Active Listening the Key to Engagement

Being able to communicate effectively is an essential skill to have, especially conversations with people that are engaging and that can create a sense of trust and friendship. 

The best advice to become a more engaging person to talk to is to become an active listener. This means giving a person your full attention, letting them finish their thought, display behaviors that show you are listening (like nodding your head or providing verbal feedback), being actually interested, asking questions, and clarifying (Ishak, 2016).  

I remember a recent conversation with a friend who wanted to vent about his current relationship. The conversation was mostly one way as he didn’t allow me to become interested in it by not letting me finish sentences that were designed to ask questions and clarify. I quickly lost interest in the conversation as it started to become an announcement or instead of a conversation. 

My friend could have improved our conversation if he had only shown the same interest in listening to his story as he did with my feedback. However, because I felt it was not a conversation, I quickly lost interest and only provided faux feedback so that he could finish his story and I can move on with my day.  

The idea of active listening is a two-way street. Both parties need to engage in each other’s stories so that neither party loses interest in the other. Once interest is lost, it’s pretty much a waste of time because the quality of information that is being transferred or created is sub-par. 

Reference:

Ishak R. (2016 July 29). 11 ways to be more engaging in your conversations & make friends. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/articles/169621-11-ways-to-be-more-engaging-in-your-conversations-make-more-friends

Speech Patterns: The Proposition-to-Proof versus The Problem-Solution Method

Knowing different methods for creating persuasive speeches is useful so that you can use a variety of styles while being aware of each style’s drawbacks. The two methods I’ll be discussing will be the proposition-to-proof method and the problem-solution method. 

The proposition-to-proof method uses a pattern by which the speaker begins with a statement of one’s proposition, then follow with proofs that support it. For example, if your purpose is to influence others to vote for a specific proposal, you would begin by stating, “Vote for Proposition H, a ballot proposition that reduces the penalties for criminals of non-violent crimes.” Then you would continue with reasons that support your proposition such as facts and logic. For example, you may say something like:

  • “We spend more money on building prisons than schools.” 
  • “Criminals of non-violent crimes such as stealing are people of color of color, due to systematic discrimination in our laws”
  • “The victim of non-violent crimes such as drug abuse is themselves, by further punishing them with harsh penalties such as prison sentences, we are further victimizing them and creating burdens to society instead of rehabilitating them back as productive member of society”

One drawback to this method is that the speaker may not discuss the opposite position in the first place, in our example’s case it would be why penalties are TOO severe for non-violent crimes. This is known as playing devil’s advocate, a position in which someone takes that they don’t necessarily agree with for the sake of exploring the topic further or debate (Smith, 2017).

I believe it is necessary to play devil’s advocate when giving a speech so that your listener’s can get  both angles of a story. Then once you are done discussing the opposite position (by playing devil’s advocate) you can take the devil’s mask off and refute all those points. 

The Problem-Solution Method

Another method that public speakers like to use is the problem-solution method of public speaking introduces a problem and discusses the solutions for it (Brent, 2018). At first glance, it may seem similar to the proposition-to-proof method, however, if you observe both methods clearly, you’ll notice that they are opposites of each other. The proposition-to-proof-method provides a call to action or solution, then discusses the problem, while the problem-solution method does the opposite by discussing a problem and then discussing the solution.

One drawback to problem solution method is that the solution may be a false dilemma. A false dilemma is a fallacy in which the speaker only provides two solutions to a problem,  when in reality there may exist other options (Hendrick’s, 2018). This A or B thinking is dangerous as it tricks listeners into thinking that there are only two possible solutions to a problem, which then disregards other possible solutions that may exist.

Conclusion

It is important to know different structures of persuasive speech so that one can identify the drawbacks to each and be prepared to tackle them when they are brought up. The proposition-to-proof method suffers from not playing devil’s advocate and the problem-solution method may be weakened by the false dilemma fallacy. In fact, both methods could suffer from either of those drawbacks. The key is to know how speeches are structured and be prepared to handle drawbacks when they are brought up.

References:

Brent, M. (2018, January 16). What are the five organizational patterns for public speaking?. Retrieved from https://bizfluent.com/info-8540323-five-organizational-patterns-public-speaking.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Hendricks, S. (2018, February). 10 logical mistakes you make every day, and what to do instead. Retrieved from http://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/ten-logical-mistakes-you-make-everyday-and-what-to-instead (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

“Persuade with power.” (2018) Lunch Toastmasters. Retrieved from http://www.lucantoastmasters.com/competent-communication/persuade-with-power/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Smith, S. (2017, July 27). Using the devil’s advocate” to your advantage, even when sometimes it feels insane. Retrieved from https://itscoffeeti.me/using-the-devils-advocate-to-your-advantage-even-when-sometimes-it-feels-insane-435788c9c4b7

How to answer, “Tell me about yourself?”

When answering this question, my strategy is to visualize my resume. I start from the top with my name, what I do, and for me, since I am heavily educated and my industry is in education, I start with my education, followed by professional experience, then my interest, and lastly what I am looking for.

If you’ve noticed, there is a specific formula that I’m following:  start with the present, then the past, and then end it with the future in mind (Minshew, n.d.).

Tell me about yourself.

“I’m Dru Macasieb, I am a college business instructor. I consider myself well educated as  I have a Master’s in Organizational Leadership, a Masters in Business Administration, and a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Linguistics. Professionally, I have been in post-secondary education for 7 years, taking on roles such as instructor to associate dean.  I’ve worked for both for-profit and non-profit private sectors and know the typical standards within the industry. Prior to education, I worked in retail management at the district manager level. Prior to that, I was in the U.S. Army serving 4 years with one year deployed to Afghanistan. Beyond my academic and professional background, my interest includes reading, specifically non-fiction books mostly about self-improvement and psychology and I am also fascinated with emerging technology such as robotics and emotional intelligence. I’m here because I want to share my knowledge and experience with an organization that is dedicated to helping others.”

What are some of your best practices for answering the question, “Tell me about yourself?” Leave them in the comments below.

 

References:

Minshew, K (n.d.). A simple formula for answering the “Tell me about yourself.” The Muse. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-simple-formula-for-answering-tell-me-about-yourself

 

Grit = Delayed Gratification + Consistency

What drives a person to achieve their goals despite the challenges and obstacles that confront them? Upon doing some research, I came across this word: grit. After reading dozens of articles, I found that grit is collectively defined as a personality trait that people have, that is demonstrated by the passion and perseverance towards achieving goals despite the challenges and obstacles that may arise (Neutrino, 2012).   

I believe that there are two characteristics of grit: delayed gratification and consistency. 

Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification means to manage one’s needs to be satisfied at the moment in order to be satisfied in the future, usually done in order to achieve a bigger reward in the future  (Cherry, 2018). When I think about my achievements and career, I think about the struggle and hardships I had to go through to achieve them. Then I think about the awards and benefits they have provided me. For example, when I in college I was working full time in retail, working nights and weekends. I had to learn to balance work, school, and life. There were many times where I missed out on social events because I knew, the benefits of an education and good work ethics would pay off in the future. Today, I no longer work weekends, I go into the “office” 4 days a week, and love my career so much that it doesn’t feel like work. My delayed gratification paid off well as the instant gratification of my past is nothing compared to the gratification I am receiving now. 

Consistency

Consistency means to adhere to the same principles, procedures, and process. It takes something and turns it into a habit, which is second nature, thus developing momentum. When a person develops positive and consistent habits, they are able to stick to their values and beliefs (principles), become efficient at what they do (procedure), and achieve their overall goals (the process). In fact, going to school and working is my consistency.  It is something that I just do without difficult thought or second-guessing. It has kept me busy, interested, and moving forward both personally and professionally. I value good work ethics and believe that people should be life-long learners. These principles have helped me excel in my profession and in my self-awareness.  

Conclusion

Knowing what grit is, which is the passion and perseverance towards a goal despite obstacles, while embracing its two main characteristics, delayed gratification and consistency, can help you better focus on things that will help achieve your goals. Knowing that a better reward is deferred in the future will help overcome the momentary satisfaction that arises in the present that may delay your achievements. Being consistent with your principles, procedures, and processes will provide you with the momentum you need to achieve your goals. But don’t let the idea of grit create an illusion. One still needs action in order to make anything happen. 

References:

Cherry, K. (2018, March 21). The importance of impulse control and delayed gratification. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/delayed-gratification-why-wait-for-what-you-want-2795429

Cohen, S.  (2017, December 26). The benefits of delaying gratification. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-emotional-meter/201712/the-benefits-delaying-gratification

Neutrino, (2012, April 25). What is Grit? Retrieved from https://www.gostrengths.com/what-is-grit/

Animation in UI and UX

 

UI stands for user interface and it is anything that the user interacts with. UX stands for user experience and it the overall experience the users have with a product (Preece, Rogers, & Sharp, 2014). UI would be the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements of a product, while the UX would be the journey a user has with the product, that is how it is used, what it is used for, and how it makes the customer feel.

An example of great UI is the iPhone’s ever-evolving iOS. The UI of the screen (visual), Siri (audio), and gestures (kinesthetic) is very intuitive and creates a UX that makes it seamless to do multiple activities. For example, want to listen to music or have a question answered? Just say “Hey Siri…” and add a command.  Want to pull up a calculator or take a photo? It literally takes one swipe and a tap to activate these apps, even when the screen is locked.

Apple has an official developer’s website dedicated to UI called Human Interface Guidelines (n.d). On the site they emphasize, three primary themes:

Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 8.57.09 AM

Apple has made it easy for their users to purchase music and apps (just ask Siri), and with their biometric technology, one no longer needs to enter long passcodes. These attribute to Apple’s bottom line as it creates fast quick purchases, minimizing the time to second guess a purchase. 

So how do UI and UX relate to animation? Simple it enhances the UX by matching animation elements with UI commands. For example, just ask Siri a question and an animation will pop up:

Siri_5067f7768c557c34ff93b1de25963e12-xl

This helps the user to know that the command was activitated and it also allows the app to load in the background.

Developers have used animation to minimize wait times, specifically to loading, downloading, or installing (Frost, 2016).  My animation can be used on an app as the app begins to download and install updates. It also be used as an animation that users watch while the app begins to load on a device. It can also be used as on a websites. Instead of watching a boring loading screen (while all the images are loading or the site is connecting to a server, or updating a shopping cart , users can watch a short animation. The animation can also help deliver and reinforce my brand image to my clients.

When I think about how animation can minimize load times I think about Resident Evil for the Playstation. This was a great design choice as it added to the effect of the eeriness and scare of the game along with masking the load time that was happening in the background. Could you imagine Resident Evil without these animations? 

References:

Frost, A. (2016,  January 28). How to make your users enjoy waiting. Retrieved from https://www.sitepoint.com/make-users-enjoy-waiting/

“Human Interface Guidelines.” (n.d). Retrieved from https://developer.apple.com/ios/human-interface-guidelines/overview/themes/

Preece, J., Rogers, Y., & Sharp, H. (2015). Interaction Design (4th ed.)

“Human Interface Guidelines.” (n.d). Retrieved from https://developer.apple.com/ios/human-interface-guidelines/overview/themes/

 

What is an animatic?


An animatic is a collection of storyboards placed together in a sequence, on a timeline, using a movie editing software. When placing the storyboard on a timeline, we can make each board shorter or longer to see how the timing works for the animation (Plursight Creative, 2014). These timed storyboards can also be timed to the music or dialog. The purpose of this is to view one’s entire animation and make any needed changes more quickly or easily and much less expensively. 

Animatics is a preproduction tool that is actually both used in film and animation (Chew, 2018). Its helpful in creating because the elements that are hard to grasp on a storyboard are the timings and audio involved in the final production. An animatic can precisely communicate how long each shot is and can also communicate when an action happens in relation to camera moves or dialogue. 

One can also create more complex animatics where there are elements separated from the storyboard so that they [elements] can move independently of the background (Plusight Creative, 2014). For example, there can be two elements in on animatic shot, the background and foreground. A ball in one shot [foreground] can move across the screen to show which direction and it moves. The complexity of animatics depends on much detail one wants to add, the more detail, the more complex, but the better it will communicate on what the final product should look like.

In nutshell, an animatic is an animated storyboard used to determine the timing of each shot with key pieces such as sound effects, dialogue, and music added to give a good representation of what the final product should be. Animatics help bridge this gap between post-production and the final production. The next time one is working with storyboards, think about the working out the timing with an animatic.

References: 

Plursight Creative, (2014, February 22). CG101: What is an animatic? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/3sE5ox9kkUg.

Chew J. (2018, January 17). Learn how animatic is used in film and animation. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-an-animatic-4058250.

What’s Your Personality Type?​

By Dru Macasieb

I am a firm believer in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test and the insights it has to offer. Knowing your own personality type can help you understand your thoughts and behaviors, and how you interact with others and the outside world. This can translate to a better understanding of yourself, others, and the ability to manage your behaviors in a way that works towards your advantage.

You can take the official MBTI personality test for $49.95 or you can take similar ones online for free.  If you’d like to take a free online test, I do recommend 16 Personalities, it takes about 10 minutes to complete and provides a pretty comprehensive introduction to your personality type.

To get started let me introduce to you with the letters in the MBTI personality test mean. Below are excerpts from MBTI® Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®

Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).

Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).

Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

I’ve taken the MBTI personality test at 16 Personalities, and my personality type is an ENFP. Over the next few days, I’ll be exploring my personality type and I’ll be sharing on how I’ve implemented the test’s insights into my own personal endeavors. Take the free personality test now and share your results in the comments below.