Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dare To Suck. Repeat. Dare To Suck. Repeat.

If you want to be good at what you do
"dare to suck".
So you want to be a master communicator, eh?
Here I am 4:04am learning about writing film scripts and realize the message in this "Dare to Suck" video post also applies to those who aspire to speak well. Dare to take four minutes, watch the video to get inspired in your craft -- whether you're a writer of a speaker. The point will be driven home.
Toastmasters is a laboratory where speakers can experiment without fear of failure or rejection. It's a place where they can "dare to suck".

Find the Story in Your Tables

Tables hide stories. You need to find those hidden stories. And, if you want others to see them in a PowerPoint (PPT) presentation you need to make those stories pop out -- loudly and clearly.

NET migration of Digby and Annapolis Counties in Nova Scotia
How many times have you seen a table like this in a PPT presentation?  What’s the story being told here? It’s not easy to tell. If this is part of a PPT presentation, your audience will likely be trying to figure out the table while you talk. What you show and what you say will both be ineffective.

Now, if we extract what is necessary (Digby and Annapolis), and in a way to make comparisons easy to see, a (disturbing) story unfolds. Both counties are generally seeing people leave in all age groups, but especially the 18-24 year olds. More people are leaving Digby county than Annapolis County.

Comparison of Digby and Annapolis County net migration.

Both the table and the graph tell the same story. The graph, however, shows only what is necessary and is visibly clearer.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prison Toastmasters

"How do you make people [inmates] better?" asks Louisiana Court of Appeals Judge Robert Downing -- so starts the video clip put together by This is inspiring stuff. These fellows have made mistakes in life and are paying the price. But they also want to change and become the person they aspire to be. There are lessons to be learned by all of us here.

Toastmaster Surge from Forgotten Voices
Angola Prison
Members of the Forgotten Voices Toastmasters at Angola Prison state that they did not know, at one time, how to communicate. With Toastmasters they learned empathy, listening skills and diplomacy. There was no need to "beat up on the other guy". 

"My communication skills were nil" says one. After watching this short film I am proud that Toastmasters has been a positive influence.

Toastmaster Ben from Forgotten Voices
Angola Prison

When 60 former inmates having gone through the Toastmaster program had only one re-arrest that tells heaps about what Toastmasters meant to these guys and about these former inmates.

I was impressed with eloquence of the speakers in the film. I'd love to see a follow up on "Prison Toastmasters". 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

About this blog.

This blog is about creative expression, public speaking, effective and powerful presentations. It is about making the complex simple; about making your message clear and understood whether you communicate to one person or to millions of people.

The blog explores various forms of communication such as oral, written, audio, film, and animation.