The Power of Yet

August 12, 2016.
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Carol Dweck:
The Power of Yet
How Your Mindset Impacts Success

Carol Dweck. Psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. A pioneer and influential researcher in the field of motivation—why people succeed and how your mindset impacts success. She has also held professorships at Columbia and Harvard Universities. Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dweck has won a number of awards and is the author of several books.

The talk by Dweck at TEDxNorrkoping, Sweden, featured here is a well structured and delivered presentation—starting out with a short, intriguing statement, which immediately leads into a story capturing the key message of her talk. She also uses many rhetorical questions and more stories to illustrate her message and keep the audience engaged.

TEDxNorrkoping November 2014  4.5M views on

Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success has become a classic work on motivation and growth mindset since its publication in 2007.

By now the book has attracted over 1,500 reviews on Amazon—and almost 10 years after its release the book is a No. 1 Amazon best seller in two categories, having sold over 1 million copies and been translated into 20 languages.

160812 C Dweck Mindset

The central theme of the book, which came out of the research Dweck and her colleagues did over the years—is the role and importance of your mindset for what you can achieve, and how successful you are.

If you have a ‘fixed mindset’ you believe your basic abilities, intelligence and talents are fixed traits. A person with a ‘growth mindset’, on the other hand, understands that talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence. According to Dweck, generally around 40% of people have a growth mindset, about 40% a fixed mindset—the rest being in between, not able to make up their mind.

Trond Varlid

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

What Makes a Great Talk Great ?

August 5, 2016.
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Chris Anderson:
What Makes a Great Talk Great?

Chris Anderson. Head of TED. Journalist, publisher, author, TED curator. After a career as a journalist and successful publishing entrepreneur, Chris Anderson acquired the TED Conference in 2001. He made TED into a non-profit organization, expanded its focus to cover all kinds of topics—including science, business and key global issues—and in 2006 started to make videos of TED talks available for free online.

If you want to become a better speaker and make your presentations more engaging and persuasive, studying some of the best TED speakers and learning from them, is both an enjoyable and an effective way to improve.

The talk by Chris Anderson featured here was given to a group of TEDx organizers—explaining ‘what makes a great talk great’.  “A talk is like a journey”, says Chris Anderson—“and you have to give your audience a reason to come with you on that journey.”

TEDGlobal 2013

The TED Conference has a long history, going back to 1984. It was originally an annual conference in Monterey, California, with leading experts and thinkers in their fields giving presentations on topics related to Technology, Entertainment and Design.

Following the acquisition of TED by Chris Anderson in 2001, the range of topics was expanded—under the new TED slogan of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’.  In 2009 he enlarged the platform by taking it into the global arena through the TEDx initiative—providing free licenses to local organizers around the world to organize their own TED-style events.

By now more than 8,000 TEDx events have been held, with an online archive of some 60,000 TEDx talks.  The main TED conference online archives exceed 1,000 talks, and specialist TED platforms have emerged in the medical and educational fields—TEDMED and TEDEd, ‘Lessons Worth Sharing’— the latter a program providing free educational videos and tools to students and teachers:

TED speakers are generally not professional presenters, although some are—and come from a wide range of backgrounds and professions.  However, in order to appear on the TED platform, especially the main TED conference—speakers need to meet certain presentation standards, following TED presentation guidelines and being coached in advance.

And as TED has evolved, it has become a de facto benchmark for global best presentation practices—raising the bar for presentation standards generally.

This May, Chris Anderson’s new book TED Talks, The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, was published and has become a No. 1 best seller in Public Speaking on Amazon.  The book has around 250 pages and is divided into 5 sections—Foundation, Talk Tools, Preparation Process, On Stage and Reflection.  It’s publication means that we now have a fully-fledged official TED guide to public speaking, which undoubtedly will become one of the key reference books for speakers and presenters.

160805 C Anderson TED Talks

So if you have ambitions to become a better and more engaging speaker, do check it out here:

Trond Varlid

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Ten Ways to Have a Better Conversation

July 29, 2016.
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Celeste Headlee:
10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

Celeste Headlee. Award-winning reporter, writer and broadcast host of news and talk shows on National Public Radio (NPR), Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and other media channels.

From 2015 new host of the daily news and talk show On Second Thought at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta. Former Managing Editor of NPR’s Next Generation projects.

160729 C Headlee On Second Thought

Headlee also has several music degrees and is a former soprano at Michigan Opera Theatre—and still performs as a professional singer. She is the granddaughter of William Grant Still (1895-1978), a gifted composer and conductor—and the first Afro-American composer to have a symphony and an opera performed.

What makes for a good conversation? Whether the conversation is with your boss, customer, someone in your team, friends or other people—being able to have a good conversation is often not only important, but sometimes even critical, for a positive outcome and your relation with that person.

And who better to ask that question than Celeste Headlee—who makes a living talking to people; of all kinds: Nobel Prize winners, truck drivers, teachers, billionaires, plumbers.

Little more than a year after the video release of her perceptive and highly entertaining TED talk, it has already attracted 4.5 million views—a strong indication that how to make better conversation is a topic of interest to many people.

TEDxCreative Coast   May 2015  4.5M views

Based on years of experience as a successful radio show host, Headlee provides some great insights in her talk—and 10 rules for having better conversations. Among these, perhaps the rule many of us most frequently fail to observe is to listen—and in her talk Headlee explains why.

In addition to insightful advice on having better conversations, you will also find it instructive to study how Headlee continuously engages her audience with questions and humour throughout her talk.

So, as Headlee says—”Go out, talk to people, listen to people and—most importantly, be prepared to be amazed”.

Headlee has recently published a new book, released in March 2016—Heard Mentality: An A-Z Guide to Take Your Podcast or Radio Show from Idea to Hit.

Apart from guiding you through the process of how to produce a podcast or radio show, talent recruitment and staffing—the book also includes a detailed guide on doing great interviews.

You can find further information about Headlee in an interview with her upon becoming new host for GPB’s On Second Thought program in 2015—which you can read here.

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

How to Stay Calm

July 22, 2016.
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Daniel Levitin:
How to Stay Calm When You Know You’ll be Stressed

Daniel Levitin. Neuroscientist and Professor at McGill University, Montreal. Dean at Minerva Schools in San Francisco, musician and author of three best selling books. PhD in Psychology. He has consulted on audio sound separation for the U.S. Navy, and on audio quality for several rock bands, including the Grateful Dead and Steely Dan.

In his TED talk he opens with a story—and note how he cleverly comes back to the opening story at the very end, thereby elegantly framing his talk with the story.

TED September 2015   5.3M views on

Daniel Levitin is a man of many talents. Not only a recognized neuroscientist—but also an accomplished musician, playing tenor saxophone and guitar, and has performed with leading music artists and bands—including Sting, Bobby McFerrin (Don’t Worry, Be Happy) and Rosanne Cash, among others.

Furthermore, he has worked extensively as a music and sound consultant, both for movies and music album recordings—and in the past he also performed on and off as a stand-up comedian and joke writer.

In 2007 he published his first book—This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, which became a New York Times best seller and won a number of awards.

160722 D Levitin This is Your Brain on Music

Even now, almost 10 years later, the book is a No. 1 Best Seller on Amazon—and two documentary films have been based on the book. In 2009 he came out with his second book—The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature.

His most recent book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, was published in 2015 and deals with the challenge that we all face—how to handle all the information bombarding us in our daily lives.

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

July 15, 2016.
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Adam Grant:
Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

Adam Grant. Professor at the Wharton School of Business and the school’s top rated teacher for the past four years in a row. PhD in Organizational Psychology. Author of two best-selling books translated into 34 languages.  He is also a former magician and junior Olympic springboard diver.

Grant was given a standing ovation for his February 2016 TED talk featured here—which provides interesting and surprising insights as to the habits of original thinkers and successful entrepreneurs.


TED February 2016 3.5M views

The talk is focused around his latest book, Originals: How Non-conformists Move the World.

160715 A Grant Originals, How Non-conformists Move the World

Published in February 2016, the book is currently a No.2 Amazon best seller which explores how individuals champion new ideas—and how leaders can fight group thinking.

Think you know what it takes to be original?  Then take Grant’s original thinking self-assessment quiz to find out! The quiz has 15 questions and only takes about five minutes—many questions are not what you would expect! You can take the quiz by clicking here.

Grant’s first book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success—was published in 2013, after years of studying the dynamics of success and productivity in companies.

His research changed conventional thinking about motivation and success. Give and Take was named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal—and featured in the Harvard Business Review of ideas that changed management.

Grant’s clients include Google, Merck, Pixar, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, the United Nations and others. His articles have been published in over 60 publications.

For more information visit Adam Grant’s Web site:

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Managing in the Digital Era

July 8, 2016.

McKinsey Global Leader Interviews
March 2016

If you are looking for valuable information and insights on important global business trends, McKinsey & Co. is currently running a great series of interviews with global leaders across a range of industries.

In this and coming newsletters we will from time to time feature summaries of selected interviews in this series—starting this week with John Chambers, Executive Chairman of Cisco Systems Inc., who was interviewed last month.

Here are 10 highlights:
Digital Era. The world has now entered a digital era that will be the biggest technology transition ever, and companies that fail to adapt are likely to fail.
Connectivity. This digital era is the connectivity of going from a thousand devices connected to the Internet to 500 billion.
Business Models. Business models will rise and fall at tremendous speed, and the transition will cause massive disruption. The majority of companies will not exist in a meaningful way 10 to 15 years from now.
Opportunities. The transition will, however, also create huge opportunities—probably USD19 trillion over the next decade.
CEOs. If CEOs don’t change, they will get left behind. They have to reinvent themselves and their companies.
Change. As leaders, if you do not reinvent yourself and use this technology differently, change your organization and talk about speed of innovation—you will get disrupted.
Organization. The hard part is—how do you change your organization structure and culture? It’s all about speed of innovation and changing the way you do business.
Cisco Leadership. Cisco has changed about 40% of our top leadership over the last two years. It’s something we had to do—”disrupt or be disrupted”. So what I am saying that CEOs need to do, we did ourselves.
Innovation. The sources of innovation have to move from the fringes to something you do mainstream. You have to create an environment of really rapid innovation internally.
Pace of Change. Companies fail to understand how quickly technology will transform their businesses—and they stay doing the ‘right’ thing too long. This is about exponential change.

Source: McKinsey & Co. 
You can read or watch the full interview on video on the McKinsey Web site here.

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

In Search of Inspiration

July 1, 2016.
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Anthony Willoughby:
In Search of Inspiration

A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony Willoughby for the first time.  He had just flown into Tokyo from Ulan Bator, Mongolia, where he had recently established the Nomadic School of Business—providing corporate leaders and their teams with unique leadership training and team building workshops.

Anthony was raised in Africa, and went to school in the UK and the US. In 1973, at the age of 22, he bought a one-way ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express to Japan in search of inspiration, adventure and opportunities. He never looked back—and has had an amazing life and career ever since.

His many extraordinary adventures and accomplishments include trekking through the jungles of Papa New Guinea and the highlands of Kenya and Mongolia. He has also scaled China’s 7,546-meter Mount Mustagh Ata without porters or oxygen.

His TEDxTokyo talk featured here is highly recommended—not only for inspiration and some great insights on leadership and team building, but also for tips on how to give an inspiring and engaging talk.

Note his use of stories throughout the talk, how he brings out his passion through the use of voice and body language, use of humour and strong visuals—mostly using eye-catching photos and illustrations, rather than text and bullet points.

TEDxTokyo 2013

Over the past couple of decades Anthony has developed some truly unique leadership and team building programs using his Territory Mapping concept—which is based on his experience and research with indigenous communities of East Africa, Mongolia and Papa New Guinea. These programs have been provided to many companies such as Google, Coca-Cola, Dyson, AIA, LIXIL, Qatar Airways and others.

He has also written and published: In Search of Inspiration—a book about his life and philosophy.

160701 A Willoughby In Search of Inspiartion

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Talk Like TED

June 24, 2016.
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Carmine Gallo@Google Talks:
Talk Like TED

Carmine Gallo. Executive speaking and communications coach. Author of 8 books, including the best-selling Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs which has been translated into 14 languages.

The talk by Carmine Gallo featured here was given at the Google headquarters in March 2014 and focused on his book, Talk Like TED—which had just been published the month before. A second edition was released last year. As of 2016, the book remained the No.2 best-selling book on Amazon in the Public Speaking category.

Google HQ, Mountain View, California, 2014

Since starting to provide videos of TED talks online in 2006, the TED conference series has become a de facto benchmark for public speaking and presentations. In this highly recommended book Carmine Gallo, based on analyzing hundreds of TED talks, has identified 9 best practices for the most successful TED presentations. The book also includes interviews with selected TED speakers as well as references to research by psychologists and communication experts.

Another Carmine Gallo book you may want to check out, if you have not already read it, is, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs (2009). In addition to his outstanding achievements as an innovator and business creator, disrupting and transforming several industries during his career—Jobs also became famous and highly admired for his powerful and engaging presentations, especially at the annual Apple World Conferences where he would reveal Apple’s latest products.

160624 C Gallo The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Carmine Gallo’s most recent book is, The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends—recently published (February 2016). You can find more information about Carmine Gallo on his Web site:

Trond Varlid

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Show and Tell

June 17, 2016.
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Dan Roam@Google Talks:
“Show & Tell”:
How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations

Dan Roam, President and Founder of Digital Roam Inc., a management consulting firm using visual thinking to solve complex problems. Author of two international best sellers and founder of the Napkin Academy. In his past career he was a Client Partner at Razorfish, and VP Creative Strategy at; among other positions.

Since the publication of his first book, The Back of the Napkin in 2007, Dan Roam has established himself as one of the leading experts on visual thinking to solve problems, communicate better and be more persuasive. His past and present clients include Microsoft, Google, Intel, Wal-Mart, Kraft and others.

He has been invited to speak at Google Talks three times—most recently in 2014, after the publication of his third book, Show & Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations (2014)—which is the talk featured here.

Google HQ, Mountain View, California, 2014

The main focus of this book is on how you can use stories and pictures to create and deliver more effective, even extraordinary, presentations.

It is very much a ‘hands-on’ book with extensive practical advice on how to improve your presentations using visual communication.

160617 D Roam Show & Tell

Following the publication of his first book, The Back of a Napkin, Roam established the Napkin Academy—providing online courses and videos teaching how to use pictures to clarify complexity, tell stories and be more persuasive.

As you would expect, his own talk at the Google headquarters, amply demonstrates in practice the visual principles and techniques featured in his books.

You can also find a lot of interesting information on effective use of visuals on Dan Roam’s Web site:

Trond Varlid

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

The Case for Optimism on Climate Change

June 10, 2016.
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Al Gore:
The Case for Optimism on Climate Change

Al Gore, Co-founder and Chair of Generation Investment Management. Senior Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and a member of the Board of Apple Inc. Chair and Founder of The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit organization devoted to solving the Climate Crisis—with whom he now spends most of his time.

Since establishing himself as a leading advocate in the fight against global warming in the early part of the millennium, former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore has also become a benchmark presenter on the global presentation and conference circuit.

His presentation skills have been honed by numerous presentation appearances on TED and other conference platforms in the course of his global climate work—trying to persuade politicians and people at large of the urgent need to combat global warming and take action now.

In his most recent TED appearance, earlier this year, at TED Vancouver, he exhibits many of the great presentations skills that have made him such an engaging and persuasive presenter.

TED Vancouver   February 2016

Like other great presenters, Gore’s presentations can easily come off as being so engaging and well delivered—that you may fail to notice the specific skills and techniques he is using to make the presentations as captivating and persuasive as they are.

Key features of Al Gore’s TED talk to observe:
• His choice and use of well-designed slides and other visuals to illustrate his points with impact and persuasion.
• A clear presentation structure; in this talk centered around 3 powerful questions.
Dynamic delivery—note his posture, gestures, stage movement, interaction with slides, eye contact, voice.

A regular feature of Al Gore’s presentations is excellent use of humour, which he uses to great effect in the opening of this TED presentation.

Al Gore is the author of a number of best-sellers— including An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and his most recent book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change (2013).

160610 A Gore An Inconvenient Truth

He has featured as a TED speaker a number of times over the years—and his first TED talk was in fact one of the first 6 TED talks released on when the site was established in 2006.

If you are looking for good tips on how to improve your own presentations, you are well advised to invest some time and effort into studying this and other TED talks by Al Gore.

Trond Varlid

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This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.