How habits get made

Have you ever wondered how you got yourself into a situation?

I don’t watch a lot of TV, and certainly not a lot of reality TV, but I often pick up on shows my wife watches. I just saw one called “World’s Worst Tenants.” This particular episode involved a woman who brought what she thought was a miniature horse into a room in the house she rented to take care of it.

Over time, as it turns out, it became obvious it wasn’t a miniature. Continue reading “How habits get made”

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Infographic: The Pitfalls of Freelancing

Infographics have become a trend–at least partly, I think, because they’re information-dense means of quickly making sense of a topic, and effectively combine visual and verbal information. This one applies to both writing and speaking, I think, as well as the obvious connections to IT.

Pitfalls of Freelancing
Created by: Masters Degree

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Guest post: Making Your Speech Stick

I have a new guest post up on SpeakingAgent.com: Making Your Speech Stick. It examines the relationship between writing and speaking, and putting the two together for effective communication. Check it out, and the rest of Saul Farber’s informative blog.

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Introverted speakers: don’t divert from networking

hiding
Creative Commons License photo credit: she always was the softest thing

Lisa Petrelli understands building on the strengths of introversion, and she also understands networking. She used her own introversion as the foundation for a successful run to the CEO’s chair and authored The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership. Rather than viewing introversion as a barrier to networking, she found ways to leverage it.

She gives good advice in An Introvert’s Guide to Networking, and I want to give a little tweak to that advice for speakers. Continue reading “Introverted speakers: don’t divert from networking”

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Guest post on stage fright

I have a guest post up on SpeakingAgent.com about Stage Fright. Check it out, and the other posts on Saul Farber’s blog as well.

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Just the facts? The way you say it matters

Detail of Aaron's Tree assignment
Creative Commons License photo credit: goldberg

“Just the facts” is a phrase not only a part of American culture, but part of a values system–as if the facts can be separated from the expression of facts. Here’s the reality: there is no such thing as facts apart from the expression of those facts, and the expression of facts inevitably changes the perception. The mere selection of facts, of which facts to focus on, changes perception.

For instance, Scott Shane notes a very important dichotomy in the way people talk about tax increases on businesses (as if a tax increase on business doesn’t just get passed on to the rest of us anyway–but that’s a different point). In his article Less than a Tenth or More than Four Fifths? he says, “The share of small businesses and the fraction of small business income hit by tax increases are usually very different numbers.” Both are simply facts, and yet the choice of which to focus on in a talk or a paper yield very different impressions.

Continue reading “Just the facts? The way you say it matters”

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Don’t let the tools run you

clutter by Sean MacEntee
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sean MacEntee

Do you find yourself getting sucked into either the defaults of PowerPoint (bullet point after bullet point), or unable to resist throwing all the shiny effects into your presentations?

Garr Reynolds is the leading voice in effective presentation design these days–the overall design of the whole presentation, not just the presentation software part, but he is probably best known for his teaching on the effective use of presentation software.

In his article Progress and the intentional selection of less Garr points out that “while technology has evolved in dramatic ways over the last generation, our deep human need for visceral connections, and personal engagement has not changed.” He is certainly not building up to an anti-technology screed, but rather making the case for choosing technology wisely.

Continue reading “Don’t let the tools run you”

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Not really the biggest fear?

Richard Garber makes the point well that the often-quoted idea is wrong: fear of public speaking is probably not as widespread as we’ve been told. Communication anxiety is still very widespread, as the research cited shows. It’s just not as universal as we’ve heard (and as I’ve often said in class). You can see this between the lines and explicitly in his article, “What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia?

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Perhaps the most crucial skill

In an article entitled “Pay Attention,” Mark McGuinness lays out research showing the importance of a skill that goes beyond mere skill. I’m very sure that along with improving musical performance, learning mindfulness will improve public speaking, general communication skills, and life skills. Take the time to read all the way through.

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