How To Master Active Listening in 3 Steps

Today’s post is the last tip in a three part series on active listening written by Patrick Ewers, an executive coach and founder of Mindmaven. Be sure to check out his tip #1 and tip #2.

Tip #3 Fire the second dart.

You can guide the conversation and train yourself to listen at the same time by asking an intelligent follow up questions.

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Tip #2 To Becoming A Powerful Active Listener

Today’s post is part 2 of a three part series on active listening written by Patrick Ewers, an executive coach and founder of Mindmaven. Read up on his tip #1, in case you missed it.

Tip #2: Show them that you’re listening.

If you want to show a person that you’re truly listening to them, you have to keep your mind focused on the responses you’re getting. Be able to make it a game to truly understand what the person is actually saying.

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3 Tips to Become The Best Listener

Today’s post is part 1 of a three part series on active listening written by our friend, Patrick Ewers. Check out Tip #2 here and tip #3 here. Patrick is an executive coach and founder of Mindmaven. You can find him on Twitter @PatrickEwers.

One of the biggest technology-driven problems I see in this society is that our minds are evolving in a way that makes them trained to be exceptionally receptive to interruptions and distracting signals. Our brains become proficient in changing the subject, adjusting what we’re looking at or how we’re perceiving something simply because we hear a notification sound on our phone.

The scary part is that it doesn’t take very long for your brain to make this switch. Very often, in just five seconds we can lose interest in one thing and move onto the next. Disruptions are so prevalent, that you might not even notice it happening. With all of these interruptions, it becomes a real challenge to rewire your brain to hold its focus on one topic.

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Six Steps to Make a Great First Impression

Today’s post comes to us from our friend, Patrick Ewers, an executive coach and the founder of Mindmaven. You can find him on Twitter @PatrickEwers.

Let’s face it – meeting someone for the first time can be intimidating. The first 5-10 seconds can be the most important in making a great impression. If you can ace that portion, you are likely to deliver a powerful and positive experience.

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The Simplest Strategy for Networking Success

We’re excited to have this week’s tips post from our friend Patrick Ewers (@PatrickEwers), an executive coach and founder of Mindmaven. He is based in Silicon Valley.

I do not love networking. Yes, you read that right. It may seem unusual coming from a person who has been called one of the most successful networking coaches in Silicon Valley. I doubt I’m alone – if you are on the team of people who find networking events to simply be a necessary evil, you’ve come to the right place.

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Can I Share Too Much on

The past few Tuesdays, we’ve been hearing from our friend Patrick Ewers (@PatrickEwers) of Mindmavin on careers and networking. We’re excited to present his latest post.

Last week, you may remember that I blogged about finding common ground and encouraged you to share a broad surface of who you are to enable people to find that common ground with you and increase the amount of opportunities that come your way.

One question I often get asked, however, is whether there are subjects you should keep to yourself or shy away from. The limitations on what information is sharable seems to be a gray area for many people.

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The Power of Likeability and How to Use to Get There

The past few Tuesdays, we’ve been hearing from our friend Patrick Ewers (@PatrickEwers) of Mindmavin on careers and networking. Last week’s post was on online reputation management.

A Quick Refresher on Likeability and Common Ground

In my last blog, I talked about some basic concepts around Online Reputation Management

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On Online Reputation Management

For the past two weeks, we’ve been hearing from our friend Patrick Ewers (@PatrickEwers) of Mindmavin on careers and networking. Last week he told us how to create a visual story. We’re glad to present his third post below.

Online Reputation Management

In my view, Online Reputation Management is simple. It’s not about big PR campaigns, or paying someone big bucks for SEO services. For me, it’s focused on your referral universe: the well-defined circle of people you know and the people they know. It’s the place where the most valuable opportunities often come from. 

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writing your visual story

How to Craft Your Visual Story

Last week our friend Patrick Ewers (@PatrickEwers) of Mindmavin told us why you should create a visual story. This week he explains how you can craft your visual story.

The Best Part About Stories is Sharing Them

Stories are powerful because people enjoy sharing them. Think about it. Social media has become so popular, that it has become a perilous addiction for some. It proves that as a culture, we are addicted to staying current with each other’s stories, sharing them and adding our input to those stories.

For that reason, one of your goals should be to empower the people around you to want to share your story. No wants to share a bland, abstract story. A person will be far more likely to share an interesting, visual story. If you can come up with a great visual story, it creates a domino effect: you’ll get mentioned more often simply because it’s fun to mention you; being mentioned often results in more opportunities coming to your doorstep. In sum, great visual stories will allow your network to help you become more successful

Sold? Now that we’ve covered the why, lets move onto the how.

The Art of Storytelling

A visual story is something that evokes an image or a series of images. It’s created using words that possess a certain honesty and vulnerability which describe feelings and pivotal moments in time.

An abstract story would sound something like this: “I have been very passionate about video game development from a young age.” While this gets the point across, you’re not getting the reader’s visual cortex firing. A much better way to tell the very same story would be:

I was 12 years old, sitting in my room playing Call of Duty, loving every second of it. I started to get hungry and wandered out to the kitchen for a snack. On the TV, I saw a commercial for a video game graphic design course. I stopped dead in my tracks. Before that moment, I had never even thought of this possibility. From that moment on, I knew what I had to do. I enrolled in a program to allow me to be that guy who makes those amazing games. Here I am today, ready to do just that.

Stop now and ask yourself what that second story did for you.

You could probably see his story: you can see the boy in his room playing video games, it isa dark room, you can see him walk past a TV, see him stop, eyes widening at the idea of apotential dream come true, forgetting all about his snack. The point is, you can see, understand and resonate with his “A-ha” moment. You probably have a few similar ones of your own.

The fatal error in the first story is that abstract concepts or descriptors like “I am passionate” will be quickly overlooked because it’s an empty claim and unproven. The images are what cause the reader’s brain to infer and understand those qualities you’re trying to get across.

The reason this inference is so important is because when somebody infers something, they own it, they believe it, because they constructed it in their own mind. There is absolutely nothing more powerful than if a person thinks that they were the one who came up with the idea that you are passionate and motivated. Most importantly, they will want to share it.

Work It Out

It may seem daunting, you may think your story is boring, you may not be the “creative type”.

Fear not, there are four simple steps that you can take to create your story.

  1. Come up with a bullet point list of the abstract type of strengths that you have that you want to show off to the world, such as: dedicated, motivated, intellectually stimulating, etc.
  1. Think about events or scenarios that were able to illustrate those attributes about you. Specifically, try to come up with some moments that were unique, pivotal or simply powerful. Write these examples as sub-bullets as they pertain to each attribute.
  1. Try to tell a very visual story for each one in a very brief paragraph, not more than 3-5 lines. If you need some help here, you can try out The Visual Thesaurus.
  1. Tell the story to someone who knows you well and afterwards, ask them, “What did that story make you think of me in terms of who I am?” If that story works, it should circle back to one of the original attributes from your list.

Today’s header photo is by our friend @DavidSherry36 from @deathtostock

Creating a Visual Story

Starting this week, we’re excited to be sharing some career and networking advice from the minds at Mindmavin. This week’s post is by Patrick Ewers. You can find him on Twitter at @PatrickEwers

Why create a visual story?

Storytelling is one thing that basically transcends almost all cultures on this planet. Regardless of culture, time or location, knowledge has been transferred through storytelling. Now, you might be picturing a tribal community sitting around a fire sharing stories, but even right here and now, we get all of our news through storytelling. Before the comforts of modern technology, storytelling was the only technology for sharing knowledge.

Of course, the modalities of storytelling have become more advanced because we have more channels through which to communicate, like television and the internet. All of that aside, when you get down to the bare bones – it’s all stories. Whether it be in print, or through word of mouth, the more visual the story is, the better it is. Storytelling is so powerful that it has created multi-billion dollar industries, with Hollywood as just one example.

I believe that the reason storytelling has survived since the dawn of man is simply because our brains are hardwired to store most of our memories and knowledge in the form of images. In fact, almost 50% of the human brain is involved in visual processing. This might be why so many of our memories are recollected as images and not words. We do not read our memories, we see them, smell them, hear them and feel them.If you ask anyone where they were when 9/11 happened, most people will tell a very visual story because it’s those images that have stayed with them and best tell the story.

It is rare that someone would just say,“Oh, I was in class during 9/11.” Instead, they would say, “I was in a college course in which the classroom window had a perfect view of the towers. When I arrived, there was a TV in the room, which meant only one thing: nap time. The typical pre-class chatter abounded, this time about one of the towers smoking, and we reached a consensus that there must be a fire. The professor came in, shrugged off the alleged fire and closed the shades so he could put on the movie. We didn’t know it, but when class ended and those shades went up, our world would never be the same.” This is the story you would hear. These are the types of stories that stick with us and get passed along.

Visual stories like the one above make it much easier for people to remember compared to abstract facts. “[Memories] are mental reconstructions, nifty multimedia collages of how things were, that are shaped by how things are now.” People will be more likely to remember you if they can reconstruct your story in their mind. The first place to fail here is to not have a story at all.

Stories are Sticky

Visual storytelling is very powerful for several reasons. One is that stories which create images are sticky.  Applied to the business world, storytelling can be a powerful means of educating people about the types of opportunities that you are interested in. Your goal should be to create images in their brains with visual words instead of abstract descriptors, like “She is very motivated”.

When you use an abstract descriptor like “motivated”, you are begging the question, “Motivated to do what? Scale a mountain? Win a pie eating contest?” Words that beg similar questions like, “strong work ethic”, “committed”, and “problem solver” are just empty words for whoever is reading your resume, there’s no proof.

In contrast, visual words create an image, like this story. “One of the moments I enjoyed most was walking home from the office in the quiet stillness of 3 in the morning, after completing a client project just in time for them to use it. Though exhausted, I was simultaneously invigorated and overjoyed by the fact that I got the job done and made our client happy.” A story like this will prove to a potential employer that you are hardworking without ever having to use the words.

Our header photo today is by our friend @DavidSherry36 from @deathtostock

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