Shit happens

The Obvious?

Businesses are terrified of the risk they perceive in social media. They fret about customers ganging up on them or of staff being indiscrete.

Much of this fear is misplaced but it is in part driven by the mainstream media’s appetite for pouncing on them when they slip up.

I am seeing more and more signs though of the public pushing back against sensationalism and bias in the media. Just today I heard that in France, headlines focussing on the French citizens killed in the Tunis museum attack and barely mentioning the other victims have been criticised online.

I have also started to see people defending companies who may have made a mistake but don’t deserve the sensationalist headlines that appear in the press.

These may be signs of hope…

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We’ve all got a volume control on mob rule

The Obvious?

This is the title of a chapter in my book in which I suggest that we all get to choose on the internet which stories we share, which we choose to refute, which we ignore and which we elaborate on. When can now do this rapidly and in large numbers.

Watching the surge of support for Jeremy Clarkson, the high levels of engagement in the Scottish referendum, or the bravery of The Arab Spring, we clearly have a powerful tool at our disposal. Whether the impact of any of those is good or bad depends very much on the perspective of the beholder but that their potency is a sign of things to come seems undeniable.

A lot of what motivates me in my work is the belief that the more of us become active online, and learn to operate as a filter, consciously managing the memes that swirl around the internet and our collective awareness, the more likely we are to arrive at a good place.

We will increasingly sit on a knife edge between the wisdom of the crowd and the madness of the mob. Each of us gets to decide moment by moment which. Exciting and scary at the same time.

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Owning our conversations

The Obvious?

I worked for twenty plus years for an organisation that industrialised story telling. In learning to passively consume content we sub-contracted our sense making to others. What excites me about the interwebs is that we get the chance to take that back.

In this post William Buist considers the future for our dominant social media platforms and I responded to it by saying “Call me an ageing hippy but I’m still hopeful that we will eventually get tired of being “owned” and see more open platforms being thought of as social infrastructure. We need to lose the media bit of “’social media'”.

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Mastering the Art of Public Speaking

  • Tuesday Mar 10,2015 07:46 PM
  • By External Author
  • In Tips & Tricks

Public Speaking

Public speaking is one of the most difficult tasks for some people to complete. Such people have a wealth of helpful information that they want to express, but they are stuck because of nervousness and lack of self-confidence. The following are some tips that a person can use to become comfortable with public speaking. It may take some time, but a shy person can come out of a shell after a while:

Speak in Front of the Mirror

Looking in the mirror is a good way to get started practicing a public speech. The person can do this in the bathroom, bedroom or any other room that has a mirror in it. He or she should spend at least 120 seconds smiling in the mirror to boost mood. Next, the speaker will want to practice certain sounds while holding his or her head up high to show self-confidence.

Write and Study the Speech

Some people have a difficult time with public speaking because they fear forgetting the speech. Practice is necessary to avoid such things. First, a speaker should never show up for a public event unprepared. The speaker will want to write down everything that he or she intends to say and practice the words several times a day. The speech should become second nature to the speaker. Once written material is stuck in a person’s head, that person can produce it without thinking about it.

Speak in Front of Friends and Family Members

The speaker should practice the speech in front of friends and family members since they will provide comfort. The person could practice the speech in the home or outside. Family members will give the speaker an honest critique so that the person will know which skills need improvement. Being surrounded by friends and family members can give the speaker a comforting memory to draw during the presentation, as well.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises can work wonders a few minutes before the speaking event. The speaker should stand in a quiet place for at least five minutes. During that time, the person should breathe out negativity and breathe in positivity. The connection with positivity will balance the mood so that the person can deliver a powerful speech.

Public speaking becomes easy with experience. A speaker will eventually have confidence in his or her ability to recite a message to the public that will last a lifetime.

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The Obvious?

This was the question asked by a participant in one of my workshops when another member of the group was being bullish about banning social tools in his business. His attitude is common, trying to maintain control, clinging to an old world that is disappearing around him. Seeing a world of threat rather than a world of opportunity.

There’s no point struggling to maintain stability. Careers are already a thing of the past. A job for life a nostalgic memory. For some this is terrifying; for others it isn’t even yet apparent. For the rest it is an exciting opportunity to use their energy and intelligence to shape their world and experience fun and vitality while doing so.

We have at our disposal more resources than ever before to get smarter, faster, and do more with what we learn. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity…

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Shift – on conflict.

The Obvious?

Just published the latest edition of Shift – this time on the topic of conflict.

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Ologies and Isms

The Obvious?

We are clearly in the midst of huge changes in how we make sense of the world. Partly driven by technology and the power of networked communication, partly by our old sense making stories of materialism, conservatism or socialism running out of steam.

We need new stories to help us move forward, and these will emerge with time. At a business level they will help us to replace the machine metaphor and Taylorist thinking; at a societal level they will help us move towards our modern equivalent of The Enlightenment.

But be wary of those who would sell you new stories too soon. There are always those who seek to fill power vacuums with their own theory and dogma. We need to resist the temptation to go for the easy, quick solution.

I worry that we lose our nerve. That we grasp for a new -ology or -ism to ease our discomfort with not knowing. We need to be brave.

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Happy Birthday To My Blog

The Obvious?

Gosh. Is that really another year gone by? It is now fourteen years since I wrote my first blog post on The Obvious? In some ways it feels like yesterday, in others it feels like I have always blogged.

When people ask me what I do I sometimes say public speaker, sometimes consultant, sometimes writer, but inside I am always thinking “I am a blogger”. No I don’t get paid directly for blogging but it has led to all of the work that I do. It is the core of my online life and has allowed me to travel the world and meet the most interesting and wonderful people.

The demise of blogging has been predicted each year that I have done it but it is still for me the most exciting opportunity that each of has, in however modest a way, to change the world around us. That simple combination of noticing more, thinking more, saying more and collectively achieving more.

There is still magic in it.

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NYT > Public Speaking

The former star of the television show “M*A*S*H” helps teach a way to explain complicated concepts in a clearer way.

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Even senior managers are human

The Obvious?

I am often asked to talk to senior managers, usually by someone lower down the organisation who wants them to change in some way. There is a risk that we talk about them as if they are a race apart, floating ethereally above the real world, disconnected from the reality that the rest of us think we share.

But they are just like us, feeling out of their depth, feeling unable to keep up, feeling the pressure of expectations of those around and below them. They can also feel cut off. In fact one of the biggest appeals of having a social platform in their organisation is that they get to see what is going on, often for the first time.

Taking the next step of contributing is a huge challenge for most of them. Even if they have learned to hide it behind their corporate armour, they fear making a fool of themselves as much of the rest of us. It is no wonder that they are nervous, the expectations of them are often unrealistic.

We can all play our part in helping them learn to reach out and connect, understand what they are seeing, find the right words to respond. Metaphorically holding their hand as they engage with that online social world is immensely rewarding. They are only human after all…

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