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Daily Thoughts on Clarity

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Partial overlap

This simple observation is so often ignored in communication. Almost certainly what you want overlaps with what your audience wants only partially. For example: You

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Us, together

A strong indicator for whether you’re working in a company that values respect and ownership is to look at the way leadership and team refer

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Making it feel effortless

Great communication often feels effortless.Even though it’s usually far from it. It takes significant effort to make your communication feel effortless. Interestingly, much of that

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Simple ideas

Did you ever struggle to get a simple idea across? This might explain why … We’re so good at adding stuff to our ideas. For

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Proud leaders

What makes you proud to lead your team? Read carefully. I wasn’t asking for what makes you proud to be a leader. I wanted to

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The Finals

This Sunday, the finals for both the Euro 2024 and the Copa America take place. The world’s best players compete at these two tournaments. I

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The opposite

Great communication can give hope.Bad communication can destroy it. I can’t repeat this often enough: Bad communication is not just a little worse than great

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Dream’s over

I’ve just approved the final layout for my upcoming book and it got me thinking … It’s now off to the printer which means that,

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Equality

Some brilliant news from my client Phaedra Romney who took my masterclass 3 years ago. Her new book is out now. It’s a heartfelt call

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The better deal

The most lucrative pitches are not about you making a good deal. They are about the other party making an even better deal. The better

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The graduation

A couple of days ago, my oldest daughter had her graduation ceremony. And besides being a very proud moment for me as a dad, there

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Speak up

I want to live in a world in which those who have an important story to tell find the words that motivate them to speak

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Good news!

Your audience has agreed to do the hard work for you. If you think that you can’t boil your talk down to a simple core

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I have a problem

When someone shares a problem with you, what they need might be a solution to their problem, sure. But then again, perhaps they need something

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99% are sh*t

“Sounds like 99% of ’em are shit! It’s the one percent I’m interested in.” – Dick James in the movie “Rocketman” The 1% music publisher Dick

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The team

It’s not “we, the leaders“ and “you, the team.”It’s “us, together.” Watch for language that separates you from the team. It can be subtle, but

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Technical Brilliance

Apple famously stays away from much of the tech industry jargon. For example, until last week’s keynote Apple had never used the term “AI” in

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5 minutes

That’s how long I wait. After that I’ll leave the call and write a note asking if anything got in their way. I always give

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How does a hero look like?

We heroize people for the wrong reasons. For taking wild risks.For pulling all-nighters.For being constantly busy.For winging it on the stage.For constantly being on call.For

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Clear vs. clever

Clear beats clever almost every time. So, it’s tempting to conclude:Don’t be clever, be clear! I think you shouldn’t. Because, of course, clear plus clever

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The better story wins

From a communication angle, influence is a pretty simple game: Whoever tells the better story wins. It’s not the most accurate facts, the most complete

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The next note

“When you hit a wrong note, it’s the next one that makes it good or bad.” That’s how Miles Davis described his approach to dealing

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Is less more?

Less isn’t more.(Obviously!) Personally, I never thought that less itself was a worthwhile goal. “Less but better” is. Fewer words, but more carefully chosen.Fewer messages,

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A second longer

One more thought on silent listening: Silence has an interesting effect on the unspoken. Stay silent in a conversation a little longer and the other

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Silent and listen

Isn’t it interesting how “listen” and “silent” are anagrams?Makes it feel like they are two sides of the same thing. In a way, they are:When

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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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