by Terry Gault of The Henderson Group

Back in 1997, early in my own practice of getting certified to lead workshops for The Henderson Group, I had a significant epiphany.

It occurred to me that if I practiced daily the precepts and techniques that I was learning and starting to teach, it would make it much harder NOT to certify me.  In other words, if my daily practice was impeccable, it dramatically increased the likelihood that David Henderson, my mentor and boss, would certify me and I could start making money doing something I really enjoyed.

This one single idea has made more difference for me than perhaps any other.  And I see the same in my clients.  Those who are applying daily what they have learned in their work with The Henderson Group are making big strides in achieving mastery in how they represent themselves.

How does one incorporate daily practice?

One opportunity is with the practice of storytelling.  Once you embrace it and make a decision to practice it daily, you will start to see that you can use it in almost every conversation you have.  And once you start using it in daily conversation, the storytelling muscle gets very strong – like any other muscle gets stronger with daily use.

This idea of daily practice in storytelling takes at least two forms:

  1. You find yourself in the middle of a conversation and want to make a point with high impact.  Ask yourself: what story from my experience illustrates my point effectively?  When it occurs to you, tell the story.
  2. Anytime you find yourself in a conversation in any setting and a story comes to mind, tell it with relish and fun.
During a recent coaching engagement, a client was nervous about using a story to open his presentation which was coming up in a couple of hours.  He thought that he’d need more time to plan and prepare.  Thankfully, he came around to my point of view and delivered a very solid presentation using a fun opening story.  You can read more about that situation in our blog post titled: “‘Last moment’ story shifts how client represents himself at major conference”

Another opportunity for daily practice is the use of silence.  This may seem abstract at first – “How the heck do I practice silence?”  First start with replacing all your verbal fillers (uh, uh, you know, like, etc.) with silence.  As you ponder what word or phrase is next, be silent rather than filling the space with verbal fillers that make you seem less articulate and less sure of yourself and your message.  Silence creates tension.  You’ll find that people start hanging on your words, waiting to hear what comes after the silence.

If you are unsure how to respond to a question or request, practice using silence.  You’ll be amazed at how often someone else jumps in to answer the question.  The person making the request may temper their request or back away from it.  You’ll come up with more intelligent responses because you gave yourself time to consider your response before blurting the first thing that came to mind.

A third opportunity would be the use of metaphor.  Using metaphor in your daily speech will help you develop a new part of your brain – the right hemisphere.  Our right hemisphere is the side that sees patterns.  Pattern recognition is needed to see the relationship between 2 different things which is the very skill needed to create effective metaphors.

A fourth opportunity is to think about presenting ideas even if you have no concrete plan or reason to present them.  This will accelerate all the skills discussed here.

An example of this occurred to me on a recent run.  For some reason, a hilarious story about Tom Jones, the pop singer, came to mind that I’d read in an interview in the SF Chronicle in 1989.   (Don’t ask me why I thought of it during a run.  Years ago, I gave up trying to figure out why my mind brings up seemingly unrelated trivia .)

By this point in his career, Tom Jones was 49 years old and was singing to middle-aged or older fans.  It had become a custom for such women women to express their … admiration for Tom by throwing their underwear on stage.

The interviewer asked Mr. Jones whether he ever has problems with the husbands of the women who throw their underwear onto the stage during his performances.

“One night a woman came down to the stage to retrieve an undergarment and I gave her a big kiss. I asked her name, and if she was married. She said ‘yes’ and pointed out her husband at a nearby table. I explained to him that the kiss was all in fun and that I hoped he hadn’t taken offense. He just smiled and said, ‘Look, you pump up the tires, and I’ll ride the bike.’”

So, during my run, I thought, “What if I wanted to use that joke/story during a conversation.  How would I set it up?”  It occurred to me that it would be most effective to poll the audience first with something like, “How many of you know who Tom Jones is?”

Then I might sing a snippet of a song (“It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone …”) to help younger people realize who Tom Jones is.

As I was going through this process in my mind, it occurred to me: “This is what daily practice is – daydreaming about how I might set up a Tom Jones joke even though I have no idea when I might ever use this story.”

Here are a few more examples of techniques that can be practiced daily:

The fundamental point I am making here is that when you incorporate these techniques into your daily practice, they eventually become muscle memory.  Once that occurs, you can respond effectively in high stakes conversations even when you have had no time to prepare.

Once you can do that, you have reached the highest level of mastery … and you’ll be able to relate a Tom Jones joke with aplomb.

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April 9-10, 2015 in San Francisco with Terry Gault

Mastering Your Presentation Style

Building rapport with an audience and moving them to action requires the ability to confidently present information that convinces and engages even the most skeptical customer. This intensive work educates and motivates participants to deliver high-impact presentations.

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.

The results of this work:

  • Competently present ideas and information to groups of people
  • Energize and persuade audiences using stories and metaphors
  • Effectively communicate with peers, superiors and customers
  • Move business objectives forward by quickly engaging with customers and colleagues and creating influence.

Specific Skills Mastered:

  • Using voice, gesture, movement, presentation structure, stories and metaphor for powerful presentations
  • Helping audiences learn through use of examples, associations and images
  • Turning fear into excitement through creative visualization
  • Structuring presentations for maximum impact
  • Engaging listeners and increasing audience attention span.

 

Please contact Chuck Kuglen at 415.292.7587 for more information or leave us message below and we will contact you:

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by Terry Gault of The Henderson Group & Einstein Films

Here is the 4th video EinsteinFilms.com produced in the Fone Follies series that humorously demonstrate the BluBed headset holsters.

David Hurwitz (who hired us to produce “Doug Serena, CIO” when he was CMO at Serena Software) is the gent behind this new product.

Vince Yap delivers a terrific performance as Bob, who isn’t yet clued-in to the benefits of being #HandsfreeEverywhere.

About Einstein Films

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Some helpful reminders on communication, as useful at work, as at home, from psychology.com.

How to rein in an argument before you both lose it.

On the back cover of Rob Kendall’s Blamestorming: Why Conversations Go Wrong and How to Fix Them (Watkins Publishing) (link is external), is this snippet of conversation:

“I’m not arguing. I’m just explaining why you’re wrong…”

Been there, lived through that, changed husbands.

Blamestorming (link is external), a wonderful little book, contains many tips that probably wouldn’t have helped my ex-husband and me, because it was already too late for us. But if your own conversations edge too often into useless blame-affixing, crossed wires, and major arguments from what might have been minor disagreements, I urge you to consider the following 5 tips—or to read the book itself:

1. Think before speaking.

This sounds so basic that it’s actually banal, and yet most of the time, most of us don’t do it. We respond to each other mindlessly, in knee-jerk fashion, and only later realize that maybe what we said wasn’t true or helpful. (That applies to email, too, of course.)

2. Focus on solving issues, not blaming.

Unless you want your conversations to escalate into endless, pointless arguments, remember that you’re on the same team—that is, you both would prefer it if you were both happy rather than frustrated.

3. Watch out for your own “Yes, but’s…”

When you say, “Yes, but,” you ignore the other person’s perspective and push your own. The “yes” part means you want the other person to believe you’re taking their needs into consideration, but you’ve likely barely given them enough time to take them seriously before counter-proposing.

4.  Separate the facts from the story in your head.

When something bad is going on—your job is at risk, or you and your partner are locked into the same blaming conversation repeatedly—you can lighten the negativity by remembering that some of what you’re thinking and saying is a story in your mind and may not be reality. For example, when my husband would leave his keys in the front door, I learned to get my security needs met by owning my own story: “I was raised to be fearful, so when you leave your keys there, I get really anxious and start imagining what might happen. Could you please make a point of double-checking that your keys aren’t in the keyhole?”

5. Take a short time-out.

When you find yourself embroiled in a trivial, detail-laden conversation that’s only getting more and more uncomfortable, say you need to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. You’re not walking out, bailing out, quitting, or withdrawing—you just need to have a breather so you can resume the conversation more reasonably later on.

Blamestorming (link is external) is a handy little book with numerous very clear, helpful examples of conversations gone wrong. Highly recommended for couples, families, and anyone who ever talks to anyone at work or socially.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Susan K. Perry, author of Kylie’s Heel (link is external).

photo credit: search engine people blog

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11 Body Positions and Gestures That Can Improve Your Performance by Inc.com

Sure, you control your body. But your body can also control you. Simple gestures, simple postures — each can make a dramatic impact on how you think, feel, and act. Best of all you don’t have to be a yogi or athlete — you can just be you. Only now you will be a better you. — Jeff Haden

 

Be More Determined by Crossing Your Arms

Oddly enough, crossing your arms will make you stick with an “unsolvable” problem a lot longer – and will make you perform better on solvable problems. Which is definitely cool, because persistence is a trait most successful entrepreneurs possess in abundance. Whenever you feel stuck, try folding your arms against your torso. Who knows what solutions might result?

Be More Creative by Lying Down

According Australia National University professor Dr. Darren Lipnicki, lying down can lead to creative breakthroughs. “It might be that we have our most creative thoughts while flat on our back,” he says. One reason might be that more of the chemical noradrenaline is released while we’re standing, and noradrenaline could inhibit our ability to think creatively. Now you have a great excuse to lay back and think.

Smile to Reduce Stress

Frowning, grimacing, and other negative facial expressions signal your brain that whatever you are doing is difficult. Your body responds by releasing cortisol, which raises your stress levels. Stress begets more stress begets and in no time you’re a hot mess. Here’s the cure: make yourself smile. You’ll feel less stress even if nothing else about the situation changes. And there’s a bonus: when you smile other people feel less stress, too. Which, of course, will reduce your stress levels. Go ahead: kill two stresses with one smile.

Mimic Others to Understand Their Emotions

Sounds strange, but research shows that imitating other people’s nonverbal expressions can help you understand they emotions they are experiencing. Since we all express our emotions nonverbally, copying those expressions affects our own emotions due to an “afferent feedback mechanism.” In short: mimic my expressions and you’ll better understand how I feel – which means you can better help me work through those feelings. Plus mimicking facial expressions (something we often do without thinking) makes the other person feel the interaction was more positive.

Take an Angle to Reduce Conflict

When tensions are high standing face to face can feel confrontational. When what you have to say may make another person feel challenged, shift your feet slightly to stand or sit at an angle. And if you’re confronted don’t back away. Just shift to that slight angle. You’ll implicitly reduce any perceived confrontation and may make an uncomfortable conversation feel less adversarial.

Continued at Inc.com >>

photo credit: josephleenovak

 

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Incredibly smart people aren’t always born that way, but rather are constantly working to improve their intelligence. Here are 7 ways that you can get smart fast in a great post from Inc.com

From the time you were little, your parents told you to be smart. Most people want to consider themselves smart; certainly no one likes to feel stupid. But sadly, it’s difficult to determine if you were acting smart in a given situation until the time has passed, and of course, then it’s too late. This delayed realization is where the physical act of slapping oneself in the forehead originally developed.

Being smart is not just about being intelligent. Lord knows the world has witnessed plenty of intelligent people do really stupid things. Incredibly smart people are also prone to moments of idiocy, but they do tend to act smarter most of the time. Here is how they do it and you can as well.

1. Focus less on yourself and more on the people around you.

Many people go through life thinking mostly about themselves. Sure, there are truly altruistic people, but most are relatively self-centered. Incredibly smart people understand that it’s the people around you that generate support and opportunities, provided you show them your capacity to make it about them. In any given situation, listen first and consider how you can improve the lives of those in your purview. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the positive force you create for your own objectives.

2. Consider yourself the least informed in the room.

When you walk into the room thinking you are the smartest, your mind is closed to infinite possibilities. Incredibly smart people love to position themselves as ignorant. That way they are open to the learning adventure ahead. If you start by thinking that you don’t have the right answers, in the best case you’ll gain the truth and in the worst case you’ll verify your accuracy.

3. Always be questioning.

Many people think they can show their smartness by providing answers all the time. Incredibly smart people know that people can truly assess your intelligence by the questions you ask. The trick is to make sure the questions you ask are truly inquisitive, looking for new answers–not just a ploy to make a statement or get your point across.

4. Look for something new every day.

It’s easy to stagnate and get into a rut thinking you have seen it all before. Incredibly smart people know that the world is way too large and too complex to master in a single lifetime. Just the act of looking for one new thing to learn each day will increase your sensitivity to all that you never before considered.

5. Concentrate on the knowledge you lack instead of the knowledge you have.

It’s fascinating how seemingly learned people can appear so dense at times. They like to make people think they are smart by readily quoting facts and figures or pontificating over a given subject. But often they lack the nuance that means the difference between competence and brilliance. Incredibly smart people see any obtained knowledge merely as a bridge to learning even more. They know the learning process is a never-ending journey to be enjoyed over a lifetime. Congratulate yourself briefly on each step in the journey, then bear down and learn more.

6. Explore the origin of everything.

Everything, no matter how simple, has a most wondrous story. Incredibly smart people find fascination in the most mundane of items and industries. Explore the world with open eyes and you’ll gain incredibly useful knowledge from the most surprising places.

7. Hang out with the smartest people you can comprehend.

For many, it’s wonderfully ego-satisfying to be the smartest person in the room. Incredibly smart people prefer to be in the company of those who can share powerful insights. Find people who challenge you and stretch your thinking. The joy of learning far outweighs the praise of being right.

 

photo credit: infrogmation of new orleans

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In my view, they’ve left out two of my personal all-time favorites. Dustin Hoffman won the Oscar for Best Actor in “Kramer vs. Kramer” released in 1979.  His candor and heartfelt sentiments have stuck with me since I first saw in in 1980. It’s cool to see a very young Meryl Streep who won her very first Oscar playing Hoffman’s wife.

John Patrick Shanley, one of my favorite playwrights, who won for Best Screenplay for “Moonstruck” in 1988, delivers an all-time classic. It’s notable that Cher won Best Actress for her performance in the film.

Presentations that left a lasting impression with the audience and television viewers

Aside from the winners and the glitz and glamour of all that’s Hollywood, the most memorable part of the Academy Awards® is the acceptance speeches. Good or bad, what is said on stage will be remembered and live eternally on YouTube. In advance of Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, Toastmasters International, the global organization devoted to communication and leadership skills development, selects the six speeches below (in chronological order) as the most memorable in Oscar history:

Seemingly unfazed by the orchestra’s walk-off music, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s excitement brought his fellow actors to their feet as he accepted the Best Supporting Actor award in 1997 for his role in “Jerry Maguire.”

Accepting the Best Original Screenplay trophy for “Good Will Hunting” in 1998, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon made the most of the short time they had to give their joint speech. The pair thanked those involved with the film, including their families and the city of Boston, all in about one minute.

When Robin Williams won Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Good Will Hunting,” he displayed both enthusiasm and sincerity. The late comedian closed his speech by thanking his father, who, when Williams said he wanted to be an actor, told him, “Wonderful, just have a back-up profession like welding.”

Roberto Benigni went wild, climbing over and standing on audience seats as he made his way to the stage when he won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for “Life is Beautiful” in 1999. When he arrived at the podium, he inspired the audience with his passion and graciousness.

As she accepted her third Academy Award – second for Best Actress – for her work in “The Iron Lady” in 2012, Meryl Streep quipped, “When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no! Oh, c’mon why? Her? Again?’” She later went on to thank her old and new friends for her wonderful career.

When Matthew McConaughey won the Best Actor Oscar in 2014 for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club,” he described the three things he needs each day: 1. Something to look up to. 2. Something to look forward to. 3. Someone to chase.

Toastmasters International offers these proven tips for delivering a powerful acceptance speech for any type of award:

  • Show your personality. Your acceptance speech should come from the heart.
  • Be gracious. Acknowledge the good work done by your competitors and thank the organization that selected you for the award.
  • Show excitement. You don’t have to climb over chairs like Roberto Benigni, but the audience should recognize that you’re happy to have won the award.
  • Be modest. Your acceptance speech should be heartfelt but not self-congratulatory.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Rehearse with a timer, memorize key people to thank and allow time for the unexpected.

To find a local club where you can improve your next presentation, visit www.toastmasters.org/findaclub.

About Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.

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by Chuck Kuglen of The Henderson Group

We often forget in communications, certainly I can say this as I’ve worked with even a couple billionaires who represent themselves (sometimes) as a bit more than they are, that being “too” good just does not work for anyone.

Living in this time in the Bay Area, we all know tons of super successful (monetary-wise) people. Often, at least I’ve seen this, they represent themselves as a bit more than who they really are (as people, salespeople, CEOs, whatever). Especially if you know them on a personal level before or after you worked with them. Or before they became a “big deal.” I always find that one very telling.

Brian Williams offers a current story to highlight this conundrum.

So, here’s to all those humble folks out there. Those who realize that it’s not always their success or money within a structure or corporation (especially when they work for Twitter, Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, VMWare, one of the giants) that is driving how much money they make. Or how much recognition they’ve gotten.

 

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Nancy Duarte, an American writer, speaker, and CEO has uncovered a remarkable ‘secret’.

In Duarte’s study of the work of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and other source material, she uncovered a presentation structure that she believes can make any presentation memorable, create emotional responses, and drive audiences to take action.

She discovered that Steve Jobs presentation launching the first iPhone and Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech both use this structure.

She is well known for her three best-selling books, which include Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, and the “HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.” as the CEO of Duarte Design, the largest design firm in Silicon Valley. Duarte worked with Al Gore on the documentary slide show known as An Inconvenient Truth.

 

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Here is the second video EinsteinFilms.com produced in the Fone Follies series that humorously demonstrate the BluBed headset holsters.

David Hurwitz (who hired us to produce “Doug Serena, CIO” when he was CMO at Serena Software) is the gent behind this new product.

Vince Yap delivers a terrific performance as Bob, who isn’t yet clued-in to the benefits of being #HandsfreeEverywhere.

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