This month’s post
Winning the lottery? No need!
We sometimes invite delegates to play a game: the millionaire’s game.
The idea is to ask everyone to imagine they’ve just won a huge lottery prize. An amount large enough to obliterate any money worries for the rest of their lives. And then we tell them: “So now you have the time and the means to achieve whatever you wish. What will you do? What are your aspirations?”
Typically, after the crazy, short-term fancies (“a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars!”, “a Ferrari!”, “a holiday in the Bahamas!”…) come more utilitarian considerations: “help my family”, “put my children through university”, “re-design the kitchen”… So we keep pushing their reflection further: “Fine. You can pay for all of this. Consider it done. But what would you like to do? What are the personal projects close to your heart? What are your craziest dreams?”
That’s when they get stuck. We are so resigned to doing what we think we should be doing (the fruit of our education), rather than what we would really like to do, that we find it really hard to express our deepest longings. Finally, two or three participants manage laboriously to write a couple of ideas on their pads…
When, after lots of encouragements and reframing, we manage to get some concrete answers, we flipchart them. And then we unpack them one by one. And you know what? Over the years, we’ve realised that 95% of what we put on the flipchart was achievable without the need to win the lottery!
Bottom line: let’s learn to dream again, and let’s dare to act on it. In 95% of cases, it’s totally achievable. We just have to commit to it.
Presenter of the month
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
He takes his time both to choose his words and to speak them, aware that they need to make their way into the minds of his listeners. He also pays particular attention to the warmth and connection he establishes with his audience, and focuses more on sharing than on making a “brilliant” speech. As for the content, it’s essentially about the fact that citizens forego their individual responsibility in the belief that the State will take (good) care of things.
It is both form and content, then, equally important and impossible to dissociate, that contribute to making Michael a captivating speaker…
What’s in it for you?
20 hours = 90 minutes a day for two weeks
Answer this question truthfully: once you’ve completed a Najberg Milne course, such as Winning Hearts and Minds, do you practise assiduously the techniques you’ve learned? Yes? No? Sort of? One of the main reasons for this lack of “perseverance” that some former delegates feed back to us is the perception that practice requires too much time and effort.
Well, let us be truthful in return: to master a skill does require time and effort. But let’s flip this around: isn’t it better to invest a few hours of extra work now, in order to save many, later? By winning contracts more easily? By influencing our audiences more effectively? By motivating our teams more swiftly?
But actually, how much time and effort are we talking about, exactly? Malcolm Gladwell and Anders Ericsson estimate that 10,000 hours of practice turn us into experts in any activity. But what we tend to forget is that they refer to international class expertise! Josh Kaufman, in his book The First 20 Hours – How to Learn Anything Fast, specifies that, in general, twenty hours’ practice suffice for a novice to reach the level they need. Most of the time, we only need to master a technique to solve certain problems, achieve specific objectives or manage well enough to have some fun.
This applies just as much to yoga as to programming, to playing the ukulele as to public speaking. And all it takes is 20 hours.
It happened to them first
Long live the noiseless revolution!
Heard recently from one of our former delegates : “the methods you propose are pure genius, but the thing is, back at the office, I may not be in a position to apply them: either it’s my manager who demands that I do things their way, or it’s my customers that I risk shocking because they’re used to working differently!”
Fair points! So here is our perspective: in terms of professional presentations (for example), we simply state what works (which is rarely applied in organisations), as opposed to what doesn’t (which is mostly applied in organisations). But be reassured that we do not suggest you wreak havoc at the next team meeting nor start an uprising!
On the contrary, we advise you first and foremost to trust yourself. You know your job, your context, your colleagues, your audience. You know what you can do, to what extent, when and with whom.
If you cannot apply every single recommendation at once, proceed by small increments, get around obstacles… To start with, prepare, make eye contact and project your voice. If slides are insisted upon, keep only those that genuinely help your audience, and ditch the others. One step at a time. Remove what’s superfluous at each successive presentation. Through practice, you will become more and more captivating.
And when you are captivating, even if what you’re doing doesn’t fit the mould, no-one questions your methods!
And what else?
In this experiment (see link to short video below), you will see how a teacher succeeds in less than five minutes in putting half of her class into such a state of helplessness that they becomes unable to achieve a task they would normally find easy.
Fortunately, her objective is to demonstrate how open to influence we are, and how easily our own inner voice can victimise us.
Najberg Milne news
New open course dates for “Winning Hearts and Minds – Part 1: Presenting with confidence”:
- In Paris – 28-29 October 2015 and 28-29 April 2016;
- In London – 4-5 November 2015.
Link of the month
Remember this phrase: Teal organisations
We often reflect upon professional tools, human or machine know-how, or management approaches that will enable us to sell better our businesses’ products and services. Enlivening Edge is a website curating news and perspectives about “Teal organisations”, a new type of organisations that first ask how to work together, and only then, what to sell and how. And guess what? They are amongst the most profitable of our times!
You’re having a drink with a friend and are attempting to state your views on some topical issue. Try this: stop for a second, and have a go at expressing your position in a single sentence (you can always elaborate on it later). You’re practising the skill of formulating a clear, succinct, punchy message. Useful in any context – especially at work!