Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What THEY say after you're done talking.

After my presentation last Saturday a woman came up to to comment on something I'd shown the group about peeling a banana. It was just a little thing, really. But this woman was moved... by something I didn't do to move people but to illustrate a point. You just never know.

She said that her sister had cerebral palsy and the woman believed her sister could learn to peel a banana using the trick I had demonstrated in my session. She was moved to have learned something that might help her sister be just a little bit more independent.

I just opened and peeled the banana from the flower end rather than the stem end. (Try it sometime. You just squeeze the tip and the banana opens right up.)

I was inspired to share this by a post in Darren LaCroix's blog here

Monday, April 7, 2008

Chance vrs. Skill

Much as I hate to bring up baseball, especially with the Tigers in a losing streak, but chance rules all short series.

According to baseball statistician Pete Palmer the average difference in major league baseball due to skill is about 1 run per game. This plays out against a background of 4 runs per game due to chance. Over time skill rules.

But oh, in a short series or a single game, well, anything can, and will happen.

In a 5 game series (again according to Palmer) the "worst" team in the major leagues will beat the "best" team 15% of the time.

So, in the playoffs, with two relatively evenly matched teams, well, superstition rules! May the luckiest team win.

Does this mean that the Patriots may have been better than the Giants after all?

(Yes, I used to be a baseball stat geek. I bought Bill James abstract every year. Note to Jamesian nay-sayers... It took Bill James joining the Red Sox organization to finally break the curse of the Bambino.)

So, I recommend trying new activities. You never know when chance may lead you straight into something wonderful.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Way to Promote Your Business!!

My wife and I have a water garden and keep koi. We belong to a club of other people who do likewise called the Capital Area Koi and Water Gardening Club.

Last night a fellow from a Michigan gardening business called Grass Roots, that deals in water gardening supplies and pond fish gave a presentation on how to open and clean one's pond in the spring. Given the matter-of-fact subject we could have been in for a llllooooonnnnggggg night.

But Scott was interesting, imaginative, and funny. How do you get funny out of cleaning the guck from the bottom of your pond?

Well, I don't know how but he did. He looked and sounded like someone from The Sopranos. He was chewing gum. He read from his notes.

Was it a polished, perfectly articulated, presentation complete with PowerPoint?

No. It was better! It was REAL! He was REAL!

He earned Grass Roots a lot of goodwill with about 40 folks who buy a lot of supplies and fish.

That means business.

Speak Up! Promote your business, your career, or your community organization by speaking to groups who can, and will, buy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Watch this video.

Are the visuals you use in your presentations this powerful?

What pictures do your stories evoke in the minds of your audience?

Thanks to Dan Heath and the Made to Stick blog.

Do something...Different!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Different Worlds

When it comes to getting NEW ideas, there is nothing quite so useful as OLD ideas.


Well, it has been said that "There is nothing new under the sun," but as Ambrose Bierce pointed out "there are lots of old things we don't know".

The trick is to look in different worlds for NEW old ideas.

Different worlds. Worlds outside of your organization. Worlds outside of your industry. Worlds outside of -well- your world.

I believe in the C.A.S.E. method of creativity... Copy And Steal Everything!

Now, don't get all up in arms. I'm not talking about stealing from colleagues, or plagiarizing, or some form of corporate skulduggery.

Let's take Howard Schultz as an example. One day in Italy, Schultz noticed all the espresso bars dotting the urban landscape. He thought wouldn't it be great if there were places like this, places to relax with friends, have a cuppa joe, write, a place outside work or home.

The result was Starbucks.

Have an open mind.
Pay attention. (Focus)
Break away.
Connect back.

As Timothy Leary said, "If you don't like what you're doing, you can always pick up your needle and move to another groove."

Take an idea from a different world and use it in your world.