A Better Elevator Pitch

Do you ever go to networking events where you are given 30 seconds to present your “elevator pitch”? I’m not fond of the word but you may already know what it means based on its widespread use. Your elevator pitch is your opportunity to describe what you do in as succinct a manner as possible — in the time it would take  you to ride the elevator with someone. As you listen to others deliver theirs, consider how many actually stand out as being interesting and memorable. How many of them actually engage you? [Read more…]


Is it a Presentation or a Training Session?

Compare the following sentences:

  • I’m making a presentation
  • I’m running a training session
  • I’m teaching a class
  • I’m facilitating a meeting

There are a number of different reasons for standing up in front of a group:  to entertain, to sell, to inform, to teach, to solicit input, and so on. Here’s my pet peeve. The word presentation is used far too often as an umbrella term to cover all of these different scenarios.

“So what?” you ask. Well, here’s the problem.  [Read more…]


There are Many Paths to Glory

There are ideas trapped in the minds of your employees. What, specifically, are you doing during meetings, presentations, and training sessions in order to tap into this goldmine?

The participants in your sessions — your staff — are hands-on front line handling everyday situations. They see it all, and as a result, they most likely have suggestions that can improve productivity, efficiency, quality, costs, and sales.

Engage, encourage, empower. [Read more…]


How to Demotivate Those Around You

As a leader, whether it’s in a temporary position at the front of a room or more permanently as a member of a management team, we have a responsibility to keep those around us engaged in the moment, in their work, and in their organization. How we communicate is a key contributor to employee engagement and its cousin [Read more…]


Fun is Good for Business

Last week I was in Orlando, Florida for the Glazer Kennedy Insider Circle SuperConference (SM). One of the keynote speakers was Barbara Corcoran. You may know her as one of the “sharks” on ABC’s television show Shark Tank. She is a real estate mogul and investor – and a dynamic speaker.

During her keynote, Barbara shared seven lessons that she has learned in business. I was pleased to hear but not surprised by lesson number 6: fun is good for business.

She gave us a few [Read more…]


Don’t Expect Creativity at Work

In a previous post on this blog, I wrote about the need for a change of environment & activity in order to stimulate creative brainstorming during meetings.

We can also increase the likelihood of our participants generating better solutions to problems if we give them plenty [Read more…]


Go Ahead — Ask Your Stupid Question

September 28 is “Ask a Stupid Question Day”.

According to www.holidayinsights.com, the roots of “Ask a Stupid Question Day” go back to the 1980’s. At the time, there was a movement by teachers to try to get their students to ask more questions in the classroom. Children sometimes hold back, fearing their question is stupid, and asking it will result in ridicule.

The fear of ridicule doesn’t change when you become an adult. As a leader you risk a great deal every time you communicate. Whether you’re making a comment or asking a question, your credibility is at stake.

Is there such a thing as a stupid question? [Read more…]


Speak Human

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.
William Butler Yeats

Leading people requires communicating with them – about organizational goals, special projects, sales, work assignments, and so on. Presenting to your employees is not about taking a simple idea and shrouding it in the complex language of [Read more…]


What Do Employee Engagement, Safety, and Improv All Have in Common?

Do people feel safe in your organization? I’m not referring to physical safety. Let’s assume that you already have a handle on that. I’m actually referring to two other types of safety – emotional and psychological.

Emotional and psychological play out every day in the quantity and quality of employee engagement.  Many employees hold themselves back from full participation at work for fear of [Read more…]


Ask More – Tell Less

Is it time to stop talking and start asking questions?

Many leaders don’t ask questions – of their teams, their colleagues, or their customers. Why not? In many instances, they [Read more…]