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Tips for Effective (Active) Listening

Here are 10 tips to help you develop effective listening skills

Step 1: Face the speaker and maintain eye contact.

Do your conversational partners the courtesy of turning to face them. Put aside papers, books, the phone and other distractions. Look at them, even if they don’t look at you. Shyness, uncertainty, shame, guilt, or other emotions, along with cultural taboos, can inhibit eye contact in some people under some circumstances but stay focused yourself.

Step 2: Be attentive, but relaxed.
You can look away now that you have grab their attention via eye contact and now you can carry on like a normal person. The important thing is to be attentive, this means you need to be:
– be present
– give attention
– apply or direct yourself
– pay attention
– remain ready to serve
Disregard any distractions such as background activity and noise. Do not focus on the speaker’s accent or speech mannerisms to the point where they become distractions. Finally, don’t be distracted by your own thoughts and feelings.

Step 3: Keep an open mind.
Listen without jumping to conclusions. Remember that the speaker is using language to represent the thoughts and feelings inside her brain. You don’t know what those thoughts and feelings are and the only way you’ll find out is by listening.

Step 4: Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying.
Allow your mind to create a mental model of the information being communicated. Whether a literal picture, or an arrangement of abstract concepts, your brain will do the necessary work if you stay focused, with senses fully alert. When listening for long stretches, concentrate on, and remember, key words and phrases.

Step 5: Don’t interrupt and don’t impose your “solutions.”

Interrupting sends a variety of messages. It says:
– “I’m more important than you are.”
– “What I have to say is more interesting, accurate or relevant.”
– “I don’t really care what you think.”
– “I don’t have time for your opinion.”

We all think and speak at different rates. If you are a quick thinker and an agile talker, the burden is on you to relax your pace for the slower, more thoughtful communicator—

When listening to someone talk about a problem, refrain from suggesting solutions.

Step 6: Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions.
When you don’t understand something, of course you should ask the speaker to explain it to you. But rather than interrupt, wait until the speaker pauses. Then say something like, “Back up a second. I didn’t understand what you just said about…”

Step 7: Ask questions only to ensure understanding.

Step 8: Try to feel what the speaker is feeling.
Empathy is the heart and soul of good listening. To experience empathy, you have to put yourself in the other person’s place and allow yourself to feel what it is like to be her at that moment. This is not an easy thing to do. It takes energy and concentration. But it is a generous and helpful thing to do, and it facilitates communication like nothing else does.

Step 9: Give the speaker regular feedback.
Show that you understand where the speaker is coming from by reflecting the speaker’s feelings. “You must be thrilled!” “I can see that you are confused.” If the speaker’s feelings are hidden or unclear, then occasionally paraphrase the content of the message. Or just nod and show your understanding through appropriate facial expressions and an occasional well-timed “hmmm” or “uh huh.” The idea is to give the speaker some proof that you are listening, and that you are following her train of thought—not off indulging in your own fantasies while she talks to the ether.

Step 10: Pay attention to what isn’t said—to nonverbal cues.
If you exclude email, the majority of direct communication is probably nonverbal.
You can detect enthusiasm, boredom, or irritation very quickly in the expression around the eyes, the set of the mouth, the slope of the shoulders when face to face. These are clues you can’t ignore. When listening, remember that actions speak louder than words.

Listening Skills Exercise: Summarise, Summarise, Summarise!

For at least one week, at the end of every conversation in which information is exchanged, conclude with a summary statement. In conversations that result in agreements about future obligations or activities, summarising will not only ensure accurate follow-through, it will feel perfectly natural. In conversations that do not include agreements, if summarising feels awkward just explain that you are doing it as an exercise.

 

How to Start a Business With Little to No Money $$

You have two main paths of starting a business with less money:
1. lowering costs or
2. increasing available capital from outside sources.

In order to do this, there are three options to choose from:

1. Reduce your needs
Your first option is to change your business model to demand fewer needs such as reducing operating expenses, office space, extra employees. For example, if you were planning on starting a company as a consultant or freelancer,  reducing your “employee” expenses by being the sole employee is a start. Unless you need office space, you could work from home. Options also include finding cheaper sources of supplies to operate your business, or cut out entire product lines that are too expensive to produce.

There are a few expenses that you won’t be able to avoid (sunk cost), however, Licensing and legal fees will set you back even if you cut back on everything else. Businesses can get started on less than $3,000, and home-based franchises can be started for as little as $1,000 even in this day and age.

2. Bootstrap
The second option invokes the idea of a “trial” period for your business. Instead of going straight into full-fledged business mode, you’ll start with just the basics. You might launch a blog and one niche service, reducing your scope, your audience and your profit, in order to get a head-start. If you can start as a self-employed individual, you’ll avoid some of the biggest initial costs. A payment processing tool like (freshbooks, Paypal) can be a big help when you are struggling to invoice clients and follow up.

Once you start realizing some revenue, you can invest in yourself and the business, and build the business you want in small steps.

3. Outsource
This is about getting funding from outside sources. Here are just a few potential sources in order to do this:

Angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who back business ideas early in their generation. They typically invest in exchange for partial ownership (equity) of the company, which is a sacrifice worth considering (negotiate the stake and the business benefit that investor will provide the company).

Venture capitalists. Venture capitalists are like angel investors, but are typically partnerships or organizations and tend to scout businesses that are already in existence.

Crowdfunding. Popular in the current entrepreneurial landscape, with a good idea and the efforts are evident in your project/business, you can attract funding for anything.

Government grants and loans.  Anywhere in the world there are a number of state and local government agencies which exist solely to help small businesses grow (such as business.gov.au).  Theses government bodies provide loans and grants to help get you started.

Friends and family. Don’t rule out the possibility of getting help from friends and family, even if you have to piece the capital together from multiple sources.

Bank loans. You can always open a line of credit with the bank if your credit is in good standing (personal through re-mortgaging your home).

With one or more of these three options, you should be able to reduce your personal financial investment to almost nothing. You may need to make some sacrifices, such as starting small, accommodating partners or taking on debt, but the number one goal is to believe in your business idea, the other losses do not matter if you have this in mind.

Mining ETN via CPU

 

Hi Fam

I’ve been researching and experimenting with CPU miners recently. One of them is mining Electroneum (ETN) via Awesome miner and MiningPoolHub which I find has been very interesting especially after setting up my RX580 mining rig and being a victim of the recent surge of GPU prices….

Background about Electroneum (ETN):

Electroneum is a simple to use, mobile cryptocurrency based in England. Electroneum makes it easy to access and use a super secure cryptocurrency that has all of the benefits of Bitcoin and more. Transactions in Electroneum happen faster and are more anonymous. The benefits is that it is easy to use and can be mine-able via GPU or even low tier CPUs

Things you need for CPU mining for Electroneum – check resources for reference below

1. Set up an account on miningpoolhub
2. Download Awesome Miner
3. Get a wallet from the official electroneum website
4. Configure Awesome Miner to mine to your electroneum wallet
5. Start mining today on Awesome miner and leave your computer on to mine CPU only
6. Profit!

In depth tutorial
1. Sign up on Mining Pool Hub:
https://miningpoolhub.com/

– Copy and paste wallet address from electroneum wallet
– Update the payment threshold (ideally 2 ETN)

2. Download Awesome Miner:
http://www.awesomeminer.com/download.aspx

– New Managed Miner
– Choose CrytoNite algorithm
– Update software to CPUminer-Opt
– Click new pool for Electorneum and name “ETN miningpoolhub – CPU”
– get the address from Miningpoolhub on main page
– Choose US address or Asia address and paste in the server URL
– username put worker name (worker name as username.CPU 1)
– password is x
– Select ETN coin

3. Get Electroneum wallet:
https://my.electroneum.com/


*CPU mining can cause the temperature of your CPU to rise. Please be sure there is adequate cooling to prevent any permanent damage to your equipment.

Resources:
Electroneum wallet: my.electroneum.com
Goosetech tutorial (he explains how to do this very well): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnw4zSD7TtA
Awesome Miner (download Awesome Miner Installer): http://www.awesomeminer.com/download.aspx
MiningPoolHub: https://miningpoolhub.com/