April 29, 2015

Body Language

One of the many things that interest me is learning how to interpret body language. I realize it is more of an art than a science, but hey - if it can help me better understand how someone is communicating, then so much the better! So here are a few hints I picked up:
  1. Pupils
    When people are interested or in favor of something, their pupils involuntarily dilate. When not interested or "closed off" their pupils constrict.
  2. Hand Steeple
    (Placing the fingers together, forming a steeple.) People use this to denote strength or confidence. Used too much, however, it comes across as arrogance.
  3. Deceptive Touch
    Quick gesturing to facial features (such as touching the nose or ear) may denote deception or lack of surety. If the touch lingers or the whole hand is used (a la rubbing a beard or chin), they are pondering trust in what or who they hear.

April 21, 2015

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo

In my never-ending quest to pick up every tip and trick to good public presentations, I ran across this book. It is, by far, not the best book I've read, though it has very high ratings and accolades. Well, to each his own, I guess. Below is a summary of the main points.


Setting the Stage
Successful presentations closely resemble the structure of a three-act play.

Act 1: Creating the Story
You must have a gripping narrative that engages your listeners.
  1. Scene 1: Plan in Analog
    • Think out exactly what you want to say.
    • Write a presentation plan and create a storyboard.
    • Carefully sketch your ideas and script your speech as completely as possible.
    • Spend 90 hours preparing a 1-hour presentation, mostly in research and planning.
  2. Scene 2: Answer the One Question that Matters Most
    • Why should your listener care about your idea?
    • Deliver the answer early to engage quickly and make therm eager to hear more.
  3. Scene 3: Develop a Messianic Sense of Purpose
    • "We're here to put a dent in the universe."
  4. Scene 4: Create Twitter-like Headlines
    • People remember short, to-the-point headlines.
  5. Scene 5: Draw a Roadmap
    • Create a verbal roadmap that shows exactly where you plan to take them.
  6. Scene 6: Introduce the Antagonist
    • Include villains in your presentation.
    • Communicate how your product or service will eliminate them.
  7. Scene 7: Reveal the Conquering Hero
    • Detail the problems of your industry.
    • Lay out your vision of how your new offering will vastly improve the landscape.

Act 2: Delivering the Experience
You must create visually appealing and "must-have" experiences.
  1. Scene 1: Channel Their Inner Zen
    • Keep things simple and elegant.
  2. Scene 2: Dress Up your Numbers
    • They have little meaning unless placed in context.
  3. Scene 3: Use "Amazingly Zippy" Words
    • Don't bog down your presentation with jargon. Instead use words which convey the emotion of your offering.
  4. Scene 4: Share the Stage
    • Don't be afraid to share the limelight.
  5. Scene 5: Use Props
    • Involve as many of your audience as possible.
  6. Scene 6: Share a Startling Moment
    • During your presentation, plan special and startling moments to wow.

Act 3: Redefining and Rehearsing
Even the greatest presentation will fall flat if you don't practice it to perfection.
  1. Scene 1: Master Stage Presence
    • Maintain eye contact with the audience at all times.
    • Don't hide behind a lectern.
    • Keep open posture.
    • Constantly gesture and change the tone, inflection, volume, and tempo of your words.
  2. Scene 2: Make it Look Effortless
    • Each presentation should be the result of weeks of prep.
  3. Scene 3: Wear the Appropriate "Costume"
    • Always dress appropriately for the crowd.
  4. Scene 4: Toss the Script
    • Reading from scripts distances you from your audience.
    • Practice so that eventually only one or two main words from your script will allow you to recall sentences.
  5. Scene 5: Have Fun
    • Don't just educate: entertain.
    • If a problem occurs, acknowledge, smile, and continue.
    • Enjoy yourself!

April 14, 2015

10 Reasons You Have to Quit Your Job in 2014 by James Altucher

I want to preface this post with a few things. Firstly, I realize it is no longer 2014, but the year is ultimately not the point of the article, which is posted here. The point is to make you aware of your place in the scheme of things.

Secondly, I was so blown away with the concepts and delivery of Mr. Altucher (and continue to be, when I read his articles) that it actually took several months and many re-readings to figure out how to accurately capture what he was saying in summary.

I consider this to be, hands down, one of the most influential articles I read in all of 2014; it played a huge role in how I re-positioned myself last year to start working for my own goals.

You need to quit your job and build a foundation for your life soon, or you will have no roof.
  1. The Middle-Class is Dead
    • They are being hollowed out.
    • More people have become upper-class, but there are more lower-class than ever.
    • The 'American Dream' was a marketing scam.
  2. You've Been Replaced
    • Technology, outsourcing, contract positions are replacing the middle-class.
    • Most jobs from 20 years ago are no longer needed.
  3. Corporations Don't Like You
    • They destroy the career aspirations of their most talented people.
  4. Money is not Happiness
    • Studies show that salary increase only offers marginal (to zero, even) increase in happiness above a certain point.
    • People spend what they make, and so extra money leads only to extra spending.
    • Don't stay at a job for safe salary increases over time - you'll never get where you want: financial freedom.
  5. Count How Many People Can Make a Major Decision that Can Ruin Your Life
    • Diversify what you work on, so that no one person can make a decision that could make you rich or destroy you.
    • Start planning now how to create your own destiny instead of allowing people don't like you to control it.
  6. Is Your Job Satisfying Your Needs?
    • Modify your lifestyle and work to satisfy more of your needs.
  7. Your Retirement Plan is for Shit
    • Inflation will carve out the bulk of your 401k.
    • Start a business or platform or lifestyle where you can save large chunks of money.
    • Everyone is an entrepreneur. The only skills you need are the ability to fail, the ability to have ideas, sell the ideas, execute the ideas, and the ability to be persistent so that even as you fail you're learning from it.
    • Be an 'Entremployee' - take control of who you report to, what you do, what you create.
  8. Excuses
    • Stop making them.
  9. It's Ok to Take Baby Steps
    • Make a list of dreams. These are not goals, they are themes. Every day ask yourself what you need to do to practice those themes.
    • No one is saying quit your job today.
  10. Abundance Will Never Come from Your Job
    • Abundance only comes when you move along your themes, and from enhancing the lives of those around you.

April 7, 2015

How Do You Know You've Become a True Leader?

Three simple checks to see if you've reached that point of true leadership. I can't find the original source, but here they are:
  1. You don't try to be right, you try to be clear.
  2. You try not to have the last word.
  3. You no longer try to show that it was your idea. You empower other people to own the idea.