It all comes down to this…
Players dream of playing in this vaunted game, and when they do careers are made or broken by how they perform.
It’s no different in communication.
After you draft your resume, write your cover letter, and submit your application for your dream job, next comes the interview. It’s in this unique setting of interpersonal communication that you have the best opportunity to differentiate yourself and take the next step in your career development.
Recall the times you’ve solved problems, collaborated, exceeded expectations, handled adversity, made mistakes, made amends, set records, delivered on-time, said ‘thank you,’ and led your organizations.
We’ve experienced a lot, but we rarely take time to record the details and build a story library of these experiences.
Thirty-five thousand years ago, in a sandy-floored cave illuminated by the flicker of fire light on the tropical island of Indonesia, a human hand reached out of the darkness and began to paint. Animals, murals, everyday objects, still life, but all…stories. Whether in art or oration, stories have been part of the human tapestry since the very beginning.
Stories are the epitome of effective communication.
Brussels sprouts are rich in cancer-preventing antioxidants, contain robust quantities of vitamins, and are a reliable source of heart-healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Despite this impressive bundle of benefits, Americans consume, on average, less than one pound of brussels sprouts each year.
Why am I talking about brussels sprouts in a newsletter on oral communication? Good question.
Maybe your kitchen sink looked like mine when I was single--full of every plate, pan, utensil, and glass. When I caught a glimpse of it, I would feel frustrated and overwhelmed. To escape that distress, I would just avoid it. But it’s not just the kitchen sink that can get overloaded; presentations can also get packed with everything from the speaker's proverbial kitchen, and when they do, audiences get overwhelmed and tune out.
In 2008, architecture firms lined up for the opportunity to pitch their plans to build a new iconic baseball stadium in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. It was a dream contract, and firms clambered to win it.
While many of the pitches focused on design elements and amenities like a retractable roof, new-age materials, luxury boxes, enhanced concession stands, club seating, and other revenue producing features, one architecture firm took a different approach. One firm took a winning approach.
It’s a Saturday morning and you are in the middle of a friendly game of golf. On the 8th hole you walk up to the ball, set your target, and select a club. You start your backswing, shift your weight forward, strike the ball, and follow through. You look up to see the ball flying hundreds of feet...off target and toward the adjacent fairway. Humiliated, you announce to your group that you are “hitting another ball.” You’re taking a mulligan.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take a mulligan in every aspect of our lives? In many things we can--transferring schools, changing jobs, switching careers. These are all are do-overs.
In public speaking and presenting, there are no mulligans, no second chances, no do-overs.
If you win this work, it will be a game-changer!
It’s a huge account, and you’ve made it to the final round of selection. All you need to do is ace the presentation to land this life-changing client. Because of the job’s size and scope, the presentation requires contributions from a large and diverse number of people from different divisions of your project team. Everything is riding on your team’s presentation.
After a three-day, off-site business retreat, you’ve developed the perfect strategic plan. You return to work excited to share your ideas with the company. You make your slide deck and prepare your 30-minute presentation. After presenting, you come away feeling confident that everyone shares your enthusiasm, is onboard, and understands your priorities for the future.
A few days later, you overhear a water-cooler conversation that makes it clear few, if any, employees actually recall your main ideas and people seem baffled by your message. Something’s gone terribly wrong.
Everyone has heard the claim that individuals fear public speaking more than death, and while this declaration seems a bit far-fetched, surveys support the idea.
Scientifically, fear of public speaking is called glossophobia (glōssa meaning tongue) and it affects upward of 74% of Americans.
So whether public speaking is truly on par with death or not, the reality is that anxiety prevents millions of people from capitalizing on the power of public speaking…
In public speaking circles a battle is raging that rivals the Yankees vs the Red Sox, the Hatfields vs the McCoys, and the Patriots vs the world.
It’s between the anti-memorizers ...and the practice-makes-perfect people. Polar opposite strategies, so who’s right?
The slide shown below, used during the keynote address at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, consists of 293 words.
At their core, effective slides must augment the presenter’s message, not introduce a distraction.
The New Year is a time of optimism. Of anticipation. Of hope. And the New Year contains this wellspring of expectation because it marks the beginning. The beginning of something unknown.
The very first moments of a speech share much with the New Year, and like the turning of the calendar, the first thing an audience experiences sets an all-important tone.
I grew up before the advent of GPS, and I keenly remember my passenger’s side-seat navigation. If we were lucky, it involved last-second commands to take a turn or change lanes. On many occasions, however, the command came seconds too late and we were forced to make hasty u-turns, back-track, or otherwise bumble our way to the destination.
And while GPS gave us a digital roadmap to solve this problem in our cars, many speeches and presentations still suffer from unannounced and abrupt twists and turns that leave the audience dizzy with intellectual whiplash.
Providing co-workers critical updates and sharing novel ideas is essential to an integrated, vibrant, and productive team. It was in the spirit of this collaboration and a testament to the “two-heads-are-better-than-one” mentality that regular intra-office meetings were born. But with a trend toward open-office concepts with tightly regulated meeting spaces, increases in off-site employees, and a greater premium placed on efficiency, the regularly occurring 1-hour meeting is no longer a viable calendar event.
Last night, a steady stream of ghouls, zombies, and werewolves crawled the streets, making wild gestures to add to the believability of their characters. Speakers looking to command similar attention and engagement from their audience must also pay attention to their hands and arms when presenting.
This action is known as gesturing, and it is more important than you think.
Whether firefly or public speaker, providing your audience with an authentic indicator of who you are is essential to your success. Audiences are looking for signals of authenticity, and when they are missing, their internal alarms are quick to signal an imposter.
Each day, 27,000,000 business cards are printed in the United States at a total annual cost to employers in excess of $790 million dollars.. Factor in the cost of professional design services, and this business expense easily surpasses one billion dollars annually.
No one ever questions this cost. ...