IndieView with Mohibul Nahar, author of The Teacher & the Salesman

I’ve been a consultant for over 10 years and have two master’s degrees so my characters and stories are based on my experiences with professors, classmates, co-workers, and customers that I’ve worked with over my career.  

Mohibul Nahar – 7 January 2018

The Back Flap

Communicating knowledge is one of the most important contributions we make as individuals and as a society. It is at the core of human progress and collaboration, and fundamental to what makes us human in the first place.

In the modern world, we spend countless hours of our lives in classrooms, meetings, and presentations to gain knowledge. The time and effort represent not only sunk monetary investments but lost productivity as well. And when done ineffectively, those discussions can leave us feeling drained and uninspired. We find ourselves in these scenarios too often, because while many people love to learn, few know how to communicate in an effective way.

But what are the key steps in delivering an engaging discussion? How do you know you are delivering it in a way that will make your audience open to listening? Are you a compelling speaker? Most of us aren’t. Are people looking at you and asking questions when you speak or are they on their phones and laptops? How do you get through to inattentive people or negative, skeptical customers and co-workers?

The teacher and the salesman face these questions every day. Teaching and selling represent two of the most fundamentally important occupations in our society, as well as two of the most important skill sets anyone in any occupation hold. These two skills, when delivered correctly, entail listening, empathy, and educating; dealing with challenging views, and persuading an audience to accept knowledge and take action. And both require attention and engagement to maximize effectiveness.

We can all greatly benefit from becoming better teachers and sellers, and this reference guide will show you how. It will serve as your instructional trainer to help you reach your audiences for structured discussions using the POETIC framework. The POETIC framework is a dynamic set of methods based on observations from many years of consulting to C-Level business leaders and military leaders, years of experience in organizational training, research in the readiness training and influence space, and interactions with learning and development specialists at one of the world’s largest and most innovative technology companies.

Use this guide to better-engage and better-inform your audience, and have an impact on their lives in a way that they will listen, remember, and most importantly, come away inspired and more curious then when you started.

About the book

What is the book about?

This book serves as a guide in how we can improve our communication, particularly when it has to do with communication of knowledge.  How do we convey ideas and concepts in a way that gives our audience the right information for understanding, in a way that they will remember what they’ve heard/read, and also stay engaged during the conversation?  This book aims to answer this question using a tool:  the POETIC framework.

When did you start writing the book?

I started writing this book 3 years ago in 2014.

How long did it take you to write it?

I wrote on-and-off for a few years and then took some time off to complete the book during the summer of 2017.

Where did you get the idea from?

I had taken a course in business school once where I sat in on a professor simply because of his reputation.  It was one of the best decisions I ever made.  Sitting in his class, I truly felt inspired, despite not initially being interested in the topic (finance).  And this professor wasn’t overly charismatic or witty.  He just had a way of conveying information that was really effective and engaging.  He made you think, he challenged you.  I began to wonder whether the way he taught could be replicated and adopted by other teachers and presenters in general.  That’s where the idea for the POETIC framework was conceived.  I’ve always been passionate about how we convey knowledge to others effectively.  Every time I participate in an online course or sit in on a presentation, I think to myself how it could be done better.  Hopefully what I’ve written will serve to help those communicate whatever ideas they have.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

The entire process.  This was my first book and I didn’t realize how challenging it is to put together a cohesive set of thoughts in a book in order to convey my messages to my audience.  But, since my book was on a framework to help do precisely that, I began to follow my own framework to help organize the content and that helped me to get through it.

What came easily?

The parts where you’re writing with emotion.  The introduction and the conclusion where I focus on why the topic is so important to me came easy because you write from the heart and your passion begins to flow out of you onto paper.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

It’s a non-fiction book so my characters are purely from real world experience.  I’ve been a consultant for over 10 years and have two master’s degrees so my characters and stories are based on my experiences with professors, classmates, co-workers, and customers that I’ve worked with over my career.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

When I read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, I was really touched by his effort to influence how we treat others.  His style for how to provide guidance really resonated with me.  He essentially had a core concept in each chapter that he taught with stories and examples.  I tried to take the same approach with my book.

Do you have a target reader?

This book is for anyone who has to present, have informative discussions, or communicate in writing, as part of their job or otherwise.  People who could benefit are those in teaching, consulting, corporate training, sales, and marketing careers for example.  But since we all have to communicate in our daily personal and professional lives, I believe most people could benefit from the communications framework in this book.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I’ve read about the writing style of different authors.  Some have a “flow” they seem to get into and simply write in blocks until they have a draft ready.  My style is definitely more structured.  I plan out my book from the beginning and form a detailed outline and even a set of objectives for each component of the outline.  I try to then fill in those components as I go along until I complete my first draft.  Then I review over and over again until I have a version I’m happy with.  I get others to review my work and continue to review/edit until I’ve gotten to a final version.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I’m an extensive outliner.  I outline out in as much detail as I can because that’s the style that simply works better for me and how I write.  If you think about the latest wave of programming it’s all about modularized coding.  That’s how I view writing, at least in the non-fiction structured space.  I modularize my writing so that I can independently write any component the first time through and then focus on flow as a whole once I’m complete.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I edit mostly after I’ve completed the first draft, and all the chapters are organized in the proper sequence.  I had two editors review my book after I was complete and continued to edit throughout after the first draft.  I had several editing cycles between the final “draft” and the final completed version.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Yes, I found two freelance editors on Upwork and they greatly helped edit my original draft and final version.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

Occasionally, I always prefer classical and movie soundtracks when I’m writing productively.  No vocals.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents? 

No, I decided to self-publish.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I did a little bit of research and finally decided just to go at it on my own.  There are so many tools for self-publishers out there that I figured it was the way to go, particularly since I have no writing background otherwise.  I had content that I wanted to release because I thought it could be beneficial to others, but I also wanted to learn the process of writing, publishing, and marketing my book.  I’m still early in the journey but the learning has made it all worth it.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? 

I designed my own cover using Canva.com.  I usually have a design in mind, and then I see how I can bring it to fruition.  I’ll probably use a professional for my next project.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

Now that my book is published I’ve been working on compiling a marketing plan.  I’m still in the research phase on marketing but I’m piecing together a plan as I investigate various methods.  Happy to share back my results once I complete

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Learning by doing is one of the best methods so if you have something in you that you’d like to get out, go ahead and start writing.  But set a goal, have a timeline, and do whatever it takes to finish.  A structured approach and a hard deadline definitely helped me finish.  Your first work doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.  You’ll learn so much from simply going through the process so just focus on getting it done.

The main inspiration I had was from a former teacher.  He said some of us go through life with “music” inside of us that needs to be played and you don’t want to have gone through life without having played that music.  I have lots of music inside to get out of my system and this was a song I simply had to write.

End of Interview:

For more from Mohibul, visit his website or blog.

Get your copy of The Teacher & the Salesman from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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