Noticing – Deliberate Embodiment in the Present

It’s not generally easy for us human beings to adopt new habits. One thing that helps is to make them easy. Noticing is a habit made easy by my seventh grade teacher and Dick Olney.

Living in Turkey, it was natural to hear the call to worship several times a day. A teacher at the time invited our class to pause whenever we heard it, be quiet, still our bodies and notice. That stuck. When I moved back to the states, sirens and red lights and now the sound of an airplane overhead invites that same pause -modern mindfulness bells.

Long before mindfulness was as accessible as it is today, Dick Olney occasionally talked about noticing practice. He taught how noticing practice can help us “Think in other categories.” What he meant by thinking in other categories is to wake up, to wake up from the bad dream of who we think we are IN ANY GIVEN MOMENT.

Woman: What I really want is to love, value and appreciate who I really am.

Dick: What about just experiencing it?

(Excerpted from Alive and Real)

Noticing is a practice like that, an invitation into becoming aware of your experience in the moment. This awareness is an invitation in gradual expansions in acceptance. For acceptance is free from the pull of liking or disliking. The awareness that comes from noticing without the inhibition of judgment, criticism or evaluation is liberated from clinging to some idea of good or bad, right or wrong, pleasant or unpleasant.

Noticing practice can also be an antidote to apathy or pain. You may find yourself savoring the floating moments of time – but that is NOT the goal. The goal is to simply notice.

I took to heart Dick’s teaching not to wait until you are in the middle of a fire to practice a fire drill. This idea struck a chord with me. I had been a dancer for about 20 years, practiced yoga and meditation for several years by the time I met Dick. Practice makes sense to me.

Though I do meditate, my noticing practice is not a formal sit down mindfulness meditation kind of practice, but a walking around and pausing to experience life in this moment kind of practice. The savoring of life’s floating moments happens unbidden, surprising me. It’s a habit that bears fruit in the most surprising places.

Of course, noticing involves acceptance. The more complete the experience of acceptance is, the more interesting I find the noticing and vice versa. It can become a pleasant game of acceptance. Practicing acceptance in this way becomes alive.

In the beginning, it is useful to put your attention to various elements of life generally thought to be noxious, like smelly garbage. Ask yourself, “can I accept this?” Remember, you don’t have to like it, you don’t have to somehow agree that “it” is OK. The question is “can I accept this?”

Practicing with inanimate objects can have an effect when you encounter another person who you judge as somehow not good or OK, somehow less than OR greater than. First, accept that you are judging them (and you). Then, practice accepting them in that moment. Your acceptance does not mean that you like or approve. It means you can accept that they are present.

For a more disciplined approach to noticing practice, try these tips:

Set a reminder on your phone or watch every couple of hours or so. You could use an app like CHILL that has inspirational quotes.
If you spend a lot of time in the car, use stop lights and stop signs to notice.
For 30 seconds to 1 minute pause, notice. Become aware. Notice your thoughts. Notice the images around you, emotions in the moment and body sensations. Take a few easy breaths. Just noticing.
Don’t aim to find something to appreciate. Linger as you like.
Simply notice the creation. Notice without the inhibition of judgment, criticism or evaluation.
Notice your thoughts.
Notice your breath.
Use your senses – what are you seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting – what are you sensing?

The Nightmare of a Speaker: Presentation Blunders

Not everyone is born to be a successful orator, and getting acquainted to the principles of this wonderful art can sometimes raise difficulties. Either they result from psychological tension caused by pressure or merely from lack of interest, most common blunders in public speaking can blow away the true meaning and charm of a well-written speech with constructive ideas.

This is why we should take note of these common presentation errors and avoid turning public speaking into a true nightmare, so we could spare us the worries and embrace success in everything we do.

Death by PowerPoint

Nevertheless, technology has brought valuable improvements to the world of business and presentations, as it offers useful visual support and makes your message easier to understand by keeping your audience entertained. However, the countless benefits of this software could only be signs of good luck if you know how to effectively use them. Don’t forget PowerPoint is there to improve your presentation where necessary and not to entirely replace you. If loaded with information, slideshows become repulsive to your audience from the first glance: nobody will pay attention to intricate pieces of info clustered into a single place. Remember this advice and use straightforward, simple notions to fill in the slides. They only have to resume the main ideas in your speech and help the audience keep them in mind. Never choose to entirely focus on a PowerPoint presentation!

This also applies to speech notes. There are speakers constantly reading their notes and therefore forgetting about eye contact, a vital part to meeting the target of the presentation! Most of these speakers also tend to turn PowerPoint slideshows into virtual speech notes and kill their presentation twice!

The Defensive Speaker

The attitude of the speaker, as well as his presence are elements with a drastical influence to the overall impact of his speech. This is a quite delicate situation, as it sometimes refers to an issue mostly depending on psychological matters.

A nervous speaker is most likely to be rigid and avoid eye contact with the audience. The speech becomes tedious and all members of the audience will only wish for the presentation to end sooner. They will feel ignored and have the impression they landed in the wrong place. Murmur would probably be their desperate way of letting you know that.

Stage Fright or Simply Careless?

A well-prepared speech gathers the attention of the audience from the very beginning. A weak, poorly motivated opening betrays a lack of confidence in your own speech and even make the strength of your arguments diminish in the eyes of the audience, as no interest would be risen from your behalf in the first place. What’s more, it is scientifically proven the first 90 seconds are vital to one’s first impression when meeting another for the first time. Why wouldn’t that apply to presentations too? So remember to always draw attention with a catchy opening.

I Happens to Have Came in Front of You Today…

This is the most painful experience a speech could ever offer its audience. Incoherence and poor language are never tolerated in the world of oratory. You should have flawless knowledge of language and vocabulary and master the art of phrases in order to keep your audience entertained and prove your point!

Ummm… errrr…

It sometimes happens to genuinely run out of ideas or simply forget, for a few seconds, what is that you wanted to say. It is better for you to keep a few moments of complete silence instead of filling in the gaps with “ummm” and “errrrr”. They disrupt the natural flow of your ideas and annoy the members of your audience by forcing them to repeatedly lose focus and focus again. Make speech notes to ensure your fluency and rely on in case this ever happens, it is natural.

Bond. Audience Bond.

Last, but not least, do keep in mind to always connect to the audience. People value emotions and are more likely to genuinely welcome your message if you also rely on empathy. No one will have any memory of a distant speaker, as these speakers tend to keep their speeches distant as well. However, be careful not to exaggerate with connecting!

Negotiation – Planning For A Successful Outcome

In any kind of negotiation the planning stage is probably the most important. Too often we go in badly prepared and end up giving concessions that reduce the overall profitability of the final deal. The importance of planning is in having a very clear idea before entering into the negotiation i.e.

o What are my objectives?

o What does the other side wish to achieve?

o What information will influence the final outcome of the negotiation?

o What concessions can I make?

o How am I going to achieve my objectives?

o What part will other people play in the negotiation?

Generally, the more time that is spent in planning and preparing for the negotiation,
the more beneficial will be the final outcome.


Before entering into the negotiation, you need to have a clear idea of your objectives
and try to work out those of the other side. Ask yourself the following questions:

o What exactly do I wish to achieve from this negotiation?

o Which of my objectives:

- Must I achieve?

- Do I intend to achieve?

- Would I like to achieve?

o What options or alternatives would be acceptable to me?

o What are the other sides. objectives?

o How does the other side see the negotiation?


It has often been said that information is power. In any negotiation, there will be four types of information that is important to the final outcome.

o What information do I have that the other side has also?

o What information do I have that the other side does not have?

o What information do I need to have before negotiating with the other side?

o What information does the other side need before it can negotiate with me?

This can be particularly important when negotiating with people who concentrate
on price issues.

o What other things are important to this person?

o What pressures does he have on him to conclude the deal?

o How well is his company doing at the moment?

o How important is it that he deals with my company? etc.

The early phases of negotiation consist of both sides finding out more information
before talking about a specific deal or set of alternatives. For example, if you find out
the other side has a time deadline that only your company can meet, it may give you
the chance to negotiate on more favourable price. If you know that the other side
has recently expanded their production capacity, you may be able to negotiate more
favourable terms in return for a commitment to buy certain volumes over an agreed
time period.

By spending time as part of your preparation in listing what you already know and
what you need to know, you will give yourself a better chance to negotiate well on
your company’s behalf.

Concessions :

Negotiation is a process of bargaining by which agreement is reached between two
or more parties. It is rare in negotiation for agreement to be reached immediately or
for each side to have identical objectives. More often than not, agreements have to
be worked out where concessions are given and received and this is the area where
the profitability of the final outcome will be decided.

When preparing for negotiation, it is advisable to write down a realistic assessment
of how you perceive the final outcome. Find out the limits of your authority within
the negotiation and decide what you are willing and able to concede in order to
arrive at an agreement, which satisfies all parties.

Concessions have two elements; cost and value. It is possible during negotiations to
concede issues that have little cost to you but have great value to the other side. This
is the best type of concession to make. Avoid, however, conceding on issues that
have a high cost to you irrespective of their value to the other side.

When preparing for negotiations, ask yourself the following questions:

o What is the best deal I could realistically achieve in this negotiation?

o What is the likely outcome of the negotiation?

o What is the limit of my authority?

o At which point should I walk away?

o What concessions are available to me?

o What is the cost of each concession and what value does each have to either side?


Planning your strategy is important in negotiation. Once you know your objectives,
you need to work out how you are going to achieve them. It is also useful to try and
see the negotiation from the other side and try and work out what their strategy will

During the negotiation there will be opportunities to use various tactics and you
need to decide which of these you feel comfortable with and at the same time recognise the tactics being used by the other side. Ask yourself the following questions:

o How am I going to achieve my objectives in this negotiation?

o What is the strategy of the other side likely to be?

o What tactics should I use within the negotiation?

o What tactics are the other side likely to use?

And Finally – Tasks :

If you go into negotiation with a colleague or colleagues, you need to decide during
the preparation phase:

o What role will each team member take in the negotiation?

o How can we work together in the most effective way?

Some teams of negotiators appoint team leaders, note takers, observers and
specialists, each with their own clearly defined authority and roles to perform.
Having a clear understanding of roles within the negotiation will make the team
approach much more effective.

Copyright © 2007 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved