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How confident are you in your presentation skills when it comes to making last minute changes to what you had (or maybe DID NOT have) planned for your presentation?

Stephen Lahey (the undefeated number one Brainzooming fan until someone challenges him for the title) and I were discussing the value, impact, and risks of deviating from typical presentation formulas and improvising in front of a live audience.

We both agreed we are not “memorizers” when it comes to delivering presentations. Personally, I often do not know even the first line I will use to start a presentation until thirty seconds before starting. If the emcee for the session happens to say something I can turn into a self-deprecating joke, that will likely replace any other beginning I had in mind.

Conference_Audience

Presentation Skills Tips – 12 Last Minute Presentation Ideas

I will admit a huge preference for improvising during presentations. It’s a way to customize the content on the fly to attempt to make it more relevant based on the feedback and what you’re learning about the audience as the presentation unfolds.

While Stephen was understandably dubious, our conversation prompted me to list these twelve presentation skills tips for relatively safe last minute presentation ideas you can use to customize the content you are delivering for an audience:

  1. Talk to people attending your presentation before it starts and reference the conversations.
  2. Look around the room before you start and notice anything (posters, handouts, signage) left over from previous presentations; incorporate these into your remarks.
  3. Insert a relevant story you would usually share in another presentation, but had not planned during the current one.
  4. Make fun of any foibles you make during the course of the presentation to have some fan at your own expense.
  5. Make a bold physical movement (i.e., jump up, slam a table, fall down, walk out into the room) the audience does not expect.
  6. Ask the group (or an individual) a question and use the response to illustrate (or even challenge) a point you are making.
  7. Pause during your presentation to chat with an audience member about an expression, statement, or action they have done.
  8. Ask an audience member to share a story about the topic you are covering.
  9. Spend more time on something that appears to be resonating with the audience and shorten up other content that might be less relevant.
  10. Skip a few slides that are going to push you past the time you are supposed to speak.
  11. While the audience is working on an exercise or is otherwise distracted, unhide a slide you did not plan to cover and include it in the presentation.
  12. Close the presentation with an emotional story from your life that you have been reluctant to share because it will make you vulnerable.

What do you think? Are you ready to take some more risks with these presentation skills tips?

Go ahead. You will be fine. I promise! – Mike Brown

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Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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There were several searches on the Brainzooming website the other day for “strategic planning session for (a) company that is headed for trouble.” From the quick glance I took, I am not sure if they were from the same person or even the same company.

This strategic planning session search, however, got me wondering: What would I grab from the Brainzooming website as a starting set of strategic thinking exercises, questions, and tools to use for strategy planning if a company were headed for big trouble?

Traffic-Circle

While The Brainzooming Group generally works with clients that are in strong current positions, but perhaps sensing some early strategic weakness, we developed many early Brainzooming strategic thinking exercises while in various turnaround situations in the Fortune 500 world.

As expected, we have created an array of content directed toward a strategic planning session for a company headed for trouble.

Always eager to turn a fruitful search on the Brainzooming blog into a compilation post, here are fifteen articles full of strategic thinking exercises you should consider if your company is headed for big trouble!

Evaluating Warning Signals and Strategic Options

Strategic Problem Solving

Strategic Implementation

Mike Brown

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders are looking for powerful ways to engage strong collaborators to shape shared visions. They need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for leaders to increase strategic collaboration, engagement, and create improved results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE   Results!!!  Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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It used to be when a lot of us were kids that soap could just show and be soap, and everybody was happy.

Soap was in a bar, and you used it (if you were particularly hygienic) or were MADE to use it (if you weren’t particularly hygienic) to wash your hands and your body.

Times have changed.

Now soap shows up and has to do lots of things. What used to be “soap” now has to be a “Foaming Antimicrobial Handwash with Moisturizers” if it expects to get the job done.

The_New-Soap

That is a big career change strategy for soap.

The thing is, it’s the same career change strategy a lot of more experienced people need to make, too.

It used to be you could show up and do one simple thing . . . and that was enough.

Those days are gone, though.

It doesn’t matter how successful you’ve been or how much experience you have at that one simple thing.

One simple thing isn’t cutting it anymore.

You have to figure out all the other things you can lay claim to in your job and your career. You have to figure out what YOUR version of “Foaming Antimicrobial Handwash with Moisturizers” is going to be.

It may take going to school on people half your age to see what they’re bringing to the workplace now in the way of talents and skills. Then you have to go out and hone what you do to be just as good as they are at all those weird sounding new things.

Because when you couple all those weird sounding new things with all your experience AND an openness to change . . . THEN you have a career change strategy.

Get going! – Mike Brown

Mike-Brown-Gets-Brainzoomin

Learn all about what Mike Brown’s creativity, strategic thinking and innovation presentations can add to your business meeting!

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Have you ever attended an event where it promises to be incredibly creative and fun, and you don’t know EXACTLY what you’ll be getting into, yet that’s completely fine?

Confabularryum

That’s what the second annual ConfabuLarryum promises to be this Saturday in Lawrence, KS!

As it bills itself, ConfabuLarryum is the “Lawrence Festival of Creativity.” The agenda includes such diverse creative activities as:

  • Maker Spaces
  • A Drone Zone
  • Cardio Drumming
  • A “How to Play Air Guitar” Demo
  • LEGO Serious Play
  • Redondo, a Group Drawing Game
  • Virtual Reality Demos
  • Adults Learning from Kids
  • Thinking Like a Scientist
  • A Creative Bootcamp

Amid these those incredible creative experiences, I’m presenting at 12 noon on “Busting Creativity Barriers.”

Given all the other activities people can be doing at noon (including hitting up food trucks), I’m hoping to can hang creatively and offer folks ideas for busting creativity barriers right and left.

If you are somewhere in Eastern Kansas, Southern Nebraska, or Western Missouri you HAVE to change whatever plans you have and get to ConfabuLarryum. Twelve hundred people attended last year, and with this line-up, even more people are sure to come out this year for the Lawrence Festival of Creativity.

Even in if you aren’t in the immediate vicinity, you’ve got a few days to get to Lawrence, KS and experience ConfabuLarryum for yourself. If you do decide to come, be sure to grab your lunch at 11:30 so you have some free time at noon….just saying.  – Mike Brown

 

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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This week I did an experiment. I wanted to see how inspired I could be through creative clicks on Twitter in about thirty minutes. These are links to some of the creative clicks that stood out for me.

Marianne-Carr-Photo

You can see my original re-tweet by searching @mbwcarr #CreativeClicks.

Remember to click on the headlines to link to the articles. Enjoy!  –Marianne Carr

Orange you glad I said Brainzooming?

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If you have read my past creative click on color you know how I love color. This gives some practical ways to apply color.

Your Brain on Logo

Here’s another way to understand the way your brain works in marketing.

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SQUIRREL!

“The human brain is powerful, but even it cannot make sense of the entire sum of stimuli that bombard our senses,” said Vincent P. Ferrera, PhD, the study’s senior author. Dr. Ferrera is a principal investigator at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Bran Behavior Institute and associate professor in the department of neuroscience (in psychiatry) at CUMC. “Instead, it selects and prioritizes information based on what is needed at any given moment–this is called attention. And while attention is a fundamental characteristic of human cognition, and something that we use all the time, the underlying brain circuits that give us this ability remain largely unclear.”

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Huh? Did you say something? The human brain really IS the final frontier.

Jury Duty like the Rest of Us

A fellow juror, Sheri Coleman, told The Dallas Morning News that No. 43 was “very personable, very friendly, just ‘hey I’m here to serve.'”

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This inspired me because no matter who you are, where you are, or when it is, it’s always good to show up! And smile!

#POTUS #Entrepreneurship #Diversity #Awesome

President Barack Obama announced new public and private-sector commitments to attract diversity in entrepreneurship and technology. This included the winners of Small Business Administration competitions, federal partnerships to increase training efforts by the National Science Foundation, and expanding the TechHire initiative, where cities and states partner with employers in recruitment.

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Another reason to be inspired.

#iLookLikeAnEngineer

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While this ad campaign also featured several male employees of OneLogic, the image of the female engineer immediately began attracting attention after it went up in BART stations throughout the Bay Area. People didn’t believe the ad.

This is a shout out to all my Engineer friends. Love you, you diverse, interesting, creative group of people. Except when you try to teach me how to play Settlers of Catan. I’ll stick with Scattergories or Apples to Apples, thank you very much.

Creative Clicks to Find the Picture of Success

This simple yet beautifully illustrated animation, titled ‘What Is ‘Success’’, captures the nuances in the definition of success, and the importance of making it a fulfilling journey.

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This week I saw a post on LinkedIn of an infographic of habits of successful versus non-successful people. Stuff like “keeps a journal.” It didn’t sit right with me. This amazing little short animation does. My sister, who inspires me everyday, gave me a great piece of advice once, “Be your own yardstick.”  Hope this inspires you, too.

 

 

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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1

We’ve written about various brainstorming methods, including brainstorming math before.

As we use the term, “brainstorming math” means taking advantage of the number of people involved in creative thinking, how many people can participate simultaneously, the time available, and the number of ideas various brainstorming methods are likely to yield to gauge how much creative thinking work you can accomplish.

What’s great about brainstorming math is you can not only use it to determine how many ideas will likely to emerge from creative thinking exercises. You can also use it to identify ways to make up time when a creative thinking session falls behind schedule.

Using Brainstorming Math to Save Time

At a customer forum we designed and facilitated for a business-to-business client, we emphasized creating an educational and networking environment for the company’s customers. We also employed various creative thinking exercises throughout the day. Because of waiting for some delayed attendees, we started more than 15 minutes late. During the morning, some segments lasted longer than expected. To adjust our plan for the afternoon, I used brainstorming math as a way to save twenty minutes while still getting everything done we had planned.

Brainstorming-Group-L

Since participants wanted to learn about and from each other, there was an opportunity to have MORE people contributing ideas. We combined two exercises into one (2x faster), creating combo creative thinking exercise where three small groups worked simultaneously (3x more work getting done). To increase the networking impact, participants rotated among groups to increase the interaction potential. As a result, we completed all the creative thinking exercises we expected to complete and caught up all the time by mid-afternoon.

If you’re facilitating group creative thinking exercises, always keep brainstorming math top of mind. Use it correctly, and you can develop more ideas in less time or the same number of ideas in much less time than you originally planned.

No matter how you cut it, brainstorming math is a great way to save time!  Mike Brown

Need help guiding your team’s creative thinking for innovative product ideas?

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookDo you need to take better advantage of your brand’s customer inputs and market insights to generate innovative product ideas? With the right combination of perspectives from outside your organization and productive strategic thinking exercises, you can ideate, prioritize, and develop your best innovative growth ideas. Download this free, concise ebook to:

  • Identify your organization’s innovation profile
  • Learn and rapidly deploy effective strategic thinking exercises to spur innovation
  • Incorporate crowd sourced perspectives into your innovation strategy in smart ways

Download this FREE ebook to turn ideas into actionable innovation strategies to drive your organization’s growth.

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A brand can be completely careless about its branding strategy and brand messages. If it is, it runs the risk of confusing itself, its employees, and the marketplace.

Really smart brands, however, employ a coordinated branding strategy across values, employees, products and services, messages, and all the cues that reinforce the brand. They take advantage of every opportunity (or at least as many as they possibly can) to reinforce brand messages, even on what might seem to be throwaway situations.

On several road trips, we passed Chick-fil-A logos on multi-restaurant highway signs. These highway signs are the ones where several restaurants buy small placements to highlight a presence at an upcoming exit.

Each of the Chick-fil-A placements on these restaurant signs featured the brand’s logo and the message, “Closed Sunday.”

Chick-fil-a-Sign2

It might initially seem to be an odd, negative branding message. Why tell someone when you AREN’T open when you could convey a positive message such as, “Open Mon-Sat.”

Yet, while “Open Mon-Sat” is a message, it does nothing for the Chick-fil-A brand. “Closed Sunday,” on the other hand, sends a big brand message about Chick-fil-A and the values its brand represents. Importantly, it also resonates strongly with an important target audience for the brand.

That’s a tiny lesson, but suggests a big question for any organization’s branding strategy: How many meaningless brand messages are you putting out into the marketplace, and what are you going to do (SOON) to give them real brand value? – Mike Brown

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

FREE Download: “Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact”

Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders are looking for powerful ways to engage strong collaborators to shape shared visions. They need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for leaders to increase strategic collaboration, engagement, and create improved results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
  • Increase focus for your team with productive strategy questions everyone can use
  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

Download Your FREE   Results!!!  Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

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