I'm a Social Media Entrepreneur, Professor of Digital Marketing, Author of 5 books, Podcaster and an Organic Farmer.

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Training the ‘Little Journalists’ on Blogging

A wonderful initiative by the Hindustan International School and Hafiz Khan’s eZone to train school students on the nuances on media. The kids get trained on positive journalism which includes broadcast, Radio, Print and Online journalism. 

I look forward to interacting with the young minds and ignite their interest in blogging. 


Live Counseling Today on Digital Career Opportunities at DinaMalar.com

Over the last few years, I have regularly gone in front of the camera for a ‘Live Counseling’ session on Career Opportunities in Digital for students. It’s a live call-in show for two hours where I answer questions from students and parents. ┬áThe show airs LIVE today between 10:30 am to 12:30 pm today. The live video feed will appear on www.DinaMalar.com.

Every year when I go live, I have this feeling that some of my friends will make a prank call and embarrass me on screen! That feeling still stays. It’s a good thing this is a delayed broadcast! ­čÖé


Most Kashmiri Students are Not Stone Pelters (a.k.a Don’t Believe the National Media)

Think of students from Kashmir and you would think of stone pelters and agitators. Atleast, that’s what the national media wants us to believe. That’s definitely NOT the case and I saw this first hand.

A few days ago, I was invited to give a guest lecture at Central University of Kashmir. It is one of the 13 newly established central universities in different states of India in 2009.

The Dean of Student Affairs and the Head of Placement was among the audience when I delivered a lecture at the Digital Marketing Summit in Srinagar, Kashmir. Over dinner that evening, Dr.Fayaz come over to me and said he would one day like to invite me over to the MBA department for a lecture. I told him that I’m staying over at Srinagar for two more days and would be happy to come over. I was interested to see what this whole media hulla┬ábulla was all about. He fixed a guest lecture the next day and invited the students from the School of Business Studies and the School of Tourism

My first impression?  It was business as usual. The university was bustling with students and it looked at just like any other busy university life.

Over the one hour session, I spoke on one of my favorite topics: Personal Branding using Digital Medium. I’m a life-long learner of this subject. I noticed that the students from this university are quite bright (only meritorious students are selected). However, because of the unrest in the Kashmir valley, private industries, and multi-national companies are almost non-existent. This meant that there are not many job opportunities and many of the youngsters are forced to seek employment outside the state.

My talk focused on using the digital medium to seek global opportunities. The medium lends itself very well to working on international projects without leaving the city. I was pleasantly surprised that almost all the students were active on social media. I reason why I was surprised is because this is in spite of the fact that the State Government has blocked most of the social networking sites in order to curb the unrest. Students are smart and everyone has figured how to circumvent the Internet ban using VPNs.


I expected a very conservative crowd. But I was pleasantly surprised that the students were very interactive and responsive to questions. Also nice to see that the boys and girls were mingling socially, something that’s a welcome change in a Muslim majority state.

Kudos to the women for being very proactive and very participative.

Kashmir Observer, one of the largest English Dailies in Kashmir, did a coverage of the talk. (please scroll to the second half).


A Bag of Gold

Today, I got a bag of coins. Precious Ten rupee coins. The Madras Advertising Club, where I teach Online Advertising, paid my honorarium of Rs.1000 in Ten rupee coins. In these times of #Demonetization, it sure felt like a bag of gold! 


10 Steps I Take to Truly Benefit From a Book. 

audiobooks

An important lesson I’ve learned is that reading a book only makes sense if you can put the learnings into action.

Earlier I would focus on finishing a book. (which I admit is a task in itself). Once I finish a book, a sense of relief comes over. I take a few days break before I start reading another book. What use is the book if you don’t become better than when you started it.

I’ve started to do the following activities that has made my book reading endeavor a lot more useful and worthwhile.

1) I do a lot of research before I chose a book to read. The subject must catch my interest and it should be related to a larger goal am working towards to. For example, right now, am very interested in improving my productivity. A key part is to learn to focus and that’s why I found the book, ‘Deep Work’ very apt.

2) Before reading the book, I watch a few YouTube videos of the book and interviews with the author.

3) I listen to podcast interviews with the author. Watching the YouTube videos and listening to the podcasts gives me an excellent overview of the book.

4) Next, I read the condensed version of the book on Blinkist. I have subscribed to the Pro version and this lets me read and listen to the synopsis of the book.

5) Then I download the audio book on Audible (again, subscribed to the annual package). Audio books have been a game changer for me. I have an impressive completion rate of all the studio books. I still suck at reading physical books and have almost completely stopped buying them. I now swear by Audio Books.

6) I listen to audio books during two occasions. a) During my early morning walks. I walk for an hour and listen to audio books. 2) While traveling in my car or in a cab. Also during flights. I have started the habit of taking notes as I  listen to the audio books. I carry a small notebook where I scribble down important points.

7) Once back home from my walk , I expand on those important points and publish the key learnings on my blog. This has helped me revive my long dormant blog.

8) I’m also conducting a workshop on the subject of the book. For example, this Saturday, October 15th, am conducting a 3 hour intensive, interactive workshop on the subject of ‘Deep Work’ and how to use focused concentration to improve productivity. I’m a firm believer that teaching is the best form of learning. 14 years of being a professor has ingrained this view in me deeply.

9) Because I need to conduct a workshop, this gives me the impetus to thoroughly prepare. This motivates me to listen to the audio book for the second time, take notes, create a presentation etc. This helps me to internalize the learnings.

10) Finally, I’ve begun to slowly but surely put the learnings into practice in my daily life. For example, I’ve allocated undisturbed time to blog about the points I’ve learned from the podcast. This very blog post you are reading now is testimony to it. If I can keep up at it daily for a month, it will become a regular habit and I don’t have to put any conscious effort.

Continuous improvement is something I’ve begun to enjoy. This is a work in progress and I’ll continue to share the best practices and important tips which I hope you find it useful too. Have a great, productive day!




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