Improve Your Speeches

I could have used these three steps to better speeches a few days ago. I’m always looking for techniques to be a better public speaker.

First, step out from behind the podium and choreograph your relationship to the audience.

Second, listen to your audience.

Finally, focus on your emotional intentions for approximately three minutes before important meetings and speeches.

Practice these three shortcuts to effective leadership communications and watch the bar go up — way up — on your performances.

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Are You Multitasking or Are You Juggling? One Can Be Productive, the Other is Not

There is a reason why sometimes I work with my door closed. It is not to be mean, it is not to be anti social. It is because I need to think. While I’m all for spontaneous meetings when needed, people need to be more respectful of people’s work space.

About a year ago, I turned off all messaging services on my computer except for Skype where I’m Offline and I’ve put all alerts on my BB on mute, except for call from my boss when he’s travelling. I find my productivity went up in spades.

When we get down to it, it’s really a question of avoiding cognitive overload. Gina Trapani gets to the heart of the matter in this article and the video included in this article really hits the nail on the head as well.

When your brain switches its attention from one task to another, it takes time to get into a new train of thought. You lose any momentum you had on the first task, which costs you on the next switch. On the internet or in an office where distractions abound, switching tasks can cost hours. A recent study showed that office employees who were interrupted while they worked took an average of 25 minutes to get back to what they started.

When it comes to splitting your attention between tasks, remember the difference between multitasking and juggling. When you have the choice, stop juggling and get things done faster–one at a time.

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Luck. Is it Really a Question of Attitude?

Seneca said:

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Richard Wiseman said:

Those who think they’re unlucky should change their outlook and discover how to generate good fortune.

This article by Richard Wiseman, psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire and author of The Luck Factor (Century) reveals what his research on how outlook changes luck.

A decade ago, I set out to investigate luck. I wanted to examine the impact on people’s lives of chance opportunities, lucky breaks and being in the right place at the right time. After many experiments, I believe that I now understand why some people are luckier than others and that it is possible to become luckier.

Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches.

Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine.

Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune.

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Better Leaders Ask Better Questions

Nothing gets to the heart of things like discussions and nothing stimulates discussions like a great question!

Leaders who excel at asking good questions have honed an ability to cut to the heart of the manner in a way that disarms the person being interviewed and opens the door for genuine conversation.

  • Be curious.
  • Be open-ended.
  • Be engaged.
  • Dig deeper.

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Personal Knowledge Management: Cognitive Processing of Info for Innovation

While I have focused most of my research on Communities of Practice and Collective Expertise, I see a necessary co-existence of both these principles in order to ensure the most optimal results in advancing knowledge and practice.

We can seek out (aggregate) all the sources of information on any subject and share them with the world, but if we don’t make sense of them, they’re worthless.

PKM isn’t just collecting and filing  bits and pieces of information for later retrieval. There is an ongoing sense-making process that, through practice, develops cognitive skills. It’s knowledge management, not information or document management.

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7 Keys to Reading Faster

This is actually a blog post from last November from thinksimplenow.com. The irony was that I was so overwhelmed with all the reading I had to do for school at that time that I wasn’t reading my regular favourite blogs 😉

I will be trying out this technique!

Want to read faster?

In this article, I’m going to share the lessons I learned that doubled my reading rate, allowed me to consume over 70 books in a year and made me a smarter reader. I’m also going to destroy some speed-reading myths, to show you it isn’t magic but a skill anyone can learn.

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New position – Director of Operations at Aviation Strategies International

As of November 3rd 2008, I will be the new Director of Operations at Aviation Strategies International.

Aviation Strategies International‘s mission is to assist clients involved in the world aviation industry through the provision of value-added senior-level strategic advice, analysis and guidance aimed at solving the aviation-related management and operational problems faced by those clients. One of their key areas of focus is blended learning strategies with emphasis on eLearning and online communities of practice.

I’m very much looking forward to this challenge as this position will offer me the possibility to take my career to the next level. Not only will I have the opportunity to specialize myself in the field of aviation, but I also will be permitted to hone my skills, working on high calibre projects. I will be given the opportunity to innovate in the fields of educational technology and blended learning strategies.

True to form, my directors at Documedia were understanding and supportive of my decision. They are truly first class colleagues. I wish to note that I consider the 3 years I spent at Documedia as Director of Blended Learning Strategies to be a wonderful and enriching experience and I enjoyed collaborating with every member of the team. My decision to move on is purely based on the professional desire to take on a new challenge.

Defining the Consultant 2.0

A recent post entitled Dream to Reality: How I Quit My Day Job by Tina Su made me reflect on the evolution of my career vocation as well as life after the graduation—my thesis defence is tomorrow at noon. I have no plans to quite my day job any time soon. But I do want to make certain changes in order to be able to better balance my life and feel I’m getting the most out of it.

Tina Su seems to have made a vocation of blogging. She writes:

Through my quest to finding my passion, I discovered blogging as a platform where I can share ideas and lessons learned that are closest to my heart, as a way to serve others. For the first time in my life, I feel that I am living my life purpose.

I “digged” Tina Su’s blog post and remarked the following:

There is something to this blog post. I’m sort of halfway there – I’m working from home and blogging, developing a network and pursuing my passions on the side, planning for a moment where I can generate revenue with my opinion/online resources — it’s a kind of consultant 2.0. I most certainly appreciate the advice and tips.

Then of course, I got to thinking about what does consultant 2.0 mean? Has anyone else used this term? And how did they define it?

Noah D. Roth wrote a blog post in April 2007 entitled Consultant 2.0 where he gives a definition of what a Consultant 2.0 might be:

Today’s consultant- let’s call him Consultant 2.0- isn’t just looking for 3 years of consulting as a gateway to a line role in industry. […] Consultant 2.0, working 80 hours per week at 80% travel, doesn’t have time for a second full time job looking for their next career move. And his next move is likely to be less-traditional. He may sacrifice cash for equity. Having been a generalist for most of his consulting career, Consultant 2.0 isn’t going to the first client who makes him an offer. He is choosing an industry and a role, and developing deep relationships with his own firms alumni network, and the recruiters who can get him in the door.

Next, Leslie Bradshaw has a consultant 2.0 category for her blog, and though she never uses the term specifically, in one post entitled The rise of the “influential 2.0″ and the “strategist 2.0″ and the … ok, you get the point she writes:

The “strategist 2.0″ – Strategists and consultants — such as those from the political, PR and advertising phyla — who make their money leveraging the influence, relationships, fundraising potential, Word-of-Mouth marketing, etc. from “the blogs” (and other online media, groups, networks, outlets, and so on).

Next, I found a slideshare presentation created a month ago by Pat Kitano on How Web 2.0 and Internet Transparency is Changing Management Consulting:

Last Monday, Dion Hinchcliffe wrote in his Web 2.0 Blog that Web 2.0 remains the top word used to describe Internet trends. He discusses offspring terms such as Advertising 2.0, Law 2.0, Library 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and even Government 2.0 and remarks that:

At this point there are some that like to invoke Buzzword Bingo at such seemingly gratuitously coining of new terms, but I personally find this a crucially important point: The global network of the Web itself, which is shaped continually by the endless participation of hundreds of millions of users around the clock, is no more than a reflection of those that shape it (which are then shaped themselves by it.)  That the principles of Web 2.0 cross all disciplines, types of business, types of government, languages, as well as types of people and culture has fostered an interesting phenomenon.  Namely, each of these topical areas are in the various stages of translating how Web 2.0 transforms and improves what they do, from architectures of participation and harnessing collective intelligence to radical decentralization (with cloud computing being the most interesting new example) and open service ecosystems. (links in quote provided by Dion Hinchcliffe)

Google returned 7,540 results for “consultant 2.0”. There’s a machining calculator called Consultant 2.0. I don’t know why the author named it that way. Random.

I’m still not sure exactly what Consultant 2.0 really means yet, at least not for me. But if I try to define some common points, it involves:

  • using blogs and other social media tools to build a reputation as well as a network
  • sharing with others what I know, what I read, what I think, how I feel… by extension who I am
  • being transparent and accessible
  • having an opinion, recognizing other’s opinion, being able to compare and contrast them
  • a lot of reading and writing
  • being able to effectively evaluate information I find on the Web
  • being confident, yet humble
  • developing a balanced scorecard approach to evaluating the return on investment of the practices listed above that involves more then an immediate cash return

Anything else?

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Can a Goofball be Taken Seriously?

We all have our expressions. One of mine is goofball. It’s not too rude (mind you I’m careful about who I call a goofball), and kind of silly, and reminds me of this guy. Sometimes I use it with affection, sometimes with friendly sarcasm and sometimes when faced with adversity. I even refer to myself often as being a goofball, goofing off, goofing around, etc.

I like to laugh and make people laugh. I’m even goofy sometimes when I’m teaching; it’s my way of being entertaining. It doesn’t always go over well, not everyone appreciates my humour. But more often then not, it does. And people find me approachable because I’m not all stuck up, but rather a bit goofy. It’s like if you spend any amount of time with Thiagi, an ultimate goofball, you’ll hear him refer to himself as stupid. Of course, he’s goofing around.

However, I sometimes wonder if it might come across as unprofessional. Janet Clarey actually raises some important questions about how we perceive professionalism in a blog post about business communication.

But Chris Brogan got me really thinking about this with his blog post entitled The Importance of Being Funny. He displays, what I would characterize as, a picture of him being a goofball (Chris, I say that with the utmost respect 🙂 ). Chris tackles the issue of how funny is perceived and how it is sometimes necessary and how it impacts storytelling.

Ok, so every picture tells a story. A picture is worth a thousand words. Yadda3. So when my good friend Sonia decided to do a photoshoot for me a while back, we narrowed the best pics down to about 10. The picture on the left is the one I use 90% of the time when I have to submit a professional picture. The picture on the right is my friends’ favorite. Why? Well Sonia, the photographer, said it was the picture that captured me the best. It tells the best story about who is Kristina Schneider. My response was that these were business photos… I’m rethinking this right now.

Can you take a goofball headshot seriously?
Can you take a goofball headshot seriously?

 

Steve Woodruff wrote a blogpost entitled Your Personal Brand – Does it Matter? in which he argues:

People often question if they “need” a personal brand. Here’s the news – you already HAVE a personal brand. The only questions are, what is it? And are you projecting it effectively?

I think this is bang on.

But can goofballness be part of that brand or does it harm that brand?

Ultimately, can a goofball be taken seriously?

Or perhaps, how well known do you have to be before you can get away with being a goofball.

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