why are smart people so boring?

Simple Tips to Become a More Interesting Speaker

How many times have you attended an event strictly to hear the speaker or a panel of speakers? These speakers might be experts in your area of interest or big names at big companies. They are successful and you want to get just a little bit of insight from their brilliant minds. So you will pay to hear them speak. And yet you find yourself drifting off during their presentation, wondering if you remembered to feed the dog or thinking that the meal you were just served was definitely not worth the money. All of a sudden, you snap back to reality and realize you probably just missed some key piece of advice that was sure to make a difference in your life! Continue reading

Is the comfort zone really comfortable?

The comfort zone is that cozy place we like to hang out, where we feel secure and can just be ourselves. Unfortunately, we cannot be a great leader or easily pursue our dreams from the comfort zone. We have to step outside of it occasionally to try new things and take our lives in new directions. Often this is exciting, but sometimes it is so nerve-wracking that we procrastinate and avoid doing it at all. Continue reading

Using Slide Decks to Your Advantage

Most people use slide decks ineffectively, viewing the slide deck itself as the presentation, rather than a support tool for their message. How many of you have sat through presentations where the speaker read his slides to you? Bullet points from top to bottom, sentences and paragraphs of text; what’s the point? The presenter may as well just print the slides and let you take them home to read yourself.

The slide deck also tends to be used as a crutch for people who experience some public speaking anxiety. It’s a great way to avoid looking at, or interacting with, the audience. Unfortunately, it’s also boring. So, what do you do instead? Continue reading

Openers and Closers

One of my clients asked me recently, “Do you have any canned or impromptu openers, intros, etc. for meetings or other gatherings?”

My answer: I wouldn’t say I have something “canned,” but I do have certain things I like to start with such as:

  • a story
  • a question relating to the topic
  • a series of questions leading to a punch line
  • just about anything other than introducing myself in the usual boring fashion

When you open a presentation or speech with company or personal bio information, Continue reading

leadership and interviewing

I was sitting in the local coffee shop writing a few chapters of a book, when two ladies sat down at the table next to mine. Immediately, one of the ladies said very loudly to the other, “Give me an overview of who you are.” She was holding a clipboard tilted toward her so the other woman could not see, with pen poised to start writing. The other woman sank down in her chair and crossed her arms. She gave a short, uncomfortable laugh, looked around, and then offered a very brief response which I could not hear. Continue reading

laughter and leadership

When I ask people what it takes to be a great leader, I get a wide range of answers including things like vision, wisdom, talent, and the ability to persuade others. Rarely do I hear “a sense of humor.”

Let’s not underestimate the power of laughter. Laughter opens our minds and helps us tap into our creativity. Laughter helps us cope with the difficult challenges we face in life. Laughter helps us to be more tolerant and accepting of one another. Frankly, I like hanging out with people who make me laugh. Even better, I like hanging out with people who will laugh at my stupid jokes and stories. How about you? Continue reading

ten reasons projects fail

reason three: unrealistic expectations

All good project managers know that in order to execute a successful project you must properly negotiate and manage the Project Management Triangle or triple constraints known as scope, time, and cost. But what do you do when your customer or upper management team has unrealistic expectations and will not negotiate? What do you do if they threaten your job, your position, or to take the project away? Continue reading

getting what you want from others

One fact of life is that we will always need the assistance and cooperation of other people. Maybe you run a company and need your staff to go “above and beyond” to carry out a big project. Maybe you need approval from your boss to implement a new policy or put a new system in place. Maybe you want to change careers and need support from your friends and family. Maybe you just need someone to listen to you. Heck, wouldn’t it be great to tell someone about your job and have their eyes light up with interest instead of glazing over with boredom?

Here are three simple steps to getting what you want from others: Continue reading