If you look at almost any statistic out there, America is not a very healthy nation. The Obesity Society's research shows that 49 out of 50 states have over 20% of residents listed as obese and 3 states have over 30% of their residents are obese - needless to say, not good.
Why is this? A lot of reasons and excuses have been given. One that I have noticed is that people exercise a lot less. Things have become automated for us. We take the elevator or the escalator instead of the stairs.
That's where this video comes in. The incentive to take the stairs is not a strong one - the incentive to take the escalator usually wins out. Note: If you are wondering why I'm talking about incentives, I'm reading 'SuperFreakonomics' which is all about incentives, which really all of you should read.
The Fun Theory wants to change that incentive and put together this video. They changed the message of the stairs from something that takes work to something that is fun. Many more people took the stairs because it wasn't looked at as work or difficult anymore.
Use this idea in your speeches and presentations. If there is something that hasn't worked or you feel could be better - change it. Reworking your speeches is something that can really make a difference in the effectiveness of it. So even if you have given a speech several times, take a look at it again and see if there is something you could change to make it even better.
Remember: it's not a matter if what you are saying or presenting will help people - it's a matter of how they are hearing that message. So change it - and you might see a huge change like one seen in this video.
This coming weekend is a pretty big weekend for a lot of students in the Rushmore District of the National Forensics League. It is the tournament that determines who gets to go to the National Debate Tournament in June. Officially it is called the District Qualifying Tournament, but to debaters, we call it simply "Quals."
Quals is by far the most intense tournament of the year for a lot of school across the nation. While some might not believe it, South Dakota is a very competitive state when it comes to debate. We are divided into 2 separate districts - with a few schools in the Western part of the state competing against Wyoming teams. The students who qualify for nationals routinely do well at the National Debate Tournament getting into quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final rounds.
I spend a good part of my time coaching students from Washington High School in Sioux Falls and will spend this weekend coaching my team and judging some rounds of debate and individual events. Debate is a great activity for students. These kids will not need my help (hopefully) when it comes to improving their speeches in the business world. They are confident, well spoken, well educated and as well dressed as anyone in the business world.
So if you have any doubts as to the future of America and if we are going to hell in a hand-basket - go find out if there is a debate tournament near you and go watch some rounds. You'll be amazed at the level of intelligence of the students and research that these kids have done.
It is communication at its finest.
This year if you wanted to advertise during the Super Bowl, you had to pay CBS almost $3 Million dollars for 30 seconds worth of time. That's a lot of money for only 30 seconds - but you do get to advertise to almost 100 million viewers. However, with only 30 seconds, you better have a great elevator pitch!
To me the answer is easy - it is worth the cost, if you get it right. If you have a great message and have it presented in a way that people are going to either a) Talk about it constantly the next week or b) Have it replayed on YouTube on different 'best of' lists - then it is money well spent
However, what you can learn from Super Bowl ads when it comes to communication is important. What made those ads memorable: Were they funny? Did they have great visuals? Was it a great story? Usually they combine a combination of those elements added with some name recognition.
For example, the Career Builder commercials. This website has had some of the most memorable commercials over the past few years - they are funny while relating to a good majority of their viewers. A lot of viewers are stuck in jobs they don't like and have to deal with a lot of things they wish they didn't. It has great humor in it because it puts people in a 'typical' setting, but in a funny surrounding. This year was no different.
What we can learn in public speaking from those commercials is this: know your audience and try to adapt to them, while remaining true to yourself. If you can be funny - be funny. If you are not - don't even try. Keep true to yourself and your brand if you are representing a company (especially your own). If you can adapt to your audience a little and try to appeal to them, then your 'commercials' will be a success and will be money well spent.
Next week I am going to be giving a presentation to Sioux Falls Up & Coming - a group of young professionals that meet weekly to "pursue common goals and inspire great change." Luckily, I know most of the members of Sioux Falls Up & Coming and follow them on Twitter. I say lucky because of what I was able to do - get feedback before my presentation.
Audience adaptation is a big part of giving a speech. If you know what your audience wants to hear, you can adjust your speech to fit that audience. Politicians try to do this all the time. When they are in Iowa, they will talk about Ethanol subsidies and Farm subsidies. When they are talking to business owners in New York, they will talk about tax policies and business investment. Unfortunately for most of us, we only have a small view of what our audience will be before we give the speech. We usually know some of their background and an idea of what they would like, but a lot of times, we have to generalize things because we don't know as many specifics as we would like.
So what I did was simple: I asked the members of SFU&C who are on Twitter what they would like to see. The feedback I got from them was great. It gave me some ideas that I might not have covered when giving my presentation. This is going to ensure that my speech will be a success.
If you can do something like this you absolutely should. If you can get a better idea of what people are looking to learn from you - you can focus in on those aspects. While sometimes you can't cover everything people want and you have other things you want to cover - having some idea of what people want is going to help make that speech a success.