Your listeners want to remain alive and engaged

I’ve heard for years from people seeking advice on making their slideware more effective. Slides are not the most important aspect of a talk, but handled incorrectly (and probably 90% of them are), they can suck all the impact right out of a speech or a classroom lecture. With just a few guidelines, though, you don’t have to be a PowerPoint superstar to harness its power to give “out loud” more punch.

We have released a free video called PowerPoint CPR that gives you nine simple steps to follow to put you way above the “normal” in creating slide decks. And who wants to be normal in that regard?

Get your video here.

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One-question survey

Survey

Hi! We haven’t talked in a few days. My daughter (The Princess) has been having some health issues, and coupled with nursing schedule irregularities, I’ve had to put my attention elsewhere.

But I haven’t forgotten about you! I’ve been working on updating the web site also, incorporating what you told me in response to an earlier question. To help that along, would you respond to a one-question survey about what you would most like to know about using effective speaking to advance your job, career, or business? It would really help me help you. Thanks! Just click this link–and I really appreciate it!

Image courtesy of NY Photographic under a CC Share-Alike license

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Bonus: insight into breakthrough thinking

head-rendering from brain MRI

As I read this article on Surprisingly Simple Ways You Can Trick Your Brain Into Focusing, it strikes me how much of this has to do with effective communication strategies! I guess it really is the basic operating system!

Read the whole thing, but I can tell you that the gist of it is this:

  1. Don’t multitask.
  2. Take notes. But don’t try to write down everything you hear. Distill it and summarize.
  3. Consider other points of view.
  4. Take breaks.
  5. Narrow your focus and go deeper.

But get the details from the article. In the meantime, consider getting a copy of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. (affiliate link)

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Is selection bias limiting your story?

Hidden Subway Entrance

How do you know what you don’t know?

It can be one of the hardest tasks to get students to go beyond their own opinions, especially those in the traditional college age range. I speak from two-fold experience: 1) When I was that age, I pretty much knew everything. Over the years, I have realized that I still don’t know what I don’t know, but I can tell that there is a lot within that area of the mental map labeled “There be dragons here.” 2) I’ve worked with thousands of college students at this point in my life (rough estimate: about 7,000). Bonus experience: I have four kids over the age of 25. Most have gone from thinking Dad was just stupid to thinking that maybe he know something worthwhile.

Continue reading “Is selection bias limiting your story?”

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If you want to be effective, get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Bicycling uphill

I’ve written before about the learning curve. We’ve all heard of it, but may not realize it has four distinct regions: unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and unconscious competence. Since those four are explained in the earlier post, I’m going to focus on a key characteristic of that middle region, the “conscious” area. Both conscious incompetence and conscious competence are uncomfortable, though for different reasons.

Continue reading “If you want to be effective, get comfortable with being uncomfortable”

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Changing models

I have been thinking about this for awhile. I’m going to change the publishing schedule a bit, and also the way I’m approaching things.

People of my generation and earlier will recognize the reference to “the Reader’s Digest version.” While the magazine has a U.S. circulation of 4.5 million these days, in the 1970s it reached its peak at 17 million. It was known for, among others things, taking longer magazine articles and longer books and condensing them down into much shorter form.

Academics know about article abstracts, those entries that are only two or three paragraphs at the beginning of a journal article or academic paper that mostly summarizes the entire article. Graduate students quickly learn to focus on the abstract along with the methodology and conclusion section as a survival tool, because no one has the time to read entire articles when you are in grad school.

The internet has spawned its own response and version. Some commenters on long posts began around 2003 using TL;DR to label such as a means of signifying “too long; didn’t read.” Newspaper reporters have long written in inverted pyramid style to address readers’ short attention spans, although magazines (a print form more aimed at leisurely reading) have mostly followed a more traditional introduction/body/conclusion approach. It somehow seems natural with so many people reading online to combine these approaches.

I’ve been noticing lately that you seem to be engaging in longer content, but that doesn’t mean that all of you want to read longer articles. So I’m going to accommodate both approaches. I will finish out this week the way I’ve been going, but starting next week, I’m going to post a longer article on Monday–but it will start with a special segment labeled “TL;DR” for those who want to read shorter.

I’m also going to move away from the once-a-week digest posting to the email list–though again, we will finish out the week the way we’ve been doing it. Starting next week, when an article goes up on the blog, it will also go out on the email list. The subject line will start with [King’s Corner] to make it easy to find later if you want.

So we’ll see how that goes. Please let me know your thoughts about it, though! I want to put out material that is useful to you, and I won’t know unless you tell me. (Remember one of our basic principle: people (including me) are not mind readers.)

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