NOKIA Phone_20131210_001One of the blessings of our online connection is the ability to discover and learn from extraordinary speakers and presenters. The artists, teachers, business leaders, scientists, and students who inspire, delight and model a path for intelligent, respectful connection to audiences. (Let’s also admit that we occasionally delight in the uncanny, communication disasters that surface as well!)

At the same time, Barbara and I have noticed a rising expectation from speakers that their presentation needs to out-TED the rest, as if we are all in competition for the precious attention of the best and the brightest, the newest, the most “WOW!”  Presenters feel the pressure to be bigger than life. The question is, can we elicit our best presentation, recognize the necessity of aligning our message for our specific audience, and contain the grandiosity of self-promotion so that our message lands on target, successfully, but not necessarily to a standing ovation?

2014 is devoted to the reality that 98% of us are everyday presenters, we need to prepare speeches that will probably not go viral, or find us on a TED stage, but will reflect our thinking, creative problem solving and the integrity of the lives we are living in present time and place.  That’s the best practice we recommend for this new year.  May all your communications be clear, commanding and confident  and let us know if we can support your efforts. (and to my sister, Rebecca, for sending this poem my way. )


Mindful By Mary Oliver


I see or hear


that more or less

kills me

with delight,

that leaves me

like a needle

in the haystack

of light.

It was what I was born for —

to look, to listen,

to lose myself

inside this soft world —

to instruct myself

over and over

in joy,

and acclamation.

Nor am I talking

about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,

the very extravagant —

but of the ordinary,

the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.

Oh, good scholar,

I say to myself,

how can you help

but grow wise

with such teachings

as these —

the untrimmable light

of the world,

the ocean’s shine,

the prayers that are made

out of grass?

from Why I Wake Early. © Beacon Press, 2005.images-2