Glossophobia

Halloween may be one of my favorite holidays. Elaborate costumes and makeup are my forte, and scary movies are a must. In the spirit of Halloween, I would like to share a spooky short story. I call this story Fear.

In a dark room a faint blue light illuminates the face of woman in her thirties. Her face is stark and pallid, and her hands tremble as she reads aloud the words on the computer screen.  She stands up, abandoning her laptop as she strains to calm her heart and paces around the room, talking to herself. She wrings out her hands, takes a deep breath, and returns to her computer. Looking at the screen, she reads the words again. Continue reading

Have you ever tried Pecha Kucha? I just did, and this is what I learned…

I’ve written about Pecha Kucha-style presentations before (here and here), but I’d never actually put one together until last week.

For those unfamiliar with Pecha Kucha-style presentations, they are tightly structured presentations that require you to present on your topic using exactly 20 slides, each slide lasting only 20 seconds. The slides are generally set to auto-advance. The entire presentation is six minutes and forty seconds.

I had an opportunity to serve as the emcee at this year’s ATD Puget Sound Chapter annual workplace learning conference. One of the breakout presentations was on the topic of Pecha Kucha-style presentations and, in the spirit of showing participants one potential way to apply what was learned during the day, I thought it would be fun to issue a closing call-to-action using the Pecha Kucha format.

Here is a video of my presentation, and a few lessons Continue reading

Bad Warning Labels

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I was looking at a warning label recently that said “Do not iron while wearing shirt”. Warnings like this make me think either someone has indeed attempted to iron their shirt while wearing it, or the team making this warning label was concerned that someone may forget a very basic rule of operating an iron.  Admittedly, I rarely iron.  Maybe when you iron frequently, you become complacent about setting up the proper equipment, and save time by ironing after you put on your shirt. Continue reading

One presentation can change the world. Here’s proof.

Obama_In_The_Rain

I honestly don’t remember what the occasion was or when he gave his speech, but I remember sitting on my couch, watching Barack Obama talk about ways that American citizens could make a contribution.

It spoke to me because I was looking for a way to make a contribution. At the time I was working for an organization dedicated to eliminating blindness, so I guess that was one small way that I was making the world a better place. I was looking for more. Something I could directly do to make a more significant contribution.

I’ve searched and searched for the exact speech so I wouldn’t misquote him, but apparently he’s given a lot of speeches. I’ll just have to paraphrase the part of his presentation that has had a ripple effect, with the enormity of the changes still to be determined. It’s a lesson that anyone who presents or trains others could borrow from.   Continue reading

“Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?”

Elephant in a Tree

It’s grilling season in Seattle. Last weekend I was at my sister-in-law’s house for a cookout and over dinner my niece and nephews decided to play a round of: “Who can actually get Uncle Brian to laugh?”

From the sound of this game, I started to get the impression that I don’t laugh enough around them. Then my niece asked: “Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?”   Continue reading

Innovating on Storytelling

Cave Drawings

The temperatures in Seattle this past week hit 70 degrees, which meant that we, along with everyone else across the city, headed to our neighborhood pools in order to seek relief from this oppressive and dangerous heat wave.

As I was waiting for my children’s turn to jump off the diving board, I watched child after child try to do something a little different than the person before them. Cannonball. Backwards cannonball. Cannonball-turned-belly-flop at the last minute. Front flip. Back flip. Front-flip-turned-belly-flop.

Observing someone ahead of you while waiting in line, then figuring out a better variation of it… it was innovation in action! And of course it had me thinking about presentation skills.

As I reflected on these thoughts over the weekend, I came across a 3-minute TED Talk about innovations in storytelling that could prove interesting for anyone looking to prepare a better presentation.   Continue reading

Can you admit when you’re wrong?

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My daughter’s final spring soccer game took place last Sunday. As the game was winding down and the score was tied 3-3, one of her teammates took a blistering shot and found the back of the net.

My daughter’s team went up 4-3. As the referee ran back to mid-field to set up for the kick-off, my daughter caught his attention and said: “Sir, the ball hit my arm before it went into the goal.”

The referee waved off the goal and the score reverted to 3-3.

That was a gutsy sign of maturity and sportsmanship. Do we have the same guts when we do something wrong in the training room?   Continue reading