Friday, September 17, 2010

Not My Job?

I love this slide used by Seth Godin in his presentation on entitled, "This is Broken."

He uses the slide to make the point that one reason why things break is that no one takes responsibility for fixing them.

The guy who made the soccer sign probably knew it was ridiculous, but felt it wasn't his job to change it. And so the rest of us are stuck with this (funny) but absurd sign!

From the Green Room: If you're giving a presentation on behalf of someone else (e.g. a company ethics training) and you see something that doesn't make sense or that could be said better, never assume it's written in stone. Argue to improve it. Even when you represent your company in a presentation, you are also representing yourself. And once your employer tasks you with the job of presenting, you are ultimately responsible for what you say.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Power of the Sermon

What is the real power of a sermon?

This is a question I have asked myself over and over again as I have listened to sermon after sermon - especially during the Jewish high holiday season.

This year, it struck me that the sermon is the one time during the service when the focus is on communication between people, rather than between people and God. The sermon is a break from prayer, and an opportunity for the Rabbi to connect directly with the congregation.

The best sermons are those in which each person in the congregation feels personally addressed - where the Rabbi is somehow able to have a one-on-one conversation with each individual present.

The best sermons are the ones where the listener is absolutely essential - so much so that the sermon would not even be possible without his/her presence.

Focused eye contact and clarity of purpose and message are just a few of the ways the a spiritual leader can connect personally with individuals in the congregation.

This kind of true human connection actually serves to elevate the entire prayer experience.

From the Green Room: Remember, there is no such thing as "public speaking". In any presentation, strive to make each listener feel as though you were having a one-on-one conversation with him/her.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Speaking Lessons from a Three-Year Old

My 3 year old daughter hates to walk.

She claims her "muscles are tired" and asks to be carried at any opportunity...that is unless she really has somewhere she wants to be.

If, for example, we are walking to the ice cream store, suddenly her muscles work perfectly and she can go long distances without a mere whine or complaint. A miracle!

The same is true for speakers.

If you know precisely where you want to go in your presentation, your delivery skills will automatically improve.

So many problems in delivery occur because the speaker is not yet 100 percent clear on content.

From the Green Room: Before you work on delivery skills such as volume, articulation, etc., take time to make certain you know exactly what you want to say. You will find that the clearer you are on your content, the better your delivery.