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Daily Thoughts on Clarity

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The first minute

What use is a 30 minute time slot if people tune out after the first minute? I can’t count the number of complaints I’ve heard

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The fear of practice

The single most avoidable mistake in speaking:Skipping practice out of fear of making mistakes. It breaks my heart every time I see someone avoid practice

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The Taxi Incident

So you’re the CEO.You’ve just landed from a business trip and need to get back to the office.You jump into a taxi. But instead of

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No words

Sometimes, the right words are no words. Just be there.Listen. Give them the space to express their thoughts, in full.The time to say it out

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The Zig-zag trap

When everyone zigs, should you zag? Perhaps. But don’t forget to consider staying straight. When everyone else chases the trends,zigs and then zags,zags and then

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Tons of good reasons

You’ve hit ’em hard with tons of good reasons.But they still don’t agree.So what’s wrong with them? Nothing.That’s just how it works. You don’t easily change

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Good vs. great talks

A good talk reveals something profound about the speaker;a great talk reveals something profound about the audience. After your talk, what can audiences see about

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The prerequisite

A question that’s not asked nearly often enough when preparing a speech: So what? Your talk can be… factually correct,… logically structured,… accompanied by beautifully

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That one message

If I forced you to remove one message from your website, which one would you remove? Why don’t you? … No, honestly now:Would removing that

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What do you mean?

This one’s so obvious that I hesitated to post it, but then again it’s so often dismissed that I think it’s important to repeat: If

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Conversations

Audiences are regularly surprised to find themselves in the middle of a conversation when they expected to sit through a monologue. With smaller audiences it’s

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Split Attention

This principle has served me well in the past:Don’t split your attention! I don’t check my phone when in a conversation. I don’t chat when

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Let’s try doings

Meetings can be a living nightmare.Let’s try “doings” instead. What’s the difference? Meetings have an agenda, doings a goal. Meetings cover topics, doings aim for

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Meeting madness

This meeting could have been a memo.Unfortunately, no one reads memos.So it had to be a meeting. . The best way to get rid of

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Inside out

Good speakers make us get them.Great speakers get us. It’s a fascinating experience when you listen to someone and it feels like they know you

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A little empathy

“I’m sorry!”Three words that can change the dynamics almost every time something went wrong. Instead, people tend to get defensive.“Not my fault!”“I did nothing wrong!”“You

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A great show

WOW opens the mind.AHA changes the mind. So much advice on public speaking focuses on the WOW effect. How to turn the spotlight onto yourself.How

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Your Style

“Our audiences expect it that way.”But honestly now, do they really? The statement sounds as if it would be in service of the audience. But

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Silence

Nowadays, even if there’s no sound, the world doesn’t feel silent very often, does it? As soon as we pause, our phones cry “Check me!”.

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Switching off

My favorite TV show as a child always ended with a call to action: “You can safely switch off the TV now!” Which we did.

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Speak Easy

If you’ve ever struggled with stage fright but somehow nothing you’ve tried has really worked, this is for you. Perhaps you’ve already watched a couple

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Us, together

So many businesses miss out on an opportunity to create a deeper connection with their customers on their “about us” page. They take “us” to

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The leap to our vision

Here’s why some leaders struggle to align their team behind their vision: They haven’t made the leap from “my vision” to “our vision”. When it’s

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Less

We often default to adding more details to clarify our points. But did you ever notice how more details sometimes lead to even more confusion?

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On to something new

Heading there means leaving here. Change becomes easier once we acknowledge that. What will we gain?But also, what will we miss? What’s pulling us ahead?But

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Irrational audiences

If you are a rational person, chances are you’re sometimes deeply frustrated when people just don’t get it. I’ve certainly been in the past. I

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Feels right

Some narratives just
won’t go away.Why? The data is clear.Yet people believe the lie.But why? Because it feels right.That’s why. — People aren’t good at feeling

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Well done

How often do you personally hear “Well done!”?It’s not something a leader hears very often, is it? Leaders are supposed to be the ones giving

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Swift action needed

It’s not that bad leaders are similar to good leaders, just less effective. Bad leaders are much better thought of as the opposite of good

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That was quick

Among the things that frequently surprise my clients is the speed at which we arrive at results. Anna once said: “I am not sure how

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Heard and understood

The art of communicating is less about making yourself heard and understood than about making your audience feel heard and understood. The distinction of great

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An excellent tool

PowerPoint is an excellent tool to turn great ideas into confusing presentations. Sure, it can be used to turn a great story into a great

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The megaphone

You’re handed a megaphone. You can say whatever you want.What do you choose to say? Everyone around you will hear it.But that, of course, is

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Shortcuts

Great communication tends to be simple.Not trivial, not simplistic, but profoundly simple. Trivial messages take us nowhere.Simplistic ones take us to the wrong places.Profoundly simple

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Seeing it

One of the most powerful questions to ask in order to speak with clarity is “Can you see it?”. Because when you can see it,

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The words they use

Average communicators deliver information, good ones spark our interest, great ones redefine what’s possible for us. All of them do it using words. But what

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I’m so excited

The crucial question that’s almost never asked when preparing a talk: Am I excited? Instead, preparation is dominated by “Does it make sense?” Which is

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The only one

Right now, nothing is more important than you.That’s the feeling that great communicators will give you. Not only in 1:1 conversations, but also on the

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Proud to work here

How many of your team members tell their families and friends that they are genuinely proud of working in your team? Are you yourself proud

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Of course

The most compelling “aha moments” create an “of course effect”. It’s that sudden realization or enlightenment you experience once you see a solution or idea

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The sound of aha

Did you ever notice how aha moments often come in silence? Now, when a speaker is bombarding their audience with info, never giving them even

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Success

How do you measure the success of your talk? There were standing ovations? There were no questions?There were many questions? Your boss liked it?Your colleagues

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The tough questions

If you take communication seriously it will lead you to confront the tough questions. What’s the point?Who are we doing it for?What are their struggles?No,

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Taking a Talk

It’s called “giving a talk” but let’s face it:
Many speakers show up to take … … our time… our attention… our money… our vote… our

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A Superpower

Almost nothing is important.And yet, the Universe is on a mission to make us believe it was. If you’re leading an organization, you’re bombarded with

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Easy

Reminder: The easier you make it for your audience to speak about your idea, the more likely it becomes that they actually do. It’s not

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Does it groove?

“I will not be thinking theory.” Victor Wooten, a famous Jazz bassist, prefers groove over theory. For him, it’s obvious that when it grooves, the

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Your unique personality

For much of the last century, management theory was about ironing out human personalities. It was focused on standardizing processes, reducing variability, and treating human

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The Simplicity Initiative

Recently at Confused Corp, they launched the ‘Simplicity Initiative’. In a team meeting, one brave soul asked, “What’s the goal of this initiative?” The manager,

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Unlocking complexity

Simplicity is not the opposite of complexity. It’s the prerequisite. Deep inside, complexity is terrified of simplicity. It fears that simplicity would strip away the

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A real game changer

“Looking from my audience’s perspective was a real game changer. Why did no-one teach us that before?” That was the feedback I’ve received a couple

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The story of 2023

A common struggle with storytelling is that people don’t know where to find good stories. The truth is, you don’t find good stories, you create

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