Archive for July, 2009

Family First: Making a Mark Begins at Home

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

As I celebrate my birthday today, I want to clarify what I believe making a mark is all about. As a young kid growing up I used to hear many of the significant people around me say that charity begins at home. This particularly became a joke when my brothers and sisters would want some act of kindness or generosity from me. As I’ve advanced in age, I have come to realize that being charitable is simply one of the ways in which we can make a mark in society. Just like charity, making a mark begins at home.

The key to success in life is to have a set of values that guide one’s life. These values are best developed in a family environment. If we will make a mark, the needs of our families must come first. You cannot mess up in the family arena and expect to make a solid mark in society. Making a mark begins at home. What value would there be in making a difference all over the world yet being a wreck when it comes to making a mark with the people closest to you? You have to focus first on making a difference with those closest to you before you can make a significant mark with the rest of society.

Use PEGS to Increase Other People’s Opinions About You

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

When I was a kid I used to love it when my mom would wash the bedsheets. Mom had this theory that for bedsheets to smell fresh and nice you had to hang them in the open air. She set up a clothes line in the backyard where she would use wooden and plastic pegs to hang the sheets and have them dry. The fun, for me, came in two ways. First, my younger brother and I used to like running in between the sheets. Of course it drove my mom crazy but she also joined in the play, knowing that we were just kids having fun. Second, we enjoyed sleeping in the fresh bedsheets at the end of the day. The key to this whole process were the pegs she would use to hang the sheets. Without the pegs the bedsheets would simply fall to the ground and it would be impossible to dry them. 

This is exactly the same thing with other people’s opinions about you. My mom taught me that there are four key things that are important to observe when an older person is talking to you. I want to modify those four things to develop the idea of PEGS as key to increasing people’s opinions of you. Without using what I call PEGS, it is impossible to increase the opinion that people have of you when you are talking to them. What do I mean by this?

PEGS simply stands for Posture, Eye-contact, Gestures and Speech. Let us look at each of these:

Posture

Mom taught me that it was important to sit up when being talked to or when talkign to someone else. She added that if standing, it was important to stand with shoulders back and head upright. When you sit up or when you stand upright you convey to other people that you respect them. When people see that you have a high regard for them, they will naturally have a higher opinion of you. Your posture sends a louder message to people around you than the words that you use.

Eye-Contact

Mom taught me that it’s hard for people to tell whether you understand and are following them if you did not give good eye-contact. She also stressed the importance of looking at the people I was talking to so that they could see that I was being sincere and honest with them. Making eye-contact enables other people to know that you truly appreciate them. The eyes are the window to the soul. Eye-contact enables you to connect with those whom you are speaking to or anyone who is speaking with you.

Gestures

Mom taught me that any gestures I use during conversation should be purposeful and relevant because they will determine how other people view me. She taught me that if my gestures reflect hostility and contempt, people will not have a high opinion of me. Over the years, I have come to learn that there are three key gestures that people focus on: hand gestures, body gestures and facial gestures. Any gestures used should deliberately add value to the conversation.

Speech

Mom taught me that what you say and how you say it are both very important in determining people’s opinion of you. She urged me to always speak slowly and clearly, carefully choosing my words and making sure that I’m using appropriate language. Along with language, the tone of voice that one uses should communicate respect for the other party. This is particularly important when speaking in one-on-one settings or small group settings. Careful choice of speech will increase people’s opinion of you.