January 21-22, 2015 – Complete Communicator with Terry Gault

San Francisco, CA.

The Complete Communicator work combines communication techniques in an intense, highly individualized, skills development program. Employees learn to communicate effectively one-on-one, in small groups, standing before large audiences, and over the phone and Internet.

February 19-20, 2015 – Art of Presentation with Terry Gault

San Francisco, CA.

Using interactive methods, rather than lectured instruction, participants cultivate a personal style – a style that gains the audience’s attention through confident composure and meaningful interaction. Through the Henderson Group’s unique and proven feedback model, participants receive immediate feedback from instructors, peers and videotape, enabling them to rapidly learn, reflect and improve their presentation skills.

March 19, 2015 – Super Storytelling with Terry Gault

San Francisco, CA.

From that primitive stone-age tribe who sat around and listened to stories in their cave to today’s high tech sales force armed with the latest electronics, the art of storytelling survives. Stories capture attention and make information believable, memorable and understandable.

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by Terry Gault of The Henderson Group

I had the honor of working with CEO Nat Friedman in helping craft the Keynote for Xamarin’s 2014 Evolve conference.

After the opening video from a Xamarin customer Thermo Fisher Scientific, (at the 4:15 point) Nat Friedman opens with a terrific opening hook:

“He doesn’t know I am going to do this but my dad is in the audience today.”

He then goes on to tell a story about how his father’s preference for his iPad over an expensive and powerful laptop exemplifies a recurring theme of his talk: “native mobile people.” The story illustrates that it’s not just the “young people on SnapChat” who grew up on smartphones and tablets who are becoming native mobile people. It shows that it’s older people like Nat’s father, too. It’s a funny, personal story that illustrates the point beautifully and grabs attention.

AND there is another layer to this message. The story humanizes Nat so that we don’t see him as an impressive or intimidating CEO but as a regular guy – a really nice guy who is generous to and has a close relationship with his father. We like Nat because of this story.

His keynotes includes a number of stories and other hook techniques including terrific Twitter-ideal phrases (“Never lost. Never bored. Never alone.” and “Build the world you want to live in. We’re here to help you do that.”) that keep the audience engaged and drive great Twitter activity.

The story he shares touching on the Supreme Court decision about smartphones also provides a great and intriguing example of how to communicate points in hooks to make your message sticky.

I have to stop here or I’ll give away the entire talk!

Though i do feel compelled to add that Nat’s delivery is so energetic, conversational, and real it exemplifies so many things we preach to our clients.

Not only was the keynote opening a terrific example of what I preach to all my clients, the slideware that David Siegel and Ian Janicki created was the best corporate slideware I have seen in my 17 years in the presentation game.

The following segment with the demo from Co-Founder and CTO Miguel de Icaza includes a fun appearance from the voice of Siri, Susan Bennett which is also worth watching.

Enjoy and use the ideas here to make your talks and presentations more sticky! (Click on the photo below to watch)

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by Terry Gault

For 17 years I have flown between 30 – 70k miles per year for The Henderson Group business. If you are a frequent flyer like me, you’ve probably become immune to the pre-flight safety announcements or even (like me) find them an annoying distraction.

Since SFO is a United Airlines hub and offers more flights, I have become addicted to their frequent flier miles though I find the “user experience” often lacking. If Alaska Airlines hubbed at SFO or Oakland, I’d probably be addicted to them.

Recently, United started showing a new safety info video (below) and I have found myself actually watching it even though the underlying message is so familiar I could probably approximate it from memory.

This speaks to the power of good visual storytelling and the use of metaphor.

I’ve since learned that USA Today even wrote a piece about it titled “How the safety video got entertaining”.

Using these tools, you can compel your audience to pay attention to a message they might feel tempted to tune out.

Rock on, storytellers!   (More on storytelling>>)

 

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by Samantha Cole at Fast Company

It might not be what you say so much as how you say it. Your raspy voice, high-pitched laugh, and sloppy grammar could be holding you back.

Uptalk

You might know this as “Valley girl” speak, but it’s creeping into Silicon Valley boys’ clubs, too.

According to the BBC, men and women both are increasingly guilty of ending statements as questions. It sounds insecure, and can keep people from taking you seriously.

“…you’re making a statement but you’re [also] asking indirectly for the interlocutor to confirm if they are with you,” researcher Amalia Arvaniti told the BBC. It might become a cultural norm, but asking for constant affirmation when making statements sounds like a confidence problem.

Vocal fry

You wouldn’t show up to a job interview with bed head and slippers. Why sound like you just woke up?

Studies show that vocal fry—the creaking, drawn-out tone that emerges when speaking below your normal register—hurts first impressions of both men and women.

Continued >>

photo credit: tim sheerman-chase

Listen to Sandberg speak at TED: Her voice is confident and commanding the room, without straying outside of her natural tone:

 

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by Terry Gault

It’s always nice when a previous client hires us again.  David Hurwitz (who hired us to produce “Doug Serena, CIO” when he was CMO at Serena Software) is the guy behind this new consumer product.

Here is a first peek at a new video EinsteinFilms.com produced about a new mobile accessory, BluBed headset holsters, which will launch at CES in January. This video is the first in a series of Phone Follies that humorously show the benefits of being #HandsfreeEverywhere.

Who is Einstein Films?

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by Terry Gault

Just saw this piece and felt it was worth sharing with our readers.  What’s surprising is that the survey revealed that 20% of respondents would rather lose the respect of colleagues than deliver a presentation.  That’s a sad statistic.  ;-(

Seventy percent of employed Americans who give presentations agree that presentation skills are critical to their success at work, according to a new Prezi survey. My first reaction? The other 30% don’t know it yet…

The fear of presenting is very real among professionals in corporate America today, so much so that that many people are desperate to avoid it. It’s a problem because the survey also reveals that telling a clear and persuasive story through presentations is a fundamental job requirement and a necessary component of career success. In the information age you are only as valuable as the ideas you have to share. Poor presentation skills mean that leaders fail to inspire their teams, products fail to sell, entrepreneurs fail to attract funding, and careers fail to soar. That seems like a big price to pay for neglecting such a basic skill that anyone can improve upon.

There is hope for anyone who wants to improve at this critical career skill and, according to the Prezi survey, plenty of people want help. Seventy-five percent of those who give presentations say they would like to be better at presenting and to ‘captivate the audience.’ One way to improve presentation skills is simply to watch great presentations. Thanks to sites like TED.com, anyone with an Internet connection and a computer or mobile device can watch the world’s most awe-inspiring presentations delivered in 18-minutes.

Cont. at Forbes.com

 

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On October 8, 2014 in Atlanta at Xamarin’s Evolve conference, I delivered a talk titled: “Unleash Your Inner Evangelist”.

If you watch it, what will you get?

You will:

  • Experience a compelling story about how nervous I was during my first high-stakes professional presentation.
  • Be guided through a visualization that will help you feel less nervous (or not at all) during your next high-stakes presentation.
  • Learn the elements of a high-impact story that will engage your audience’s attention and make your message sticky.
  • Understand how to structure your presentation so that your message is clear and memorable and ensure that your audience pays attention.

It’s one hour and 15 minutes long, so, if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, skip ahead to 47:27 where Pavan volunteers to be coached in front of a room of about 100 strangers.  It’s pretty magical how this guy transforms in front of the room.  I was so proud.

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Denise Green of Brilliance Inc.

 

Fragile Beginnings

Recently, a client of mine told me he was a little embarrassed about taking criticism personally. He felt that, at his level in the organization, he should have tougher skin, so to speak.

I asked him, “So, do you think you’re unusual for taking criticism personally?”

I assured him that every client I’ve ever worked with, no matter how amazing, successful, and outwardly confident they appear, feels the sting of criticism.

And there are good reasons why. One is that they care; they want to do excellent work and be seen as capable, competent, well-intentioned people. But there’s a deeper reason: humans are biologically wired to take things personally.

Human beings are one of the only animals on the planet who are dependent on others for more than a decade after birth. Sea turtles, for example, are born alone in the sand and left to dodge predators while scurrying for the deep. Only a fraction of the turtles make it, yet there are no turtle psychologists or self-help books for the survivors—just hard shells.

As infants we learn how to connect and communicate so we get basic care. As a result of this early fragility, nearly every human suffers at some level from two basic fears: I’m not good enough, and I will never be loved.

These fears plague us to varying degrees depending on our upbringing and our current mental and emotional state (e.g. how much sleep we’ve had, or how much stress we feel).

Some people try to develop virtual hard shells so they feel the sting less intensely or less often, but there’s a significant cost to this approach. Because we can’t filter which emotions we feel, we sacrifice real connection with all our emotions. They risk losing the ability to authentically and fully connect with other people. They risk losing the ability to feel joy and meaning.

There’s a better way to deal with these universal fears.

Here are steps you can take to develop emotional resilience:

1. Notice & Name:

Instead of immediately attaching negative meaning to your reaction, just notice it and name it for what it is—your adaptive “I’m not enough” story.

Then take a deep breath and

2. Assess:

Ask yourself,

  • How have I personalized this in ways that aren’t grounded in facts? (e.g., what assumptions am I making?)
  • How might this person be triggered? (What might they fear?)
  • How can I respond to their best intention with the best in me, and mitigate their fear?
  • What piece of the criticism resonates and how can I use it to grow?

3. Re-Orient:

Remind yourself of the truth. Come up with your own handy mantra that’s easy to remember and brings you a sense of relief from the “unworthy” story. It could be as simple as “This is just a story that no longer serves me.” I have one client that tells her inner infant to “Shut up.”

4. Be Transparent (Without being emotional):

Be honest with others and say something like “I realize that I’m taking this personally and I don’t think that’s your intent.” Then take a breath and respond from the part of you that knows that you are both divine.

5. Thank Them

Yes, thank them for their criticism. While it may not take courage to anonymously blast someone online, when someone shares their perceptions about us directly, it’s a gift, even if it wasn’t shared in the most gracious way.

No Shame Required

The more you practice these steps the easier it will be to shift your emotional state to one that’s more authentically confident, where you confidently assess your strengths and weaknesses without judgment.

The Antidote

Now that you know that the rest of humankind is taking things personally too, why not give someone some genuine praise today? Trust me, they don’t hear it enough. Start with yourself.

Books and articles:

This may be the best article ever written about how fear triggers our brain and what to do about it.

“No matter what problem might arise in a relationship, the first step toward solving it generally involves redirecting your attention — usually outward to the other person.”

- Winefred Galagher, RAPT

 

photo credit: woodleywonderworks and Celestine Chua

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CMO.com has some good basics to better storytelling via Kevin Spacey – yes, that Kevin Spacey:

“Isn’t good storytelling just luck and a guessing game?” he asked. “No. Good content marketing is not a crap shoot—it has always been about the story.”

Then Spacey shared his three key elements that make better stories:

1. Conflict: “Conflict creates tension and keeps people engaged, and the best stories are filled with characters that take risks and court drama,” Spacey said. “It’s the decisions that characters make in the face of these challenges that keep us glued to our seats.”

It’s also true in advertising, he suggested, noting Nike’s ability to play off the tensions found amid our own aspirations. “They channel the voice in the back of our heads—get your ass off the couch,” he said.

Illustrating from his own life, Spacey described the past 10 years of his life working as artistic director of the Old Vic theatre, in London, as one of the most fulfilling periods of his life. “I am a better actor today than when I started,” he said.

Tradition held that instead of the theater, Spacey should have kept making movies and lots of money for his agents. But he decided that tackling the unexpected would be more rewarding. This holds true for the stories we tell, as well. “Our stories become richer, and become far more interesting, when they go against the settled order of things to achieve the unexpected,” Spacey said.

2. Authenticity: Spacey’s next point was a vote for authenticity and truth in storytelling. The actor recalled the time Volkswagen first began selling the Beetle in the U.S. The German manufacturer took some risks by bucking the big-car trend. But rather than hide the Beetle’s small dimensions, it emphasized cost and parking advantages in a successful advertising program.

“Yes, I’m cheaper, more economical, and squeeze into any space I want!” Spacey said. “The truth? Face up to it. Consumers appreciate this authenticity.”

Continue story at CMO.com>>

Our Resource for Super Storytelling >>

Photo Credit: Paul Hudson

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