Heat waves and mindsets

It has been very, very hot in my hometown over the past week. People are hiding in their basements, seeking out air conditioned venues, and generally doing as little as possible.  Men, women, children, and animals alike are sticky, sweaty, itchy, and irritable. This is affecting not only how people are saying their message, but…

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Shiny Topic Syndrome

“Well, yes, the talk was rough.  I needed all those notes, and I had to read from them because I thought of a much better thing to talk about at the last minute and changed the whole presentation. I didn’t have time to practice the new material.”   No, no, no, no, NO!  Naughty speaker!…

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Happy announcements!

A delightful change has happened in my household!  The change was anticipated but the timing was a bit unexpected. You see, I had planned on spending the next couple of weeks getting a huge amount of housework, cooking, and writing done so that I could be “ready” for when our lovely new baby arrived. Baby…

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The case for rhetoric

Oustide of miming, rhetoric could be one of the most maligned arts out there. It’s derision has become built into our language: “That argument is purely rhetorical.” “It’s all just rhetoric.” “Rhetorically speaking…” The funny thing is that most of us don’t actually understand what the word means.  We toss it around to mean arguing…

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Early to rise, first to speak

I am an early riser.  Or rather, I pretend to be an early riser.   My alarm goes off at 5:05 a.m. I start drag myself out of bed with varying degrees of success. This morning I assiduously avoided hitting the snooze button, immediately hauled myself up, and staggered straight into the wall on the…

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Experts of Everything

Don’t be intimidated by the level of prestige of your audience members. Just because a room is filled with C-level execs doesn’t mean they are collectively CEO of Everything. Speaking to a crowd of academics and researchers? Don’t cower before their gigantic brains.  I’ve met plenty of PhDs that couldn’t find their backsides with both…

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Throwing caution to the wind? Think twice.

There are times to take risks and times to play it safe. I write frequently about taking risks with your content. Experiment. Try something new. Put yourself out there. If it doesn’t work, do a quick post-mortem, figure out what happened, then try again before the fear monster takes over and chokes you. A caveat…

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In praise of flexibilty

We need to exercise a fair amount of flexibility if we are going to get our message out there. I’m not just talking about flexibility in terms of how you express yourself, or to who you direct your art, or even the content of the art (whatever your art may be).  I’m talking about flexibility…

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White Space

You may have noticed a shift in the way documents and emails have been formatted. Once upon a time, the mighty indent ruled the start of every paragraph. Now the indent has been largely supplanted by an empty line. I am not entirely sure where or why this trend began. At first, it seemed confined…

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Your audience doesn’t know everything that you know

I was at a convention this weekend, and while in the venue’s public bathroom I heard someone say something really familiar: “I don’t know what I’m going to stay on the panel. I don’t know why I said I’d do this. I’m going to start babbling and everyone there will think I’m an idiot.” So…

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