal.”  

Pros

We can hear the tone of the person speaking. We can carry a two-sided conversation. We can

 discuss more than the initial topic. The conversation can evolve and we can discuss even more! 

Cons 

It seems like it takes up more time. It requires the other person to immediately respond or be available. It can interrupt other priorities.   

Texting:

This is usually someone who grew with tech. To them texting seems natural and easy. It is an extension of how they communicate. It is what they know. They may feel like a phone call is too invasive and that an email is not quick enough.

Pros

Texting is easy. It allows for easy quick communication. It can be accomplished now!

Cons

It is always not personal. It is frustrating if the other person does not respond (and everyone is different on their response time). Texting requires texting capabilities. Issues like tone and body language are lost.  

Emailing:

This is generally preferred by the generation who lands between Boomers and Millennials, Gen X! They remember running for the phone and they bought the tech. But generally their preferred method is email.  

Pros

A lot of information can be shared all at once. We don’t have to wait for the other person to answer and therefore we can email whenever. Generally, phones are not set up to notify the receiver of emails (the phone rings and texts buzz).

Cons

It may take awhile before there is an answer. Tone is difficult to know in an email. Sometimes email is not as easily accessed. Conversations are poorly had on email.

In the end, each medium has it’s pros and cons. For leaders being willing to communicate in all three mediums is necessary. It will allow for good rapport and we do not want to lose rapport simply because we are unwillin

g to use one of the three communication mediums I mentioned above.

This is not an exhaustive list and so… I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!  Which medium of communication do you prefer and why?

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Considerations for Public Speaking (A list of 7 things to consider before speaking to an audience)

By July 26, 2017 Communication, Personal Development

1 – Dress appropriately – If our audience is casual, be casual. If our audience is fancy, be fancy!  

2 – Know the material – Take the time to know the material inside and out. This seems like a no-brainer but I have heard enough people speak to know that “knowing the material” is not a given!

3 – Smile (when appropriate) – Some people don’t smile. That’s bad. It looks painful for the presenter and it feels painful for the audience. Others smile all the time… it seems like fear! Smile (when appropriate)!!!  

4 – Check the mic before going on stage. There are a few things more distracting then a mic that does not work… but VERY few!

5 – Prepare to be gracious – This is a mental preparation and it is needed. If we are not prepared ahead of time to be gracious we run the risk of being rude or unkind to people before and / or after our presentations. Also, people love grace (and we all need it)!  

6 – Prepare action items – There should be a good take away at the end of your message. At least one good action item that the hearer can do.

7 – Work with the tech – We should be aware of how our tech works at the facility that we are using. There are always issues of compatibility and the unique quarks of that facility’s tech department. Go early and have a plan b, plan c, plan d, plan e, etc.  

What are some additional things that should be prepared ahead of time when speaking? Please comment below! 

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Lessons on Communication from Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (There are definitely spoilers in this blog)

By July 26, 2017 Communication, Leadership, Mentorship, Personal Development

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was one of the best movies of the summer. I think that if we keep our eyes, mind, and heart open we can learn from just about anything. That makes for some very teachable moments in GotG2. Before you read any further… Yes, there will be some spoilers in this blog. Also, if you have seen both movies then this will make WAAAAAAAAYYYY more sense 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts about what you learned! The following is a list of a few lessons I think are worth thinking through!

1 – What is said is not always what is meant.

This is a very important point. Throughout both GotG and GotG2 we see tension between Peter Quill and Yondu. Peter is frustrated at Yondu and Yondu constantly holds the fact that he saved Peter from being eaten by the other Ravagers over Peter’s head. We later figure out that Yondu is really fond of Peter and was protecting him from a terrible fate. However, because Yondu does not know how to address his emotions / feelings his words are very harsh!

It is important for us to keep in mind that often times “what is said is not always what is meant.” This is not unique to Ravagers! People often say one thing while hiding what they really mean! A few things to consider when speaking with others (or in long term relationships) is:

– Consider body language – Often times our body language communicates what we really think / believe.

– Consider behavior (especially long term).

– Consider tone – Often tone communicates issues such as emphasis, anger, warmth, love, hate, etc.  

The best way to communicate is found in the words of Jesus, “let your yes be yes and your no, no.”

2 – Saying what you think can be fun (and embarrassing).

Drax is known for communicating what he is thinking. At times, Drax’s inability to not say exactly what he is thinking is very funny. Other times, his honesty about what he is thinking reveals his ignorance. Saying what we think can be very freeing and funny but speaking everything on our mind can show ignorance and foolishness! Beware!

The Bible has a lot to say about this matter – From prudence, to speaking without thinking, guarding our mouth is a very important thing to do as we communicate with others! (see Proverbs 12:22-23;18:6=7; 29:20; Isaiah 32:6)

3 – Response is age appropriate.

One of the best scenes is after the opening scene where we hear one of the best songs the world has ever known (obviously I’m talking about the song, Brandy from Looking Glass). We then get to see baby Groot dancing and barely dodging life threatening situations. At one point Gamora yells to Groot to leave and get out of danger. Groot does not understand (or maybe does not care). Groot simply waves at Gamora. Gamora does not get upset but simply responds to him appropriately, almost motherly!

Sometimes we are locked in on what we want to communicate the way that we want to communicate it. It is very important that we not get caught up in ourselves but rather communicate the message that is needed to be heard. What is the message and what is the age appropriate way to communicate the message?

I am reminded of Paul’s urge to the fathers in the book Ephesians where he warns the fathers to not exasperate their children. Harsh communication or communication that is not age appropriate can cause such exasperation whether that is your child or not.

4 – Sacrifice is an action and communicates love.

Yondu ultimately gives his life up for Peter. He shows that he values Peter by ultimately giving his life. Peter lives because Yondu give up his life. That sacrifice showed Peter that Yondu loved him despite the words that Yondu used.

Do you know anyone like that? A teacher who did not care if they made you mad but seemed to pick on you? A coach that pushed you beyond what you thought was possible? A parent who sacrificed and worked multiple jobs so you did not go without but did not use the word “love” when talking to you? Could it be that they were really saying “I love you” with their sacrifice?

Again the words of Jesus jump out at us and we are reminded of his words that “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.”

Closing:

Communication is important no matter what planet you are from. However, we have a unique need to be understood. GotG2 is a great example of seeing the need to communicate. There were so many things that we could have picked out from the movie but I think these four should keep us talking and learning for awhile!

Please feel free to share additional thoughts you have on this subject below!

 

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5 Easy Ways to Hear Better? (Okay 4 ways and one bonus)

By July 16, 2017 Communication, Personal Development

What a wonderful world that we live in! You want a cool new shirt? Sweet! Delivered by drone to your house! You need info? Thank you, Google! We live in an instant society. That is pretty great! However, one of the disadvantages (and there are many) is that we are so distracted we often don’t hear what the other person is saying!

Consequently, we then have misunderstandings, hurt feelings, broken relationships and all because we did not “hear” what was being said. I have spent years studying communication, conflict resolution, negotiations, and reconciliation. Let me share with you 5 ways to hear better! You ready? Okay, here we go…

1- Listen with your face –

“Listen with your face!” I heard a pastor say this one time. Actually, he was sharing how his wife told him to listen with his face. As he watched TV he would respond with his default setting “yeah, that’s true.” She got mad at him and told him to “Listen with your face.” I have found that to be a huge factor in communication. We simply need to pause what we are doing and look at the person with whom we are conversing and make eye contact. People feel like we are hearing them… and they are right! We are better hearers when we watch the person with whom we are speaking. We pick up tons of nonverbals (which is a huge factor in communication). We are also better able to connect. There is something about looking into someone’s eyes that make us better engaged!  

2- Fully engage mentally –

So my wife says to me “Kenny, can you drop off your daughter at work and… (I’m not sure what else she said I stopped listening)”! I stopped listening because I was already thinking about what I was going to tell her. In the old days, we had a phrase that we used, we said, “you are not paying attention.” Now we just act like it is okay! Here’s what we don’t like to admit, when we are talking to someone and they start thinking about their “comeback comment” (wait for it… ) we can tell that they are NOT  listening! So… we must pause and make sure that we are understanding what is being said before coming up with a response or jumping to conclusions.

3- Repeat back what you heard them say (sometimes) –

Sometimes it is important to pause and make sure we are understanding what is being said. When the other person is finished speaking… we can stop and repeat what we heard them say in our own words. Here is a word to the wise… if we do that too often we seem… um, well… dumb! It seems like we can’t understand simple English. So let’s use this tool sparingly and only as needed, if needed, when needed. Also, it should never start with “Are you serious…” or “Do you really think…” that is unless our goal is to make them mad (then by all means, that will be very effective).

4- Ask a kind question (maybe 2) –

Did you notice the word “kind”? That’s the key word. People consistently ask questions that are condescending,derogatory or just flat out mean-spirited! That’s not necessary! Ask a kind question. We may have to humble ourselves and ask it like this, “I’m not sure if I understand, can you help me understand what you mean?” Humbling our tone allows people to not feel attacked. It is a gracious way to more easily hear what is being said.  

5- BONUS: Put your phone away

I know this should be obvious but IT’S NOT! I know that it is not obvious because I talk to people all the time who have their stupid phones out and they are looking at something while I am trying to speak to them (often after they ask me a question!!!). This is not just a pet peeve of mine but common courtesy. We can’t engage in two conversations at once. Okay that’s not true… we can’t engage in two conversations at once very well. So let’s put the phone away! People are more important and the good Lord put that person in front of us… we should show them the respect they deserve and put the phone away!

We were created in God’s image. It is good to be heard but we must practice good listening skills if we have any hope in having good healthy relationships!

Is there anything that I missed? Please feel free to post below some additional thoughts you have of easy ways to hear better! Thanks, you are wonderful!

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Leadership and Worldview – 3 Great questions to ask about every slice of the worldview pie!

By July 15, 2017 Communication, Leadership, Personal Development

If you read “Leadership and the Worldview Pie – What does the crust have to do with it?” then you understand the concept of “The Crust”. But how do we develop a worldview? Many people say they believe one thing but live a totally different worldview!

Below are some questions that I have found very helpful in developing my worldview. If you have some additional thoughts or questions to ask please post below!

CRUST:

Theology – is the Crust of the Worldview Pie

  • What do I believe about God
    • Do I believe there is a God?
    • If not, do I believe there could be a God?
    • If there is a God, which God?

SLICES:

There are the 9 Slices to the Worldview Pie:  

Philosophy the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Philosophy?
    • Knowledge – how is it attained? Where does it come from?
    • Reality – how should it be understood?
    • Existence – Is there a general purpose? What is it? How does that influence others?

Ethics moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

  • Based on my understanding of God what do I think about Ethics:
    • Where did morals come from?  
    • Why should one behave with any set of morals?
    • How should one behave? Why is that necessary?

Biology is the natural science that involves the study of life and living organisms, including their physical and chemical structure, function, development and evolution.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Biology?
    • Where does life originate?
    • Are we a cosmic accident?
    • Do animals have purpose? If so, to do what?  

Psychology the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.

  • Based on my understanding of God what do I think about Psychology?
    • What is the purpose of your mind?
    • How does your mind control your actions?
    • Do your actions matter? If so, why?

Sociology the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society. (as well as social problems.)

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Sociology?
    • Should humans follow a specific set development process? If so, why?
    • Does societal structure matter? If so, why?
    • What is proper human society? Why and how did you come up with that?   

Law the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Law?
    • What is the purpose of law? Why does that matter?
    • Where does law come from?
    • Why is law necessary for humans?

Politics the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Politics?
    • Why should a group of people use political systems?
    • Whom should benefit from a political system?
    • Do the masses or individuals matter more to the body politic.

Economics the branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Economics?
    • What role does economics play in a society?
    • What should economics matter?
    • Who should benefit in an economic system?

History the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about History?
    • Does history have a point?
    • Why does history matter?
    • How does history affect a culture?

After working through the questions on each slice of the worldview pie what did you find? Is your worldview consistent? What are additional questions that may be helpful to ask?  

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Leadership and the Worldview Pie – What does the crust have to do with it?

By July 14, 2017 Communication, Leadership, Personal Development

Does it ever shock you how people sometimes just don’t get what you are saying??? THAT DRIVES ME CRAZY! I’m speaking English to an English speaker they SHOULD understand! But often, to my great chagrin, THEY DON’T! Ever been there? Why is speaking and hearing so difficult???

A Thought On Our Speaking and Listening Problem:

One of the great problems with communication is that we often come from different perspectives. These perspectives can be formed because of experiences that have imprinted on us or even formed from the lack of experiences. At times, politicians vehemently disagree about matters on the same topic and they seem to never understand why the other politician can’t get it. However, there seems to be something more deeply at play than experiences or votes for that matter. What I am talking about is a worldview. A worldview is the way that we see things. One might say that a worldview is a set of glasses that cause us to look at the world.

Worldview Pie:

David Nobel identified 10 points of a worldview. I like his perspective but please allow me to change the metaphor, from glasses to a pie. I like to look at worldviews as a “worldview pie.”  Each slice is a different area but the crust (that which holds it all together) is a specific topic. I would say that the crust that holds it together better defines each slice. In other words, if you know what the crust is then you will know how each slice should be understood. How does one understand philosophy, psychology, politics, ethics, sociology, economics, biology, law, and history? That depends on what is holding those slices together.

Let’s take a look at the crust:

With respect to how one views each slice of the worldview pie, there are a variety of possibilities but they are all based on the way that one sees God, this is called, theology. It can also be the way that you do not see God. Your crust could be, “Atheism,” “Agnosticism,” “Theism” or even “polytheism”. From there it may be broken into small components such as “Secular Humanism,” “Agnostic Atheism,” “Christianity,” “Judaism,”  “Islam” or “Hinduism.”

Crust defines the Worldview Pie:

This crust will define the pie. It will help each slice to have a nuanced meaning that will help us to understand where a perspective is coming from. It is the very reason that one group of people sees big government as the answer to most questions and others see small government as the answer to questions. It is not that either group is inherently bad or even spiteful. It is simply that they take on different crusts to their worldview. Their crusts define the pie. If Secular Humanism is their crust then it will give unique flavor to  the way that they view EVERYTHING! If Christianity is their crust then it will flavor everything they participate in.

Theology is the Crust of the Worldview Pie

Here are the 9 Slices to the Worldview Pie with a brief definition. In the days to come I will talk about each slice.   
Philosophy the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.

Ethics moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

Biology is the natural science that involves the study of life and living organisms, including their physical and chemical structure, function, development and evolution.

Psychologythe scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.

Sociologythe study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society (as well as social problems).

Lawthe system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.

Politicsthe activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.

Economics the branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth.

Historythe study of past events, particularly in human affairs.

 

Here are a few questions to consider:

  1. What is your belief about God?
  2. Is He personal or impersonal?
  3. Is He redemptive or aloof?
  4. What are other questions you should be asking? 

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