Let’s watch our language

Here are five habits of speech (link to: inc.com) we might want to get rid of, according to Geoffrey James.

  1. Holding speeches rather than conversations (what Geoffrey calls “speechifying”).
  2. Interrupting others.
  3. Talking behind someone’s back or speaking unfavourably about someone (what Geoffrey calls “badmouthing”).
  4. Using offensive terms or swearing.
  5. Bragging (what Geoffrey calls “horn-tooting”).

How to “wow” your audience

Geoffrey James tells us to “wow” our audience from the very start of a presentation. But how on earth are we supposed to do that?

His tips are to start with:

  • the problem
  • an eye-opening fact or statistic
  • a physical metaphor
  • a surprising video or
  • an audience activity.

Read his article on inc.com if you’d like to learn more.

Change three slides

Geoffrey James tells us to remove or replace three slides he calls ‘boring’ to make our presentations more interesting and relevant. So which ones are they?

Instead of beginning with the history of your company (ah, I’ve seen this one many times before), talk about your business experience. And instead of talking about product features and functions, talk about the benefits they create. And don’t talk about ‘case studies’, talk about ‘success stories’ and explain how you helped a customer to become successful.

Make these changes should make your presentation more meaningful for your audience. 🙂

Annual performance reviews

You probably know what yearly performance reviews are. (If you want to learn how to conduct them, take a look here.) What do you think? Are they helpful?

Geoffrey James claims that they don’t really improve anything and recommends Adobe’s approach. Instead of annual performance reviews, Adobe’s employees and their managers have regular, informal “check-ins”. It’s an interesting concept we might be hearing more of, and one which appears to work!


A simple communication trick

This is so easy that we probably haven’t given it much thought at all. According to Geoffrey James (link to inc.com), instead of rushing into a discussion, we should:

“Pause a full second before responding.”

The advantages are that we don’t interrupt the other person, we have time to focus and to think about what to say next, and our listeners see us as being deep thinkers. It’s worth giving it a try, isn’t it?