AÂ few weeks ago, I came across a web site that had the audio of speeches from the 2006 TED Conference. TED stands for Technology, Education & Design and the organization behind it describes the conference as an “invitation only event where the world’s leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration.” I listened to two of the speeches – they we each by a well known person that I know quite a bit about. I really liked one speech and really disliked the other, which I expected would happen. What I didn’t expect was that each speech had an effect on me which was the complete opposite of what I expected.
One common mistake that many novice and some “expert” speakers make is to ignore the timeÂ limit. Most offenders only go over by minute or two where others wait until they’re practically booed off the stage to finish up.
In general, this is very poor practice and if you’re being paid to speak or even speaking for free for a non-profit, it unlikely that you’ll be invited to speak for them again. If you’re giving a presentation at work, your co-workers may feel become annoyed at you. Think about when you’ve been in the audience and the presenter went way over time.Â It’s never viewed positively.
It’s so easy to put things off. Something more exciting can come up or maybe you’re just feeling lazy. Why do something right now when you can do it later? How can one procrastinate, let me count the ways:
- Putting something important off to watch TV, surf the web, play video games, etc…
- Instead of doing what you know deep down needs to be done, you pretend something else is a higher priority and do that task instead.
- Putting something you don’t want to do off indefinitely with the hope that you may never have to do it.
The word “but” often causes trouble in interpersonal communication. Consider the following statement: “You did a great job, but….”
Of course, you expect to hear something negative next and the part about doing a great job is forgotten. Instead, try this “You did a great job, and if we could just fix this one issue, things will go even smoother next time.” Another alternative would be to replace the first comma with a period and delete the “and.”
One word can turn an impotent goal into an effective goal. Consider the following “goals”:
- I’d like to be financially independent.
- I want a bigger house.
- I hope I get promoted this year.
Just changing a word or two makes your goals more effective. Consider these changes:
- I absolutely must become financially independent.
- I must have a bigger house.
- I must get promoted this year.
Adding “must” makes your goal more definite. Committing to a date is the final step of defining a goal. Exact dates are better than “within 5 years” or “by next November” as you may have forgotten the date you set your goal.
My friend Mark once told me a way to help me achieve my goals: each day, write down 20 things that you can do to that will help you move closer to your goal. Mark had used this techniqueÂ while earning his MBA when his goal was to win a contest at his school. He did this diligently every day and sure enough, he won.
Through the years, I’ve played around with this technique and created some rules to make it most effective. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Do you ever look back on a time in your life where you regretted not taking a risk? Personally, I can think of several opportunities I missed out on ranging from not asking someone out on a date to not taking a chance and starting a dot com business when those businesses were thriving.
Chances are, there’s some kind of fear or discomfort that’s separating the current you from the you that you want to become. If your goal is to find an ideal mate, maybe it’s fear of rejection or discomfort of trying something new like speed dating. If your goal is to get promoted, perhaps it’s fear of the unknown – you don’t know what to expect and if you can handle it.