Lisa Hisha’s Journey from Speaker Adventure to TEDxNewBedford

Some people come to Speaker Adventure in order to develop their skills in hopes of one day being on a TEDx stage. They’re not currently a public speaker, but have the desire to share their wisdom with others and know that crafting a compelling story takes a lot of effort.

Other participants are accomplished speakers who have been in front of a wide variety of audiences, from keynotes to technical conferences, but want to master the shorter format TED/TEDx style of presentation, and they come to Speaker Adventure to learn the ropes of just how that’s done.

On occasion, one of these accomplished speakers has already been invited to speak at a TEDx event and seeks out Speaker Adventure to fine tune their talk. This was the case with Lisa Haisha. Having mastered speaking in business environments, keynote stages, and motivational speaking venues, Lisa was a pro who was about to speak at TEDxNewBedford.

Lisa Haisha at TEDxNewBedford 2016

With idea and draft script in hand, Jeff Salz and I began working with Lisa to refine her narrative and ensure the transitions kept the story flowing smoothly for the audience.

The idea itself was rather compelling, that we’re too often subject to the whims of inner imposters that seek to sabotage our best efforts. But according to Lisa, we have the ability to train these imposters to work for us, instead of against us. How, you may ask? Watch and learn.

Lisa Haisha’s Website

Lisa Haisha on Facebook

Lisa Haisha on Twitter

 

Simon Sinek Speaks at CreativeMornings San Diego – October 2016

Storytelling encompasses a variety of styles, from the personal, to the historical and investigative. There’s another style that I’m calling analytical, in which a situation or paradigm is broken down and examined in order to find the underlying truth. This is not an easy fete to pull off, but Simon Sinek has become a master at doing it in a way that resonates with the audience.

You may have watched his talk from TEDxPugetSound in 2009 on How great leaders inspire action, or his talk at TED 2014 on Why good leaders make you feel safe. In each case he peels back the onion on connection between why humans do what they do, and why they feel how they feel.

Simon’s talk at CreativeMornings San Diego was titled Understanding the Game We’re Playing, which focused on the current state of the millenial generation, and why they are often misunderstood by previous generations.

Whenever he’s asked to describe what’s going on with the millennial generation, Simon replies with four observations – parenting, technology, impatience and environment. In Simon’s view, millennials are not entitled, narcissistic, or lazy, but instead were simply dealt a bad hand, by their parents, and by society.

Could it be that engaging with social media is, in the end, a dopamine addiction, similar to the desire for drugs or alcohol? Are they turning to technology, instead of turning to real people in their life? Are social skills being diminished due to the ease of avoiding interaction?

The generation of hard work and long journeys – life, career, relationships – has , for some, shifted to an environment of impatience and the need for instant gratification. Compounding the problem is the move by corporations away from people and toward the bottom line.

Simon offers the view that life is not a scavenger hunt, jumping from job to job, and relationship to relationship. Instead the challenge is in finding a sense of purpose, fulfillment and joy, and that will only occur when the current generation undertakes the hard work of repairing the world around us. And it will only occur when we realize that our true competition, is us, not someone else.

Simon Sinek’s Website

Simon Sinek on Facebook

Simon Sinek on Twitter

Simon Sinek on YouTube

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Exploring the Mehrabian Myth

Every profession as its own set of rules, instructions and standards. As you might expect, these guidelines will vary, sometimes widely, as every individual has their own take on what works best, but in general, they adhere to generally accepted guidelines. On occasion, however, a convention will appear that is egregious false, yet becomes something of a meme and is widely disseminated.

The notion that words don’t matter, or more accurately, that they matter very little when compared to our facial expressions, or the sound of our voice, constitutes one such myth. As often happens, the myth was derived from scientific research, but simply misinterpreted, or misstated, and the resulting meme that is spread far and wide bares little resemblance to the intent of the original research publication. In short, a mangled version of the truth, somehow becomes the truth.

Sometimes this myth is referred to as the 7%-38%-55% Rule, while in other situations it’s offered up as a claim that states “93% of all communication is non-verbal”. In either case it’s 100% bullshit, but let’s dive into the numbers, and the source of the information which became the myth.

We’ll time travel back to 1967, when Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor of Psychology at UCLA, conducted a study that examined how people reacted when they heard words that did not match the tone of the speakers voice, like saying, “Of course I love you honey.”, but in a sarcastic tone that clearly indicated you were mad. In these cases, when the tone was out of alignment with the words, the tone of voice was perceived to be more powerful.

Dr. Albert MehrabianIn a 2nd study, Dr. Mehrabian compared vocal elements with a speaker’s facial expressions, and found that facial elements were more powerful than vocal elements. Face trumps Tone. By combining these studies he came up with the following summary:

  • 55% is what the audience sees – it’s your body language
  • 38% is what the audience hears – the tone of your voice
  • 7% is what you actually say – the words within your talk

To get a visual synopsis of the issue, take a moment to watch this video from CreativityWorks.

“The non-verbal elements are particularly important for communicating feelings and attitude, especially when they are incongruent: if words and body language disagree, one tends to believe the body language.”
– Dr. Albert Mehrabian

In 2009 BBC reporter Tim Harford asked Dr. Mehrabian if 93% of communication was non-verbal:

“Absolutely not, and whenever I hear that misquote or misrepresentation of my findings I cringe because it should be so obvious to anybody who would use any amount of common sense that that’s not the correct statement.”

The point being, his studies were never intended to examine the relative importance of words, tone or expressions within the context of our conversations, much less public speaking and storytelling from the stage, yet the myth was created and continues to thrive like a classic urban legend.

“There’s just no question that you cannot extrapolate my findings to communication in general.” – Dr. Albert Mehrabian

You can think about it this way. If you really think that 97% of communication is non-verbal, then try describing the movie you just saw to your best friend – without using any words. Charades anyone?