How pelicans got their beaks

Pelican

You can’t force creativity, but you can remove the roadblocks.

At the risk of sounding like an old fart (because, after all, I am one): I believe I have noticed a decrease in the ability of incoming students to think outside the pigeon hole. I don’t think students are any less intelligent, but I do think it is one of the unintended side effects of “No Child Left Untested” foisted on the American public in a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to improve public education.

I don’t want to trot down that side path right now. Regardless of the cause, I am sure I see students struggling to think creatively. You might struggle as well.

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If you want it to live, embody it

seed_start

Everyone has ideas. But like most everything else, ideas cannot live without flesh.

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End of your rope?

End of rope

This is not a post about religion, but it is a post inspired by religion, I suppose. Continue reading “End of your rope?”

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The power of objects to evoke

kid-balloon

As I write this, I am in my disabled daughter’s bedroom looking at some of the balloons that float over her bed. She has no volitional control over her body–can’t sit up, can’t roll over, can’t communicate. She has never even been able to do something like blink once for yes and twice for no. We see evidence that she hears and understands what goes on around her, though–for instance, now that she is 13, if I come in and say something like, “How’s Daddy’s baby today?” she will roll her eyes like any 13-year-old would. Since she has no volitional control, it suggests to me that eye-rolling is simply a teen-aged reflex.

She follows things with her eyes, and that’s one reason for the balloons. They can float in her field of vision and provide some entertainment and diversion for what must be a very isolated experience, even though they are starting to lose their helium and dangle just above her headboard now.

As I watch those balloons, I am suddenly transported to a Nash automobile in 1959.

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List your way to creativity

Every day

James Altucher has really had an impact in the last few years with his books, his blogs, his videos, etc. His core ideas are contained in Choose Yourself. I want to encourage you particularly to apply one of them he advocates for exercising your “idea muscle” that I have started calling the Ten List.

The Ten List is part of his four-part system he calls The Daily Practice–or, actually, a technique that addresses the Mental part of the four. So it’s not particularly about speaking or writing, but I have found it to be really useful for both.

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What’s your base?

egg-450

Is there something in you that you keep coming back to? What does that tell you about yourself?

I haven’t written anything here for awhile. In fact, I haven’t written much of anything at all for awhile. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been creating–I have been experimenting quite a bit with Facebook Live and other video. I’ve been getting my creative muscles flexed–but I still come back to writing and speaking over and over again. It’s just who I am.

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Use a free, easy tool to improve your speaking

Coffee with Donn logo

I have started a Facebook video series to share speaking tips (and some writing tips, but focused on “out loud”). I’m going to try to do this twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) to see how it goes. After we get going, I’ll broadcast live so people can interact during the broadcast, but the recording will remain available.

You don’t have to have a Facebook account to see it. But if you have one, “like” the page while you are there to make it easy to see more content as it comes out.

You can see the first Coffee with Donn video here.

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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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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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