The dread of delivering a presentation dogs many of us. There are few who actually relish the prospect of public speaking. Nevertheless, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be brilliant. We mustn’t mess up, must be the expert, must be impervious to doubt, and meet any challenge with a flawless response. Intellectually we recognise that these are unrealistic aims but we still pressure ourselves to be perfect. This striving for perfection is not helpful for myriad reasons, not least because it puts you at the centre of every situation; and guess what? You’re not.
Whenever you’re delivering a presentation you are the least important person in the room.
Continue reading “Look Who’s Talking”
What is it that gives other people confidence in you?
What is it that defines you as a credible, confident, authoritative communicator of ideas and vision? Gives you gravitas? Says to people that they should take you seriously?
It’s pretty simple really. It’s all about space and time.
In (not quite) the same way physics brings space and time together to form the space-time continuum, so it is that how we bring together our personal relationship to space and time will define our impact as communicators. A Communication Continuum, if you like.
Continue reading “The Communication Continuum”
There are books, poems and articles that stay with you throughout your adult life. In my case I can cite one of each and recall the person – in all cases A family member – who originally brought them to my attention. When I look back I realise these were the people that influenced me in my early years. They set me on a path in pursuit of happiness and success.
A Book. As far as books go for me it has been ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie that set me on my path. I have a 1977 paperback edition. The subtitle on the front cover says: ‘The phenomenal bestseller that is helping millions find success and happiness’. It’s well used, marked up with pencil and has post-it notes sticking out to draw me back to things I must have thought were important to me in the 1970s and beyond. I was introduced to this book by my late father-in-law Ken Smith. What’s even more exciting for me is that I now have Ken’s 1936 hardback imprint of the same book. And it has his pencil marks ups, which give me a great insight to what was important to him in the 1940s and 50s as he started out on his path to happiness and success in his life and in his career. The inside front cover of Ken’s book quotes Carnegie’s ‘Twelve things this book will help you achieve‘.
A Poem. The poem that influenced me was ‘If‘ by Rudyard Kipling which my mother Peggy sent me in 1968 when I had left home to go to University. I believe at that time she was offering me a pattern for my future life.
An Article. We have to wait until the new millennium for the article that has influenced both my wife and I ever since that time. It was my father-in-law Ken again who sent us a clipping from The Sunday Times of 30 January 2000 entitled ‘How to be Happy’. It was an article by Gyles Brandreth in which he interviewed the eminent Irish psychiatrist Dr Anthony Clare who offered his seven point plan for happiness. We have followed Dr Clare’s prescription ever since. And just last month my wife Sue introduced me to a new article in the Independent about a ten year research programme by ‘Happiness Expert’ Eric Barker. In the article the Indy’s lifestyle writer Kashmira Gander summarises “Eric Barker has spent almost a decade uncovering why some people seem more happy and successful than others, but his findings don’t always make for comfortable reading“.
There is a surprising fourth source of inspiration from a family member – a Document of State – but more of that later!
What can we learn about the Pursuit of Happiness and Success from these publications?
Continue reading “In Pursuit of Happiness and Success”
I was traveling from Cape Town to Panama to attend my mother’s funeral and my brothers agreed that I would speak at the ceremony. I was sitting on the plane trying to think what to write since she has been a huge influencer in my personal and professional life. It was an impossible task to fit it all in one speech. Then I decided to just focus in one word that will define her greatest legacy in my life. After hours of thinking that the perfect word was ‘trust’. She trusted me to do well, always. It didn’t matter how much I failed in something, she will always be there to cheer for me.
Continue reading “Trust: The Underrated Enabler”
I don’t know about you but opening the papers, watching the news, reading a blog (hopefully not this one), scanning the web is really rather depressing these days. There seems little going on where decent human behaviour is being exercised. It seems everyone is trying to get one over someone else. This is seen at the most macro level of geo-politics, business being conducted in a less than honourable manner and sport being “played” by bending the rules beyond acceptable limits. Why is this, what has happened? Have we lost our moral compass, do we no longer have any guiding values or principles unless it is tagged with some currency symbol? Or is it that not much has changed apart from everything being so much more on show courtesy of 24/7 media?
Continue reading “Organisational values in the 21st century – laminated or lived?”