Month: March 2013

Three misconceptions that sink presentations

sinking

Lots of people speak these days. TED.com has sparked a revival of interest in both giving and hearing speeches. And while most TED speakers provide a good model, plenty of misconceptions still float around about speaking.

Here are three. Continue reading

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Seeing what is rather than what you think

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One of the most overlooked aspects of communication is the communication you have with yourself.

Two incidents in the last week have me thinking about this. Continue reading

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Take the time, updated

baby

I’m reblogging and adding to a post from March 2009, four years ago.

On that day, I wrote:

My cousin died in a car accident over the weekend [remember this was posted four years ago]. Your cousins may or may not be close to you. My family in many ways has never been close, but on the other hand I had no brothers and sisters, and my cousin was born within two hours of my own birth. He was the relative I was closest to growing up, though we lived an hour apart.

We’ve kept in touch mostly through third parties–my mom would hear from his mom, etc. I kept meaning to talk to him, but I kept thinking I’d spend some time with him at the next family reunion. Thanks to life challenges in both our lives, though, as well as the fact that no one in our family bothers to organize family reunions, that never happened.

I didn’t even find out he had been killed until yesterday, and the funeral in West Tennessee was this morning. Opportunity gone.

He has had a tough life. We could have helped each other. Coulda woulda shoulda helps nothing and no one.

Communication doesn’t just happen. It takes effort; it takes consciousness; it takes attention. Is there someone you need to talk with? Do it today.

It’s only been four years, but it seems much longer than that. Yet in that short time, much has changed about the way I communicate with friends and family.

I haven’t seen my middle daughter in a couple of years. She has gotten married since I last saw her, but she lives far enough away (and finances are tight enough) that we haven’t been in the same space in that time. I haven’t met her husband, and haven’t seen my first grandchild.

On the other hand, through Facebook and Skype we’ve kept in fairly close touch. I’ve been able to hear and see that new baby. It’s not the same of course. I can’t hold him, can’t get pooped on. But it’s better than just a few years ago, when years apart meant little or no contact at all.

People worry about electronic communication interfering with real human communication, and the worry is justified. But at the same time, I’m able to maintain a higher level of contact with more people than ever before. It gives me a way I can afford to make the effort and pay the attention to people I would otherwise miss completely. I think that’s a good thing.

What about you? Have you made that needed contact?

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Business talks don’t have to be boring

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There is an assumption that business talks, by their nature, are boring, as exemplified in this post. This is good news, in a sad sort of way. It’s like the old joke about the two guys trying to outrun a grizzly: “I don’t have to outrun the bear; I only have to outrun you.” Since expectations are so low, anything you do that raises your talk above the level of boring makes you outstanding in the eyes of the audience.

The simplest way to do this is to remember why we do the “out loud” stuff in the first place. Just asking that question and answering it is likely to put you way ahead of the competition all by itself. Continue reading

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Who is your actual audience?

book-of-job

I don’t have figures to back this up, but experience suggests that a lot of arguments aim not so much to convince the other person as to justify your position to yourself.

I had the great experience of speaking to the Foothills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship this morning about the power of storytelling. I’ve known that power for years in terms of affecting other people, and this morning’s talk focused on the power of the stories we tell ourselves. As part of that talk, we turned to the Book of Job, especially as translated by Stephen Mitchell. Continue reading

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