Art of Prezi with Terry Gault in San Francisco, CA.

Prezi is quickly becoming the preferred alternative to stale and tedious slide-based presentation media.

Why? Because Prezi empowers users to seamlessly combine text, visuals, audio and video into a communication media that is more powerful, memorable, and dynamic than slides.

In addition, Prezi’s unique capability for users to employ movement, spacial relationship, and ‘big picture’ storytelling in a way that makes the message far more ‘sticky’ and easier to understand than slides.

In fact, a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal raises the possibility that slide-based presentations—and the difficulty people have remembering them—contributed to General Motors’ recent recall disaster.

Because of Prezi’s unique almost-cinematic capabilities, it also requires a new and different mindset than traditional slide-based media: one that is more holistic than simply repurposing old slides into a new ‘deck’.

You must begin by answering one key question: “What is my underlying message?” We call it the “Main Takeaway Sentence.” If you ask an audience member, “What did you take away from the presentation?” the hope is that they would reply with your Main Takeaway Sentence or a reasonable facsimile.

Then you need to ask: “What is the Central Theme of my presentation?” You will be confronted with that question because your message overview needs to express that theme visually in a Big Picture way that is not possible with slide-based media.

The Central Theme generally flows form a story or metaphor that illustrates your message in a way that captures and intrigues an audience.

Hence, you cannot begin to build your prezi without these key questions being answered. For all these reasons, building a great prezi require a greater investment of time and a better-rounded skillset which will generate radically improved results. TED got the power of Prezi early and invested in Prezi back in 2009.

In Art of Prezi, participants will learn how to:

  • Use Prezi’s capabilities to deliver compelling, highly memorable, and sticky messages.
  • Craft prezis that illustrate a key Main Takeaway Sentence through the seamless use of text, visuals, audio and video.
  • Author and deliver compelling stories that succinctly illustrate the value of their solutions or ideas.
  • Fashion a visually striking Central Theme that communicates your message on multiple levels.
  • Increase audience attention span and retention.
  • Structure presentations for maximum impact.
  • Deliver a prezi in front of an audience with power and Executive Presence.

About The Instructor: Terry Gault
As an early Prezilian and a recognized expert in communication and media, Terry Gault is uniquely qualified to lead this workshop.

Having joined the Henderson Group in 1997 he has trained thousands of professionals at Prezi (Yes, they are a client), GE, Oracle, eBay, Salesforce.com, Charles Schwab, and other organizations both large and small. Terry has been responsible for delivery of all services at the Henderson Group since 2003.

He is also CEO and Artistic Director of a video production company. EinsteinFilms.com‘s message is: “We illustrate your complex solution in a simple, fun way so that anyone can understand it in 3 minutes or less.” Terry’s experience and success in coaching and video production flows from his 35-year career in film, television, radio and the theater as an actor, writer, teacher, director, and producer.

For more information please contact Chuck Kuglen at 415-292-7587

or leave us a message below, and we will contact you.

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by Terry Gault of The Henderson Group

Have you ever had this experience?
You are standing in front of a group of important people.
  1. Your boss or important client or friend averts their gaze when you speak to them.
  2. You notice that someone is typing on their their smart phone while you are speaking.
  3. There’s a lot of ambient noise from the group: coughing or shifting of chairs.
When things like this happen, our brain is programmed to make up stories about what it means.  Such as:
  1. The boss / client / friend looking away means they disapprove of what we are doing at the moment.
  2. The person on the phone is bored by us and our talk.
  3. You are losing our audience.  They are getting restless.  You are failing.

First, there is nothing wrong with you if this is happening to you.  You are simply doing what human beings do.  We observe data.  Then we interpret it.  We make up a story about it.  We can’t help it.  It’s just what our brains do.

The problem is this – we treat our stories as if they are true instead of treating them as what they are – just thoughts.

Psychologists refer to metacognition which simply means an awareness of one’s own thoughts, or literally, thoughts about thoughts.

Our relationship with our thoughts makes a HUGE difference in how we represent ourselves in high stakes conversations.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say that if you master your awareness of your thoughts, you will master your relationship with fear – certainly the fear of public speaking.

Listening to KQED last week in my car, I heard an amazing program about thoughts on Invisibilia.  In fact, it was the debut of the show on KQED.

The show was so riveting that I pulled out my phone and logged into the KQED app because I didn’t want to miss the conclusion.  I’d arrived at home and wanted to catch the rest of the show heading into the house.

The show tells the remarkable story of two men whose thoughts COULD have ruined their lives.  Instead, they practiced metacognition and changed the story about their thoughts.  In so doing, they both ascended from the dark, hellish cave of their thoughts into a bright life filled with love and possibility.

Enjoy!

photo credit: mkismkismk

 


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by Chuck Kuglen of The Henderson Group

I’ve been speaking with (and hopefully soon working with) a newer vendor in the market who uses some interesting call recording technology in their solution. If you’ve ever done any work with The Henderson Group, you’ve probably heard one of us talk about “verbal filler” (in presentation, demo, sales – various components of how you represent yourself). And we too record virtually everything we teach and coach too.

This technology records conversations so it’s perfect for any lead-generative, conversational work. We find that, by recording word for word in video or transcriptions, you get very interesting input about how we all (can) minimize or maximize our conversations.

Filler Word White Paper – April 2015 (click to view and/or download PDF)

On average, reps used more than four filler words per minute. In fact, filler words were used three times more than the most important keyword. That’s lots of umming.

We often use filler words in everyday speech, but using them excessively in a sales call is dangerous. Why?

• Filler words signify you’re in trouble and make you sound less confident

• Filler words disrupt the flow of the conversation and stop you from hearing the other person

• Filler words distract your prospect, especially when they’re overused

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by Terry Gault of The Henderson Group

Vocal fry is an issue that I run into often in my work.

My take is that those who use it (typically females) are:

  • Unknowingly undermining their power, authority and credibility,
  • Unconsciously mimicking the behaviors of those around them in order to fit in.

And there are plenty of people (actresses, celebrities, coworkers, etc.) in our purview that are modeling vocal fry. But just because something is ubiquitous, that doesn’t make it a good idea.

The following piece from Mental Floss discussed the phenomena in more depth and includes a terrific video featuring American actress, comedian, radio host, and television personality Faith Salie.

Salie sums up vocal fry beautifully at the end:

“It sounds underwhelmed and disengaged. It’s annoying to listen to a young woman who sounds world-weary — and exactly like her 14 best friends.”

You may have heard of the hot new linguistic fad that’s creeping into U.S. speech and undermining your job chances. Or maybe you know it as the debilitating speaking disorder afflicting North American women or the verbal tic of doom. It’s called vocal fry, and it’s the latest “uptalk” or “valleyspeak,” AKA the “ditzy girl” speaking style that people love to hate.

Unlike uptalk, which is a rising intonation pattern, or valleyspeak, which covers a general grab bag of linguistic features, including vocabulary, vocal fry describes a specific sound quality caused by the movement of the vocal folds. In regular speaking mode, the vocal folds rapidly vibrate between a more open and more closed position as the air passes through. In vocal fry, the vocal folds are shortened and slack so they close together completely and pop back open, with a little jitter, as the air comes through. That popping, jittery effect gives it a characteristic sizzling or frying sound. (I haven’t been able to establish that that’s how fry got its name, but that’s the story you hear most often.)

Vocal fry, which has also been called creaky voice, laryngealization, glottal fry, glottal scrape, click, pulse register, and Strohbass (straw bass), has been discussed in musical and clinical literature since at least the middle of the 20th century. It is a technique (not necessarily encouraged) that lets a singer go to a lower pitch than they would otherwise be capable of. It shows up with some medical conditions affecting the voice box. It is also an important feature in some languages, like Zapotec Mayan, where fry can mark the distinction between two different vowels. These days, however, you mostly hear about it as a social phenomenon, as described (and decried) as “the way a Kardashian speaks” in this video by Faith Salie.

Continued >>


photo credit: manduhsaurus

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by Terry Gault of the The Henderson Group

Ultrarunner Adam St. Pierre was almost “sidelined by tight hip flexors”.  He tried “Pilates, stretching more, strengthening his core” and nothing seemed to help.   What one simple thing solved his problem and actually launched him to “personal best” levels of performance?

Switching to a standing desk.

Read the piece from Men’s Journal magazine here which points out growing evidence of serious health risks caused by sitting for extended periods on a daily basis.  In addition, the piece validates my personal experience: standing at my desk has resulted in a myriad of benefits.

When called upon to lead workshops, I often stand for up to 3 straight hours.  That used to cause stiffness in my lower back.  Since I switched to a standing desk about 2 1/2 years ago, I can easily stand for 4 hours at a stretch and often do.  In fact, I now prefer to stand, in many cases – even at social functions such as parties, etc.  It’s simply more comfortable and helps me feel more alert and energized.

You can see my previous blog post about how to make the switch to a standing desk without spending a pile of money on a fancy new desk.

So, take a stand … for improved fitness and performance!

photo credit: wikimediacommons

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Good bosses care about getting important things done. Exceptional bosses care about their people.

Good bosses have strong organizational skills. Good bosses have solid decision-making skills. Good bosses get important things done.

Exceptional bosses do all of the above–and more. Sure, they care about their company and customers, their vendors and suppliers. But most important, they care to an exceptional degree about the people who work for them.

That’s why extraordinary bosses give every employee:

1. Autonomy and independence

Great organizations are built on the optimizing of processes and procedures. Still, every task doesn’t deserve a best practice or a micromanaged approach. (I’m looking at you, manufacturing.)

Engagement and satisfaction are largely based on autonomy and independence. I care when it’s “mine.” I care when I’m in charge and feel empowered to do what’s right.

Plus, freedom breeds innovation: Even heavily process-oriented positions have room for different approaches. (Still looking at you, manufacturing.)

Whenever possible, give your employees the autonomy and independence to work the way they work best. When you do, they almost always find ways to do their jobs better than you imagined possible.

2. Clear expectations

While every job should include some degree of independence, every job also needs basic expectations for how specific situations should be handled.

Criticize an employee for offering a discount to an irate customer today, even though yesterday that was standard practice, and you make that employee’s job impossible. Few things are more stressful than not knowing what is expected from one day to the next.

When an exceptional boss changes a standard or guideline, she communicates the change beforehand–and when that is not possible, she takes the time to explain why she made the decision she made and what she expects in the future.

3. Meaningful objectives

Almost everyone is competitive; often the best employees are extremely competitive–especially with themselves. Meaningful targets can create a sense of purpose and add a little meaning to even the most repetitive tasks.

Plus, goals are fun. Without a meaningful goal to shoot for, work is just work.

No one likes work.

4. A true sense of purpose

Everyone likes to feel a part of something bigger. Everyone loves to feel that sense of teamwork and esprit de corps that turn a group of individuals into a real team.

The best missions involve making a real impact on the lives of the customers you serve. Let employees know what you want to achieve for your business, for your customers, and even your community. And if you can, let them create a few missions of their own.

Feeling a true purpose starts with knowing what to care about and, more important, why to care.

5. Opportunities to provide significant input

Engaged employees have ideas; take away opportunities for them to make suggestions, or instantly disregard their ideas without consideration, and they immediately disengage.

That’s why exceptional bosses make it incredibly easy for employees to offer suggestions. They ask leading questions. They probe gently. They help employees feel comfortable proposing new ways to get things done. When an idea isn’t feasible, they always take the time to explain why.

Great bosses know that employees who make suggestions care about the company, so they ensure those employees know their input is valued–and appreciated.

Continued at Inc.com >>

photo credit: xverges

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We’ve written about Deliberate Practice before, and recommend this new article by Inc.com on the subject.

And guess what? Talent may not be necessary.

What is it that makes a speaker amazing? Is it a set of personal characteristics that enable great speakers to capture and keep our attention? Is it their brains? Their sense of humor? Their sincerity and empathy? Or were they born with a talent to talk?

We could ask similar questions about golfers, tennis champs, chess masters, or quarterbacks. Why is it that certain people get a disproportionate share of the talent? Science has something to say about this.

In fact, there are some researchers who say, discreetly, that the very existence of talent is not supported by evidence .

If this is true, our belief in this “thing we call talent” misdirects our efforts and undermines our potential to develop ourselves and others.

In fact, some scientists point to a more accurate view of how top performers in any field achieve their remarkable results. They call it Deliberate Practice.

In his book Talent Is Overrated, Geoff Colvin lays out the elements of Deliberate Practice (DP).

DP is meant to improve performance.

It is engineered to address particular weaknesses that the performer has. It is almost always designed and implemented by a teacher, coach, or expert of some kind.

DP consists of endless repetition and excruciating boredom.

Most of us practice what we’re good at because it feels good, and we do it until we get tired.

Top performers practice what they’re bad at, even though it’s frustrating and humiliating, and they do it to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. They go until they break down old habits, and have to develop new ones.

DP provides continuous feedback.

Every swing of the club, every passage in the concerto, every word in the speech, every marketing tactic undertaken, is assessed, measured, compared, and diagnosed for improvement.

DP is mentally demanding.

Practitioners must maintain the quality of their attention and avoid mindless repetition. The more we concentrate on the task, the less time needed to improve.

DP takes discipline, drive, and desire.

In fact, few of us have the stomach for it. It requires strong belief in yourself to endure the long mental, emotional, and physical struggle needed to achieve world class performance.

This actually could be good news for you and your company. Since so few companies use the principles of DP, if you’re willing to put in the work, you won’t have much competition.

So, if you’re game, here’s what to do before, during, and after the implementation of a DP program in your company…

Continued at Inc.com >>

 

Photo credit: sachac

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Intro by Terry Gault

This article touches on a technique that we’ve been preaching to our clients for about 2 decades. In fact, I refer to it as “the most powerful communication technique I have ever learned.” I also refer to it as “the most underutilized communication technique I have ever learned.”

If you are practicing it regularly, it will transform your communications with others in a way that gives you a competitive advantage – indeed, a Super Power you didn’t have before.

 

There is one question that I wish I had known earlier in my career.  It is the key to personal and professional success.  And it is predicated on the most common problem we have as humans: communicating effectively when one person is talking and another is listening.  Misunderstandings abound, and they result in sitcom plots and disasters.  More importantly, they hurt relationships.  And your ability to relate to others will define you.

Prepare To Be Shocked

Over and over again, I counsel friends, mentees, direct reports–anyone who’ll listen–to do one thing.  Before you ask a question, repeat what the other party has said to you, and ask them if that is what they meant.  Why?  Because you’ll be shocked how many times they will tell you that isn’t what they said.

So, here’s the question:

What I hear you saying is <repeat what you heard>.  Did I get it right?

On The Wrong End The 75-25 Rule

It is my experience that 75% of the time, you will get it wrong. Remember, there are two parties in the room, so chances of failure are high.  And this is not about blame.  When you get it wrong, something remarkable will happen.  You will hear this:

“No, that’s not it.  Let me say it another way.”

That’s success right there.  A calm moment and your colleague gets to take another bite at the apple.

When you get it right, something remarkable also happens.  You will hear this:

“Yes!  That’s it.  You get it!”

In both cases, it’s a no-lose.  Your kinship, attachment and working relationship got a lot easier.

This school of psychological thought is called “mirroring,” but the original thinking is that one can build rapport by mirroring gestures, speech patterns and the like.  That’s all good, but if you can get clear on what you’re talking about, you’ll solve problems together in the most effective and rewarding way you’ve experienced.

Hint: My wife asks that you try it at home, too.

photo credit: highwaysagency

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