Getting Over Yourself

August 28, 2010

” ‘Blank’ ‘airheads’ ” really isn’t specific

Filed under: Observations,Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 12:29 pm
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I’ve cleaned up this sidewalk message a bit and believe I can still make the point.

We’re often admonished to be succinct, get to the point, don’t be too wordy. And “blank airheads” certainly falls in that category.  However, it’s way too open to interpretation to be effective.

First, it’s rare that anyone self-designates as an ‘airhead.’ And probably even less so with the actual word. So, while there may be those that agree that ‘airheads’ should be ‘blanked’ the will just go right over the head of the intended recipient.

Next, there are some who might consider ‘blanking’ to be a good thing and also miss the point. And by being so unspecific, the message could even be interpreted as an invitation by the writer.

On another sidewalk in another part of the city I saw this much more specific message: ” ‘Blank’ you.” Short, to the point, much harder to misinterpret, and more direct.

When you’re giving a presentation. Even if you’re being succinct, make sure your message isn’t so generic your audience can assume someone else is the intended target. As you close your presentation, rather than use the broad brush of saying “everyone should,” or “everyone needs to,” get the attention of each person in the audience by saying “you.” They may not do what you’ve asked, but they’re more likely to listen and consider your point.

August 20, 2010

Bruce Willis, “Any idea when you’ll be getting to the point?”

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:30 am
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Bruce, as an actor in a movie, can carry this off. As audience members, we sometimes feel like asking the speaker that question but we’re not in a movie and there may be consequences if we do ask.

Not much you can do as an audience member, but as a speaker you can make sure your audience doesn’t feel like asking you that question. Figure out your point before you start speaking so you can make it in short order. And even if you didn’t make it in short order, if they asked you for your point you wouldn’t be stumped.

Anxiety, fear of failure, fear of not being perfect, fear of forgetting, fear of not making a good impression, lack of focus, a desire to be heard and any number of other things can distract you from heading to your point. So, those have to be put on the back burner. Know your point and get to it and avoid hearing Bruce’s question.

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