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September 17, 2019

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The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’


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Build this powerful, influential skill to help make sense of change, communicate clearly and engage people in the most challenging situations

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    Entries in speaking (5)


    Are you comfortable calling yourself a leader?

    I had the opportunity to watch a video of a short TEDx Talk from Drew Dudley on Everyday Leadership last week.

    A leader who delivered a presentation used this talk as part of his session. It was a lovely surprise - to shift the focus from the speaker presenting, and let someone else build on and support your message. (Using a TED talk in your talk!) 

    But Drew's talk was also a delight because it was brief, clear, and revolved around a key story of everyday leadership. 

    He reminds us that we do things that can have a BIG impact on others… and not even be aware of it. We don't take credit it for it or acknowledge it. He says we should redefine leadership. We need to tell people they had that impact on us. That's a part of everyday leadership. 

    Drew refers to these 'lollipop moments' - based on his story about handing out a lollipop earlier in his life. 

    He believes we should thank the people who have had an impact on us, acknowledge them, create more of these moments and 'pay it forward'. It's an important part of leadership! 

    So in your roles in your work, business, family and community lives, tell someone they were a lollipop moment - that they had an impact on you. Because you can be sure that you too have had a big impact on others. You are being a leader.

    You matter so much to others.

    Be comfortable with that.  


    Simon says : Start With Why

    Simon Sinek's popular TED Talk and book of the same name'Start with Why' came up a few times in workshops, sessions and client meetings recently. 

    So I re-listened to his TED Talk this morning and then visually captured the key points on my iPad.
     This week's visual sip is a distillation of literally what 'Simon says'. 

    Start with Why

    Over the past week I've watched, listened, graphic recorded, facilitated and provided feedback on a number of presentations, pitches and speeches.

    Some of them were brilliant! Like the very talented speakers that came through the Thought Leaders Speaker Showcase in Sydney last week. My visual notes of that inspiring morning are here.  These most compelling presentations started with why!

    But out in the workplace over the week, I saw plenty of dull 'n dozy, read these 50 bullet points and 'hurry-up-and-finish' presentations that clearly didn't start with why! Many were soaked with what and how. Uninspired. Uninspiring. 

    Highly paid, big hitting leaders were delivering these presentations. Most of them took the 'dim the lights, draw the shades, lock the door ... and make them listen to my damn PowerPoint' approach for their presentation strategy. 
    Who'd want to follow a leader like that?!

    If they'd simply started with why, with a story about purpose, about cause and about belief, they would have been way more powerful, compelling, engaging and ... unstoppable across the organisation, and the industry. 

    When you next plan to step on to a stage to present or you take position at the front of the room, take note from the Speaker Showcase stars and Simon Sinek and start with why!



    Solo Operator : Diversify or Die

    I'm mentoring some sole business owners through a 10 week program in selling your expertise and at the core of it are a few key principles. 

    The principles are almost paradoxes, or ironies or those things that are true one moment and then untrue the next.

    While they need to focus and target their efforts to serve a specific market, I'm also encouraging them to diversify or die. 

    Of these business owners, one is a coach, one is a facilitator, another is a trainer. 

    I'm encouraging the coach to stop being 'just a coach', start offering what they know through other modes of delivery, like writing and speaking and training. They know so much, they're so talented, but they're running out of puff. There are only so many people they can coach in a day and only so much a corporate client will pay them once they're on the corporate coaching panel. 

    For the facilitator, a similiar thing is happening. They love working with community organisations but they're finding that despite some briliant positioning, they're running out of clients that have the cash to spend on a great facilitator. They're doing 'mates rates' and 'cheap days' and they're working very hard, for little return once they take out expenses. So it's time to diversify or die. They know great stuff - they can train others, mentor up and coming facilitators and speak on community engagement and change processes. 

    The trainer is just plain tired. Full days of contract training, on their feet talking, thinking, walking, listening. All day, every day. They're not able to earn much more per day than the 'going rate' and they too need to diversify or die. They have brilliant skills and knowledge. They could be speaking on the topics they know about, mentoring leaders, or shifting into the facliitation space, given they work well with groups. 

    The working world of today demands people with flexibility, insight and agility. You can't be everything to everyone - that dilutes your offer - but you will need to be able to deliver more than just one track, to survive when you're a solo operator. 

    I think the expert model of selling your expertise through a number of modes is a winner. Just this week I've facilitated, presented, coached, trained and consulted. And it's only Wednesday. I love the diversity not just for the changing scenes, but for the longevity and flexibility it provides in the long run.

    Diversify, definitely. 


    What's an important point ... and what's 'waffle'?

    When I'm facilitating, leading a team session or working with visuals to capture people's thinking (and talking), some feedback I often get throughout the session is - how did you know what the key point was they were trying to make?

    People say a-lot of stuff. Sometimes it's their own thinking, working out their views as they're speaking. Sometimes ideas haven't formed yet. Other times, their opinions are changing as they're speaking. 

    But here's how I really know when someone is getting to their gold nugget, their kernel, the essence of their point.... their voice changes. You just need to listen. 

    One of my earlier 'careers' was in radio, voiceovers and creating voice characters. I spent many hours speaking into a microphone, hearing it in headphones and then adjusting pace, tone, volume ever so slightly. 

    This is the stuff to listen out for - this is when you'll be guided to what people are saying... when they are making an important point and when they are, well, adding to that point. 

    • Tone change: it won't be as drastic as from a deep baritone to a high soprano, but people's voices will shift from lower registers to higher (or higher to lower) when they're getting emotional and getting to the point
    • Volume change: think of our voices like a volume dial - we have low and soft down at levels 1, 2, 3 and higher at 6, 7, 8. Ten is heavy metal stuff. Listen for when volume increases. A key point will be delivered right there. 
    • Pace change: when people s-l-o-w down their speech, there can be emphasis there. When theyarespeedingup, there can be energy, passion and enthusiasm there. Their brains are working faster or slower, there is an important point here for them. 

    Listen up. It's all there. Along with the content of what people are saying, listen for how it's delivered. Then you'll be more likely to pick up their important points and those that are further down their list. 


    A Presentation Unplugged

    It was a brave and creative leader who took up the challenge I gave him recently when I said: 'turn off the data projector; deliver your entire presentation unplugged."

    This leader of a national team was about to embark on the classic roadshow; you know, fly about the country or region at great expense (airfares, transfers, accommodation) and present to a room of the organisation's leaders. This room of leaders is there at great expense too! They've stepped away from their work, projects and teams and are about to give their time and attention to your message. You hope. 

    So without the safety net of his slide show, he unplugged the technology and went with his prepared points, key messages, structures, stories and examples ... plus a flip chart and a thick black chisel point marker.

    A 30-minute presentation was broken down to six flip charts that he created in the moment. They included: where the business was now, the challenges ahead, how the business was addressing the challenges and what the call to action was for the people across the organisation. His presentation was scripted and structured using this one-pager which you're free to use.

    Rather than those good people snoozing in their seats, they listened and interacted with him. Best of all he said, "they came up at the end of the presentation and pointed to the flip charts; they talked about what I'd presented, they asked questions, they engaged!"

    You know you need to reduce your reliance on that data show presentation and to stop that 'click and talk' syndrome, but what do you use instead? Start with a good structure to give your thinking clarity; clarity about key messages. Aim for less wordy content. Get yourself a thick black chisel tip marker and use some strong visuals, created in the moment. Get your thinking clear and they'll get your message.