How do you stimulate innovation in your business or organization? The same way you get a kid to eat broccoli. You can’t get a kid to eat broccoli by pleading with him. Or by cajoling, or punishing, or even by withholding privileges. Telling him to “think outside the box” won’t work either. But you can lead him to broccoli — just as you can lead your business or organization to innovation. Learn how in the video.
Rick Perry and Joe Paterno both screwed up in very public ways. Can rhetoric help them recover their footing? You betcha. Here’s how.
Let’s start with Rick. I don’t particularly like his politics but I can certainly sympathize with his moment of brain freeze. Many a skilled communicator has run into the occasional communications barrier. It’s happened to me and I’m sure that it’s happened to you. Though we hold our presidential candidates to higher standards, we also want them to be normal people — more or less like us. In other words, someone we could have a beer with. So how does Rick recover? With self-deprecating humor. It’ll do him no good to get on his high horse and sound defensive (which is a mistake Herman Cain is making). He’ll do much better if he pokes fun at himself, acknowledges his mistake and moves on. He might even pretend to forget something in his next debate and then laugh, say “Just kidding”, and complete his thought. That would acknowledge his mistake while making light of it at the same time — exactly what he needs to do.
Joe, on the other hand, is in a much deeper bind and can’t turn to humor. He has to deal with the perception (true or not) that he could have stopped evil but did nothing instead. It will do him no good to argue the finer legal points. People aren’t going to give him credit for being right in a narrow legal sense. We want a leader to do the right thing, in the broadest, deepest sense. To reclaim his good name, Joe will have to use his persuasive skills to give a painful, and deeply felt apology. I could see him saying, “I’ve always believed that coaching is about teaching good values to young men and women. It’s about being a role model when life presents you with agonizing choices. And today, I’m going to teach one of the most painful lessons of my life — I didn’t do the right thing.” I think Joe still has a lot to teach us — but he needs to lead the way.
How is winning an argument different from winning a baseball game? In baseball, you have a winner and a loser. In an argument, you need more than just good communication skills — if you’re smart — you can have two winners. It all depends on how you play the game after you’ve “won”. Being a good winner this time will make you even more persuasive next time. Learn more in the video.
How nervous should you be when you start a speaking presentation? A little nervousness during a public speaking event can actually help you perform better. What does nervousness communicate to your audience? Mainly, it says that you’re taking them seriously and sincerely trying to do a good job. That builds credibility rather than reducing it. What should you do if you’re too nervous to make your presentation? Well, watch the video.
Many cultures around the world consider old people to be wiser than young people. Why would that be? It may be very simple — old people have forgotten a lot. They forget the details and the minutiae. They remember the important stuff. That’s also very good advice for creating powerful, persuasive presentations.
Get more tips for improving your verbal communication skills in the video.