Month: February 2013

The power of commitment

It’s not what happens to you but what you think about what happens to you that determines your experience. I preach this one all the time, and mostly remind myself about it. The stories we tell ourselves have a strong power to shape experience, and that is illustrated powerfully by the above video, which is the focus of today’s post, and I will just let it speak for itself.

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The most overlooked prep time for speakers


Looooong experience

Austrian journalist Karl Kraus once famously defined a journalist as someone who has nothing to say but knows how to say it. Journalism students have a tendency to fill a college career with nothing but journalism courses, which can lead to exactly the situation Kraus described. That’s why schools accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication require students to take no more than a certain number of hours in journalism courses–they need to have something to write about when they graduate.

Speakers have related challenges, in that hardly anyone speaks simply to speak. You must have something to speak about. Continue reading

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Are you procrastinating on that presentation?

Most people who identify themselves as procrastinators are not really–it’s just that they’re trying to work beyond their juggling skills. It happens I can literally juggle three objects fairly well (though with nothing approaching the skill in the video above), but if you throw a fourth object in there, I don’t just drop one object–I drop them all.

Figuratively, when life throws one more item into our juggling pattern, it can cause everything to go to, um, pieces. For some people, the presentation becomes the extra object.

Take the analogy a little further: juggling four objects requires more than just juggling faster. It requires a different pattern. In essence, you have to be able to juggle two objects in each hand.

Likewise, adding presentations to your mix of activities will require more than simply working faster.

A rule of thumb is one hour of preparation for each minute of speaking. That will vary, obviously, but if you think a 20-minute speech will only take an hour to prepare and rehearse, you are setting yourself up for stress and ineffectiveness. Furthermore, 20 hours of preparation in the two days prior to delivering the speech isn’t as effective as 20 hours broken up into pieces and spread over a month.

That takes a different pattern.

You usually can’t “will” yourself into preparation, but recognizing the need for adding another object to the pattern, and for changing the pattern, may give you the insight to be able to schedule the time you need.

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Words matter: shaping the way you look at experience


Words are just words, and yet they are very, very powerful, because they shape the way you look at the world.

I contend that much of the challenge we face with health care in the United States results from a basic misapprehension that most of us never stop to think about: We keep talking about “health insurance.” Whatever it is, it isn’t insurance, at least not in any sense that most of us would recognize. Continue reading

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