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Susan-CrawfordWhen a speaker has a command of the effective presentation skills to put him or herself into a presentation in a truly emotional, real way, I take notice.

These speakers stand out because so many speakers don’t inject any emotion into their talks. And for those speakers who do inject emotion, it often appears to the audience (or at least “me” in the audience) as phony and forced.

Among multiple great speakers at the Gigabit City Summit, one speaker I was able to see was one of those rare standout presenters who could put effective presentation skills on display throughout her talk in a very real way, so I took lots of notice.

Susan Crawford, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, delivered a talk on “From Gigabit City to Responsive City.” The former Special Assistant for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy in the Obama administration, her talk on technology and broadband wound up following President Obama’s address on the importance of broadband for communities across the United States.

This placement set Susan Crawford up to contrast her challenges six years ago in advancing broadband initiatives compared with the address President Obama had completed just a few hours earlier.

8 Effective Presentation Skills for Putting More of You in Your Talks

What were the effective presentation skills Susan Crawford used so well in her remarks?

Here are eight of them Susan Crawford used that ANY of us can use, if you or I are willing to move into a more real place to share our perspectives.

She spoke:

  1. About her hopes
  2. Of her challenges
  3. From the heart
  4. Using her own stories, not someone else’s stories
  5. To establish empathy with the audience
  6. With humor where it was appropriate – even in a serious talk
  7. With body language that conveyed her passion and emotion in very subtle ways
  8. In a way that took her to the edge of raw emotion without going too far

I was so completely pulled in to her talk, I missed an online message from conference chair Aaron Deacon of KC Digital Drive on how we wanted to wrap up the day’s events!

Susan Crawford at the Gigabit City Summit from KC Digital Drive on Vimeo.

Two days later, while delivering an update on a Digital Inclusion Summit report for Kansas City The Brainzooming Group prepared for the Kansas City Public Library. I tried using as many of these presentation skills as possible. I’ll keep the list close to push myself in future presentations. If you’re up to it, next time you want to put more of you into your presentation, come back here and see how you stack up against the effective presentation skills on the list. – Mike Brown

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Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you 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.

For an organizational innovation and strategic thinking success boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. 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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At our workshop for the Gigabit City Summit, we shared multiple strategic thinking exercises we use to help organizations achieve better business results. Since our audience included some of the most innovative, forward-looking communities in the US, our specific focus was articulating a shared vision for the community to shape development and implementation of a significant broadband initiative.

During our Gigabit City Summit workshop discussion, one mayor in the audience expressed the concern that a “vision” seems squishy and only so many words that don’t really do much in shaping a direction.

That’s likely a common sentiment about vision statements. And while it can be true, it doesn’t have to be.

Gigabit-City-Summit-Convene

A Shared Vision and Better Business Results

Here’s why we’re proponents of articulating a shared vision for an organization and it’s important audiences. A well-developed vision:

  • Points to a future direction
  • Incorporates the aspirations of a broad audience
  • Suggests how the organization will move toward the future direction
  • Excites and invites the community to become a part of the vision
  • Speaks clearly and emotionally to the audience
  • Supports and aligns the other elements of the organization’s strategic direction

One important point is that the vision doesn’t HAVE to be a “statement.” While it certainly can be summed up in one sentence, a shared vision that’s intended to meaningfully lead to better business results could be a much longer work that describes the future. Rather than being written, the vision mind find its best form in pictures, an infographic, a video, or even some type of physical representation. Or the vision could be comprised of all of these.

So, yes, a vision can be fluffy.

But if you approach articulating a vision as a foundation step that’s vital for better business results and do so in a smart, inclusive way, a shared vision can be the most important strategic element an organization has at its disposal. – Mike Brown

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Learn all about how Mike Brown’s workshops on creating strategic impact can boost your success!

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The Brainzooming Group, in support of KC Digital Drive, is in the midst of wrapping up producing the Gigabit City Summit today.

Talking with attendees throughout the event, it’s exciting to hear them talk about how smooth, fun, engaging, and meaningful the Gigabit City Summit event experience has been. These sentiments were accentuated during Wednesday afternoon’s general session when we interrupted the regularly scheduled Gigabit City Summit to feature a live webcast of President Barack Obama’s address from Cedar Falls, IA on the plan for accelerating broadband availability in the United States.

Gigabit-City-Summit-Interruption

When it comes to events, here are 10 of my hip pocket tips for designing and implementing a fantastic event experience design. They apply to big meetings, and also to most little meetings. Most of them even apply if you’re only getting a few people together for a meeting.

10 Tips for a Compelling Event Experience Design

  1. When in doubt, incorporate more emotion into your event experience design. Emotion isn’t used enough in professional settings, so you’ll stand out with genuine emotion.
  2. Start with your second biggest thing; end with the biggest thing you have going.
  3. Capture all the TYPES and AMOUNT of content you can during the event, even if you’re not sure what you’ll do with it later.
  4. Restrict yourself (as much as possible) to speakers that someone on the planning group has previously seen. If you’re interested in someone you haven’t seen, figure out a way to see them speak before deciding.
  5. Make sure the technical and audio visual people who are working the show have full visibility to what you’re trying to accomplish with the event experience design. This allows them to support you in ways you might not have thought about.
  6. There are two kinds of people in the world: event people (who understand the mix of strategy and detail to implement a successful event experience design) and everyone else. Make sure you surround yourself with event people.
  7. Be ready to fix things for attendees and know who the people are on your event team that are great at fixing things for attendees. Always know where these people are at the event.
  8. Manage the time aggressively to keep the event on schedule. Know, however, when a slight deviation from the time schedule is important for creating a better event experience (such as when the President delivers an address on your topic during your conference). Also know how much of the extra time you’ll be able to make up during the rest of the event and where it’s going to take place.
  9. Create the schedule so there are multiple compelling reasons in the event experience for attendees to stick around throughout the entire event.
  10. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be looking out for the completely unexpected things that WILL happen that reinforce your event experience while the event is going on. Those unexpected events led to stopping our show for the President, how we opened the first two days of the conference with particular music and video selections, and me trying (at 2 a. m. Thursday morning) to get a last-minute guest into our breakfast and Kansas City tech tour this morning. Those unexpected things are God’s gift to those who are paying attention to them! – Mike Brown

 

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Download: FREE Innovation Strategic Thinking Fake Book

Brainzooming Outside-In Innovation Strategic Thinking Tools eBookAre you making the best use of customer input and market insights to deliver innovation and growth? Creating successful, innovative new products and services has never been more dependent on tapping perspectives from outside your organization.

This new ebook features sixteen strategic thinking exercises to help you 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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AEIB-GraphicAs we do occasionally, we’re featuring an excerpt today from the Armada Corporate Intelligence publication,  “Inside the Executive Suite.” This article was about succession planning best practices IF your organization has no formal succession planning and a team member resigns.

Based on surveys suggesting many organizations lack formal succession planning or don’t follow it closely, their informal strategy for succession planning best practices is a good stop gap. This is especially true early in the year when some people resign after staying around long enough to qualify for year-end bonuses.

These four quick steps for an informal strategy for succession planning could be just what you need to do this week!

Succession Planning Best Practices – 4 Quick Steps for an Informal Strategy

(From Armada Corporate Intelligence – “Inside the Executive Suite”)

Based on the particular survey you find in a quick online search, perhaps 1/3 of organizations don’t have succession planning in place – although the number could be much higher, or slightly lower!

Suffice it to say, even if succession planning is completed, the same surveys report many organizations don’t employ the individuals they would need to implement the succession plans they have.

This absence of succession planning best practices can be a particular issue right after the New Year. Employees that have stuck around only to satisfy the date for an annual bonus often turn in their resignations immediately afterward. Seeing this happen many times, it’s worthwhile to share these steps to take right now, just in case you lack succession plans.

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1. Start your informal succession planning by compiling a very short list of employees you’ll fight to keep

If you do nothing else toward succession planning before January 1, decide which employees you’d make a concerted effort to keep should they announce they are departing.

We recommend making a VERY short list because when most people resign, they have made a mental break they’ll never completely mend – even if they stay because you countered successfully. As a result, the only names on the list should be those absolutely critical to current operations or whose specialized knowledge or expertise would leave a gaping hole.

Also jot down names of employees you’d be happy to see leave, should they do so. Everyone else falls into the, “Not looking to lose them, but it might happen” category.

With this list, you’re in a much better position to implement step 2 if someone announces he or she is leaving.

2. If someone resigns, stay calm, ask questions, and listen

Suppose, it’s January 2nd or February 1st (or whatever date after which bonuses are set) and a key employee resigns. You need to stay calm since this is your opportunity to ask smart questions and listen intently. If the person resigning is on your “fight to keep” list, ask:

  • Are you willing to reconsider?
  • Have you thought about what might make you reconsider?
  • What timing commitments have you made to the new organization?

Understanding these answers begins framing your response for an employee you’re trying to keep since you should have a better idea of what a counter-offer will have to include.

Even for employees on the “not looking to lose them” list, however, asking the last question leads to Step 3

3. Negotiate more transition time if you think it is valuable

For employees not on your “fight to keep” list you’d like in place longer than the two weeks typically offered as a transition period, ask what types of flexibility they have to alter start dates with new employers.

If you think an individual would handle a longer transition period in a constructive, productive way, you may want to negotiate for three or four weeks instead of two. In so doing, you’re not trying to keep them for an extended period; you are, however, trying to buy more time to advance your succession planning and implementation.

4. Find a confidant to vent, then use alone time to think and plan

After asking questions and listening, conclude your meeting. Then go ahead and vent, if you need to do that. Contact a confidant to vent privately without concern for your venting getting back to the office. If you’re frustrated, apprehensive, or even excited, none of these are appropriate emotions to display publicly. Get them out, and return to your calm state quickly.

At that point, begin thinking about what moves you could make to replace the person leaving from among internal candidates. Even if you don’t have someone completely prepared for the job, do you have someone ready for an opportunity that challenges them in dramatically different or more significant ways? If so, there might be no better time to grow them than through stepping into a much bigger role.

Are you ready for people changes with an informal strategy for succession planning?

These steps certainly don’t constitute a full succession planning strategy. If you don’t have one, however, it’s a solid checklist to work through should any staff members announce their departures after the first of the year. - Armada Corporate Intelligence

 

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If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.


 

 

 

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Next time you are looking for creative success, take one creative step.

Take any creative step you can take forward.

Make a creative sidestep and go on a new path.

Back up from your creativity and rethink it.

Step away from your creative challenge and get some time to rest and think.

Adjust your creative step and move toward greater simplicity.

Take a giant step toward inspiration from the most creative people you know.

Make a huge creative jump and get ahead of everyone else who is simply walking down the typical creative path.

One-Creative-Step

Next time you are looking for creative success, take one creative step, then keep repeating. – Mike Brown

 

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. 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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We’ve discussed the value of having three different strategic thinking perspectives in any strategy work. These three strategic thinking perspectives include people with front-line experience, others with functional expertise, and innovative thinkers that look at opportunities and challenges in new and different ways.

Brainstorming-Session-Google-Fiber

Across these three groups, there are also three types of voices to include, especially when looking at an organization’s vision and related future strategy conversations. These three voices are:

  • Familiar Voices
  • Challenger Voices
  • Emerging voices

These three voices all differ in their backgrounds and what they bring to strategic thinking and strategy conversations.

Familiar voices are individuals recognized for their long-term engagement, their deep and broad networks, and a strong understanding of relevant and significant opportunities and issues.

Challenger voices are those individuals noted for questioning the status quo in constructive ways. They are oriented toward finding answers to lingering issues and are sensitized toward not simply ratifying the popular view and calling it good.

Emerging voices come from organizations and individuals with new visibility in an organization or among its audiences. They have been outside the mainstream conversations and represent a valuable perspective the majority might routinely overlook.

Next time you’re convening a group to meaningfully address the future of your organization, take a good look. Do you have individuals representing all three of these voices?

If not, stop, and expand the strategic voices on your team right away. – Mike Brown

 

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

If you’re facing a challenging organizational situation and are struggling to maintain forward progress because of it, The Brainzooming Group can provide a strategic sounding-board for you. We will apply our strategic thinking and implementation tools on a one-on-one basis to help you create greater organizational success. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you figure out how to work around your organizational challenges.


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What’s an idea?

And how do you decide amid all the creative thinking exercises you might be using, what determines when you have an idea as opposed to something else that doesn’t really qualify as an idea?

These strategic thinking questions were a sub-theme of a Twitter conversation about “ideas” and the most effective ways creative thinking can generate the greatest number of ideas in a certain period of time.

In an in-person conversation shortly afterward, the same types of strategic thinking questions were applied to product name possibilities.

I was showing someone the output from a recent Zoomference focused on generating product name ideas. The group generated seven hundred of what I characterized as “names.” The other party said what we produced weren’t really product names. He acknowledged there were some product names on the list, but he said many of them were merely suggestions of what names could be.

See how muddied and confusing the terminology used in and around creative thinking can be?

ideas-in-all-shades

Back to the Strategic Thinking Questions about Ideas

So what is an idea? Or what is a product name?

The two separate conversations prompted me to speculate that in a group setting employing strategic thinking and creative thinking exercises, an idea is best classified as a TPU.

What’s a TPU?

It’s an acronym for a “Tangible Participation Unit.”

When you’re leading creative thinking exercises with a group to generate what most people would readily call “ideas,” a TPU suggests a participating group member has made a noticeable contribution to the creative thinking the group is doing.

If you’re in a group coming up with ideas, you may have all kinds of beneficial thoughts racing around in your head. If there’s no TPU in the form of something said, written, typed, drawn, acted out, etc., however, no one really has a sense that you have any ideas.

The one exception might be if you make that contorted idea face some quiet thinkers make when it’s clear they are thinking something but just aren’t saying it. That face SUGGESTS someone has an idea on the brain, but it simply hasn’t reached the mouth or hand in order to become tangible.

But even that “idea face” doesn’t substitute for a TPU.

To be a TPU, the remnants of the creative thinking have to be tangible, providing clear evidence to others you are participating.

What do you think?

I haven’t taken my thinking on this topic much beyond what you see here. What do you think? Do you have a solid definition of an idea that you use or have borrowed from literature on the topic? If so, how do you define an idea? – Mike Brown

 

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

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. 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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