Vlogging equipment | From budgeting to shooting

There is variety options I did not considered properly before buying my equipment. The first thing to name is budgeting. I did not plan my budget. Almost at all. Dumb idea.

Budgeting

It would be perfect if you knew what effect you aim for, what quality is acceptable for you, what is your dream equipment choice etc.. This would be the perfect information for your decision. But, the fact is: if you have sort of that knowledge odds are you already have built several toolsets. The first thing you need to know you’ll certainly spend more many than you though you would. Because you need more equipment than you think and/or soon enough your standards will rise.

The best rule of thumb when comes to budgeting as a newbie in given field is to double it and add half. Seriously. Now I know how important in vlogging the audio is. I would say it is even more important than video – this would be our doubling factor. All the accessories from lighting to tripods to sd cards to bags to filters are the added half. The part of the equipment we did not cover yet is software and the computer you will use to edit all of your material into final product.

Smart choices

But let’s say you have a PC and you decided to stick with free software. Over the internets you’ve read that DSLR is pretty good choice. So you’ve mustered up your budget and like me want to go with EOS 700D (Rebel T5i). I went with this one because I of friends recommendation, I saw few youtubers recording with 600Ds or 650Ds, so I figured that to go with polished up new version. It has also one very important feature – rotating screen. You can flip it so you can frame properly without constant moving back and forth.

That’s a nice 750$ with version bundled with lens. So if you have, let’s say 1000$ budget it is too expensive. Yes’ you have nice camera, but without audio or accessories it’s hard to indie build yourself up to certain level. Nice video with bad audio is almost as unwatchable as bad video with bad audio – in practice still unwatchable.

I have this problem right now: I have fine video, but audio sucks big time, and every time want to shoot I need to DIY myself some problem solving tools (like enclosing camera in case built form books, so mic won’t record as much of noise besides my voice).

It may be the case for you too to consider: EOM M records pretty good video (I would say same as 700D) for half as much. Other half you could spend on audio recorder and the rest on tripod, sd cards, battery pack etc. And within the budget you could end up with very capable equipment to start and grow your podcast, vlog or whatever you like.

Przemek Kucia

Hit the like button if you liked it and share it if you can. Also tell me: Do you have any suggestions what should I but in terms of audio recorders and/or external mics? Thank you.

I’m vlogging, video blogging or video podcasting!

Whatever you want to call it, I’m having great fun learning a ton of new stuff daily. I really think about releasing in one way or another an English version of the podcast, but even now I’m really pushing my time constraints. Especially my sleeping time suffers crushed between day job, learning about video production and producing content for the video blog.

Here is the story

I thought about a vlog for at least a year now. I consider blogging a way to stay in touch with my passion for communicology as well as way to improve my writing skills, time management, research etc. So through video podcasting I should be this much more developing – new skills, changing suits from the coaching side to practical side of communicating etc.

I fondled the idea and waited “for the right” time. As you probably know I think “there is no better time than now” to do whatever you’re passionate about. – Ok, Przemek – I thought – What do you need to make it acceptable quality? I did some research and Canon EOS 700D came across as very good DSLR for shooting podcasts. I got myself one, and without further due, I started with pilot episode to review what I need to improve before publishing. I knew the technical side of things will pose a challenge – greater until I learn how to extract as much as one can from the camera itself. Pre-production and post-production are not really challenging yet, but nevertheless time consuming. After releasing pilot/prototype and today the first episode – I clearly see what I need to improve to come the closest to best looking video podcasts on the web. Obviously, I have equipment cap, but I think there is a vast ocean of reserves in the camera itself and processes of pre, post and main production.

The plans

My priority now is to learn skills and find the point of balance between acceptable quality and time I’m putting into production. I need to feel fast and comfortable with the polish edition, build a prompter for me and then I can start shooting English version of the vlog.

Underneath is the first episode of the Polish version - I'm talking there about social proof mechanism and how we could use it to our advantage. 

It would be very helpful if you could provide me with some feedback - about video quality, audio, presentation, cuts, everything will be helpful.

Thanks for your attention and see you next time!

The blog upgrade? Update on what’s happening

Hello guys!

Today’s post will be much lighter. I’m very excited, because my Polish site will be upgraded with video! I thought about upgrading Charisma Workshop and PrzemekKucia.com too, but this will have to wait until I catch some skill in fast and not shameful video production. Main problems are my English speaking fluency and lack of time to consistently produce two videos of acceptable quality instead of one.

If you know about sites or tutorials that could help me with learning swift video production that would be great help.

I hope to “see” you soon from the screen of your computer and transfer our discussion to more natural and up to date level. Until that happens we will be bound to blogging.

Take good care,

Przemek Kucia 

Sweet Monday Post – Entitlement of Y generation

As there are many temperaments. Personalities within temperament type. Habits and thought processes within personality types. Needs, wants and preferences to though. And many more individual situations that allude every typology. Yet, thanks to logic and natural need for adaptation we, as in collectively and each and every one individually, can be generalized into cultures, civilizations and entire generations of people with common denominator.

Our denominator – paradox to others

Revolution in communication.  We are not bound by locality to cherish community, we are not bound by written word to consume great writing, we can and aspire to be as individual as we can, yet the same time belong to something greater than we are by ourselves.

Technology, in some way independently got us to old school of social and political thought of personalism (whichever one you choose) or perhaps even more to Friedrich von Hayek’s true individualism.

It’s easy to mistake value of persona with narcissism

This is where paradox could become irritating. There is no one proper way to behave and think. Or maybe to be more precise – no one could ever test it properly. As circumstances differ for each, and each generation. To maybe drop some of frustration, or put our thought denominator in understandable categories our drive to persona is called the sense of entitlement and narcissism.

Well, perhaps we have this sense, perhaps we are generation of narcissists – one I know for sure, other think in those terms and we are no good in judging our case. However I propose to indulge in what we do and how we want to do that. We are the youngest kids of the History, with our own, more vague challenges. Blunt tools as collectivism and goal orientation are no good with our precise tasks.

This one time take the old medium

Friedrich von Hayek, Individualism: True and False. There is more to this book than the first time you read it. Hayek – a man ahead of his time. If you find a snatch of a time to read one another, make it anything from Ludwig von Mises. If you ever thought about being an individual and yet with yearning to belong – those people will help you understand the laws of social life behind it.

Przemek Kucia

How do you communicate?

Let’s start with obvious: Most of us don’t even know how to follow up this question with others. We don’t know how to think about communicating.

Public and private sphere

Some smart professionals put as much work and thought to how they communicate as they do to what is the information. Very reasonable. However, without proper training in meta-thinking about communication they could end up like doing the same trick even though reality has changed. And to work on obsolete models is, in this case worse than working without any model at all.

Tearing apart our lives (and in consequence communication) into to spheres is such an obsolete model. Private sphere is romantic idea taken from early to mid XX century. If a male is standing in the middle of great forest where no one and nothing can hear him – is he still wrong? Being a male, I don’t know. But still – this is the sole example of private sphere I can imagine today.

If everything you said or done went public, would you change your behavior?

Well, is it that extreme that idea? If you can read this words, odds are you possess at least few devices through which you could be easily tapped and watched. Hell, we all gave away information with little love notes to Facebook and Google. There is no need for God to watch us all – we are watching each other all the time.

Through the day we wear different suits of behavior and roles. Managers, employees, parents, lovers, colleagues, friends, celebrities, etc.. Juggling those puts a lot of stress on our emotional systems and cognitive abilities. And since private sphere isn’t an option anymore – some of us decided to put auto-censorship on ourselves. We tend to stay professionals at homes, as in we tend to codify our behavior in free time.

But, there is another way and it is gaining more and more acceptance – treating all public as it is private. Since there is no point dividing the two, and we always will slip information through auto-censorship – why then not treat all as a private? This has it’s challenges too: We need to be more decent, we need to treat communication more as marathon than the sprint to executing sell etc.. But, step by step, and minute by minute – this shift should be for the best. More decency, fostering true and continuous value and stronger social bonds – that can’t be bad.

Przemek Kucia

Tell me: how do you think about your communication? Also, please click share and like if you liked it. See you next time. 

Lie detection – what are you looking for

In real life situations figuring out that someone just lied to you can be both – extremely easy, if you know the basics and in some cases extremely hard, because emotional impact is so low.

The basics

Always compare to an established baseline. It is often easier to know the common behavior of people we know. Yet, we rarely analyze those who are close to us. Also, always remember that there is no lying indicator per se – there are incongruences or hot spots to dig into. Spotting those is only half of success in lie detection since we cannot be sure of reasons behind incongruences.

While establishing the baseline behavior and then detecting lies it is very helpful to have another person who is talking to the one examined. Looking for clues in body language or facial expressions is a very intense task for our cognitive capabilities. Speaking while analyzing raises the risk of skipping over hot spots.

Facial expressions leak the most information. This is because “reliable facial muscles” – these occupy space around outside parts of our eyes and above eyebrows. Only 10% of population have full conscious control over those – we call them natural actors. Have you ever heard that “smile is in the eyes”? Now you know why – fake smile do not incorporate those muscles, hence it lacks wrinkles around eyes. So if eyes tell you the opposite story than the rest of the face, of what emotion examined person feels – bingo, you’ve spotted a hot spot.

Ask the right questions

Classical case: You ask series of questions in aggressive manner expecting quick answers. Examined person is scared and incongruent. Why are you scared you ask – but you intuitively know that this liar is just scared of truth coming out. Well, that is just wrong.

Building up pressure in order to see more clearly facial expressions is one thing. Even it is obsolete and should be treated as last resort tactic. Person examined can be scared just by that aggression and pressure or not being believed. Incongruences can appear in such conditions even when someone is telling the truth.

Helpful technique is to keep at least two or three threads open so you can jump between them to see more clearly the baseline and hot spot in contrast. Then you jump back to spotted incongruence, to dig some more. That is helpful not only from the side of behavioral clues, but also this jumping from one thread to another is tough for cognitive process of presumed liar so more hot spot should come up.

Business setting

We expect our business to grow this year.

This is a statement which could make you money or lose it depending if it’s true or false. Obviously person stating that could hold wrong belief about their business, but well, we’re not miracle makers.

Use lie detection to see where your associates made stretched analysis and only hope for the best. Method is the same. Establish baseline while talking about past or non-business related stuff. Keep minimum two threads open to easily jump from one to another – to further establish baseline and see contrasting differences.

Przemek Kucia

Shy extroverts and confident introverts – paradox of traits

Let’s start with conclusion: being extrovert does not mean being confident, talkative or outgoing. Same goes with introverts – they should not be generalized as shy, without belief they have anything to say. This temperament classification means only that one feels need to be around friendly people to feel good and other don’t. To put it in more practical terms: extroverts gain energy through positive interaction while introverts spend energy even in positive interaction. Also, those are ideal types, meaning: No one alive is 100% extrovert all the time and analogically.

Paradox exposed

Since extroverts need positive interaction to feel invigorated, they have a lot to lose if they’re not liked by peers. That creates pressure and natural conditions to frequent second guessing oneself – in effect shyness. This pressure is not that strong for introverts – they don’t need peer acceptance as much since they’re invigorated through solitude.

Obviously, gaining and spending energy is only one variable in complex web of our tactics to conquer social life. Yet, I think of it every time I hear someone feeling sorry about how introverts are screwed.

Shyness – the counterproductive tactic

In today’s reality we are not in the risk of our head being smashed or our ass being banished and abandoned form our tribe. Hence, acquiring peers’ acceptance whatever the cost is pointless. But our bullshit scanners are thinking tools – they evolve fast. Our instincts base on hormones, those are hardwired. This creates unsymmetrical situation when shyness and conformity seen through and because of this shy people are excluded and/or not taken care of by group.

It is not easy to work through shyness. Cortisol level rises and testosterone drops – we gradually feel compelled to conform, hunch our bodies to take least space, stress levels shuts our appetite and clear thinking. We feel as we will be soon banished and die alone.

I am an extreme extrovert. I was very, very shy

One thing was to challenge my shyness rationally. To clash its purpose with reality. Beyond the point of keeping everybody in line without walking around picking their noses, it doesn’t make much sense. The other thing was that I challenged myself with practicing social interaction in almost scientific way. I also started to learn about social skills.

The point is: Don’t let your intuition tell you how you should feel when it is not beneficial for you. As great as it is – in terms of today’s social environment it works on obsolete rules. Through practice you can reprogram your intuition. Challenge your shyness, learn about interactions and become more confident permanently.

Przemek Kucia

Please share it, like it or comment on the matter if you think it deserves it. Every time you do it unicorns can make love. 

Writing a public speech

Best writers are masters of dialogue. They can tell the whole story and convey complex characters through written conversation. Writing a great public speech has a lot in common with this type of storytelling.

Writing is re-writing

There are writers obsessed with detailed outlines, there are also writers who are good without those. Still, there is or was no good writer that would not need to re-write his work over and over again. I heard many of those anecdotes that some re-write until they bleed from their bottoms, some do it until they loop themselves into one of the first versions, some do it until they can’t find what they want in pile of copies.

The fact still is: Your first copy is just a draft, it’s bad in principle. If you think that your first writing is good – good for you, now make it this much better. If you think it is good enough – it isn’t; raise your standards.

On one side it is a little overwhelming this principle. Who has the time to write and re-write when deadlines are on your back? I agree. I also think that this is one of the reasons we don’t see this much of great writing anymore. Yet, on the flipside think about this: If you thought that those witty lines were thought out on the fly, now I assure you, vast majority weren’t. Even if it looks like that. Think of great, touching or funnies speeches you can think of – those are effect of relentless work, often team effort.

This is where 99-1 rule of genius matters

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
— Thomas Edison

Once a writer, whom I know very well, re-wrote one sentence 104 times (from his own remarks). He then erased that entire paragraph in order to shorten a part that slipped out of control and distorted proportions.

Was the effect worth it? Well, audience looked interested and feedback was good. Wouldn’t they If that paragraph was there or was there not re-written? I think no. Because this fine-tuned speech, through many, many, many of these little changes was in the end almost entirely different than the first version.

Pareto rule or 80/20 rule

But hey Przemek, – you could say - wouldn’t it be possible to find essential parts of speech, improve those and have very decent speech with 20% of effort?

Hypothetically yes. After practice and with experience you could come up with fairly universal template of a speech. But wording, timing, anecdotes and compelling story still would be an effort-intense challenge. Context is the key word in here. This is why we have to re-write as much. This is why those 80% of the effect is still not good enough.

Przemek Kucia

Share or like it if you liked it. And tell me: Have you ever tried writing yourself? Or maybe you have different opinion on the matter? Please, post in comments. 

Be smarter thanks to blueberries

Who want to be smarter, focus easier, be better in communication and decision making? Blueberries and berries in general are your IQ pills.

Cognition and flavonoids

Wildly distributed in plants are responsible for many functions. For instance blue pigmentation in blueberries. What’s even cooler, among many positive perks they give us – flavonoids enhance our cognitive capabilities thanks to protective effect they put on neurons. Many studies proven that in fact we can improve executive functions of our brain, various memory functions and more general processing speed[1].

If your cognitive capacities are grater, working memory is more accessible, and you’re processing data faster, then you are in fact more intelligent.

Handful blueberries a day keep cognitive degradation away

Boosting your intelligence is one thing, taking care of your cognitive abilities, so your elder mind could stay sharp is other. Research suggest that putting more flavonoid rich foods into our diets we could do just that.

Even in very high amounts flavonoids do not cause unwanted side effects, so blueberries are amongst healthiest foods around.

It would be arrogant and irresponsible not to put more of flavonoid rich foods into our diets. And unenjoyable, because berries taste soo good ^^

Take care about your brain and it will take care about you!

Przemek Kucia

 

[1] A. Macready, O. Kennedy and others, Flavonoids and cognitive function: a review of human randomized controlled trial studies and recommendations for future studies, [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2775887/ available 23.07.2014].

Body language essentials

Underneath are my few „little tricks” that I start with, while coaching for public speaking. Those create the sense of radical difference and motivate further training.

Present the idea with open hand and palm facing up

Often times this is one of the first suggestions. Human eye is prone to follow the movement. It’s not a secret that “hands talk the most”. So it not only make sense but was also proven: your wrist shapes audience attention. When you’re presenting an idea your gestures, how you illustrate could be congruent with intention, neutral or non-existent, confusing or even off-putting. So for example, if you want to inspire your audience but your gestures say “be calm, go back to your places” or “stop” with palms facing down that’s not very congruent. Or worse, when you actively needling them with you pointing finger which is used to force your point through – that could appall some people. And since this all is taking place in our intuitive thinking – you and your audience could even not be aware this was the reason.

So please – inspiring idea = open hand, palm facing up and upward movement of hand. Just like you would present a ball in your hand so back rows could see.

Overall energy level of your gestures should be only a notch higher than you expect audience to be

This is very important. Just as you would hurt your body exercising without warm up, the same goes with audience. And to be honest, even yourself. I mean yes, you could start your speech “Ballmer style” but probably you would feel better with your own skin than with Ballmers’. And this isn’t even an exception to the rule – we were expecting intense experience before he jumped out.

If you can expect your audience to be pumped up before your appearance you should start with earthquake. If not, then choice of being too energetic in the beginning is a mistake in design. You can off-put people, you could not deliver enough energy in the climax, you can feel bad with it yourself.

On the other side underproviding energy will end up with audience not excited before your main idea or your “one last thing”. Energy of your body language should be considered while writing a speech.

Know your material so you can put some cognitive effort to take care of your body language

I cannot stress this enough. Great body language is often counter intuitive and demanding on our skills. To master proper habits you need all your cognitive capacities in early stages. You won’t have them at hand while improvising or just barely knowing your presentation.

I can bet you, that in early stages of training you’d be better of knowing your material perfectly than knowing all techniques in the world. I shit you not. Sense of knowing what you’re saying is the first technique or method you should start. And then build on that foundation.

Also, while talking, to maintain solid posture, to breathe correctly, to remember movement pattern, to have control over your voice, remember about illustrators and congruent body communication. Chronemics, punctuations, and intonation. All of that and more – to make your body speak what you want to say and how you want to say it is a hell of cognitive effort. Through time it’ll become your second nature, you’ll develop habits, but to master that point there is some practice with hands deep in the dirt.

On that bombshell, see you tomorrow!

Przemek Kucia

Tell me: Do you have your own tricks to share? Or maybe own set of essentials you don’t mind revealing? If you have a minute, please post in comments. Every comment will be weight in gold.

Sweet Sunday Post – blogging personality

Post with kittens and puppies made me think about theme driven blogging (you can find it here). So you see, to this point I thought theme driven should contain that only theme – in my case public speaking and social interactions. Now it is obvious to me that it’s not really blogging in that case – it’s just a site with daily updates.

Blogging: Personality first

I don’t know the definition of blogging. Today I even don’t want to come up with one at all. Intuitively I think, blogging should transfer passion and personality. If I would to judge my personality just through this blog I would have to say I’m pretty much one dimensional, one track minded, overthinking everything and really strict about how people around me think. And believe me: that is true only to an extent.

Przemek after hours

That’s a bit tricky, because recently I don’t have much of “after hours”. My daily regime (yeah, the strictness is not bullshit, side part of me) starts around 6:20 AM > Work as Product Manager > Around 4:30 PM I get back to home > Eat something > See my absolutely fantastic girlfriend > Write or read to my Masters thesis > Write daily update for the blog > Get somewhat updated on the IT front > Go to sleep around 11 PM.

That being said I really enjoy gaming. Especially SimCity, Anno 2070 or lately I would want to play Europa Universalis IV. Up to the point I’ve got my job as PM I would play a lot of volleyball and as a kid I played tennis.

One of my biggest dreams was to stay and work at university, but at least in Poland, higher education is in real decline. Decline of quality as well as in terms of being viable option of stable career. I could stay on the topic of education forever – maybe I’ll talk about it another time. If I could do the same work as a blogger and consultant, well that would be just amazing.

The Y gen kid

I very often don’t like to generalize on such big scale as entire generation. However, a lot of features of Y generation fit to how I would think about myself and how I think about quality life. Especially when I think about the role of established institutions or forms and methods of organizing and managing work, education or social cooperation through local communities, nations and global community. This dissonance of what makes sense to me logically and practically and the state as it is now widened since I got my Political Science education. And/or had time to think about it on deeper level.

I think that Y generation will be the first to be taken to account not only for their IQ but also their Emotional intelligence. The more balanced the better.

The sweet thing of the post

That’s a bit of fake modesty, because I think this whole post was sweet ^^ (That’s the Y generation narcissism)

  Skittles on the ground taken from wallbase.cc

Skittles on the ground taken from wallbase.cc

What if this image was a poetry? I think it would mean that even on the ground level, while you’re working your hands on dirt – you should allow yourself some rainbow, some dreams and pleasures. 

- Przemek Kucia

Please, comment and share your thoughts =D What do you think about blogging, quality life or generations?

How to detect a lie – Paul Ekman’s way

Deception is one of the greatest strategies of survival on our planet. From animals to great nations – we all lie. Some dishonesties are even socially expected. Courtesy, white lies, half-truths or concealments are what keep our interactions on friendly level.

Let us imagine the world without these deceits: Your 5 years old niece comes to you with great shyness drawn on her face. She want to present her painting of you both being at the ZOO the other day. She thought it was great fun, you’re cool, and hence she put 3 hours of work to make this historical record with paints involved. Now, you turn your head and see a painting from a 5 year old – so of course it’s aesthetically terrible, technique is none to poor, and you definitely have more than three hairs on your head. You can’t lie so you tell something like this:

I really appreciate the effort, but your painting is obviously appalling. The ZOO looks nowhere near as the one we visited. Oh, well – I would have to say that almost everything about it is wrong. You have only 5 years and to properly paint that scene you would have to train at least another ten to fifteen. That being said, come give me a hug! It is really sweet that you tried.
— Obviously honest and terrible aunt

There are lies and lies – let us focus on the latter

Deception then is not negative in itself. It’s a tool like knives. You can use it in context of right or wrong.

There are lies of great impact. First coming to my mind is Hitler’s lies to force appeasement policies and put him in best position to eventually start his military aggression. If Chamberlain could call Hitler’s lies who knows how the present would be shaped.

Those kinds of deceptions are connected with great emotional states. The better liar the more concealed these emotions are. But unless you are psychopath – something will “leak”.

Micro expressions and subtle expressions

This is why we need Paul Ekman in this topic. He’s the one who decoded facial expressions and pointed out the existence of micro and subtle expressions that can disappear faster than blink of an eye. We tend to control ourselves with great effort not to leak any emotional reaction. Sometimes to the point when it becomes absurd and indicates that we’re lying. Like fear concealed under a smile. Yet most of us are terrible at spotting liars. Or even at discriminating between real and fake smiles. Only after training in spotting those subtle and micro expressions our scores go up from around 50% (so as good as chance of coin flip) to even 70% and beyond.

There is no direct lying indicator

There are certain hot spots we can investigate further. If someone is afraid of something while we’re investigating him/her it doesn’t mean that he or she is afraid that truth will come be discovered. That person can be afraid of not being believed. So we are always looking for changes in behavior and reactions. Those incongruences suggest that we’re on a fast lane to discover something concealed which is in relation to the whole context – not necessarily the matter itself.

So still, to some extent lie detection is still a bit of an art than the hard science. Especially in real life situations – fast, where contexts mash up and our cognitive biases are working hard. That being said, still it is viable tool in negotiations, strategic decisions, everywhere where information processed by humans are vital.

-          Przemek Kucia

So tell me, would you like to know whenever you are lied to? Even when white lie is making you feel good? Please, like and share if you liked it!

Intuition – some truth about our gut feelings

Let me introduce two systems of our minds:

1.       System1 – intuitive, quick thinking, our gut feeling

2.       System2 – rational, slow thinking, this is where we “feel” our consciousness is

To be so quick, intuition has to rely on heuristics – simplified, sometimes plainly simplistic sets of rules to problem solving. These rules are based on experience, associative memory and antagonistic instincts. All of our cognition is managed primarily by System1. It has basically three primary goals – keep us living, get us procreate and do both while using least amount of energy possible. On the other hand, System2 is used to deal with more complex problems, where all the contradictions should be solved.

How gut feeling works

Information gets into our brains. Our brain automagically interprets it and judges through associating signals with our experience and hardwired, animalistic reactions. Still automagically, our limbic system (the old brain) decides if our muscles need to be stimulated and if we need to get some hormones. Feelings and emotion emerge to motivate us in some way. Images pop up to our consciousness. And then, after all those our conscious minds are aware (mostly in part) what’s going on. Crucial decisions already took place – rational neo cortex (new brain – mostly all frontal lobe) only reacts. Reacts in situation defined by animalistic instincts – that needs to be added.

Pros and cons of relying on intuition

There is no doubt about that System1 works with humongous amounts of data. To process all of those consciously would take nearly forever. So whole quick thinking for the quickness itself is absolutely a positive. Another is that it works with subtle information, scattered or hard to consciously catch. It takes them all into account (at least to some extent) which is a limited feature for System2. And it always produces some decision – wrong or correct, but always tries to bet on something. Find some explanation, some pattern.

The greatest con is that it is prone to make systemic errors. Especially today we face many challenges and problems that are extremely counterintuitive. Our intuitions are terrible with statistics. Absolutely hopeless. Especially with taking to account base statistic, not only what looks like a pattern (ie. guy looks like librarian, so he is one; he’s orderly and unwilling to party). Gut feeling often wrongly judge the importance of information (ie. basing on sympathies). And it works with obsolete, antagonistic references (ie. idea of social proof – assuming what others do is correct).

Summary

Heuristics aren’t perfect. Intuition has it’s certain and obvious pros and also undoubted cons. In the perfect world of balance between two Systems we could alter states induced though System1 by strict reaction of our aware mind. But that’s not the case.

I would suggest few things:

·         Try to learn about decisive process, statistics and how your gut can fool you

·         Don’t make mistake of trying to transfer all decisions to conscious thinking – this is wasteful, hard and rarely makes sense either

·         Try to sharpen your awareness to heuristics you used to the point you consciously deciding over important matter

·         From time to time think about thinking

-          Przemek Kucia

Please share if you liked it, hit that like button and comment! 

P.S. This post was inspired by Eric Tonningsen's http://tonningsen.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/try-it-you-might-embrace-it/

For further reading about two Systems I suggest to google Daniel Kahneman and Amon Tversky

Bulletproof your mind from manipulation

We like to think of ourselves as very rational, consciously deciding beings. We often refuse to admit that some of great outcomes were based on pure hunch. Instead sometimes we pose and tell everyone that we predicted that outcome. Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging. This is built into our nature by generations of natural selection.

Think about this for a second, challenge yourself. Are your opinions really your conscious, rational statements? There is so much information in surrounding reality. It's virtually impossible to be conscious about all of our perceiving limitations, mental shortcuts we use and all the built-in-by-socialization beliefs, that affect our view.

Twofold point

The point I want to make is twofold. On the one hand without stereotypes, assumptions founded on very little information, judgments based just on the glimpse of insight we would live in very uncertain, scary world. On the other hand, we must realize that just by replacing this vast feeling of uncertainty with wild guesses, we're doing just that – making arguments from pure ignorance.

Understanding this simple fact is a step one for mind-proofing yourself from being manipulated into doing things that aren't really beneficial to you. Again, don't get me wrong – many irrational decisions or acts can have very positive outcome, an epic-win conclusion. But good rule of thumb is to make sure that your acts are targeted into meeting with your preferences (even if your preference is to selflessly help others) and that your preferences are yours indeed – not instilled by others.

Please, share your opinion. I will be more than glad to take discussion on this further.

Take good care

- Przemek Kucia

How to talk about communication and decision making

You cannot not communicate – this is great quote from Palo Alto school of communicology you can find in my About page. Everything you do, not do, or try to not communicate is an information you ultimately do communicate in some form.

Decisions – same as. Every behavior or lack of behavior is an end of some decision. Conscious or unconscious. I don’t care – your brain made it.

Now let’s talk about those two. As we are all always communicating and in decisive process, why on Earth no one is teaching us about effectiveness of both processes? I mean, we learn languages and math (and through math about logic), but in school there is not anything like: Look, every step you take is a decision. Young or adult you never escape it, so listen – here are effective theories about it. Same goes with communication.

Charisma Workshop takes the challenge!

Well, I’m certain that about decisive process and communication you can talk in terms of elegant simplicity. In my opinion, academic discussion is so high in clouds of thought-masturbation it cannot relate to everyday reality anymore. On the flipside, everyday discussions lack theoretic background and essential knowledge to discriminate between valuable statements and opinions based od obsolete presumptions.

To discuss about the most important fields of human existence in agile language and nimble thought! This is my mission. To put a collar of elegant and clear structure to complex ideas. I hope you give me feedback that will give me a chance to do just that!

-          Przemek Kucia

So tell me – what topic would you like me to cover? Or what you think about decisive process and communication yourself – please share. 

Body language education

Apart from all knowledge you can learn about meaning of body language, to be successful communicator you need to be fluent in using it. Meaning: You need to understand your own body. It’s reactions, subtle changes in tension, how hormones and stress affect your movements. You need to control it far further beyond hunched sitting position in your office box.

Dance and drama

Both fields rely on perfect control of own body. Beautiful figures that seem so light and movement that seems so smooth – most of the time those are very hard (or impossible) to achieve without strengthening the muscles which we weren’t even aware of before. To move on and around the scene so it works for the story. To use gestures visible and understood as good form furthest seats back as well as the closest to the performer. These are perks we seem to forget while improving our communication skills.

Everyone talks about body language for few decades, but still – great body language is no more often to experience than inside theatres and operas. Why is that? In my opinion because in language classes we never mention communication itself and because drama and dance are treated as lowest tier of importance.

I’m old and want to communicate well. What now?

If you are reading this blog I presume you don’t have much (if any) school time before you. Dance classes with your spouse or sympathy should be first thing to consider. Sweat your ass of and get your up there as well – your body language will improve greatly.

How dance translates into tangible BL skills?

Let us go through few illustrations:

Take for example open position used often in public speech. Dance teaches you to overcome hunching while opening certain figures. Your muscle memory and awareness of opening movement will definitely develop. Firm and steady openness feels powerful to the audience. In dance keeping the frame is one of the most basic skills. It will naturally improve your posture and change your habits of adapting to stressful and social situations. Also in dance, use of whole scene is among key competencies. It is also key in public speaking: to be aware of your position and that through change of position you can easily alter emotional states of audience.

Those are first which came to my mind – I’m sure you can find much more corresponding skills.

-          Przemek Kucia

Please like it. Please share it. And tell me: Have you ever taken dance course or class? Do you think it improved awareness of your own body? I did both as a child – drama and dance. Back then I never thought it’ll pay off like this. 

Pros and cons of spec work

So spec (speculative) work is in short:

Any kind of creative work rendered and submitted, either partial or completed, by designers to prospective clients before taking steps to secure both their work and equitable fees.
— http://www.nospec.com/faq

Mostly associated with field of design, but more or less seen through entire marketplace. It is common in communication consulting as well.

Sense of entitlement or healthy expectations?

I’ve got to tell you – I’ve done spec work and I’ve done quite tangible amounts of it. The thing is when you are new to the field and professional suite word of mouth and portfolio comes with a cost. And since you are fresh and naked you don’t have much to spend. In fact your sole asset is time.

That being said there is spec work and there is the process of creating you portfolio and promotion. In both fields (design and communication, and as I presume – in many more fields) the distinction is either ownership rights or “bragging” rights. Or both. You see, especially politicians are really shy about hiring consultants[1]. It is often one of the first paragraphs that contains non-disclosure agreement. Well, I had non-profits insisting on NDA as well.

I do understand the risk of hiring fresh designer or consultant. I really understand the fears behind NDA and property rights. Being inexperienced and bitching about those things really comes from sense of entitlement. But, everyone want to get paid for their hard work and talent. That’s understandable too.

Any advice?

Spec work without both – pay and property rights (and bragging rights) has it’s different name: exploitation. There is none for you to get from this kind of agreement. If you are young or just new in the field the more time you put (and can afford) into getting your portfolio pitch perfect the better. As long as you don’t actively turn off money propositions. Get big client under your belt. Do few spec jobs perfectly well AND THEN collect the goods. Be patient.

Client service jobs/careers/fields are more of marathon than sprint. And the longer you can wait with your finish (without being lapped) the better your finish will be.

-          Przemek Kucia

Like and share if you liked it! And tell me: Did you ever done a spec work? What is your opinion on this issue?

 

[1] Yes I know it’s more complex than that, but for professional growth of young consultants non-disclosure means a hole in portfolio. 

Speaking fast vs talking slow

When it comes to our habits of speaking, pace is one of the great influencers. It can create or destroy power of our message.

What is better?

Short answer to that question is: Speaking slow is better. Of course it is a general rule. It applies up to about 70% of times.

You see, people who aren’t comfortable in social situations want to throw information as fast as possible. We fear that if we slow down we’ll be interrupted and never given “the floor” again. When it comes to meeting new people or giving public speeches our brains deal with the fear of unknown and fear of being excluded from social circle. And the sole asset we have – information could not be “sold”.

Second group of people who are speaking too fast are visual thinkers (and this more often than not combines with being nervous). It is true that image tells story 1000 words strong. One thought of visual thinker is a lot of information to share. Look even at the sizes of digital files – one that contains an image, and one that contains words. To translate that one image into information using even advanced technology would take stupendous time. So visual thinkers pace themselves, because they have this much information to share.

For this two groups – majority of us all – advice is 1/3 slower minimum. Up to a half. With practice of using pauses and proper intonation of sentences and accents you won’t be interrupted. And to effectively share your vision it has to sink in. Otherwise it will be dismissed by intuitive mind of your audience.

What with people that talk too slow?

It rarely is the case. Take the person you are sure is speaking too slow and tell me this: Is his/her intonation well rounded or flat? Or every sentence ends up intonated like question would be (high pitch at the end? Is his/her speech rhythmically monotonic? And last but not least, is she/he animated while speaking? Meaning: using gestures, facial expressions, drawing the picture with body as well as the content. 

Obviously there is some percentage of sluggish pacers. No question. But “speak faster” would never be my first advice.

-          Przemek Kucia

Please, share and like if you liked it. And tell me: do you tend to speak too fast while facing challenging social situations? I definitely am. Take care!

Flash reviews. First edition

The notion behind this idea is pretty simple: I consumed and am consuming a lot of media about communication and related stuff. It is natural so, that I know thing or two about each and can recommend to you some of them. Flash reviews is a page to which new short opinions of those media (in first edition those are three books) will be added regularly. It won’t be every day like the blog itself, but, I think once a week is reasonable.

So tell me what you think, click like and share. Thank you

-          Przemek Kucia