Month: May 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Gathering the crumbs

No waste cookies!

I made chocolate cookies a few days ago. When I say “I made,” I mean I opened the package of refrigerated dough and followed the directions. I have made chocolate chip cookies from scratch before, and done a pretty good job if I do say so myself. But why bother? The refrigerated dough turns out almost as good, and take a whole lot less time. And less dish washing, too.

Along with the fun of eating them (since I’m the major cookie consumer in our household), I gained something of an insight for speaking and writing. (Does that make the cookies tax deductible?) Since they were “home made,” I put them into a Ziploc bag after they cooled, and when I ate the last one few hours later, I noticed a lot of crumbs in the bottom.

In fact, there were enough there to make up two entire cookies after I dumped them out into my hand. One does not simply waste cookies.

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Why I use Scrivener for writing almost everything

Scrivener logo

You probably already have a favorite app you use for writing. “Favorite” may be a loose term–you may or may not like it. It could just be the least irritating tool you have. But it’s one you’re used to. It either came loaded on your device, or as part of a larger suite you paid big bucks for or got for free.

I want to suggest that you consider paying for a tool that will do the job better for you and save you time and frustration, especially if you work on longer projects. I have been using Scrivener for a couple of years, and I find myself using it for writing just about everything, from books to articles to speaking notes.

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You may find you like it!

Chimp with a mic.

I’m in the middle of a regular gig I love: training leaders for my college’s New Student Orientation leaders. We’ve already had our first event of the season, and we haven’t completed all of the training yet. Part of that training involves using a microphone effectively. Because of the timing of events in relation to training, we still have several leaders who have yet to have the microphone training.

During the first event, though, one of the folks who had not yet gone through the training wound up needing to speak on a microphone during a question-and-answer session. She later commented that it was the first time she had ever in her life held a microphone, much less used one–and she was pleasantly surprised that she really enjoyed it!

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Monroe still works: effective persuasion in the Internet age

Grow!

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is not a new idea. It’s hard to pick up a basic public speaking textbook without finding an explication of it.

So why doesn’t it get used more? I suspect it’s because it isn’t new. But it still works.

For readers who are familiar with it: I want to tell you why you should give it a second look, and tell you where I see people having trouble applying it. For those who haven’t heard of it: I want to tell you about it, and help you avoid common pitfalls.

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Connecting personally long distance

Video chat

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like using the telephone. I do all the time, because everybody else does, or at least everyone my age. Young people more and more just use texting, and I suspect some of that comes from the same telephone reluctance I have.

I’m not sure why more people I know don’t use the technology that makes telephone reluctance a non-issue: video chatting via computer or smart phone. I mean, the technology is everywhere, and it’s almost like being together in person. Not quite, and I still prefer face-to-face visits. But video chatting is the next best thing, and in some ways, it’s better.

If I am my camera right, I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the whole house before a visit. Plus, video chat only carries sight and sound–no odors so far.

Friends and family are now scattered everywhere. I’d rather visit in person, but I can’t. Things like appear.in, Hangouts, Skype are better than phone calls, emails, letters, etc.

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Suspend judgment for better relationships

Judge Judy

This is one of those posts that, if I could send it to my younger self, could have changed my life.

We’re going to deal with two related and yet entirely separate issues, but at the same time: judgment and rush to judgment.

Humans seem to have an innate need to form opinions and judgments. Do you agree with that statement? Do you see how quickly you form an opinion? Because almost inevitably, you immediately had a response to my question about agreement.

That’s not necessarily a problem. The problem for communication comes in because a judgment can get in the way of hearing.

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Help The Princess get a ride?

We are seeing the effects of social media unfold right before our eyes in a very personal way.

We have a severely disabled daughter, and she has a chance to get life-changing (for her and for us) transportation. Continue reading

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Bonus: Infographic guides your phone persuasion

Phone influence

OK, call it “phone selling.” You probably do it whether you realize it or not. You may not work on commission (or you might), but almost certainly there are times you need to move someone to action via telephone.

That’s where this infographic comes in. I’ve looked it over in detail, and realized it’s really about effective communication. Tada! Few of us (including me) use the phone effectively.

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What was that idea again?

Dutch Scullery Maid

I had a great idea for a blog post. It came to me while I was in the kitchen, working on making an omelet for me and fried eggs for my wife. The stove was hot, the butter at just the right temperature in the pan, so I couldn’t go write the idea down right then. No problem, it was a great idea, I would remember.

Yeah, right. How many times have you done that? Based on your experience, how likely was it that I would remember it? Continue reading

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Help me help you, OK?

Lonely bear

I sent out an email to subscribers. I sent it because they used to open my emails a whole lot more. But then my daughter had some issues and I quit writing for awhile.

I have a severely disabled daughter, who went through a long period of rough times. I got so overwhelmed that I stopped writing for a long time, and people got used to not hearing from me.

I started writing again a little over a month ago (April 3), but I’ve noticed that people aren’t opening the emails nearly as much as they used to. I’m trying to figure out why. Continue reading

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