Because I'm on vacation using a slow internet connection from a cruise ship in the Sea of Newfoundland - I'll be brief. I couldn’t help drawing some
attention to the following comments on a blog - unsolicited - from Chris
Spagnuolo. And he is one who knows about communications.
“…something happened this week that I would have to say is probably one of those rare life-changing events.
“…If you’ve never seen yourself deliver a talk on video, try it. It’s an eye opening experience.
“…Good speakers will become great, and great speakers will become phenomenal.”
The nice comments are good, but most important here is the power of video feedback. I’m still amazed at the great majority of people in business who still don’t know how their most important tool works – themselves. Delivering ideas, information, motivation.
Observed behavior changes. See yourself as others see you – it’s transformational.
I'm into the Olympics, and there's not enough time to see it. But the Opening Ceremony on Friday - called the greatest staged event we might see in our lifetime by several observers and I think they are right - opened us all to this opportunity to see unforgettable excellence. And interesting communications insights.
A great example - did you see those 2008 drummers in the opening number smile! I mean, here are the usually serious Chinese doing an incredibly intricate and difficult task, and smiling - so unexpectedly No doubt they were trained to do so, and it made such a difference. See the shortened version here, and see smiles where we expect grim concentration...
Speaking of excellence, we're going to see a lot of Michael Phelps - and I don't think we'll tire of him. Two reasons:
He is an amazing swimmer - maybe best of all time. If he wins his eight Olympic Gold Medals, that will be irrefutable. We don't tire of excellence.
Watch him here. And watch him over these next few days and see if you tire of him. I doubt it.
A smile seems like a minor or superficial communication skill - but it is very important to creating a positive communication experience. Michael Phelps is a winner who does exactly that, as does Dara Torres, Mary Lou Retton, and dozens of Olympic champions that come to mind.
(Including our own Bonnie Blair whom we have trained for her public appearances.)
But CEO's and leaders of companies, and any one who speaks for that matter, are winners too. Or they should appear to be when they are taking the stage and advocating their winning ideas. Yet how many smile - and show their own personality. Most are way too serious, or look grim, which is exactly the opposite of the message they most often want to convey.
"It takes 21 days to change a habit," according to Maxwell Maltz - and I think he's about right, give or take a week or two.
But this past weekend we saw habit change at a high level happen in a couple of days at our Speakers' Roundtable meeting - and there's a great learning principle in this story.
Too many leaders, and speakers talk about "stuff" , as in "The group liked my stuff," or "I gave them my best stuff. We generically and lazily categorize specific concepts or details or material as "stuff." So Patricia Fripp, renowned public speaker, coach and sister of King Crimson's Robert Fripp, decided to put a learning principle in place and stop this 'stuff' at our three day meeting this past weekend. (She calls it a crime against credibility.) Every time anyone would say "stuff" the person would have to put a $1 in a paper bag.
Don Hutson is a great speaker and author of One Minute Entrepreneur - it was a thrill to watch him share and speak at the same time here at our Speaker's Roundtable meeting. His great presentation was not taped, (don't miss him here) but he had a great quote with his signature Marriott story: “The image of a person, company or product is never a constant but an ever-changing variable.” Communicating constantly (and well) makes all the difference. (I also learned at our meeting to keep posts short - thanks Terri.)
Probably pretty expensive, and not for everyone, or every purpose. And yet I would predict this mutual effort from Cisco's very successful 'Telepresence' and the 3d holographics of Musion will make a big difference in corporate meetings and presentations.
Only last year we were talking here about the video revolution changing the way we make and view movies and videos. Here's another dimension that will not only use the 'old' technology of video conferencing to communicate in a new way - but will enable us to capture it and broadcast it in new ways.
It was to be an informal event - and in a sense it was. Garr Reynolds had been up for 40 hours traveling from Japan to San Francisco to speak at Stanford, and then immediately came over to Duarte Design headquarters tonight to speak again to a small group of friends. It was like a who's who of presentations: Nancy and Mark Duarte, Ben and Kelly Decker, Microsoft folks, Slideshare,Ian Griffin of the National Speakers Association - and the publishing and PR people of Peach Pit Press and Eastwick, among the many Duarte designers and others.
One occasion for the gathering was that Garr has finished his book! "Presentation Zen" is out and it's great. A review will be coming, and more of the experience of this stimulating night with creative presentation people. One interesting point to bloggers, among many insights, was how his blog at Presentation Zen was the start of the community that led to the book.
But I had the feeling that with Garr's remarks, his new book, and Nancy Duarte's yet to be published new book as well, and several other factors in the technology world that there will be a new age of presenting.
There just might be a breakthrough so the business world can see the light - it's not our data we are presenting, it's experience. It's not PowerPoint text, it's design in pictures. It's not information, it's influence.
More to come on these exciting developments, a "Presentation Zen" book revue, and highlights of Garr's remarks.
Garr Reynolds with his first book, presented by Publisher Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel of Peach Pit Press
And only here can you see a video version of Laugh Therapy and the Chronicle article illustrated.
Use humor in presenting yourself, but use laughter in your communicating all the time. Laughter connects with others, and as you see here, and as it says in both print and media, forced or genuine, it works.
Our communications behavior is made up of literally dozens of habits, which we need to know first (video feedback) and practice to modify, improve or change second (practice, practice, pracice.) Maltz proved it in his self help classic Psychocybernetics.
In over 20 years coaching and consulting, my biggest frustration is clients just don't want to practice. If you don't like to practice either, here's a great post that should help get you over that hump - on a good new blog I found by Bert Webb (it's not just the name.)