Category Archives: Speaking

Gimmicks, Gadgets & the Buzz Factor

Gimmicks, Gadgets & the Buzz Factor

At a recent three-day convention, I was slated to present the opening keynote for the next day and a workshop on communication the third day. It has always been my practice when time permitted, to come in a day early so I could hear other speakers, feel the energy of the group and if there is another main speaker, to make sure that I hear him or her.

It allows me to observe audience reaction to the speaker and the topic as well as the opportunity to link what I say with some theme within the speaker’s talk. Sure enough, I did alter part of my presentation—her theme was all about change. My keynote would be around the title of one of my books, Stabotage! How to Deal with Pit Bulls, Skunks, Snakes, Scorpions & Slugs in the Health Care Workplace. Within that talk, I always reference change—it’s one of the factors that seeds conflict.

The speaker had looked good. Loved her colors and the way she interacted with others before she began her program. And then all the gimmicks came out. Special lighting, video, hiding gadgets within the audience, audience participation and moving around—lots of bells and whistles.  Now, I love gadgets and gimmicks … I just don’t want to be OD’d with them. What was cute in the beginning became downright tiresome, almost boring. As I watched and listened, I felt that her talk had been given so many times and that the choreography of it and her body movements were so canned that she could be having an out of body experience and still do her talk. I came away with, “I’ve heard this a zillion times feeling.” Hmmmm.

The next day, I was up early and so were 400 attendees. They were energetic and enthusiastic. Some were life-long friends within the nursing profession and multi-meeting attendees; others were new to the conference. I loved their buzz and watching them with their greetings and interactions with each other. What I did notice, though, was there was no buzz about the previous day’s speaker. Nothing, almost as if she hadn’t been there.

Because of what she covered, I knew that I would only have to “kiss it” within mine, deleting a good 10 minutes and allowing me to add tidbits to a key point that I would like to spend more time. In doing this, I would reference her presentation the day before and move to the point that I could expand. What I did do, was add in something that wasn’t even covered or hinted in her talk about change and did it with a couple of slides that I put together after I heard her.

The buzz after my talk lingered until the conference ended. Attendees would come and speak to me at my book table and share that they had just been talking with their friend and they loved it when I said ______fill in the blank. The Buzz Factor … it’s important.

Because the group was running late from their lunch, which preceded my keynote, I had to cut up 20 minutes of my presentation. As a speaker, you must be flexible and adapt to just about anything, including chopping your own talk if necessary. Which I did … still, the audience listened, adsorbed and came away with relevant info for their workplaces.

To create the Buzz Factor, you can leave your audiences laughing, crying or thinking … but you can’t just leave them. I didn’t—my goal as a speaker has to always have entertainment, lots of humor but lots of meat that can be chewed on, processed, regurgitated—all loaded with ideas and concepts that can be implemented. Gadgets and Gimmicks can be fun … but they are like Chinese food—great during the meal, but after processing and gone too quickly.

Moving from Wannabe Author to the Real Thing

Moving from Wannabe Author to the Real Thing

It never fails … at every conference I speak at, multiple attendees will say, “I can’t believe you’ve written all these books … I wish I could write a book.” And I always respond, “Why not … you can.”

Is there a book in you? Most people think there is. And most don’t get them out. You could have the makings of a fantastic novel, a creative young adult series, and exquisitely illustrated young children’s stories. Sci-fi could be your genre, a cookbook, how-to or business book may be lurking in your creative closet.

You just may be able to take your career to a whole new level with the creation of a book. Adding to your professional credentials, if done right, could position you as the expert in a specific field. A book could talk you to a whole new level, a different type of professional business card.

Many wannabe authors practice the art of one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, three to get ready, three to get ready … and they never go. They keep reaching for one more thing; one more piece of information; another interview; another who knows what. Sometimes, it’s just another excuse. Their book never gets written, much less published. Their quest for the perfect book has become the enemy of creating a good book, even a great book.

The First Step
Choose a spot … any spot that is yours and yours alone. Authors need their space and time. Space will contain all the ingredients you need to support you. Think computer, phone— if necessary, pens, pencils, paper, files with reference items that you’ve collected, notes you’ve saved or made to support your topic, other reference books, a favorite snack (I confess—I’ve written an entire book with M&Ms being the reward each time I finished a chapter), beverage of choice, toys, etc. Your space. Claim it and let others know that when you are in your space, it’s a “Do Not Disturb” sanctuary.

Find time. Some authors have to work specific hours; others are more loosey-goosey. I’m a binge writer—if someone told me that I had to write/work from the hours of 8 to noon every day—my response would be, “Fat chance.” I’m one of those intensives—when I start, it’s like a train … keep going until it gets to the next station—rarely do I start a chapter without finishing it in a first draft format—bathroom breaks are allowed and fresh tea, but that’s just about it.

The Second Step
Just do it … even if what you get down looks like gibberish. It’s a start. You can’t move forward to publication until you’ve got some words. So dump them out. The more you organize them, the better it is when it comes to the first dump. The general topic, sub-topics, stories/facts/stats to support the topic all go into magic piles.

Where you choose to “dump” is your choice. Some still write all by hand … if you having been procrastinating or dragging your feet—best to bypass this method and either pick up a speaking program like Dragon’s Naturally Speaking where you can literally put on a headset with a mic and start talking. Your works get transcribed to your computer, and then you clean up spellings and missed words after your dictation is done. Easy, very easy. Or, if you can pound it out on the computer, each document is a major theme/chapter and you start pulling it together in bits and chunks.

It won’t be perfect … it’s a START.

The Third Step
Get help … this is where a book shepherd or coach can come into play. You will need an editor. All authors need editors who edit (this is not your friend or sister, although they can be readers) … all authors no exceptions.

Plug time … I’ve just created a new book—Show Me About Book Publishing that will be available in 2011. It was supposed to be done four years ago, but due to an accident I had, many things got put on the back burner. Finally, I’ve been able to put it together in 2010, bringing in two co-authors to complete the journey with me. From it, an entire new program is available for conferences.

Do you have a book in you? Most likely, yes. Could a book help your professional career? Again, most likely, yes.  More info—get Show Me About Book Publishing—released in 2011

Carefronting Employees in Your Midst …

Carefronting Employees in Your Midst …

 You’ve been recently promoted to manager of your department.  You loved being on staff, but the management role hasn’t been what you expected.  Your pre-management department friends seem to have new expectations from you (as you do from them).  The camaraderie you relished for the past two years has almost disappeared. 

 On top of that, Bertha, one of the best employees you’ve ever worked with seems to have had a personality transplant.  She routinely challenges your authority, grumbles about anything and everything, and appears to be the creator of some of the conflict your department is experiencing.

The quickest way to reduce red ink culpraits is to address them when inappropriate behavior surfaces. Your reward for resolution is increased retention, higher productivity, increased patient satisfaction and a less stressful workplace. 

Your solution cycle starts with observation, communication, confrontation and spelling out clearly what the consequence is if the behavior continues.

  1. Recognize that soft skills—effective communication and conflict resolution— are as critical as clinical skills.
  2. Make effective confronting a habit, not something that is done as a last resort.
  3. Teach communication and conflict resolution to everyone on staff.
  4. Identify Red Ink styles and behaviors and confront them immediately.
  5. Let marginal employees go.  Learn to de-hire.
  6. Create a no tolerance zone—bad behaviors are not tolerated or allowed.  Period.

 Don’t concentrate on being the “employer of choice.”  Instead, become the Employer of Choice of Choice Employees.  The real choice should be to keep the keepers and lose the losers.  The end result is a healthier workplace . . . a win-win for all.