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Monday
Jan132014

The Golden Globe Awards 2014

As presenters, coordinators and managers, make it a habit to look at award shows as you can glean more from them than the content.
I looked at the Golden globe last night and what stands out for me is the performance of the much-touted hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They are truly funny and accomplished as actresses. However, I think their stint as hosts fell flat. They seem as if they were out of their league.
I'm reminded of Ellen Degeneres. She is also funny and an accomplished actress and she hosted the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards. She was funny and definitely at home hosting these shows. 

In their professions, Tina and Amy work from scripts, are in front of production and filming crews while Ellen ad-libs and is in front of a live audience every day. No wonder, Ellen seemed in her element when hosting these award shows.  

Here are a couple of my observations:
- identify what you can do, want to do and shouldn't do
- before you accept a role or when asked to do something, weigh the pros and cons and decide if it's getting you closer to your goal and how you want to be perceived.
- If it's a career builder and you are not as adept as you want to be, then learn fast, practice hard and up your performance. 
- the audience or listeners register more than content 

On another note, take a look at this video. This is what happens when you depend on props and don't practice:  

http://popwatch.ew.com/2014/01/06/michael-bay-walks-off-stage/

To perform better in all the roles you play,  to avoid embarrassment, to be perceived as an expert in your industry, to professionally represent your company, learn how to not just inform but to always impact. 

For more information on presentation and public speaking, visit  http://clearlyspeaking.ca/events/

Tuesday
Jan102012

Are you prepared for the shift?

A couple of months ago, Statistics Canada released information that would impact each person living in Canada – whether you were born here or not. By 2031, the country's visibility minority will double. This means the new visible minority will be Caucasians. This means the Employment

Equity Act  will have to change. The minorities, defined by the Act, are 'persons other than Aboriginal peoples who are non-Causcasians in race and non-white in color.”

 

Many Canadians didn't see this coming. That's probably because of 'lack of segregated data' that Gay McDougall, a United Nations independent expert on minority issues, noted in her report. She acknowledges what the visible minorities know – there are gaps in education, employment, income and housing between minorities and their mainstream counterparts.

These two facts – the visible minority becoming the majority and the areas where there are gaps – should be enough to propel us to start preparing for the shift. In a country like Canada, we have the means and opportunities to earn more money, more respect and to experience a better lifestyle. And it all starts with education. 

Adults cannot afford not to upgrade their skills. There are advances and progress in every industry so no matter where you work, much has changed since you first learned the skills for your job.

Now more than ever before, you have more career paths to choose from. The most difficult choice will be which course and will it be full-time, part-time, online, in physical classrooms, distance learning, etc. 

Many adults believe that they are too old to learn more or learn something new.  Here are two popular  misconceptions about adult education:

  • It's only for the young. Not true. What you learned during the first twenty years of your life is academic and does not equip you with skills for a workforce that has changed so drastically since.
  • It costs too much and not worth the expense. Not true. Lack of updated skills or new skills often sabotage promotions and salary increase. Let me ask you this: can you afford not to upgrade your skills or learn new ones? 

 

Here are some reasons why you should consider going back to school for formal or vocational training:

  • Advances in technology can eliminate jobs
  • Be prepared for career changes – either by force or by choice
  • Position yourself for coming changes in the Canadian society
  • Improved chances of promotion and better-paying jobs
  • Continued adult learning inspires children
  • Opportunity to choose courses that interest you
  • Upgrade existing skills or qualifications

 

Adult education along with your life and work experiences will narrow the gap in education, employment, income and housing as mentioned in the UN report.

For some, it may not be as easy as described here.  They may have to consider time, financial or family obligations first. Before discarding the idea completely, discuss your plans with your family, employer or mentor and consider all the training options available.

Check out these sites to see what is offered:

www.tdsb.on.ca/

www.tcdsb.org/adulted/

learn.utoronto.ca/

www.ryerson.ca/ce/

coned.georgebrown.ca/

www.centennialcollege.ca/

 

 

Tuesday
Jan102012

Nine Hot Tips To Put Your Audience To Sleep

 There are always some people in every audience who WILL fall asleep during your speeches. You will know you are to blame if you are practicing these 9 ways to put your audience to sleep. If you are, you will also get 9 tips how not to do so.

 

1. If you want your audience to snooze, be unfocused.  Talk about a cat’s ear, peanuts and dynamite, Niagara Falls freezing and green coca cola all in one speech and make no attempt to connect them.  

If you want them to hang on to your every word, start by always having a reason for speaking. An objective can sprout a can’t-get-lost outline which makes it effortless for your audience to follow your speech. Make it easy for them to listen and understand you.  If your talk is about domestic animals, don’t talk about dragon flies and crocodiles.

 

2. If you want to lose your audience quickly, do not rehearse. Do not care what people think of you. Plan on forgetting what you want to say. You know you can do this in your sleep because you’ve done this presentation so many times before.

If you want to impress your audience, rehearse. Practice out loud and you will notice what needs to be changed, tweaked, lengthened or shortened.  You will feel more confident.

 

3. If you want your audience to snooze, be predictable. Use common expressions and anecdotes. Take pride in being a copycat.  Don’t step out of line and be original.  Your audience is snoozing because they habituate to sameness from most presentations.

If you want to be memorable, why not give them a jolt? Dare to do something different, start in an unexpected way. If your talk is about spousal abuse, don’t start with statistics. That’s predictable.  Why not approach the topic from a different perspective?  Start with the ”rule of thumb’ law.  It supposedly meant that a man may legally beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. This law to excuse spousal abuse can be traced as far back as 1782. You can talk about what was done about it then, now and what still needs to be done. Dare to do things differently.

 

4. If you want your audience to wish they had a hot chocolate and a blanket, deliver your speech in a monotonous voice and matching facial expression like Steven Segal. Unless you can fight like him and stimulate interest, your audience will thank you for the power nap. Also if you speak too slow or too fast, if you mumble, your listeners will tune you out. 

If you want to keep them engaged, let your voice reflect your energy, passion, enthusiasm and commitment.  The first impression you create is visual and the second one is vocal. The second impression creates a bigger and lasting impact.  Read out loud every day and listen to your voice.

 

5. If you want to sound like you know what you are talking about, use inane phrases like these in every sentence: render inoperative, make itself felt, greatly to be desired, deserving of serious consideration, for all intents and purposes.  Use acronyms and jargon and expect your listeners to know them. After all, if you know them, they should also!

The AGA in collaboration with the AMCA have engaged the ASPE as they await the contract with  MWBBA. Decoded it means:

The American Gas Association in collaboration with Air Moving and Control Association have engaged the American Society of Plumbing Engineers as they await the contract with  Midwest Bean-Bag Association.

If you want to keep your audience with you, use words, phrases, abbreviations and jargon they know.  And you will know this because you asked questions to determine your objective and to know your audience

 

6. If you want your audience to snooze, be I- focused .  Talk non-stop about you.  Use the pronoun “I” in every sentence.  Give your opinions, your suggestions, your thoughts.  

A woman died and had to spell a word before she can get into heaven. The word was ‘love’. With such an easy word, she was allowed into heaven.

 One day she was asked to be the gatekeeper for a short while and who should appear but her husband. She asked him how he coped after she died. He said after a short while, he married the beautiful nurse who took care of her while she was ill, then he won the lottery, sold the little house they lived in together and bought a big mansion. He and his wife travelled around the word. He was on vacation water skiing when he fell, hit his head and here he was.  Then he asked: “How do I get in to Heaven?”

“You have to spell a word – Czechoslovakia.”

Ok, this story won’t put you to sleep. In fact it will agitate you.

If you want to be audience-focused, avoid using ‘I’ too often and ask questions to learn about your audience. Then you will prepare with them in mind.       

 

7. If you have no desire to impact them, inform your audience. Leave out illustrations, metaphors, comparisons. Omit necessary steps of reasoning and make it difficult for them to understand. Do not inject your personality into your speech. Instead report it. Do not show any conviction, emotions.   

If you want to impact them, know this. We all have access to the same information. We make it our own by blending it with our knowledge, experiences, culture and personality. It’s this unique spin that will make what you say memorable and meaningful for your listeners.  

 

8: If you want your audience to leave your presentation dazed and confused, be long-winded like these examples:

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said but I am not sure that you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

“I am, not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience ever more bitter in each year, more alien to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate.“

If you want to capture and hold your audience’s attention, use short sentences, more verbs and adjectives than nouns. Paint verbal pictures. If there are words you have difficulty pronouncing, use others or learn to pronounce them. Visit www.dictionary.com and m-w.com.

 

9. If you don’t want to ever see your audience again, let your voice match your appearance which must enhance the disorganized and meaningless message you are giving.  Be 100% certain that you have the stamina to drone on longer than your allotted time.  Show no regard for their questions and no respect for their intelligence.  And to ensure that they remember you and tell all the people they know about you, give each person an evaluation form to fill out.

If you want your audience to leave the presentation with a couple of ‘aha’ moments, present your topic from a different perspective in an engaging way.

Dare to be different!

What are you willing to sacrifice to become the best speaker or presenter?

Nothing worthwhile or satisfying is ever achieved without a cost. Some things will be neglected, dropped or placed on low priority. Are you ready to miss out on family events, exist on a couple hours of sleep and even neglect your family? Recognize that this is temporary situation. Accept that you are a work in progress and getting better with each speech.  

 

 

Tuesday
Jan102012

Ziplining

I’ve known for some time now that I’m afraid of heights. I also realized that I don’t like being dependent and this is a dominant feeling which can be self-defeating. 

My daughter and nieces went ziplining in Costa Rica a couple of years ago and raved about it. At the beginning of this year, I put it on my bucket list. I figured that I would address my fear of heights and the issue I have with dependence.  After all, I’m putting my life in the hands of strangers and trusting that they would harness me safely and that all their equipment and their expertise are topnotch.

I finally went with my family last summer to Eaglecrest Aerial Park in Bracebridge, Ontario.  I didn’t research what ziplining was. I assumed you get hooked up and you slide along a long line high above the ground.  I was so excited when we were finally on our way to Bracebridge.  Honestly, I felt like a kid at Christmas.

What I discovered when we arrived is that you have to do a lot of climbing before ziplining.  I was so focused on climbing and following all the rules of safety that when I look down from a platform and realized how high up I was, I should have panicked. But I didn’t, probably because I knew I was always safely hooked on to something and because I knew this, I was bolder in my movements high above the ground.  The whole experience was as I anticipated- exhilarating.  I decided I would do it again.

 

I learned a couple of lessons from this experience:

1. Maybe having no notion about the ‘how’ was the beginning of ‘allowing’ others to do things for me during the climbing.  I guess this is faith – the substance of things unseen.

2. This is the first time I tested myself so physically and discovered I was more agile than I thought. Self-limitations remain until tested.

3. The staff at Eaglecrest Aerial Park instructed me so I was prepared and secure. As a result, my movements were sure-footed and more bold than tentative. Translation: my actions in life can be bolder and sure-footed if I draw on my expertise and experience.

4. When I arrived, I looked up to get a general sense of what’s to come, then we were instructed and on and up we went.  Translation:  before I start anything, I should do the same – look up to see where I’m headed then determined what I have to do to get there. More importantly, not to assume some steps can be skipped.

5. To get ahead of yourself, you have to know what’s in your way. Then confront it and work on removing it in your own way. I chose ziplining.

6. I must get out of my usual surroundings often to see more and to see differently.

7. Always go to the experts. They are experts because they have years of experience, training and doing.   

Monday
Jan092012

Standards

I don't like conforming. I prefer to take the path less travelled to arrive at the same destination. Some of you are probably like me. However, there are times when we have to conform, to follow rules and adhere to standards. These rules and standards are there so we know what to expect from each other in situations.

    When anyone lowers society's standards or their own personal standards, they incur wrath from the rest of us and they crash. A couple of examples - a doctor performing unnecessary mastectomies, an anesthetist sexually assaulting women while they were under anesthetic, the TTC driver who was drunk, the TTC employee who was sleeping on the job, a federal minister who threw a temper tantrum because she didn't get special treatment and the troubles plaguing the Catholic church.  We expect people who are serving - whether in the public sector or in private enterprise - to perform their jobs in ways defined by their employers' or their profession's code of conduct. We depend on these people so we have to trust them.

    We also have people in our own lives who depend on us, who have to trust us. Let us all operate on the same level we expect from others. A quote from the Satori Collection of International Quotes seems appropriate here:  "Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you."