Why You Think You’re Right – Even If You’re Wrong


October 21, 2016.
Improve Your Presentations.
Study the best TED Speakers!

Julia Galef:
Why You Think You’re Right—Even If You’re Wrong

Julia Galef. President and Co-founder of the Center For Applied Rationality (CFAR), a non-profit organization helping people improve their reasoning and decision making—with the particular aim of addressing global problems. She is also a speaker and writer on topics of rationality, science, technology and design. Her background is originally in statistics and she has done social science research at Columbia and Harvard Business School.

Have you ever been in situations where you thought you were right, but turned out to be wrong? And made a decision you thought was made on a rational basis, but in fact may have been strongly influenced by irrational factors?

Our way of thinking and how we make decisions are issues that have been the focus of an increasing amount of research over the years—as our societies and business environment have also become more complex, causing decision making to become more challenging.

In her TED talk, Julia Galef focuses on the question of why we often think we are right even if we are wrong. What are the reasons behind this common phenomenon? As she says—are you a soldier, prone to defending your views at all costs—or a scout, spurred on by curiosity? She examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they influence the way we interpret information.

TEDxPSU  February 2016

The stated mission of the Center For Applied Rationality is ‘using decision science to help the world’. To that end they spread information about available research, books and other resources on decision making and cognitive biases, conduct their own, or support other, new research on these topics, and provide various kinds of public training.

Other people who have studied these and related issues that affect our thinking, decision making and how we persuade or are persuaded, include Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, Robert B. Cialdini, author of INFLUENCE:The Psychology of Persuasion, considered a classic in its field and based on over 30 years of research, and Scott Plous who wrote Judgement of Psychology & Decision Making.

Trond Varlid

To access more TED videos:
http://www.ted.com

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

How Eye Contact Can Transform Your Speaking


October 14, 2016.

How Eye Contact Can Transform Your Speaking
From World Class Speaking in Action, Chapter 29 by Willie Joe Robinson Jr.

Making eye contact with your audience is one of the most underutilized, or incorrectly used, elements of public speaking.  But if used effectively it can help you develop a rapport with your audience, as if you are in a one-to-one conversation with each of them, which will build trust and create an uplifting experience.

As the saying goes: ‘The eyes are the windows of the soul’, and eye contact is one of the key non-verbal ways that we all use to help us assess other people.  It varies from culture to culture, but in many cases looking directly at the person you are talking to creates a sense of trust and integrity and the speaker is more likely to give listeners the impression of honesty and trustworthiness.

It also has the benefit of helping settle the nerves of the speakers themselves because it is as if they are speaking on a one-to-one basis—and that tends to be less nerve-wracking than talking to an audience.

Eye contact enables you to get feedback from the audience on how you are doing, whether you are on the right track or not, as well as creating a feeling of mutual interest between you and the audience.  Eye contact also makes the talk more conversational and speakers tend to slow their pace in the process, which gives them more time to think as they talk.

Try to make eye contact with as many people as possible, and resist the temptation to focus on friends, or familiar faces, for example if you are speaking at an internal company meeting.

If the audience is large, you might find it easier to break it up into zones and establish eye contact with just one or two people in each zone, rather than trying to scan everyone.

For eye contact to work effectively, you have to know your speech well, otherwise you will be constantly looking down at your notes—but if you don’t have time to learn your speech thoroughly then at least try to look up from time to time.

Try to smile, especially at the beginning, as this will put the audience at their ease.  When scanning the audience, don’t just move your eyes from side to side, move your head from side to side as well – but not too much, otherwise people might only be able to see the back of your head.  Then make eye contact for the length of one complete thought or sentence, around three to five seconds, before looking at someone else.

If you are asking questions, or being asked questions, maintain eye contact for the duration of the question and hold it until you get a response – you can encourage this by also nodding and making comments like: ‘Don’t you agree ?’

In some cultures it is considered impolite to look people directly in the eye.  In these situations you can look at a point just above people’s heads – this respects the culture, whilst still allowing you to interact with the audience.

If you know the venue where you will be giving the speech then while rehearsing you could try to visualise the lay-out of the room and where the audience will be sitting.  When presenting to an unfamiliar audience, you should arrive early and introduce yourself to people—which will give you some faces to make eye contact with in the early stages of your speech, to help get things going.

Acquiring effective eye contact techniques takes practice—and if you feel nervous, then practicing, perhaps on a one-to-one basis with friends at first, will help build your confidence—or you could video yourself.

The effort is well worth it, because used well, eye contact creates a positive and engaged feeling in your audience and gives you vital feedback on how you are performing, resulting in a more memorable experience.

Source:
World Class Speaking in Action, Craig Valentine & Mitch Meyerson, Morgan James Publishing, 2014.

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

The Power of Vulnerability


October 7, 2016.
Improve Your Presentations.
Study the best TED Speakers!

Brené Brown:
The Power of Vulnerability

Brené Brown. Author. PhD, Professor at University of Houston. Has spent over 10 years conducting groundbreaking research on vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.

Have you ever been in situations where you worried about “What will people think?”—or tried to pretend to be the kind of person you might not actually be? Most of us have. In fact, you would be pretty rare if you have not had such feelings at some point.

And are you able to acknowledge your own vulnerability and even show it to other people? If you do or you don’t—how might that affect your relations with friends or colleagues, or members of your team? As Brown says—”vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage”. Her research shows that how you cope with such issues can greatly affect your well being, creativity and ability to lead.

Brené Brown’s highly engaging TED talk is the 4th most viewed TED talk of all time. She is known for being a great storyteller and in this talk uses many stories to illustrate her points and engage her audience.

You should also note her use of voice pitch, pace, eye contact, hand movements and stage movement—as well as her very effective use of pauses, a much underutilized speaking tool.

TEDxHouston 2010     26.7 million views on TED.com

Brown is a pioneer and thought leader in her field and has so far published six books, including THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Published in 2010, the book is still a #1 bestseller on Amazon with over 2,800 reviews.

161007-b-brown-the-gifts-of-imperfection

In her book she describes ten guide posts for how you can cultivate courage, compassion and connection with other people—for your own and their well-being, and for your ability to perform and lead.

Brown’s most recent book is DARING GREATLY: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead (2015). The book became a #1 New York Times bestseller and has already attracted more than 2,300 reviews on Amazon where it is currently a #2 bestseller in Interpersonal Relations.

161007-b-brown-daring-greatly

Trond Varlid

To access more TED videos:
http://www.ted.com

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

The Secret to Self Control


September 30, 2016.
Improve Your Presentations.
Study the best TED Speakers!

Jonathan Bricker:
The Secret to Self Control

Jonathan Bricker. PhD, behavioural scientist, Founder and Leader of the Tobacco & Health Behavior Science Group. Bricker has degrees in psychology from UC Berkeley and the University of Washington.  He is a faculty member at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where he specialises in helping people break free of their addictions and fears.  His research focuses on the development and testing of innovative interventions for health behaviour change.

One of the recent inventions based on his research is the SmartQuit smoking-cessation app. The results of smokers using this app are already so promising that Bricker and his team received a USD3 million grant in 2015 for a large-scale clinical trial of the app. http://www.2morrowinc.com/smartquit/

160930-j-bricker-smartquit-image

Traditionally, efforts to get people to give up smoking have focused on encouraging people to resist their craving to smoke.  Research carried out by Bricker and others in various clinical trials has shown, however, that letting people acknowledge their craving is twice as effective in stopping people smoking as resisting their craving is.  A method he mentions is keeping a daily journal of when you feel the urge to smoke, which can then help reduce that craving.

In this TED talk Bricker looks at two very different approaches to treating addiction, particularly for those trying to give up smoking, and he compares the effects of resisting your cravings with the effects of being willing to accept them.

TEDxRainier 2014

Bricker starts his TED talk with a personal story, about his parents’ different interests when he was young, which not only captures the audience’s attention right from the start, but also sets the scene for the main topic, which forms the rest of the talk.

Initially Bricker stands in one place, avoiding unnecessary movement, except of his hands which he moves in a way that many of the best speakers do.  When he changes to a new part of his talk, however, he walks a short distance to a new spot on the stage and then stays there until the next change.  This is a great example of effective use of the stage—using movement and positioning to neatly divide up his talk into its parts and allows the audience to ready themselves for the next part.

Throughout his talk Bricker uses humour, for example, with a picture of freshly baked cookies, which highlight the strength of cravings, and the difficulty in resisting them.  He then ends with a comment about the lunch break following his talk, which reinforces his point and elegantly ties up his presentation.

To access more TED videos:
http://www.ted.com

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

The Twelve Competencies of World Class Speaking


September 23, 2016.

The 12 Competencies of World Class Speaking

The book World Class Speaking in Action, by renowned World Champion of Public Speaking, Craig Valentine, and founder of Guerrilla Marketing Coaching, Mitch Meyerson, is an Amazon #1 bestseller.  But why ?  What can you gain from reading and studying this book that makes it so important ?

You can gain the tools and techniques that have been tried and tested by world class speakers.  Here is a short summary of the 12 World Class Speaking Competencies:

1. STORYTELLING. Telling stories helps you make your points and keeps your audience engaged.

2. SELLING.  Presentations are about selling something, whether a product or an idea, and getting your audience to listen to your message.

3. PROCESS DRIVEN. Focus on how good your product or process is, not on how great you yourself or your company are.

4. NEXT STEPS. Don’t just finish your presentation and leave it at that—make sure you get your audience to take the next step!

5. ANCHOR DRIVEN. Anchor you message using visuals, stories, analogies, and other techniques to ensure it is not forgotten by your audience.

6. BEGIN WITH A BANG. People’s first impressions are formed within seconds, so make sure you open in a way that is memorable and gets the attention of your audience.

7. SUCCINCT. Trying to get too much information across can be counter-productive— keep your presentation focused. As Craig Valentine says, “if you squeeze too much information in, you squeeze your audience out.”

8. YOU FOCUSED. Don’t make it all about you, but engage your audience by focusing on them.

9. DYNAMIC DELIVERY. Don’t present in the same style throughout your presentation—vary the level of energy with which you deliver, use eye contact, your voice and body language.

10. INVOLVEMENT. Get your audience involved and make them feel part of the process, and they are more likely to buy into your message.

11. STAGING. Using the stage and moving with purpose is an underutilized, but highly effective, technique while speaking—helping make your presentation more memorable and keep the attention of your audience.

12. RESEARCH YOUR AUDIENCES. Research your audience beforehand and keep assessing their reaction during your presentation.

It is often said that, ‘practice makes perfect’, but practicing with the wrong tools can just reinforce bad habits.

These 12 World Class Speaking competencies are used by world class speakers—so why would you not want to practice using these whenever you get the chance ?

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

How to Start a Movement


September 16, 2016.
Improve Your Presentations.
Study the best TED Speakers!

Derek Sivers:
How to Start a Movement
(Hint: It takes two.)

Derek Sivers. Musician, programmer, entrepreneur and author, having published over 30 books.

Originally a professional musician, Sivers established CD Baby in 1998 which became the largest seller of independent music online with more than 150,000 musician clients. He sold it in 2008 and gave the proceeds to a charitable trust for music education. Sivers writes regularly on creativity, entrepreneurship and music.

Sivers’ latest venture is MuckWork—a managed team of assistants that specialize in helping musicians with their uncreative dirty work.

In this inspiring and highly entertaining TED talk, which received a standing ovation—Sivers shows some surprising video footage that leads to interesting reflections and insights on leadership, and how you start a movement—with important implications also for how you may achieve change in your team or organization.

TED2010 5.6 million views on TED.com

In 2011 he published Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur which quickly became a best seller—in which he shares lessons learned when he became an entrepreneur.

160916-d-sivers-anything-you-want

Sivers has been called the entrepreneurs’ entrepreneur—and sees it as his mission in life to help musicians and other groups of people. As he says in the book—”In the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have.”

You can find more information about Sivers and enjoy his many interesting articles on entrepreneurship, creativity and music on his blog: http://sivers.org/

Trond Varlid

To access more TED videos:
http://www.ted.com/

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

Storytelling with Data


September 9, 2016.
Improve Your Presentations.
Study Great Speakers!

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic@Google Talks:
Storytelling with Data

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic. Author, speaker, former Analytics Manager at Google. Specialist on data visualization and storytelling with data, has conducted data workshops for organizations like Adobe, Genentech, Mastercard, Target, the World Bank, and Google.

Although nobody would intentionally make a confusing graph or diagram, it happens surprisingly often—and I think we have all created some, or even many, of those!

When we go to school, maths and languages are key subjects.  However, the two are rarely combined—says Nussbaumer Knaflic: “we don’t learn how to make stories out of numbers or how to enable data to speak“.

She has made it her mission in life to help people tell stories with data. Her book, Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals, was published last year (2015) and currently remains a No. 1 Best Seller on Amazon in Information Management.

9781119002253_front.pdf

Following the publication of her book she gave the following presentation at the global Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, in November 2015:

On YouTube you can also find a number of short videos featuring Nussbaumer Knaflic—where she provides practical advice on presenting data.  One of these is: ‘How to Remove Clutter in Your Data’

You may also want to check out her Web site which has a wealth of interesting information on the subject of presentations and storytelling with data:  http://www.storytellingwithdata.com/

Trond Varlid

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

This is Your Brain on Communication


September 2, 2016.
Improve Your Presentations.
Study the best TED Speakers!

Uri Hasson:
This is Your Brain on Communication

“Even across different languages, our brains show similar activity, or become “aligned,” when we hear the same idea or story”, says Uri Hasson, Neuroscientist, Princeton University.

On June 19 last year we reported on the extremely interesting 2010 research and discoveries by Princeton researchers, lead by neuroscientist Uri Hasson, about how we communicate and connect with our listeners—using MRI scans to analyze brain activity during communication between speaker and listener.

Hasson and his team at Princeton have continued and expanded their original experiments, and in this fascinating TED talk in February this year he provides further insights from their research since 2010.

TED Feb 2016

Hasson has also researched how people respond to movies, such as Hitchcock’s Vertigo, using MRI scanning.

Verbal communication is a joint activity between speakers and listeners—but despite much research over the years, studies of human communication had primarily been done by analyzing individual brains.

However in their pioneering research the Princeton University researchers for the first time started using MRI brain scans to analyze communication between a speaker telling a story and a group of listeners.

They found that not only were parts of the listeners’ brains activated by listening to the story— the same parts of the brain of  listeners and storyteller lit up. In other words: stories literally synchronize our brains.

Speaker-Listener Neural Coupling

Speaker-Listener Neural Coupling

Another interesting finding was that with a high level of understanding and engagement, some regions of listeners’ brains lit up before the corresponding activity in the speaker’s brain—as if they were anticipating the next part of the story.

With a low level of understanding and little active engagement, there was no such brain activity.  So in order to truly connect with your audience, tell a story that will present your message in a compelling way—and which your audience will not forget.

The research on this topic since 2010 by Uri Hasson and his team has focused on why this synchronization happens. Is it the words, the sound or the meaning of the story? Some of the findings have been published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. His TED talk provides answers to this and other related questions, with significant implications for speakers and business leaders alike.

Trond Varlid

Access more TED videos:
http://www.ted.com/

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

The Power of Habit


August 26, 2016.
Improve Your Presentations.
Study the best TED Speakers!

Pulitzer Winner
Charles Duhigg:
The Power of Habit

Charles Duhigg. Best-selling non-fiction author, New York Times business reporter and 2013 Pulitzer Winner. Harvard Business School MBA. He has won the National Journalism Award, the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Medal, and other awards and recognition.

Why are bad habits so hard to break? Even when we are fully aware that they are bad for us? “Habits are extremely powerful, and while bad habits can be harmful—good habits can improve all aspects of your life”, says Charles Duhigg.

TEDxTeachersCollege 2013

In 2012 he published The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business which stayed on the New York Times bestseller lists for over 60 weeks. Since then, the book has attracted around 3,500 reviews on Amazon and remains a Top 5 bestseller on Amazon.

160826 C Duhigg The Power of Habit

The book was recognized as one of the best books of 2012 by Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

He became interested in the subject of habits when he was struggling to get rid of one of his own bad habits, and started studying the psychology behind habits and why we do what we do.

In March this year, he came out with a new book—Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, which has become another bestseller.

Trond Varlid

Access more TED videos:
http://www.ted.com/

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.

The TED Commandments


August 19, 2016.
Improve Your Presentations.
Study the best TED Speakers!

 

 

THE TED COMMANDMENTS
The new Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson, Head of TED was published this May.

Long before this new guide came along, TED had a simple set of rules and guidelines given to all TED conference speakers—commonly referred to as the 10 ‘TED Commandments’. These are all excellent tips that you may find useful in preparing your own presentations and speeches—to make them more engaging and make a deeper impact on your audience.

1 Dream big. Strive to create the best talk you have ever given. Reveal something never seen before. Do something the audience will remember forever. Share an idea that could change the world.

2 Show us the real you. Share your passions, your dreams … and also your fears. Be vulnerable. Speak of failure as well as success.

3 Make the complex plain. Don’t try to dazzle intellectually. Don’t speak in abstractions. Explain! Give examples. Tell stories. Be specific.

4 Connect with people’s emotions. Make us laugh! Make us cry!

5 Don’t flaunt your ego. Don’t boast. It’s the surest way to switch everyone off.

6 No selling from the stage! Unless we have specifically asked you to, do not talk about your company or organization. And don’t even think about pitching your products or services or asking for funding from stage.

7 Feel free to comment on other speakers’ talks, to praise or to criticize. Controversy energizes! Enthusiastic endorsement is powerful!

8 Don’t read your talk. Notes are fine. But if the choice is between reading or rambling, then read!

9 End your talk on time. Doing otherwise is to steal time from the people that follow you. We won’t allow it.

10 Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend … for timing, for clarity, for impact.

Access more TED videos:
http://www.ted.com/

This article first appeared in the EMC Quest newsletter series.