Iliyana's Blog

The 7 Essential Questions for Better Business Communication

[fa icon="calendar'] 06-Jun-2017 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Personal Development, Brands and Business, Leadership

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I recently finished listening to The Coaching Habit: Say Yes, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier. (It's funny to say "listening" instead of "reading" but hey, in our busy lives we optimise everything and so when I walk to work, I often listen to books. Thanks, Audible!) 

The book was written for managers to help them be better leaders, communicate more effectively with team members, provide better support and coaching and so have more impact. Achieving this comes down to seven key questions that the author identifies as the essence of leading. 

I believe, though, that these seven questions can be an effective technique in any business relationship that requires communication. 

When speaking to customers (especially over the phone or Zoom or skype), these seven questions can help you get to the bottom of what the problem really is and how you can help. The same applies to consulting. I've always said that the best form of consulting is question-asking.

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Rethinking Our 2017 Values: The Road Ahead

[fa icon="calendar'] 10-Jan-2017 09:00:00 / by Giles Hutchins posted in Personal Development, Sustainability

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Today we have a different post, a guest one by Giles Hutchins to open our eyes for the future and rethink our values as we approach the new year. 

Aware thinkers and leaders know what’s at stake. The global issues are too prominent to ignore. Whether it’s mass migration, political extremism, governmental incompetence, violence towards minorities, banking collapses, or evidence of stress and mental illness in epidemic proportions, we cannot ignore the fact that we are living in a time of upheaval, volatility and uncertainty.

The very planet itself is changing in character – with global water shortages, rapid soil erosion, marine species on the verge of collapse, Arctic sea ice at record lows, and a warming atmosphere which threatens the biosphere on which we all depend.

In today’s global conditions, ignoring the global issues facing humanity is ultimately a self-destructive existential choice.

Those opting to pretend that the status quo can be preserved as it is – or was – are blind to the facts of huge shifts globally, already occurring and set to increase. They also overlook the extraordinary human challenge afforded this generation. The ancient Greeks called such a time Kairos, a supreme moment of history, an incredible opportunity to step forward which if not adequately acted upon will pass us by.

This supreme moment asks us – demands us – to get radical and deal with root causes.

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Mastering Emotional Intelligence with 17 Simple Exercises

[fa icon="calendar'] 13-Dec-2016 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Personal Development

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At the beginning of 2016 I set myself a goodreads challenge to read at least 30 books this year. 

I'm well on track, mixing the books between business-related ones around marketing, PR, strategy, and fictional novels. 

In addition, I've also noticed a trend towards books on personal development and particularly Leadership and Emotional Intelligence or the ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions and recognise, understand and influence those of others. 

I've written about these topics on a few occasions throughout the year so you might have also noticed that passion of mine. 

Keeping up with my books challenge and staying faithful to my latest passion, I finished two books on Emotional Intelligence last month: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Emotions and Raising your EQ by Ian Tuhovsky.

As much as I loved Daniel Goleman's insights, his work mainly covered the theory behind Emotional Intelligence (which is definitely needed and is the first stepping stone), I felt I was ready for more practice. This is why I picked the last two books as they were heavily focused on applying those learnings. 

I've found some of the exercises that were suggested in them particularly useful and relevant to my current state within my personal and professional life. 

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How to Achieve Extraordinary Results in 44 Quotes

[fa icon="calendar'] 20-Sep-2016 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Personal Development, Career

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By far the best book I read this summer was The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan.

Obviously, this book is about focus. It's about asking a powerful question: What's the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

You see, I don't have an issue focusing. When I need to finalise a task, I'm pretty good at hammering it.

But I do have an issue with doing too many things and wanting to be part of very many things. It's hard for me to say no when others come to invite me to be a part of their projects which often have very little to do with what my priorities are at the moment. As the authors explain, when you say yes to something you are inevitably saying no to something else (often what matters most to you) in order to find time for the former. 

So this book got me thinking a lot about focusing only on the right things at a given time and prioritising my energy for those. It also made me realise that I need to be more vigorous about how and when I should be utilising this energy best. That includes my own time management and planning as well as my surroundings because according to research we lose 28 percent of an average workday to multitasking ineffectiveness and on top of that, we get interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of our day recovering from these distractions. 

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12 Quotes + Another 89 Highlights That Can Change the Course of Your Life & Career

[fa icon="calendar'] 18-Apr-2016 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Personal Development, Career

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Do you use Medium?

Turns out you should. It's the next big thing. Actually, it's already a pretty big thing.

For those of you who don't know what Medium is, it's basically an online publishing platform for anyone to share stories. It's kinda of like a magazine for personal blogs. You should check it out. 

I started reading it regularly a few months ago. It's cool because I simply chose the topics I am passionate about and every day I get a daily digest email with the latest posts for those topics. Many things there are different than my usual list of regular reading which is why I enjoy this so much, for example there are lots of personal posts (like this or this or this) rather than just the usual industry-related stuff that I follow and so it's nicer to start the day with such an inspirational piece or some sound leadership or business advice.  

I only posted something on Medium a couple of weeks ago because I feel it needs to be more personal there, different than what I usually publish here or on LinkedIn. I'll certainly be exploring it more but what I noticed is how people like, recommend and highlight pieces of your post. It's really cool to see which thoughts of yours people find most interesting and worth remembering.

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