Links of the Week: 2013.01


“Links of the Week” are typically great reads I’ve found on Twitter or on my favorite blogs and websites.  These two favorites all relate to public speaking as well as setting goals (whether they are presentation-related or not) in the New Year.  Even if it wasn’t your New Year’s resolution, working on becoming a more effective communicator will push you above your competition this year!

In “15 Seconds to a Better Presentation,” Geoffrey James gives us two dos and two don’ts for the introduction of our presentation: 1) do have someone else introduce you; 2) don’t begin by telling an opening joke; 3) don’t begin with the background; and 4) do begin with a startling fact or statistic (Source).  I like that James focuses on the introduction, as this can make or break you in the eyes of your audience.  In those 15 seconds he references in his article’s title, an audience will make a decision about who you are as a presenter and whether or not your speech will be boring or awesome.  Within 15 seconds, your audience will develop a first impression of you and determine whether or not they want to continue listening to your speech or check out and play The Sims on their phones.

Most of us don’t know how to establish ethos.  Of the three modes of persuasion, ethos is the most difficult.  Explaining your character and credibility to the audience is not an easy task, and infusing it in your speech in a seamless way is even more challenging.  You don’t want to come off as a self-absorbed jerk when you explain your credentials, but you don’t want to leave your audience wondering who you are and why you’re speaking to them.  While I agree that it is helpful to have someone introduce you, I think it’s even better to work on building your ethos into your presentation.  Andrew Dlugan of Six Minutes has THE article on the three pillars of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos.  Learn more about establishing your ethos by reading Dlugan’s amazing article on the subject.

In addition to ethos, we must remember that our introduction should be engaging and authentic.  In order to do so, a corny joke always falls flat.  Instead, use the P.U.N.C.H. method to create a strong intro that connects with audiences in a real, exciting way.

The second article that caught my attention this week was “What To Do If Other People’s Success Discourages You.”  I think that with 2013 and all of our resolutions for the brand new year, we must keep in mind the tips that SerenDestiny’s Sam Horn gives us.  Horn says we cannot compare ourselves with others.  Instead, we can 1) stop comparing ourselves to others and 2) appreciate the success of other people while still succeeding ourselves (Source).  Because I am the most competitive person on this planet, I have a difficult time NOT comparing myself with other people.  It’s a double-edged sword… On one hand, this competitive nature pushes me to be my best self because I constantly work hard to produce quality work.  On the other hand, I feel discouraged if someone’s success trumps my own.  It’s a personal trait I vowed to work on in 2013, so I was thankful for Horn’s article!  I love the idea that “Comparison is the root of all unhappiness . . . and the ruin of self-esteem.  Comparing ourselves to others causes us to lose sight of our own success” (Source).  How do you make sure you are keeping on track with your New Year’s resolutions without discouraging yourself by comparing your goals and your successes with other people?

What great articles have you read so far in 2013?