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Quote of the Month

"“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it." 

Coach's Calendar

21.04.16
Acting & Speaking with Power

18.05.16
Overcoming Opposition and Setbacks

23.06.16
The Price of Power
 

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Volume 15, Number 2 - Spring 2016

Hello,

Happy Spring !!!

Spring is officially here, although, to be honest, I didn’t perceive much difference between Winter and Spring this year - except for the ongoing American political circus, which seems to have gotten more clownish since the beginning of the year.

Watching a recent debate between the potential American presidential candidates on the Republican side, a question came to my mind:  How has Donald Trump managed to convince some smart and educated people that he is a credible candidate?

According to George Lakoff, an American cognitive linguist, people don’t vote for their self-interests – they vote for their values, “what they implicitly, automatically and unconsciously believe to be right.”

At the risk of contradicting some hard-core cerebral geeks, it turns out that, instead of being the product of our rational thinking, political differences come down to moral divisions characterized by very different brain circuits. Regardless of our political affiliation, our sense of what is right or wrong is deeply connected to the neural circuits of our brains.

While the American debates offer some fascinating performances that some of us enjoy watching, I am more concerned, on a pragmatic level, with how connections in our neural circuits affect our daily lives, and why we should care.

We should care because what goes on in our brains matters. Our neural circuits carry the thoughts which define our personal identities. They give each of us a sense of who we are as a person. Central to that identity is a system of neural circuitry which is telling us what is right and wrong, influencing and justifying our actions.

While these circuits represent how we think the world works and help us make sense of our reality, our mental images are often imperfect and incomplete. We focus on the idea of the world that fits our values, and we conveniently overlook, distort or simply ignore what doesn’t fit. 

For many people, the plasticity of our minds makes it difficult to see when the world has changed, since we bend reality to fit our mental models rather than vice versa. 

Going back to the original quote from George Lakoff, if people vote what they believe to be right, for Trump’s supporters to change their way of looking at him, they would need to rewire their neural circuits by hearing a different language than his forceful but simplistic vocabulary, and seeing different images than the ones the media is bombarding us all with.

The same is true in our own lives. Since our language shapes the way we think and determines what we think about, in order to change our mindsets, the best results come when we change the way we speak by adopting a vocabulary that reflects the new thinking we want to embrace and ideas that emulate our desired behaviors.

Wishing a very sunny & happy spring,
 
Karin Genton L'Epée

The Power Breakfast started on January 21st

2014 saw the launch of the Power Breakfast series, which will continue into Spring 2016 with a new series The Price of Power inspired by Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book Power: Why some people have it –and others don’t.

"Power is desirable to many, albeit not all, people, for what it can provide and also a goal in and of itself." Jeffrey Pfeffer

To come across effectively, we need to master how to convey power, and remember that how we talk, appear and act has a significant impact on the power image we project. 

While being assertive and confident might seem more natural to some, on April 21st the topic will be Acting & Speaking with Power, with a reviews of the principles of Andy Grove’s Wolf School  and Amy Cuddy’s Power Poses. We will also speak about the language people use and how to construct presentations and arguments to help you establish your power.
  • Location: Jurys Inn Prague, Sokolovska 11, Prague, 186 00 Praha
  • Date: Thursday April 21st 2016
  • Time: 8:00 am to 9:30 am (registration begins at 7:45 am)
  • Price: 750 CZK +21% DPH 

Rotary Dragon Boat Charity Challenge 2016

On Saturday May 14th, Rotary Club Prague International invites you to participate in an excellent team building event on the Vltava River… A dragon boat race!

Dragon boat racing is an ancient Chinese water sport that is very popular in the Czech Republic. The long boats are similar to a canoe, but with a decorative dragon’s head and tail. To enter a team you need 16 paddlers and a drummer.

Taking part is easy, as boats,helmsman to steer the boat, life jackets and other safety equipment are all provided by the organizers. It is possible to book training sessions before race day.

It’s great fun, requires no experience, anyone can do it, and you’ll be supporting some wonderful charities in Prague!

You and your company can underwrite a team to participate in the Rotary Dragon Boat Race Challenge. Or you can just come with friends and family to watch the exciting racing, enjoy the atmosphere, have some food and fun, and more.

When: Saturday May 14th 2016
Where: On the Vltava River at Žluté lázně
Who: You and your friends. Boat teams should be 18 to 20 people, some for support
 
This event benefits Nadace Nase Dite (a children's charity), and Zivot 90 (providing support for the elderly). For more information, please visit http://www.rotarypragueinternational.org or email rotarydragonboats@gmail.com

A Golden Communication Opportunity: Made or Missed?

Long ago I learned to appreciate the benefits of attending lectures on a wide range of subjects, even if they are not connected to my coaching activities. If nothing else, listening and watching the speakers present their ideas and deliver their presentations has always been a valuable learning experience and, sometimes, a source of inspiration.

A recent conference I attended, however, did not live up to my expectations, which was frustrating. More important, a very boring and long-winded introduction nearly emptied the room – the exact opposite of what was intended!

Whether you want to communicate day-to-day information, important news about major changes in an organization, or something as simple as the agenda for a conference, before communicating anything – before sending an email, moderating a meeting or delivering a presentation – you need to ask yourself three basic questions: 
  1. Is my communication focused: what do I really want to say, what is my main point?
  2. Is my communication relevant: is what I am saying or writing useful and pertinent to the receiver?
  3. Is my communication compelling: is the delivery of my message capturing and keeping the attention of my audience.

Communication is the tool we use to interact with others, so unless we pay attention to the purpose of our communication – what we want to say, who we want to say it to, and the most efficient way to say it – we miss golden opportunities to achieve our goals.

Focused Communication
Focused communication is very much like marketing. You have a message that you need to “sell” to your audience. If they are going to “buy” it, you must make sure that the message is heard and understood. You must make sure the value and benefits provided outweigh any downsides (the “price” you are asking). You must also reach your audience through the right communication channels, and be able to measure effectiveness and whether your audience “bought” it.

Twitter and SMS messaging can be good examples of focused communication. These two communication tools offer a limited number of characters to get your message across, which requires thinking about the most effective way to express yourself.

Communication formats without limits (email is a good example) are more challenging to use effectively and efficiently. To increase communication performance, I recommend that you start thinking about clearly-defined boundaries each time you want to engage your audience. 

Relevant Communication
Relevant communication is not about showing how smart you are or would like to be perceived, or how important, impressive and liked you are or wish to be. Relevant communication is about making sure that what you are saying and offering has benefits for your audience and can satisfy one of more of its needs. 

Before sharing your knowledge and trying to convince others of your brilliance, it is critical  to identify who the receiver is, what he/she wants to know and/or wants to hear, and what would be most interesting and persuasive for them. 

Even core messages must be adapted to the specific group of people you are addressing. For example, a German audience usually expects precise and detailed information; a British audience tends to appreciate a well written and presented speech; and a French audience looks for intellectual understanding and a little bit of flair. 

Catering to the expectations of a multicultural audience can be a difficult prospect, but if you don’t pay attention to its diversity, you have no chance of crafting your communication effectively.

Compelling Communication
People look for clear messages to help them make sense of what is around them, either at work or in family and social contexts. So a clear message adapted to the targeted audience is crucial to effective communication. 

In today’s connected world, with thousands of messages bouncing off people every hour, in order to succeed you must tailor your messages so that they are not only clear – they are also convincing. 

Expressing enthusiasm, along with a thorough knowledge of the subject, allows you to create a feeling of trust and understanding with your audience. Warm personality, the tone of your voice, and passion for your topic are also key ingredients. Most important, though, is knowing your audience, and its needs and aspirations, so you can craft your messages in such a way that they resonate, and move people to action. 

When we have a sense of our communication goals (what we want to say and why), a sense of our various audiences’ goals (what do they want and need to know), and the capacity to deliver our messages in ways that meet both our expectations and our audiences’ aspirations, then we have truly maximized our golden communication opportunity.

About Karin

Karin Genton-L’Epée is a business coach with 35 years of professional experience in the United States, France and the Czech Republic. Based in Prague since 1995, for the past 18 years she has developed a range of coaching and training programs for mid and top-level managers, focusing on leadership development, cross-cultural understanding and effective communication in a global environment. By providing a structured environment that supports people in clarifying who they are and what they want, Karin enables her clients to devise more effective strategies to achieve their personal and professional goals. Thanks to her knowledge, skills and range of international experience, Karin is in demand as a speaker at business conferences and educational institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. She is also a regular contributor to business journals and magazines. She works in English and French and can be reached at karin@coaching.cz

 
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