Communication

How Cutting Corners Can Kill You

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I’m writing this from an airport frequent flyer lounge. In my business as a professional speaker, I spend a lot of time in airports, and I consider the annual investment I make in these frequent flyer lounges to be almost a necessity. Like most of my colleagues, I do so much work in airports while waiting for flights that it’s particularly important to have a comfortable place to relax, plug in the computer, have a cup of tea or glass ...

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Breaking Out of “Home Base”

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It’s not an absolute rule, but Beatles fans tend to fall into one of two camps: those who favor the early Beatles (She Loves You through roughly the Help! album) and those who prefer the later Beatles (say, Rubber Soul through Abbey Road). It pretty much depends on which iteration of the band you grew up with (or encountered initially, for those of you who weren’t lucky enough to catch them the first time around). Although I’m a huge fan ...

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The Beatles and Great Teams

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If you’re trying to create a great team, you may want to keep in mind some of the traits that made the Beatles one of the greatest teams in recent history:

  1. Diverse, yet complementary, skill sets. Guitars were a crucial element of the Beatles success, yet Ringo Starr was a terrible guitar player. Guitar playing wasn’t a skill set that Ringo brought to the game. Instead, he was the perfect drummer for the band. John Lennon may have been a musical ...
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What’s Your Focus?

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I have a friend who is really struggling in his business right now. He works for himself, and when the phone was ringing life was good. But the phone hasn’t been ringing for a couple of years now, and he doesn’t know how to turn things around. He said to me the other day, “I’m doing everything I can think of, putting in ten hours a day trying to build the business, but nothing seems to be working.” And it’s ...

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Where the Great Ideas Come From

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How often do you come up with a brilliant, innovative idea that changes the shape of your industry? The Beatles did it all the time. How? Partly by being continuously open to new ideas, no matter where they may come from. Let’s take a look at the genesis of two landmark Beatles songs: John Lennon’s I Am the Walrus and Paul McCartney’s Penny Lane.

John Lennon was sitting at his home in Weybridge, England one day when he happened to hear ...

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Where To Find Personal Stories

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If you know anything at all about me and my speaking style, you know that I am a huge, huge fan of humorous personal stories! I think they are, hands down, the best way to add humor to your speech or presentation. I like them better than jokes, funny quotes, and cartoons. Why? Because they are unique, memorable, bombproof, and a small handful of stories will cover you in a surprisingly large number of situations!

In my coaching and consulting sessions ...

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The Power of Personal Stories

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Most people who know me as a speaker, consultant, or coach know two things about me:

  1. I love humor!
  2. I hate jokes!

Don’t get me wrong: I like hearing a good joke; I’m just not a big fan of their use on the platform. I think there’s a much more powerful resource for humor available to the speaker, and it’s called the personal story.

In my experience, personal stories—or personal anecdotes, if you prefer—have several convincing advantages over jokes, and I’d like to explore ...

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3 Reasons NOT to Use Jokes in Your Presentation!

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We hear it all the time: if you want to get the big bucks, you’ve got to use humor in your presentations. Even if you’re not in it for the money—humor definitely helps you to get your point across.

There’s no question that if you give presentations in front of an audience, humor should be one of the big hammers in your speaking toolkit. For some people (the lucky ones!), this comes quickly and easily. The rest of us have to ...

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Linking Your Stories to Your Message

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There are many compelling reasons to use humorous stories in your presentations. They make you more likeable, they make you more memorable, they help you generate higher fees, etc. But as far as your audience is concerned, there is only one reason: you use humorous stories to further your point! That’s it! You’re not using them to get a laugh, because getting a laugh is about you, the speaker. Using a humorous story to help get your point across is ...

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