Thursday, February 28, 2008

Masterful Communication Tags is an online bookmark sharing system that works just like your favorites function on your web browser, except the bookmarks (or "tags" as they are called in are accessible to anyone via the web.

From my leadership blog home page ( anyone can access the more than 400 pages I have tagged in our PLI (Personal Leadership Insight) tag system. Each page is tagged under one of the ten PLI Essentials (seen in this picture). You can also see at the bottom of the picture that I have started tagging pages that deal with authenticity, the core focus of this blog.

As a reader of this blog, you are obviously interested in learning how to communicate better. I highly recommend you spend some time perusing the over 100 Masterful Communication tags. They are filled with speaking tips, conversations tips, team communication strategies, etc.

To access them you can go through the PLI blog site or you can just click here. I add more every week.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Iceberg and the Glacier

The iceberg above the water represents the content that makes it into your speech or presentation. The glacier beneath the water represents what you know about your topic that doesn't make it into your presentation. The iceberg will only stay afloat if it is held up and supported by the glacier. Same way with your presentations.

Authenticity Rule #2 is Know Your Content. Presenters who are able to present with the presence and grace of an iceberg have an entire glacier of expertise, study and knowledge holding them up.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Mavericks Power Base

Just north of Half Moon Bay in Northern California is a surfing mecca called the Mavericks. This magical place creates the largest waves along the California coast line (10-20 feet high, lasting up to 20 seconds).

The Mavericks is able to produce such large and powerfully fast waves because of the shape of the sea floor, the angle of the coastline and the distance the waves have traveled. Here is a flythrough video that illustrates the unique topography creating Mavericks.

Each of these elements alone (sea floor shape, coastine angle and wave distance) do not create powerful waves. Combined together, however, and you get this. A natural power base.

Metaphorically, it doesn't get any better than the Mavericks to describe what happens when a speaker, trainer and/or teacher lets authenticity rule their preparation and presentation. There exists a natural and unique power base that only lives within you. No one else anywhere can bring to the shore what you can.

You will always have an audience as a speaker and be changing lives as a trainer/teacher if you...

1. Identify what is uniquely yours (your Mavericks mix of personality, expertise, passion, skills, talent, medium, etc.)
2. Put language and structure to your power base
3. Sharpen the necessary skills and talents to then communicate your message
4. Find an audience that connects deeply with those qualities

Of course, here is the big secret. You have to figure out what your "sea floor, coastline angle and wave distance" are. In other words, what are the core power base components you have at your disposal that you need to combine and start making waves with? To begin down this path of self-awareness, click over to my Personal Leadership Insight blog and use the STEEP self inventory model as a guide to finding your Mavericks power base.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Authenticity Rule #2

Know Your Content

Quick recap of Authenticity Rule #1 - Know Thyself

Authenticity Rule #2 is Know Your Content. The human brain can only consciously handle one thing at a time. The main thought on your mind while giving presentations shouldn't be, "what am I going to say next?" You need to know your content so intimately you don't have to think about where you are or where you are going. Its important to note we aren't talking about memorizing content (click here if you do need to memorize something). This content knowledge is about being an expert on your presentation's subject.

This content-intimacy does three things:

1. It allows you to be more authentic because you aren't worried about being perfect. Presenters who don't know their content very well or whose topic-knowledge extends only to what they have planned to say are very self-conscience about getting everything right. If they have to get off the beat and path, their shallow expertise may be exposed. When you know your content top to bottom, you are comfortable with being exposed, presenting in a polished, but raw manner and in messing up from time to time. When you know your stuff, the real you is released.

2. It fills you with a tremendous amount of confidence. Knowing what you are talking about is the number one way to control your nervousness.

3. It allows you to free up your "one thought at a time" for other more important things - like thinking about your audience and connecting with them.

So, how do you get there? Well, I'll be covering a number of these strategies throughout this month. However, strategy number one is to think of your next important presentation like it is one of your really good friends. A good friend is close to you because you have spent a ton of time together. You have to invest an enormous amount of time getting to know your content. Thinking about it. Writing about it. Talking about it.