Sunday Morning: Why I live in mortal dread

You’ll say you don’t have time to watch this.
It’s 13 minutes.
You need to move on to the next post.

And I’m telling you that
this woman is something special.

Don’t quit on this one.
Take it to the finish.

Good Sunday Morning.

Megan Alexandra Washington, 28, was born in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. She is an Australian musician and songwriter also known mononymously as Washington. Originally performing jazz music her style evolved to indie pop and alternative rock where she sings and plays piano and guitar.  She developed a stutter early in her life and continues to struggle with her speech.  Find her website here: Find her album on iTunes here: I Believe You Liar

So What?

Jan Schultink is a presentation designer with a decade of experience as a CEO strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company.  In his recent post “So What” in his blog Idea Transplant, he neatly and crisply addresses a solution for the disease we find in many presentations.  We often see and hear about the “WHAT” – – Sales up.  Sales down.  Expenses flat.  # clients up or down – – the standard “elevator analysis.”  But far too often there is inadequate attention explaining the “So What.”  Jan suggested that:

….you should ask yourself what “the real point of a chart full with analysis was and write that down as the title…A so what should be meaningful, and not simply stating a fact for example instead of “We are making a loss in France”, maybe it should read: “It is time to leave the French market”… Once you established what the so what of the chart is, you could then go on an cut down any facts, data, or analysis that was not essential to make the point.  If you identified the key messages correctly you would be able to understand a document by just reading the headlines, the content of the slides just backs up what the title says.”

What Jan isn’t saying here is the easy part of the task is explaining and presenting the “What.”  The really heavy lifting comes from defining the “So What.”


I’m trying…

  • Before I launch that snarky email…PAUSE.  (Does this really help or make situation better?)
  • Before I grab that next cookie…PAUSE.  (Really, do I need this?)
  • Before I unleash an eye for an eye response…PAUSE.  (Do I really want to clean up after this?)

Closing on Elevator Speech?

The punch line from Seth Godin’s recent posted titled “No One Ever Bought Anything In An Elevator” is that “The purpose of an elevator pitch isn’t to close the sale…No, the purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.”  This post reminded me of an excellent book on the subject called “Small Message Big Impact” by Terri Sjodin.  Read my full review at Amazon – it’s called “I’m Sold“.

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Glossophobia Self-Help #1

This is a follow-up on my earlier post on public speaking (“Odds are that you have Glossophobia“).  Whenever I think of public speaking, I’m drawn to a story on George Carlin.  Many outside the industry lauded his ability to get on stage and “wing it.” Reality was something altogether different.  He was well known among fellow comics for repetition, practice and continually working to better his act.  To prep for each one of his TV shows, he would give 150 live stand-up performances over 2 years to help him refine his material.  150 performance performances to prep for 1 TV show!

If you are starting out and looking for self-book books to help you with public speaking, I would start with “How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation” by T.J. Walker.  I would then move to one of the best resources on the subject: “Confessions of a Public Speaker” by Scott Berkun.  You can find my full review on Amazon which I’ve titled: “Nails it.”  The success factors seem to follow this rough outline:  Prepare.  (Underscore prepare.) Know your material.  Practice.  (Underscore practice.)  Keep it interesting – tell human interest stories.  Be authentic – have a conversation.  Stay within your allotted time line.  And remember, even the best speakers get butterflies before performances.

I’ve added a few of my favorite excerpts below from Scott Berkun’s book below:

“…when 100 people are listening to you for an hour, that’s 100 hours of people’s time devoted to what you have to say. If you can’t spend 5 or 10 hours preparing for them, thinking about them, and refining your points to best suit their needs, what does that say about your respect for your audience’s time? It says that your 5 hours are more important than 100 of theirs, which requires an ego larger than the entire solar system. And there is no doubt this disrespect will be obvious once you are on the stage.”

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Odds are that you have Glossophobia…

Jerry Seinfeld: “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking.  Number two is death.  Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

I didn’t know that the fear of public speaking was a phobia called Glossophobia.  “Glossa means tongue and phobos stands for fear or dread.”  I learned this and 7 other fun facts on the subject from a post called “Fear of Public Speaking Statistics.”  FACT ONE:  Surveys show that most people would rather die instead of talking in front of a live audience. This is a global fears top ten:

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