Monday, December 31, 2007

Authenticity Rule #1

Know Thyself

Effective communicators share a common goal of cutting straight to the hearts and minds of their audience. AR #1, therefore, is to Know Thyself. Self-intimacy cuts the deepest path to understanding others. It is also completely impossible to be authentic if you don't hold a firm understanding of who you are.

Achieving Authenticity...
  1. Reflect often on your beliefs and values
  2. Journal
  3. Attend conferences to exercise your self-awareness
  4. Think about why you do things
  5. Gather around you friends and family that let you be yourself and challenge you to be the best of yourself.
The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning to work on becoming yourself. -- Anna Quindlen

People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. -- St. Augustine

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
-- Carl Jung

One of the secrets of life is to be honestly who you are. Who others want you to be, who you used to be, and who you may some day become ... these are fantasies. To be honestly who you are is to give up your illusions and face today with courage.
-- Bill Purdin

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Site = New Focus

Welcome to the new presentation coaching blog from YourNextSpeaker. I have moved all the previous posts from our old address at Those 50 posts are full of useful tips and tricks for the novice, as well as the advanced speaker and stretch from February to December 2007.

With this move to the Blogger platform (which is where I host my Personal Leadership Insight blog), the title has changed to Authenticity Rules. The purpose of this blog for 2008 is to help you write content, prepare to present, set-up the room environment, and deliver your material in the most authentic and natural way possible. As you get better at knowing how to bring you to the table every time, you presentations' impact will go up. But not just you, the very best of you. Authenticity Rules.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Presentation Zen Book!

I am a regular reader and huge fan of Garr Reynolds' blog, Presentation Zen. He has released a book of the same name that is an instant classic and is a perfect read to get your mind right and your presentations sharpened as you head into the 2008 season. Buy Garr's new book directly from the publisher here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Light At The End of the Funnel

Other than authenticity, our chief purpose as communicators of ideas is to help our audiences see the light at the end of the funnel. Translated...

1. Create a funnel of ideas, images, concepts, logic and emotions

2. Either broaden it or tighten it depending on which end of the funnel you start

3. Create the opportunity for a light bulb to click for each person

Contained within this three step process is a playground (the funnel), action (the broadening or tightening of the funnel), and reward (the light). Sounds like fun, huh?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mark Sanborn on Confidence

Great post from Mark Sanborn on confidence.


"Too little self-confidence results in timidity and too much in arrogance. The amounts aren’t absolute so one person’s healthy self-confidence might be interpreted by another as arrogance. It is good to remember what Lou Holtz and John Heisler said in The Fighting Spirit: “You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.” A little modesty is a good thing for even the most competent professional. What is confidence? I define it as competence coupled with certainty. It is foolish to think yourself competent if you’re not and of little value to be competent if you don’t believe you are."

Friday, December 7, 2007

Memorization Station at the PLI Blog

Click over to my Personal Leadership Insight blog for a post about how to memorize any written content...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Who You Got In The Room?

It is obviously important to know in advance who you are going to have in your audience. Why are they there? What did they come to learn/do/see? Who are they? Here is a simple breakdown of how to understand an audience member's motivation walking in the room...

Passionate Paul - "I absolutely want to be in the room."

I am here to learn something specific that will help me either solve a problem or add to a solution I am currently experiencing.

How to Spot Me - I am sitting in the front rows. I am asking you questions beforehand. I am taking notes. I am challenging you for more, better, deeper, more specific information.

How to Connect With Me - Give me your best content up-front. Quickly let me know you have what I think you have. Win me over with substance.

Curious Chris - "I think I want to be in the room."

Your program title looks interesting, you look interesting, etc. I don't have an urgent need for your content, but I think I might like either you and/or your content.

How to Spot Me - I am cordial toward you. I am basically like Passionate Paul, only I'm not quite as eager or anxious.

How to Connect With Me - Make the experience great. Attack all my senses with music, interaction, reflection, information, etc. Win me over with interestingness.

Social Sally - "I have ulterior motives for being in the room."

I am here because my friends are, my co-workers are, or it is the better than being somewhere else. I am not really interested in you or what you have to say.

How to Spot Me - I will be checked into the room, just not checked into you or what you have going on. I will be chatting with my people in the room and/or texting/calling my people not in the room.

How to Connect With Me - To get to me, you are going to have to go through the side door. You can't hit me directly with information or even interaction. I will put up a wall. Ask non-responsive questions that I may have wrestled with recently. Tell a story that I can relate to. If you do interaction, let me stay with my friends. Win me over with indirection.

Hostage Harriet - "I absolutely don't want to be in the room."

I am here because I was forced to be here. I didn't have a choice. If I had a choice, I would certainly choose to be somewhere else.

How to Spot Me - Arms crossed. No eye contact. No response to questions. I might be abrasive or disruptive, but not necessarily.

How to Connect With Me - Don't force the issue. Just assume I'm not in the room. If I try to disrupt you, deal with me quickly and privately. Be real with me, though. I'm still a person with emotions. It just so happens my barriers are up higher than others. But you can't take them down. You have to give me a good reason to take them down on my own. Win me over with respect.