Language

5 Ways to Improve the Beginning & End of your Presentations

Last week the CFO of a mid-market company here in Manhattan invited me to attend his Quarterly Town Hall meeting. He wanted my feedback on how well his team presented. I sat in the back of the room as speaker after speaker loaded text heavy PowerPoint slides onto the screen and then began their presentation with these 8 words: I’m going to talk to you today about…(reveal an agenda slide.) Every presentation sounded like a lecture. By the end of [...]

How to get a stranger to watch your luggage

My work requires that I travel. A lot. I spend so much time in airports that I can recite the security announcement from memory: “Do not leave your baggage unattended. Unattended baggage will be removed or destroyed by airport security… ” A few days ago I was at LaGuardia waiting to board a flight to DC. I’d been sitting at the gate for a while. The security recording had played at least three times. Moments after the last broadcast ended [...]

BEGINNERS MIND

I was thinking about my 5-year-old niece preparing for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover when I read this week’s New Yorker Magazine. In it Larissa MacFarquhar does a profile on Paul Krugman the op-ed columnist for the New York Times.  http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/03/01/100301fa_fact_macfarquhar One of the many things Mr. Krugman says is: There was an intensity of focus that I had when I was 26 that I won’t be able to recapture at 56. You develop your habits of mind, and [...]

Silent ‘E’ & the power of a Pause

A few days ago I was helping my godson with his homework. The English lesson was practicing the Silent ‘e’. Remember the silent ‘e’? That magical letter that changes the sound of a word? Short vowels become long. Closed syllables become open. I was struck by the fact that the most frequently used vowel in the English language is also the one that has the power to change the meaning of a word by its silence. ‘Hop’ becomes ‘Hope’. ‘Not’ becomes [...]

I vs WE

The passing of William Safire, widely known for his column “On Language” in the New York Times Magazine, has me thinking about the power of language, and the profound change in impact a single word or pronoun can have on a listener. I recently ran a training session for a group of management consultants. They were learning how to engage with clients more deeply and move from being ‘just’ Managers to being viewed as Trusted Advisors. The main event was [...]