TED Talk: Want to get great at something? Get a coach

December 17, 2017 | Presentations, Writing


How do professionals get better at what they do? How do they get great? Those are questions posed by Atul Gawande — a surgeon, bestselling author of medical books, and public health researcher — during a recent TED Talk.

Gawande points out that there are two views about this. One is the traditional pedagogical view. That is that you go to school, you study, you practice, you learn, you graduate, and then you go out into the world and you make your way on your own. A professional is someone capable of managing his or her own improvement. That is the approach that virtually all professionals have learned. That’s how doctors, lawyers, scientists and musicians learn. And the thing is, it works. Consider, for example, legendary Juilliard violin instructor Dorothy DeLay. She trained an amazing roster of violin virtuosos, including Midori, Sarah Chang and Itzhak Perlman, among them. Each of them came to her as young talents and they worked with her over years. What she worked on most, she said, was inculcating in them habits of thinking and of learning so that they could make their way in the world without her when they were done.

The contrasting view comes out of sports, he remarks, and say “You are never done, everybody needs a coach.” Everyone. The greatest in the world needs a coach. Gawande is an advocate of the latter view and supports his position convincingly during his TED Talk. Click here to view his video and thoughts on the topic.

Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing to companies and business professionals. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.

Never present while tired, and here are 11 signs you are sleep deprived

December 12, 2017 | Presentations, Verbal communication

Are you always hungry? Have you gained weight? Is your memory not what it used to be? These are just a few of the signs that you are sleep deprived. How important is sleep? Consider that sleep-deprivation is used as a form of torture to break prisoners, and as a form of mind control. Being short on sleep is exactly what you DO NOT what to be when presenting before an audience. There is a saying, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” One of the reasons people have severe stage fright is that pre-event anxiety prevents them from getting a good night’s sleep. If we take the stage mentally fatigued, our nervousness is compounded, in part because our memory is diminished, causing us to grapple for lines and phrases. (Click on the headline to continue reading)

7 secrets getting a piece of writing completed every week

December 09, 2017 | Writing

Tammy Letherer says Vince Reidsma was the father of a childhood friend — the guy who kept the pool clean so the kids could swim all summer. Years later, Letherer was reconnected with Reidsma, this time as a fellow writer and friend. Reidsma, she discovered, has been writing a weekly column called “Just a Thought” for the Holland Sentinel in Michigan for 27 years — and his specialty is writing poetry that rhymes, a feat that would overwhelm most writers. Letherer — a writing coach and author of the novel, Hello Loved Ones, and an upcoming memoir titled The Buddha at My Table — was naturally interested in learning from Reidsma the nuts and bolts of the exacting writing chore he faces each week, and how he has sustained that momentum for nearly 30 years. The result of that inquiry was an articulation of … (click on the headline to continue reading)

Interacting with audience members during your presentation

December 06, 2017 | Presentations, Verbal communication

Presentation expert Cliff Atkinson tells a great story about a 2009 education conference where two speakers got very different reactions from their audiences. The first speaker started off with interactive exercises, he was entertaining and, overall, he was a hit. The second speaker launched in with a more traditional PowerPoint, and he didn’t go over quite so well. In fact, while he presented, bored attendees started a “backchannel” on Twitter. They critiqued his slides, his content and his delivery until finally someone suggested a t-shirt. By the end of the keynote, the t-shirt pictured here was for sale. All this to say that audience participation isn’t necessarily a good thing, says Doug Neff, a writer at Duarte. What you’re aiming for isn’t just participation for the sake of participation, but an interaction that gets the audience closer to embracing your ideas. You want to keep them engaged, on their toes, and show them that you value and want to connect with them. To that end, Neff offers 10 positive ways to ... (click on the headline to keep reading)

The power point-of-view can bring to your writing

December 04, 2017 | Writing

Mur Lafferty, producer and host of the I Should Be Writing podcast, which she bills as the podcast for wannabe fiction writers, but is also filled with tips and techniques applicable to business and non-fiction writing of all stripes. (My words, not Mur’s.) Lafferty’s program is winner of the Podcast Peer Award and the Parsec Award, and has more than 8,000 subscribers. In this episode she discusses the power of point-of-view and how it makes readers sympathize with characters, as well as defining the role of the protagonist and antagonist. It only takes a little imagination to see how point-of-view applies to business writing by understanding your audience and delivering content tailored for and empathetic to their predispositions. After explaining point-of-view and how to successfully deploy, Lafferty interviews … (click on the headline to continue reading)

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