Thursday, January 3, 2019

Six Topics to Consider To Help You to Plan Your Persuasive Presentation

You’ve been asked to speak to a group of people. You’ll propose a course of action and attempt to convince, or persuade, them to adopt it. You’ll argue that your recommendation represents an improvement over current practice.

Where do you start? In other words, before you sit down to put together your presentation, what do you need to know? 

I’ve found six topics useful for creating an effective persuasive presentation. Consider them before you sit down to outline your talk, develop your PowerPoint slides, etc., by reflecting on related questions, as follows: 

  1. Background: What problem you are attempting to address? Why are you doing so now? 
  2. The issue: What change are you proposing? Provide as much detail as possible on what’s involved. What arguments will you make to support your proposal? What evidence will you use to support each argument? 
  3. Role of the presenter: What qualifies you to deliver the talk on this topic? What is your relationship to the members of the audience (see next topic)? 
  4. Description of the audience: Who will be in your audience? What are their roles? What is their connection to the topic of your talk? Are they likely to be for, neutral towards, or against your proposal?
  5. Arguments in support of your proposal: Why should audience members support your proposal? Identify as many reasons as possible. 
  6. Potential objections to your proposal: Why might audience members oppose your proposal? What arguments would they make? What evidence can you present to counter their objections? 

Respond carefully to each of these prompts. You’ll then be well on your way to delivering a successful persuasive speech. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy New Year! Now, Get to Work to Map Out Your Career with eParachute

I've spent a lot of time over the last few months responding to posts in Reddit's "Career Guidance" forum. In general, these posts focus on three topics:

  • I studied subject "A" in school, and I don't know what job to look for
  • I'm in a job I don't like and don't know what to do next
  • I'm thinking of going back to school to help me find a new career

People can get stuck in these phases, hence the plea for guidance by posting on Reddit. But in so doing they're looking for a quick fix on a fundamental, even existential challenge: what shall I do with my life?

It's a difficult question to answer, and your response changes over time. So what can you do?

You need to sit down and do the work to discover your career strengths, explore your career options, and chart a path through the world of work. Where? eParachute, a self-inventory method inspired by What Color is Your Parachute?, one of the best selling career books ever. 

I've worked through the process outlined on eParachute's site. The effort proved indispensable for helping me find my current position, decide to return to school to earn a doctorate, and put together a long-term career plan. Read more about my effort here

I'm so enthusiastic about the eParachute process that I've become an affiliate. That means that when you sign up for the program, I receive a referral fee. 

I've worked in career services for two MBA programs, which exposed me to a variety of processes for clarifying professional interests and translating them into job search strategies. I consider eParachute to be among the most effective. So, if you're beginning the new year with the challenge of "what to do next," I urge you to give eParachute a tryYou won't regret it. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

58 of 58 for 58: Done, But Just for Now

This post represents the last in my series entitled "58 for 58." I produced one blog post to highlight a different "lesson learned" for each year I've been alive. I proclaimed the goal here on this blog, without thinking too deeply how I was going to complete it. Where would the topics come from? Would I have the discipline to write so regularly? And would anyone care?

The topics came, as much from me going on about my daily life and paying attention to "signs" from the university. And so I wrote. And gleefully so. 

I cared. A lot. And that's the only person who really matters, in this instance.

So I'm done. Done!? Yes indeed, but only for now.

I've learned to celebrate getting things done. Just as importantly, I now recognize that something is always in the process of getting done. "Done" happens for an instance, if that long, moreover. 

The paper I have that's due? I'll make the deadline. I'll be "done." But I'm already revising and rewriting, in my head if not my notebook.

So, I celebrate what's been done today. At the same time, I know that life continues to hand me more opportunities to do, to contribute, to achieve. And I welcome them all. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

57 of 58 for 58: Work Hard to Change Yourself, Not Other People

I've lost track of the hours I've spent trying to change other people. For example. consider my first boss. He had a habit of micromanaging staff, me included. Clearly, I argued, he was blind to my obvious talent and ability. He needed to change! I deserved better! 

It took me many years to realize the foolish of my ways. Waiting for other people to change is a recipe for failure. People only change if they want to do so. 

More importantly, if I'm so busy trying to change people, I'm not working on changing myself. And that's the only person I can control.

So I spend my time now working to change myself. And when I encounter someone who doesn't "do things my way," I look in the mirror and double down on my efforts to improve. And, inevitably, that concerted effort helps me to steer clear of any roadblocks in my work and life. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

56 of 58 for 58: Build and Maintain Momentum

If you’ve broken down a goal into smaller parts, you’ve set yourself up to succeed.


Because you can work on it every day. A little bit at a time. And you want to continue to work on it. You've gained momentum. You feel the rush of cumulative energy, every day. Because you’re in touch with your goal, every day.

Even when you’re not formally “working on it,” you are. Ideas come to you throughout the day. You write them down. You’re maintaining your momentum on the project. You incorporate these ideas into your work.

And so the process continues. Until you’re done. You’ve achieved your goal. And so you move on to tackle the next one.

Monday, December 24, 2018

55 of 58 for 58: Break it Down (Again and Again)

I think big. Sometimes too big. I let the scope of a project get the better of me. It becomes too big, even overwhelming. I throw up my hands in frustration. I give up.

I’ve learned to take an alternate approach. I break it down. Again and again. Into bite-sized chunks. Into tasks I can complete in a relatively short period of time. Over time. One day at a time. Until the projected is completed. And I have achieved my goal.

That’s why I believe that time spent breaking down a project into smaller units is a wise investment.