Category Archives: Preparation

How preparation can help you network

How to rescue a very public disaster (using my favourite psych fact)

Standing in the booth, looking out at the ten people awkwardly dancing in a space that was built for 400, I felt sick.

I’m about to tell you one of the most important pieces of information I know. Then I’m going to tell you the rest of that story in order to prove it’s true and to help you hold it in your brain (because that’s what storytelling does!).

Here’s the fact:

The most important parts of any talk, blog, presentation or podcast is…

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If the “END OF THE DECADE LET’S REVIEW AND PLAN!!” messages are bumming you out

this picture PLEASES MY SOUL

This one might not apply to you. Or it might land right where you need it to.

You know everyone online at the moment is all, “OMG END OF A DECADE LET’S REVIEW THE LAST AND MAKE GOALS FOR THE NEXT!!!”?

If you love that stuff — as I have sometimes (and as my pile of completed yearcompasses will prove) — then awesome. Get on with your bad self.

But if, every time you read something like that, it makes your stomach tighten a little…

– maybe because you don’t think you have time to do that
– maybe because you don’t feel you achieved enough or have changed enough in ten years
– maybe because you’re currently in survival mode and have zero capacity for reflection or planning

…then I just want to remind you that…

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How to promote yourself without feeling gross; How to stop drowning in your to-do list

If I might briefly be not very British or Canadian, I got to give some REALLY good advice last week. Some of my favourite questions to answer, in my monthly live Advice column, Yes Yes Questions.

Q1: What is the art of writing posts to promote yourself on social media without feeling like a self-obsessed narcissist and annoying everyone you know?

i LOVE this question. Because so many people…

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If you feel like everyone else is doing their lives just a little bit better than you are, you may need this

It’s mid-April. Over a quarter of the year in. What goals did you have? Anywhere close? So much time has passed and you haven’t done nearly enough towards them, have you?

Did you even get around to making any goals?

I didn’t. I printed out my YearCompass, over several days in January and Feb I got about…

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Need to convince someone of something? Here’s how to READ THEIR MIND (by Chris from TellPeople)

This is him, on the right. He could convince Patrick Stewart to buy hair care products

Ever felt like you’re explaining something that – to you – seems so obvious, but the person you need to convince just isn’t getting it?

Recently, I was asked to run a workshop on buyer empathy (aka how to understand what your potential client wants), so I turned to get some help from my (very, very smart)(he’s been a lawyer representing Wall Street companies and indigenous rights) friend Chris from TellPeople.

Then, I asked him to share some of his smarts with you! Here’s what he has to say about how to READ MINDS (or at least, have a good guess at what’s inside them):

Make sense of your audience

When you’re trying to convince someone of something – whether it’s a potential client to hire you, or a family member to please stop doing that annoying thing they keep doing – do you ever wonder what’s going through their mind while they read your writing or listen to you talk?

What about when you’re talking to a group of people – how do you keep track of what all those people are thinking?

The truth is: you can’t know what anyone else is thinking about what you’re saying.

But – while you can’t read peoples’ minds, there is one thing you know for sure about every person you talk to. Actually, it’s the only thing you know for sure.

Can you guess?

Other…

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That Time I Cried On Stage (and how I dealt).

crying on stage

The first few times I practised the story, I totally fell apart. Alone in my apartment, I couldn’t speak for sobbing. A few months ago, I took a course with my storytelling teacher, Sage Tyrtle. Our final class was a live show, where we would each tell the story we’d been working on. Except… I…

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WDS: Five Storytelling Lessons from Coaching the Attendee Storytellers at World Domination Summit

I stood up, feeling the fizz of excitement under my skin, and started looking around the empty lobby of the conference hall. It was evening. I knew that most people had left, but I needed to be certain.

Yep, I was definitely alone.

I walked to the space where there were no chairs. Then, silently and frantically, I began leaping up and down, alternately punching my fists in the air, before ending on a little stationary run.

It was Saturday night, and I had just finished coaching the Attendee Storytellers for World Domination Summit.

WDS is a conference where, once a year, several thousand do-gooders descend on Portland, to get inspired and try and figure out how to make the world a better place. Along with TED-style informative and inspiring speakers, every year, they have a number of “Attendee Stories” on the main stage – where people from the audience can apply to get up and have a go themselves.

I told a story a few years ago – you can hear it here – and, since then, I’ve become the Official Storytelling Coach for World Domination Summit. Which sounds like loads of fun – and is – until you know that I have just one afternoon to help all the storytellers get their 20 or 30 minute stories down to one minute.

One.

Tiny.

Minute.

It’s brutal but, every year, I do it – and, every year, the challenge makes me feel high as a kite afterwards. Hence the silent, solo leaping around.

Here are five things I learned from coaching this year’s attendee storytellers at World Domination Summit

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Worried your stories aren’t exciting enough?

“I don’t know if my stories are worth telling…”

If this thought has ever crossed your mind-threshold, I have great news:

Good stories mostly aren’t about content. It’s about the way they’re told.
Think about it: we all know that one person who can make ANY story sound amazing. And we’ve all been stuck at the party with that other person, whose story you can tell has exciting elements, but dear god WHEN WILL THEY STOP, because this is mental torture.

If you need a little further proof, here is a wonderful story, about something not totally life-changing.

Added extra: this story (from my live show True Stories Told Live) was told by a journalist, who asked to come and be coached by me to tell a story, and then tell it, purely because she has a crippling fear of public speaking, and her editor wanted her to write about it.

What you can learn from that? If you’re well prepared and have a great story, you can totally fake your own confidence. Here she is, doing just that:

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Feel Like Everyone Else Has Their Sh–t Together and You Don’t? Do This Now

At certain moments in life, your emotional response to a situation is so extreme – and so inappropriate for your immediate circumstances – that you have to do everything in your power to hide it. Use every ounce of strength to construct your features into a shape that would suggest that you feel the opposite of the way you actually do.

Getting broken up with by someone you’ve not been seeing for very long, that’s one.

I remember another: I’d been working at Virgin Megastores’ in-store radio station for a few months, but I didn’t want to be there…

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Networking: When It’s OK to Lie

I know the ten commandments suggest not to, but sometimes, thou SHALT lie:

If you’re on a night out, your friend asks whether her hair looks weird – and it does, and there’s nothing she can do about it right now, tell her no. If your brother was right in the middle of an important interview and accidentally let out a massive (and noisy) fart, then he asks you – mortified – if you think the interviewers laughed at him after he left, say, “They probably don’t even remember”.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I’m usually all about not lying – not being a fake, schmoozy, gross caricature of everything people hate about networking.

But sometimes: you need to. Here are those times:

(1) When extracting yourself from…

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