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Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

The 3rd Way – Redux

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Aikido, Coaching, Communication, Conflict Resolution, leadership, Toastmasters on January 31, 2016 at 12:13 am

(Thank You) x 3 … It was a pleasure to participate in District 27’s Executive Committee meeting held on January  31, 2016.

As promised …

Here’s the “soft-copy” of the one-page handout we used during our 20-minute educational session. A PDF-version can be found here –> The 3rd Way Redux

There's always more than one way to resolve conflict.

There’s always more than one way to resolve conflict.

And here are a few other references for those who wish to take a “deeper dive” into the topic of conflict resolution:

Primary Sources:
* Appreciative Inquiry … various books and authors
* Emotional Intelligence … various books and authors
* Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, et. al.
* The Skilled Facilitator by Roger Schwarz
* “Resolving Conflict.” A manual from the Excellence in Leadership Series by Toastmasters International — NOTE: The 10-slides from this manual and training program are found here for your review and use. Follow this link –> 321CD_ResolvingConflict

Secondary Sources:
* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
* The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey
* The Abilene Paradox by Jerry Harvey
* How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back My Fingerprints Are on the Knife? (also) by Jerry Harvey
* Mastery by George Leonard
* The Secret Teachings of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba

 

 

Be-Know-Do: How to overcome nervousness & engage your audience

In Active Learning, Communication, Tips re: Professional Development, Toastmasters on August 20, 2015 at 1:42 am

Today I had the pleasure to assist with an executive retreat. As a member of Toastmasters International – District 27’s Speakers Bureau, I presented a workshop focused on how to overcome nervousness and how to engage your audience. My “client” was the Office of Policy and International Affairs (PIA) in the Copyright Office of the US Library of Congress.

PIA is headed by the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisers to the Register. This Office assists the Register with critical policy functions of the U.S. Copyright Office, including domestic and international policy analyses, legislative support, and trade negotiations. PIA represents the U.S. Copyright Office at meetings of government officials concerned with the international aspects of intellectual property protection, and provides regular support to Congress and its committees on statutory amendments and construction.

Here is a copy of the slide deck I used for this workshop –> Be-Know-Do at the LOC

And here are a few photos I captured while visiting the Library of Congress.

The venue for the PIA retreat

The venue for the PIA retreat

View of the US Capitol from the 'porch' of the Library of Congress

View of the US Capitol from the ‘porch’ of the Library of Congress

The front steps of the Jefferson Building of the LOC features various busts of our Founding Fathers above the windows on the 2nd floor. My favorite is Ben Franklin, perhaps America's 1st genius.

The front steps of the Jefferson Building of the LOC features various busts of our Founding Fathers above the windows on the 2nd floor. My favorite is Ben Franklin, perhaps America’s 1st genius.

Here’s to the Crazy Ones

In Aha!, Cartooning, Communication, Cool Ideas, Facilitating Genius, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Toastmasters on May 12, 2015 at 6:11 pm
Here's to the crazy ones. Some of whom are meeting together at the District 29 Spring Conference on May 16.

Here’s to the crazy ones. Some of whom are meeting together at the District 29 Spring Conference on May 16.

If at first you don't succeed, then try, try again.

If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again.

"I hope that we never lose sight of one thing. That it all was started by a mouse." - Walt Disney

“I hope that we never lose sight of one thing. That it all was started by a mouse.” – Walt Disney

What do Albert Einstein and Walt Disney have in common besides being two creative geniuses once featured by Apple in their “think different” campaign?

Consider their impact on the world and how they worked to re-create our view of it.

And if you’re in the Washington DC area on May 16th and would like to experience for yourself a potentially mind-altering event, then perhaps you might drop in to attend the Toastmasters International, District 29 Spring Conference. Conference details can be found here. <— Yes, please do click on the “here.”

And for a sneak peek at my slide deck which will be revealed on Saturday during the educational sessions, here your go!

Discover Your Genius at the D29 Spring Conference 2015. <– John Lesko’s slide deck.

 

 

When Pigs Fly … It could happen.

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Communication, Facilitating Genius, Leave Your Comfort Zone on May 4, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Hmmmm … Was it years ago or simply just a few weeks ago?

That’s when I heard my “dear friend” say, “Yeah, yeah … You’ll become a published author and be interviewed on the radio — When pigs fly!”

You? You're going to be on the radio? ... Yeah, yeah ... When pigs fly!

You? You’re going to be on the radio? … Yeah, yeah … When pigs fly!

 

(from Brian K. Wright) … Today’s guest on Success Profiles Radio is John Lesko, author of the book “Facilitating Genius: Illuminating Brilliance In Your Organization”.

We will discussing identifying how to discover your unique genius and for those in your organization. This allows everyone to play at their highest level as often as possible.

You can listen live at 6pm Eastern at www.successprofilesradio.com

You can also call in to participate at 866-404-6519

TogiNet Radio is an Internet talk radio network that streams live web radio programming and provides…
toginet.com
And at the risk of folks saying that perhaps this is too much self-promotion … This is a follow-on interview which I trace back to an earlier media event: http://toastmasterspodcast.com/…/116-toastmasters…

The official podcast for Toastmasters International,…
toastmasterspodcast.com|By Bo Bennett

 

 

Toastmasters International – Where Leaders Are Made

In Cartooning, Coaching, Communication, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Toastmasters on May 3, 2015 at 6:51 pm
cartoon self portrait and title of my newest book

cartoon self portrait and title of my newest book

Yes, I’m still enjoying the afterglow from the “birth of my book.” Yes, I still feel like a proud papa. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of cigars as too many of my old Army buddies put in early claims for the stogies available.

So what’s new? Why post another story so closely spaced after my last?

Simply put …

Yesterday I was lucky to present a workshop to members of Toastmasters International. Specifically, I was an educational speaker at the District 27 Spring Conference held at the Crystal City Marriott, Arlington, Virginia. This was a “safe” audience in that I’ve been a Toastmaster for nearly two decades. Many of the stories from my book, Facilitating Genius, have been shared with club-level audiences. And for the most part, Toastmasters want a speaker to succeed and to grow. For those not familiar with Toastmasters International, please do check out their website here.

Those in the publishing business suggest that authors talk up their book. They suggest that you promote to as many audiences that will accept you as a speaker. So yesterday, I took this advice and addressed a roomful of people with whom I was comfortable. And do you know what?!?!

I learned a lot from this audience. No one fell asleep. There were a few folks who stayed after my workshop was done to ask more questions. And — lo and behold — there also were folks who wanted to buy a copy of my book.

Wow!

__________________

And at the risk of being chastised for too much self promotion … Since my post of April 26, more on-line book stores have picked up this title.

Available at …

– eBookIt! … eBookIt.com

– Amazon … Amazon.com

– Barnes & Noble … BN.com

– Apple iTunes … itunes.apple.com/us/ genre/books

– Google Play … play.google.com/ store/books

– Kobo … KoboBooks.com

– Baker & Taylor’s … blio.com

– Ingram … eBookMall.

It was clearly a trap. And I walked right into an ambush.

In American Sniper, Communication, Facilitating Genius on April 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm

The Girl Scout Cookie TrapI was doing so well. I had dropped 8 pounds since starting my diet and exercise program, which coincidentally was timed with the Lenten season. I had given up a few of my favorite snacks for Lent. I was outdoors more often than not going on 30, 45, 60-minute, or longer hikes along Route 234 or occasionally ventured into the woods.

And then it happened.

It was clearly a trap. And I walked right into an ambush.

One pair of girls was walking down the opposite side of the street. I noticed that they were carrying over-sized shopping bags. And on my side there was another child pulling her wagon and accompanied by her mother. The wagon was loaded with cookies.

Girl Scout cookies are the secret weapon of the diet saboteur.

Now sometimes when you walk down our street and you’re face to face with a neighbor and their large dog, the dog walkers will move into the street or shorten the leash so as to allow you to pass smoothly by. Not so with this band of mercenaries.

How did I know they were mercenaries?

They were wearing uniforms and had me in their sights.

Damn it. I had not forgotten to carry my wallet nor my iPhone.

Could I get that iPhone out in time and pretend that I was speaking to my wife, my mother, or my children?

Too late! The little blond girl quickened her pace as her mother was in support pulling that red wagon.

“Mister?!?! … Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”

Target. Cease fire.

“What’s your #1 and #2 best seller?”

“Thin Mints and Do-Si-Dos.”

“Thank you, I’ll take one of each.”

___________________

Situation Report: There a sleeve of each type cookie missing from those boxes.

Drat! And I didn’t even make it to Easter, let alone Good Friday.

Juliette Gordon Low was a sales genius.

She created a army of irresistibly successful future entrepreneurs.

 

 

 

There are 3 types of people in this world.

In Communication, Epiphanies, Hero, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on January 20, 2015 at 7:38 pm
Statue of Chris Kyle, American hero and author of American Sniper

Statue of Chris Kyle, American hero and author of American Sniper

Just yesterday, on the MLK Jr.-federal holiday, my wife and I went to see the movie, American Sniper. This movie is not for the faint of heart. But I encourage you to see it. Witness for yourself the story of a true American hero, Chris Kyle. Form your own opinions and, please, share these with your family and friends.

For me, the most telling aspects of this film are the following lessons:

a) Early in the movie we overhear a father teaching his children by way of a parable:

“There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs … Now, some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world — those are the sheep. And then you got predators who use violence to prey on the weak. They’re the wolves. And then there are those who have been blessed with the gift of aggression, and the overpowering need to protect the flock. These men are the rare breed that live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog.”

Chris Kyle was a sheepdog. And I’m betting that he’s still on watch as a member of St. Micheal‘s legion of angels ready to do battle against evil if called on again.

b) At the theater where I saw this movie, you could have heard a pin drop as the final credits of American Sniper rolled on screen. This AMC movie house was sold out and unlike when I’ve watched other war movies or action flicks at this same theater, no one let out an inappropriate hoop, holler, or even muttered one sarcastic word. Which leads me to my final point.

c) Now as for the comments by comedians Bill Maher and Seth Rogen or the acclaimed film-maker Michael Moore … Well, I don’t think that they are evil wolves. Rather, they are sheep. They live in and profit from a relatively safe environment made possible by men and women like Chris Kyle. And to put a finer point on this stick … It’s my opinion after watching the news and reading a few so-called news stories trending today, there’s not a ram in the bunch.

So the next time you run into a veteran. Do more than just thank him or her for their service. Smile. Shake their hand. And if you are in a hiring position — for this is Linked In, the social media network aimed at business — grant them an interview and give our veterans a little credit for standing up, stepping forward, and filling the role of sheepdog.

Will I be the HERO or the GOAT ?

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Cartooning, Coaching, Communication, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Toastmasters on November 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm

A few days ago I had the pleasure to present an educational workshop to members of Toastmasters International, District 36. This was a milestone event for me in my personal and professional development as a Toastmaster. You see, up until now I had presented material which for the most part had come from the curriculum developers who work at the California headquarters (a.k.a., “TI WHQ” or Toastmasters International World Headquarters).

With this event I had submitted several proposals to the fall conference program committee. (Three proposals if the whole story be told.) The conference committee in District 36 then selected the topic which best fit into their program. (And the proposal they selected — “Good grief!” — was the one I thought needed the most time for  preparation and research.) Now I was on the hook. Would I be the hero or the goat?

The title of the workshop was KNOW THYSELF. Yes, this title isn’t very original nor very creative. And I compounded this “error” with a long subtitle: Three Simple Exercises You Can Do When It’s Time to Reflect on Your Personal Effectiveness. Additionally for this workshop I provided a Know Thyself – Handout for the attendees on which they could jot a note or doodle.

I also created and displayed a graphic agenda based on the comic strip characters from the Peanuts gang. During my talk I acknowledged the genius of Charles Schulz as well as reminded the audience of how this session fit the fair use clause of U.S. copyright law.

This graphic agenda helped keep the audience on track as each cartoon represented a story and each line between the cartoons marked where we did an exercise.

This graphic agenda helped keep the audience on track as each cartoon represented a story and each line between the cartoons marked where we did an exercise.

Without repeating here the WHATs and the HOW TOs of the entire workshop, my intention and plans were to simply lead the audience through three interactive exercises. And as each of these exercises evolved, I’d coach the audience along a path that suggested that we can learn from the interactions between ourselves and others much as Charlie Brown learns of himself and of how his behavior affects the other characters in the Peanuts gang.

Themes for this 75-minute workshop included: envisioning success, defining ME-thinking and WE-thinking, thinking like a champion, and the importance of hiring or becoming a coach.

So how did this educational session go? And what did I learn from working with this audience? Yes, I’m going to have to work on creating more impelling titles and shorter sub-titles. Yes, I ran the risk of losing the attention of a few in the audience who don’t read the Sunday Comics. Yes, I probably tried to pack too much information into the time available.

That said, the results of the post-session evaluations suggest that I did well enough to use this material again. The vast majority of the feedback stated I did “Very Good” to “Excellent.” And there were a number of participants who came up to me afterwards to ask a question or share a personal thank you.

As a speaker, it is the people who come up to talk to you afterwards that I most remember. Some asked for me to explain a point in greater detail. A few asked me if I would share the complete citations from the books I held up during my talk. And several folks asked me if they might explore the option of working with me in the future. (Yay, team!)

So in the spirit of sharing my “cheat sheet,” here’s a link to my one-page “SpeakersNotes” that lists the main talking points. And here too (below the bibliography) are a few photos taken to capture the moment and/or illustrate these key talking points. And as for the four individuals who suggested on their evaluation sheets that I next time provide a bibliography with the one-page handout … Well, I hope you visit this blog.

Brene Brown. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Gotham Books (Penguin Books), New York, New York, 2012

Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard. Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources (4th Edition). Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1982.

George Leonary. Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment. Dutton (Penguin Books), New York, New York, 1991.

Ralph C. Smedley. Personally Speaking. Toastmasters International, Santa Ana, California, 1966.

The D36 Fall Conference was held on Nov. 14-15, 2014 in Silver Spring, MD. Here is a photo of the Table Topic contestants. This contest was held immediately after the educational sessions. Which, by the way, is a very good reason to end on time so as not to upset the contest master.

The D36 Fall Conference was held on Nov. 14-15, 2014 in Silver Spring, MD. Here is a photo of the Table Topic contestants. This contest was held immediately after the educational sessions. Which, by the way, is a very good reason to end on time so as not to upset the contest master.

Props ... check. Microphone working ... Check (but didn't need it) ... Coach's hat and whistle if the crowd gets out of hand ... check (also not needed).

Props … check. Microphone working … Check (but didn’t need it) … Coach’s hat and whistle if the crowd gets out of hand … check (also not needed).

When a leader pauses to reflect on their behavior ("Me-thinking") and begins to consider others, that's when "WE-thinking" will emerge.

When a leader pauses to reflect on their behavior (“Me-thinking”) and begins to consider others, that’s when “WE-thinking” will emerge.

Here's a small advertisement or invitation for those who'd like to speak more about hiring or becoming a coach. Yes, if upon reading this blog you too would like to learn more. Drop me a line.

Here’s a small advertisement or invitation for those who’d like to speak more about hiring or becoming a coach. Yes, if upon reading this blog you too would like to learn more. Drop me a line.

Here's both the graphic agenda and a few annotations that served as notes from the session.

Here’s both the graphic agenda and a few annotations that served as notes from the session.

In today's day and age of taking "selfies," there's always someone who'll step up and strike a pose with you if you've got your smart phone ready.

In today’s day and age of taking “selfies,” there’s always someone who’ll step up and strike a pose with you if you’ve got your smart phone ready.

And at the end of the session there was a certificate of appreciation signed by the district governor, lieutenant governor education and training, conference chair, and education program chair. Wow! A special thank you to Yining Xie, John Kingsman, Fritzie Leroy, and Pamela Copeland (respectively).

And at the end of the session there was a certificate of appreciation signed by the district governor, lieutenant governor education and training, conference chair, and education program chair. Wow! A special thank you to Yining Xie, John Kingsman, Fritzie Leroy, and Pamela Copeland (respectively).

 

 

 

Arrrrgh! Why this fascination with being a Pirate?

In Active Learning, Cartooning, Communication, Conflict Resolution, facilitation skills, How To, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Tall Tales on September 17, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Edward_Low_Flag

Arrrrgh! Why this fascination with being a Pirate? Simply put, September 19th marks a fun-filled (and unofficial) holiday. To learn more about how to talk like a pirate visit http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html

I saw my first major league baseball game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Fingers (and bats) are crossed that they make it to the playoffs this year.

I saw my first major league baseball game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Fingers (and bats) are crossed that they make it to the playoffs this year.

A JPG-version of this document is also available for my facilitator colleagues. See fight-flee-flow (below)

A JPG-version of this document is also available for my facilitator colleagues. See fight-flee-flow (below)

fight-flee-flow <– Click here for a PDF-version of this Jack Sparrow-inspired poster.

Tell Me About Yourself – 4 words that can trigger terror during an interview

In Active Learning, Active Listening, Cartooning, Communication, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Toastmasters on July 29, 2014 at 6:53 pm

“Tell Me about Yourself,” is often one of the most common things recruiters or hiring managers say in an interview, pre-screening interview, or during networking or job fair events. You may also be asked this question during a public speaking event or by the media. I call it the “TMAY” response … It’s an Icebreaker … (And) as you brand yourself and develop a common-themed message for your written documents (resume, bio, LinkedIn profile, etc.), and other networking requirements, you need to develop a strong, compelling response to the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ request.

Source: http://www.openreq.com/news/tell-me-about-yourself-tmay/

There are many strategies to overcome the fear or anxiety brought on by these dreaded four words . You can practice your TMAY response in the mirror each morning. You can rehearse your elevator speech time and time again (preferably in an empty elevator before you share one with a potential employer or client). You can participate in mock interviews. You can practice with a friend. You might even visit a group like 40Plus DC or drop into a Toastmasters club.

Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in an event where nearly all of these opportunities came together. A friend of mine, Jim Chamberlin sent me an e-mail asking if I’d like to participate in a Toastmasters’ demonstration meeting for a 40Plus DC event. Of course, I said, “Sure, how can I help?” And that’s when Jim suggested that I give an icebreaker speech to whomever showed up at at 1718 P St, NW, Washington, DC.

Here are a few images from this recent event. My props: 4 small posters measuring 16″ x 20″ …

I spoke of how I use my business card as a miniature canvas to illustrate my services.

I spoke of how I use my business card as a miniature canvas to illustrate my services.

For example, I might draw a simple time line to explain how my career has tracked from "dot mil" to "dot org" to "dot com" to "dot biz."

For example, I might draw a simple time line to explain how my career has tracked from “dot mil” to “dot org” to “dot com” to “dot biz.”

Or I might remind them of our CONNECTION with a doodle of where we met.

Or I might remind them of our CONNECTION with a doodle of where we met.

And sometimes there's time to make the "hard sell" or CALL TO ACTION by sharing a little humor.

And sometimes there’s time to make the “hard sell” or CALL TO ACTION by sharing a little humor.

Other members of the CAST include …

Jim Chamberlin served as the emcee (also known as the Toastmaster of the Day).

Jim Chamberlin served as the emcee (also known as the Toastmaster of the Day).

Scott served as my speech project EVALUATOR.

Scott served as my speech project EVALUATOR.

Rand served as the Table Topic Master, someone who quizzed unsuspecting volunteers with "pop questions" that called for impromptu responses.

Rand served as the Table Topic Master, someone who quizzed unsuspecting volunteers with “pop questions” that called for impromptu responses.

Which were answers by volunteers such as Lawrence Greene. Who in the spirit of full disclosure is a Toastmaster and who did exceptionally well in modeling for others how to play along.

Which were answers by volunteers such as Lawrence Greene. Who in the spirit of full disclosure is a Toastmaster and who did exceptionally well in modeling for others how to play along.