We are constantly challenged to make decisions: looking at situations and selecting choices from a variety of options. Not only in business and professional situations are we faced with choices, but also in everyday life. Fortunately, most of them are simple, routine, and safe. However, life can be filled with complicated, expensive, and sometimes dangerous situations – and that can make for difficult decisions. J. Robert Parkinson PhD shows you how to sort through your options to make the best decisions available, boiling it down to a simple “yes/no” choice—information that can change your life!
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In The Lowly Turtle by J. Robert Parkinson, PhD, there is a wealth of information and advice on communication, business skills, and decision making. A collection of motivational and informational essays, the book is well organized, well thought out, and well written. Covering everything from communication skills, managing techniques, and selling skills to technology and generational differences, the book is an excellent source of advice and inspiration.
I especially like the way Parkinson presents his information in the form of easy-to-read-and understand essays and teaches you how to apply the information to both your personal and professional life.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: The Lowly Turtle by Dr. J. Robert Parkinson is another jewel in this talented and savvy businessman and author’s string of self-help books. Focusing on the decisions-making process this time, Parkinson takes us through the mechanics of decision making and how the process relates to other skills we need to have, such as communication skills, selling skills, etc., skills that are essential for success in any aspect of life. But mostly the book is about how our everyday, seemingly small, decisions can have big consequences in our lives if we aren’t paying attention.
A natural teacher, Dr. Parkinson gets right to the heart of the matter, presenting his ideas and information in easy to read essays that get his points across without preaching, making it much more likely that we will take his message to heart and apply the principles he teaches. Well done.
This book is all about making choices – looking at situations and deciding what to do. We are constantly challenged to make decisions – to select from a variety of options.
Not only in business and professional situations do we face choices, but also in everyday life.
Just think about the myriad decisions we have to make: time to get up in the morning; breakfast at home or on the way to work, or at work; what to wear; when to leave home; transportation by car, train, taxi, car pool, or walk; route to take; where to park, buy coffee, add a donut; start the day at the office, factory, store school, other.
Now it’s time for lunch. More choices!!
Most of us don’t think of these as “decisions” or “choices” but that’s precisely what they are. Most of them are simple, routine, and safe.
But life is filled with complicated, expensive, and sometimes even dangerous situations requiring us to make decisions – and that can be difficult.
But consider this: no matter how complicated, confusing, and detailed a situation or problem is, ultimately, it boils down to a simple “Yes – No” decision.
Just think about that for a moment. Ultimately, every decision we make has only two options: yes – no, stay – go, add – subtract, try – avoid, up – down, etc.
The essays contained here revolve around such options. They explain and describe real situations in which choices had to be made because of circumstances.
As you read them, consider what else “could” have been done, what you might have done or avoided doing, and what consequences could have developed.
The book is divided into ten sections, but those aren’t restrictive.
Please read them in any order you like because the sequence isn’t significant.
Each essay is a “quick read,” but hopefully you’ll find yourself spending time considering the situations and implications.
Ask yourself a few questions:
What did I get out if reading this? What would “could” I have done? Was there an “Ah Ha” moment? Where? What was the “take away” for me?
I hope you enjoy the read.
For starters, look at this:
Change Your Point of View
Sometimes just changing the way we look at a situation makes it easier to see options and resolve issues, but many times we simply rely on old habits because that “old way” worked. Let’s look at what can happen when we change a point of view.
Just for fun, and to make the point, solve this Math problem. I’m sure everyone can get the correct answer.
You are working at a tennis club. Management has scheduled a tournament. Singles competition, single elimination. One hundred twenty eight players have registered.
As the person in charge, how many matches must you schedule to complete the tournament and award a trophy to the winner?
To get the answer, most people write down columns of numbers: 64 + 32 + 16 etc. Then they add them up: That’s how we’ve always done it.
The technique works, but if you change your point of view, there’s another way. It’s also much faster and less prone to an arithmetic error. You’ll get the correct answer almost instantly. Here’s the “new” way. Just answer these questions.
How many registered to play? 128
How many will win the tournament? 1
If 1 will win, how many will lose? 127
How many losers can you have per match? 1
If you need 127 to lose, how many matches must you schedule?
Of course, you must schedule 127 matches!
Done! Problem solved!
The “old way” works, but this “new way” is faster and more accurate. And it works with any number. With an odd number of players, you just post a bye, and byes don’t require matches.
Now what does this have to do with business communications?
Plenty. Much of what we do and how we do it comes from habit. Because certain techniques have worked for us in the past, we tend to use them again and again.
Most people tend to focus immediately on the Problem – and the evidence that defines the problem. After that, they discuss the potential Solution.
Like the tennis tournament, this works, but there’s another way. Audiences want answers and solutions; they don’t want recitations of problems and lists of justifications. When a speaker focuses on problems, particularly at the start of a talk, audiences usually become impatient. They’re waiting for the “So what” information. “So what are you (or we) going to do to fix this?”
At the start of a talk, audience interest is high. They are in the room or on the Internet to learn something. They usually already know about the “problem.” They want the “solution.”
Take advantage of that initial interest and provide new material. When speakers don’t do that, audience interest and attention wane and may disappear completely.
The Point of View in any presentation should concentrate on what is important to the audience – Solutions – not Problems.
Remember this. To be a good speaker, think like a listener. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, and it’s easy to determine what they want. Tom Peters, the noted speaker and customer service guru said it clearly. “Find out what the customer (audience in a presentation) wants, and deliver it.
Such good advice is simple to articulate, but sometimes those old habits make it difficult to follow.
But, change your point of view, and presentations will be easier to construct and more effective to deliver.
Finally, many speakers immediately start making PowerPoint visuals. Don’t do it. That’s a good tool, but it might not be the “right tool” for your talk. With this revised point of view, let the purpose drive the technique.
Determine the tool by the reason for the talk and by the specific characteristics of the Audience. Picking the tool should be your last decision.
Again, put aside those old habits. Look at new options. See what happens.
See what progress you might make when you stick your neck out.
© 2017 by J Robert Parkinson