David Brooks talks to me while I’m doing my gym workout.
David, a bestselling author, reads his latest book, How To Know a Person – The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen, into my ear buds while I’m lifting weights.
He’s making lots of sense that can guide all of us as we communicate and navigate through our personal and professional pursuits.
In this short blog series I’ll share some of Brooks’ findings on qualities that make it hard to see others; and qualities that make it easy to see other people in all their fullness.
Today I’ll focus on the former – what Brooks defines as Diminishers.
Diminishers: How not to see a person
➜ Egotism – Being self-centered.
A Diminisher is all about, “Let me tell you my opinion.” Brooks comments that many people are unable to step outside of their own points of view which shows up as a lack of curiosity about other people.
➜ The Lesser-Minds Problem – Perceiving that you are more complicated, subtle and high-minded than others.
You have access to all of your thoughts/motivations and just a tiny access to other people’s minds shared by what they say out loud.
Brooks shares this example. When business school students answered why they were going into business the common response was, “I care about doing something worthwhile.” When asked why others were going into business, they replied, “For the money.” Lesser motivations, lesser minds!
➜ Instant Size-up – Making generalizations about groups and cultural trends.
“The size-up is what you do when you first meet someone: You check out their look, and you immediately start making judgments about them…. Most of us have inborn proclivities that prevent us from perceiving others accurately.”
All in all, Diminishers make it hard to really see others. Next week I’ll share some of Brooks’ set of skills for being an Illuminator, the ability to see others in their fullness. It does not just happen.
We are back with our annual selection of the best Super Bowl Commercial.
Speak For Yourself® picks our favorite commercial each year. Why? To learn best ways to get YOUR message across without paying over $LVIII,000,000. (the 30-second spot + talent + production).
This year Dunkin Donuts’ ‘The DunKings’ commercial wins.
Use this list of DunKing strategies for your next board presentation, zoom meeting or project review all modeled in this commercial.
1️⃣ Clarity. Many of the ads tried too hard and became disjointed. You could not figure out what they were selling till the last second. Our DunKing ad reveals the product up front. From the first to the last expensive nano-second you see the Dunkin’ logo and/or the company brand colors.
🏈 Note to you: Are you using your logo and brand colors everywhere, from your digital presence to your merchandise?
2️⃣ Self-deprecating humor. Our well-known cast, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Tom Brady, Jack Harlow, Jennifer Lopez, & Fat Joe make fun of themselves throughout this ad. Look at their outfits!
🏈 Note to you: Laugh at yourself – it makes you more approachable. We will then want to listen to you.
3️⃣ Call to Action. Affleck tells Damon as they walk away, “Chill. They’re naming a new drink after us”. A new product is born at Dunkin’ Donuts! In other commercials you had to really search for the product and its relevance.
🏈 Note to you: End your emails, presentations and meetings asking for what you want. Include “next steps.” Move the conversation forward.
4️⃣ BONUS TIdbit – According to CNN, “Part of the deal to get Affleck on board was Dunkin’ making a sizable donation to his nonprofit.”
🏈 Note to you: Have integrity. It will show up even if you don’t advertise it.
Your LVIII-million dollar communication takeaways ➜
Be clear about who you are, what you want, and what you are pitching. Be consistent with your branding. And find the humor.
Congrats to all of you who get recognized by your peers.
Last night my cousin Neal received just such an award from the Northern TX PGA of America. My husband, Jim, and I proudly attend the President’s Dinner at a beautiful golf country club (of course!) and I have the chance to observe 16 award presentations.
Yep – 16 acceptance speeches, each being around 4-5 minutes! You do the math.
Don’t think “How boring can you get”! These guys do a great job and I stayed engaged even though I know nothing about them or their accolades.
What makes Acceptance Speeches work
My cousin Neal receiving the Byron Nelson Award
🎤 Brevity. My cousin Neal begins his acceptance speech saying, “I didn’t have my glasses on when I read the instructions … I think the PGA wants me to speak for 4 to 5 minutes or 45 minutes!” He laughs. We laugh. And thankfully Neal sticks to the guidelines. Remember this adage, “Be brief, be gay, be gone.”
🎤 Authenticity – being true to your own personality, values, and spirit. I stay engaged for the entire evening because each awardee speaks from his truths. The superintendent award winner is overwhelmed as he shares with joy and honesty, “Thank you so much for including us in your award banquet. We aren’t the golfers, we keep the grounds, grass and fairways ready so you can golf. I love ‘my’ golf country club. We have trouble sometimes with the creek that runs through it, but that’s not our fault!”
🎤 Inclusivity. What to include … you ask? First: Context about the award itself and the group that bestows the award on you. Second: People you wish to thank. Write every name down. Yes, even your partner’s name! One guy almost forgot to thank his wife!
What to avoid when receiving an award
❌ Winging it – No notes! No prep! No good! You’ll go long on tangents and short on what you really want to convey.
❌ Digitizing it – reading your speech from your iPad or phone. OK – You’re going to push back on this. Many of you rely on your digital notes, and when it works you’re golden. But you’ve also encountered times when your battery dies, the brightness of the screen fades, or the scrolling causes you to lose your place. Please bring your notes, on paper, in a font size you can see. (Better to be old-fashioned then lose your train of thought which did happen to one of the PGA awardees.)
🎤 If you don’t want to accept an award because you hate the thought of giving one of these speeches, call us! Happy to help you become comfortable receiving recognition you deserve.
You might guess that I’d advise you to prepare for speaking opportunities by analyzing your audience’s needs and how to get their buy-in, figuring out your main points, support material and & stories, and sharing your call to action.
All true but not weird!
Our weirdest advice
Do the 7 to 1 Exercise.
What is this?
Lift your right arm and shake your arm while projecting your voice louder than usual and say each number descending from 7 to 1, “7,6,5,4,3,2,1”. Put your right arm down.
Lift your left arm and repeat. Put your left arm down.
Lift your right leg and shake your foot in the air while smiling and saying loudly each number descending from 7 to 1. Put your right leg down.
Lift your left leg and repeat.
Do this all again (right arm – then left arm – then right foot – then left foot) starting with 6 down to 1. Then again starting with 5 to 1, 4 to 1, 3 to 1, 2 to 1, and then 1 wave of your right arm, 1 wave or your left arm, 1 kick of your right foot and one final kick of your left foot.
Remember to smile and project your voice at all times during this routine.
OR … click on the 90-second video in this blog and watch this exercise in action!
When do you do this?
Do this exercise ahead of your speaking opportunity in the privacy of your hotel room or office.
Why do you want to do this?!
You warm up your voice, body, face and brain cells. You have to think about what number you’re on, while you smile, project and balance your body. AND… you’ll channel your extra adrenaline (those sneaky nerve-racking butterflies) in a positive direction.
I learned this great exercise when I took improv classes. We did this routine before every performance. I still do this 7 to 1 exercise before any speaking engagement and I’ve taught it to all my clients. You may think you look like an idiot but you’re training your face, voice and body to look natural and strong.
“The Monday NYT Crosswords are the easiest, and the puzzles get harder as the week goes on. Solve as many of the Mondays as you can before pushing yourself to Tuesday puzzles. You can thank us later.”
Same goes for giving presentations. Start small. Speak to “warm”/agreeable audiences first. Speak on topics you’ve earned the right to discuss. Speak in settings that add to your comfort zone. Then push yourself. You can thank me later.
It’s Not Cheating, It’s Learning
“Tip: Don’t be afraid to look up answers. You’ll become a better solver for it.”
As speakers, it’s not cheating to have notes. In fact your audience wants you to stay on time and on target. Notes keep you from getting disorganized and tangential. And it lowers your anxiety.
Note: Don’t read your notes verbatim. Only bring an outline to the lectern.
Practice Makes, If Not Perfect, a Much Better Solver
“Do more puzzles. The more you solve, the better you’ll get.”
Quid pro quo, practice makes you a better speaker and decreases nervousness. Practice tips: Say your beginning and ending out loud at least 4 times. Remember that giving a speech is not hard (because you’re speaking about your topic) … it’s just difficult to start and conclude.
As a recovering perfectionist I steer away from the adage, “Practice makes perfect.” Instead, “Predictable practice makes you better prepared.”
Solve With a Friend
“Tip:Solving with another person can work to your advantage. You know things your friend doesn’t know, and he or she knows things that you don’t know.”
I love speaking and am intimidated by doing crossword puzzles. Thank you to my son-in-law, Kevin, for being my crossword puzzle friend. You make it fun and easier!
To decrease your fear of public speaking practice with a non-judgey friend. Then buy them lunch.
Puzzling your way out of speaker anxiety ➜ Use these foundational crossword puzzle strategies as your clues.
Note – This blog, originally published on 1.17.17, has been one of our most popular posts. The message remains true and I’d like to share it again on this Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.
MLK uses the Anaphora Effect.
You’re asking, “What’s the Anaphora Effect?”
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s American federal holiday marking his birthday, celebrated earlier this week, let’s highlight one of the genius components of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
He uses the Anaphora Effect exquisitely.
Definition of Anaphora
It’s the repetition of words at the start of successive clauses, phrases or sentences.
Why use Anaphora phrases? To create a rhythm, heighten emotion, and add emphasis to make the message easier to remember.
In MLK’s famous speech:
“Now is the time” is repeated three times in the sixth paragraph.
“One hundred years later”, “We can never be satisfied”, “With this faith”, “Let freedom ring”, and “free at last” are also repeated.
Of course, the most widely cited example of anaphora is found in the often quoted phrase “I have a dream”, which is repeated eight times as King paints a picture of an integrated and unified America.
You might have learned in your English writing classes to not repeat words too often in written form. It depends. Using a catchy phrase can enhance your email or Chairman’s Report.
Your Speak For Yourself® challenge:
Use the Anaphora Effect digitally, informally and in formal presentations to create more buy-in.
Photos taken by Robin Sachs Photography. Thank you to Robin for joining me in Atlanta to tour the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and the Martin Luther King National Historical Park!