Posts Tagged ‘presentations’

Have you ever kept 200 executives waiting? It isn’t a nice experience, and if you are a presenter it can be something of a nightmare. Some years ago I was the second of two speakers to a group of about 200 executives in a large city in southern Japan. The first speaker used PowerPoint from his PC, and I was planning to use Keynote from my Mac. I was told that all we needed to do was switch cables when my turn came to speak, so there was no need for a break between speakers. My slides were ready, but I was not ready for what happened.

Who knows if it was the projector, the cable, or the computer, but immediately after I was introduced as the next speaker, the air froze when I realized that they couldn’t get my slides to display. I had 200 executives waiting for me to start, the assistant in a cold sweat trying to connect the cables, and a presentation that I might be forced to deliver without slides. Unfortunately, my presentation depended entirely too much on my slides.

We did manage to get the slides on the screen after about 5 minutes, but it was one of the longest 5 minutes I can remember as a speaker. Even today I don’t remember what I presented, but I vividly remember the folded arms, the impatient expressions, the frequent glances at watches, and the feeling of near panic deciding whether to wait for the slides, or deliver entirely without them. In retrospect, had I prepared to deliver with or without slides it would not have been difficult, and might have been more fun without slides. As it was, I would have been happy to have an ice pick to break the ice that formed in those unfortunate five minutes.

Though it doesn’t happen often, you are much better off if you are prepared for if and when…

  • You don’t have time to prepare slides
  • The slides you have aren’t any good
  • You have to make your presentation shorter/longer
  • The equipment isn’t working
  • You have an idea to share, but no computer or projector
  • You want to try it without…

Start with Why?

If you have to present without slides, the most important question to start with in your preparation is to know why you are there. Hopefully you have something you want to say, because you want to change the world in some way. Realistically, the reason may be that you have to present as part of your job. In either case you will want to do your best and present something of value to the people in your audience. This is the same talking to a large audience or sitting around a table. Knowing Why will help you pinpoint your passion. Fnd the part that you care about and it will be easier to convey why you, and why now. Otherwise you might as well just send your message as an attachment to an e-mail.

Show and Tell

Long before the days of slides and presentations, I remember well from elementary school the time for Show and Tell. Kids would bring things from home and tell the rest of the class something about it. No one ever taught us how. That wasn’t necessary because it is easy to talk about something that you want to show to others. Many adult presenters spoil the show by showing off, or telling too much. Technology sometimes takes away from a presentation by breaking off the emotional connection, or even masking the lack of real content.

You can often connect better with your audience by sketching your ideas in your own hand. A lack of artistic skill often prevents people from doing this, but a rough sketch conveys more personality and humor than any stock photography from the Internet. Diagram your ideas, and be sure that your diagrams lend clarity not confusion. You can also effectively demonstrate ideas with your face, hands, and body. People much prefer an animated speaker to a talking head. And as Hamlet said, “Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.”

Dialog takes you directly into the scene, which is why movies are mostly made of dialog. Use it liberally by sharing what people said. Drama engages the mind, so the more you can dramatize what you talk about, the more engagement you will get from your audience. Dramatizing is a skill, and not to be confused with using histrionics for effect. Exaggerated emotional behavior calculated for effect will turn people off faster than you can count to three. Use stories in your presentations, but make sure that they have a heartbeat. Stories should stand on their own, that is they shouldn’t need slides to be understood. They are your best chance to bring your presentation to life, to keep people on the edge of their seats, and to gain a permanent seat in memory.

Experiment with different writing tools and surfaces. Write large and write small. Above all practice in all kinds of environments, especially when you can be relaxed and conversational. It can be lots of fun to pull out your favorite writing tools and surfaces, and then strut your stuff!

Improvising and Improving

The best way to move beyond slides is to also move beyond the script! Learn how to improvise. It is a skill which seems inborn in the personality, but in fact is learned over time. Improvisation is practice taken to such a high degree that it looks effortless. It comes to the person who is thoroughly comfortable with the material. An excellent guide to help you learn how to improvise as a presenter is Improvise This! How to Think on Your Feet so You Don’t Fall on Your Face, Mark Bergren, Molly Cox, Jim Detmar.

Improving is just as important. It is will keep you on an upward curve. Watch speakers on TED.com Ideas Worth Spreading—Riveting Talks by Remarkable People, and you will see that many of the best speakers use slides only sparingly, if at all. Watch speakers who present well without depending on slides and you will learn volumes on how to improve your own presentations. Learn how to doodle and draw from the unsinkable Sunni Brown! http://sunnibrown.com/. A useful skill to have in business presentations, whether before a large group or in a small meeting, is solving complex problems with simple pictures, which you can learn from Dan Roam, author of the bestselling book The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, http://www.danroam.com/.

Back to Slides

Once you have gained confidence that you can do pretty well presenting without slides, possibly even better without slides, then it is time to revisit slides and see how they can possibly enhance your presentation without interfering with it. Be a Slide Minimalist. Lean how to do without, and then you can be more effective with. The key is to learn how to be great with or without slides.

Learn to use the “B” key on your keyboard, which will blank out your screen until you hit it again. That brings full focus on you as the presenter, and prevents the distraction of flickering shadows on the screen when you hand or body stands in the way of the projector. If you must use slides then learn to use them well. Two excellent guides to begin with are Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen and Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullet Points. But before you dig into that and fall back into slide dependency, go back to If and when…? Prepare yourself to present at your best any place and any time.

Download a summary of this article and tips on reaching the other side without slides at  NO SLIDES MANDALA 

Project Leadership #1: 7 Ways to have a kickass kickoff!

by Himanshu Jhamb on October 4, 2010

“I promise that I will produce a kickass kickoff for the client”.

Repeat this to yourself at least a hundred times before you go for the next project kickoff meeting.

I have been through many projects – some of them as a team member and some as a project manager (please picture me as ashamed and trying to hide behind my chair at this very moment) – where the kickoffs were either for namesake or worse, were non-existent. The projects just started automatically – no memo, that’s it. I just found myself in the midst of a project already underway. PS> These projects did not do well.

For a long time I tried to demystify why my projects got delayed, got derailed (had enough of the de’s?). I would lock myself in my office (it was a cubicle, really) and try to figure out what was going on – why I could not control my schedules and how come I found myself struggling with just organizing the project in manageable chunks of work.

This post is my humble attempt at sharing what I found I was doing wrong (or not doing) to find myself in this position time and again.

The problem, it turned out, was that I was trying very hard to be a good project manager. In doing so, I was missing out on the fact that what the project really needed was a leader to guide everyone through the project with CLARITY. This last word is perhaps the most important… It is the project leaders’ job to continuously be in the quest for CLARITY on the project. Clarity comes when everyone involved in doing a particular task as well as everyone impacted by the task are in agreement over a number of attributes. The project kickoff meeting is a golden opportunity to get this CLARITY and champion the project. A well organized, planned and delivered kickoff meeting gives huge returns whereas a poor one (or none) haunts the project right till the end of the project (and beyond).

Here are a few tips on how to have kickass kickoffs!

  1. Say No to Remote kickoffs: There is yet to be a technology that replaces the handshake. Put yourself in front of the client – it is a future declaration that you are approachable and reachable and goes a long way in building a relationship with the client, and it will come handy when things are not going as planned on the project (and they won’t!).
  2. Prepare relentlessly for the kickoff: Know your audience. Know the material and make sure it speaks to their concerns, not only to what you are offering. You might be ready to promise them the stars and the moon whilst they might just be looking for a way to look at the stars and the moon.
  3. Declare (through a presentation or whatever suits your purpose) what you stand for in the project & how you will run the project: This is not for the weak of heart. You need to state what you stand for, what you expect from them as much as what you commit to. The presentation is not fluff for killing time & checking off a task in the kickoff meeting with pretty bulleted slides; it should set you up for delivering very important messages, in your meetings after the presentation.
  4. Meet with the stakeholders: The fun part begins here! Make sure all stakeholders are there. This includes people who will lead the team from the client side as well as the people who are impacted by the project.
  5. Ask lots of questions & listen for agreements: Firstly, you don’t have to know the answers. This is really important (It took me about 2-3 years to learn this one). You just have to ask the right questions & listen the people in the room arrive at agreements on stuff like goals, roles, responsibilities, success criteria, processes (and many other things that I cannot put here lest I will be writing a book instead of an article!).
  6. Jot down agreements and follow-up with confirmations by exchanging notes.
  7. Clearly communicate next steps to keep things moving forward and in the direction of the project goals.

How do you know if you have had a kickass kickoff meeting? Don’t worry about that part… your project will tell you that!

Have fun!

PS> Both Guy & I were recently interviewed for our book, #PROJECT MANAGEMENT Tweet on Blog Business World by Wayne Hurlbert. Wayne asked a number of thought provoking questions on Project Management that both Guy & I did our best to answer… for those interested, you can find the interview here. Disclaimer – it is a 1 hour interview… you have been forewarned.

Last week, I discussed some of the ways authors can attract profitable speaking invitations.

This week, I’d like to take the idea of “speaking for profit” to the next level, which involves creating, marketing, and producing special events like conferences, seminars, and workshops. These differ from speaking in two important ways:

  • Multiple presenters. Conferences and workshops, often called “bootcamps,” typically involve multiple speakers. Often, there’s a well-known keynote speaker, followed by sessions conducted by subject area experts- -often other authors- -who may be paid, but often participate because of the visibility and opportunity to demonstrate their competence to attendees who may be coaching or consulting prospects.
  • Affiliate marketers. Authors presenting conferences and workshops often depend on marketing affiliates to help promote and sell tickets to their events in exchange for either a flat fee, or a percentage of each attendee’s fees.

Major profit potential

Profits for authors presenting in-person events can be significant. Profits quickly mount up when you have 100 or 500 people paying several hundred dollars to attend a live event. Successful events also create a buying frenzy of back-of-the-room profits from books,
CD’s, DVD’s, and workbooks.

Soon after Looking Good in Print appeared, I became a lead speaker for desktop publishing conferences produced several times a year around the country by Thunderlizard Productions, a partnership of three authors. I remember staring out at hotel ballrooms filled with participants who often faithfully attended each year’s conference, as well as pre-conference and post-conference workshops.

Other sources of event profits include:

  • Booth rentals. This involves renting booth in an adjacent “open-to-the-public” exhibition space to firms interested in marketing to conference attendees.
  • Sponsorships. Often, corporations sponsor pre-conference breakfasts, sponsored lunches, and happy hour afternoon networking events.
  • DVD’s and CDs. When events are recorded, post-conference sales of audios, transcripts, and videos create excellent content for direct-marketing and back of the room sales at upcoming events.
  • Pre-registrations. Before one year’s event ends, savvy producers are usually offering significant discounts for attendees who pre-register for next year’s conference. These pre-registrations, of course, help pay for marketing next year’s event!

All is not entirely rosy, of course; promotion and space rental costs can be huge, and the potential of major losses is possible because of events far beyond your control. I also remember numerous event cancellations immediately following 9/11, and the current economic environment doesn’t encourage attendance at anything other than the most important events.

As a result of this, authors are frequently turning to “virtual events” based on computer and telephone-based teleseminars or webinars. These typically take place over several days. Whether in-person or virtual, however, the principles remain the same.

7 keys to success and profits

Even more than books, conferences and workshops are planning-intensive. Success involves careful planning and co-ordination. Planning often begins a year, or more, in advance.

Above is a copy of a mind map I’ve created to help clients plan their event’s success. The map’s purpose is to help you co-ordinate the 7 key activities that will determine your event’s success and profits:

  1. Planning. Planning involves answering 2 key questions. The first question is, Where and when do you want to hold your event? This involves identifying and contacting conference and banquet facilities in the areas where you want to host your event. Realities like availability and pricing have to be balanced with desired requirements. The second question is, Who do you want to attend your event? As a successful author and marketer, you’re probably familiar with the concept of personas, described in Author’s Journey #2: How to Target the Right Readers for Your Book.
  2. Promotion. As soon as you have locked-down space availability, it’s important to start preparing your online and offline marketing. Once you have identified your location and target market, you can start preparing landing pages and a web site for your event, even if the pages won’t go live until later. Details can always be added, but it’ essential to give copywriters and designers enough time to prepare the foundation for a multi-faceted and multimedia promotion program.
  3. Sales. In addition to creating sales copy and attractive landing pages, you have to set up a sales system which will not only facilitate online registration and sales, but also will allow marketing affiliates to sell for you. First, you have to sell your event to marketing affiliates, getting them behind your event. Second, you have to provide your affiliates with the sales tools- -e-mail copy, pre-written blog posts, graphics- – they need to sell their markets. And, finally, you need to sell- -or convert- -visitors when they are sent to your website.
  4. Content. Next, you need to create a “table of contents” for your events by identifying and contacting other experts in your field and convince them to speak at your event. Scheduling can be time-consuming because of the necessary co-ordination. Mind maps help you visually display the status of various time slots each morning and afternoon of your event. With a map, you can easily keep track of multiple speakers and multiple conference rooms throughout your event. After deciding who speaks when, you have to work with them and make sure their presentation addresses the topics you’ve agreed upon.
  5. Visuals. Most events include a video component as well as a spoken message. Among the decisions you’ll have to make is whether or not to require all presenters use a presentation template that’s branded to your event. By encouraging presenters to use the same template pays off in terms of projecting a consistent and professional image. Again, your Workshop Planning Map can help you track the status of the various presenter’s visuals.
  6. Handouts. Attendee handouts will play an important role in the perceived value of your event. This is no place for last-minute cost cutting. To your attendees, your handouts are their primary “souvenir.” Attendees, and their attendee’s friends, co-workers, and employers, will judge the value of your event by the quality of your handouts. In addition, evaluations are an important part of your event. Handouts must include clearly-marked evaluation forms that must be collected after each presentation.
  7. Follow-up. Your event isn’t over on the last day. The success of next year’s event is paved by what you do after the event. Ideally, if your event ends on a Saturday, attendees will receive a “Thank You” gift in the mail on Monday, their next day back at work. By sending a tangible expression of your appreciation to attendees- -ideally, a “bonus” item that relates to your event- -you’ll be cementing a relationship that will last for years.

Although broken apart for clarity, above, many of the above tasks have to be simultaneously addressed. By analyzing all of the tasks involved in a successful event, and displaying them on a single mind map- -especially one that can be shared online by everyone involved in your event’s success- -you can monitor what’s been done, and what still needs to be done.

Planning & profits

Planning is a constant theme throughout a successful Author Journey, as you can see from my previous 32 posts.

But, no amount of planning can protect against every eventuality; Who could have foreseen the empty planes and empty pre-paid seminar seats following 9/11? Yet, by focusing on the above issues, and giving yourself and your team enough time to do the job right, you can leverage your book into a series of profitable events that may catapult you into an entirely different tax bracket!

Webinar Strategy and Elephant Chunks

by Wayne Turmel on April 19, 2010

Marketing webinars, customer training, and  recordings for your website are all things that are part of a small company’s arsenal but who has time, budget and where do you start? “We know we need to get a webinar strategy in place, but we don’t have time, budget or expertise”, is maybe the most common complaint I hear from almost all small companies and startups.

It can seem daunting, but you develop a web  presentation strategy for your company the same way you eat an elephant- one bite at a time.

Actually, the process of turning that big scary project into fork-sized chunks is pretty simple. The trick is to ask oneself a series of simple but powerful questions and think about the answers. Once you know what you want and where you are starting from, the path forward will often become clear.

  • Do you want to do web presentations internally (within your company and project teams) or externally (customers, channel partners, investors) or both? Many companies have internal communication and collaboration tools  that can be used  to record presentations for your website or web demos and webinars. The work of choosing a platform and having to do multiple presentations may already be solved with a push of the “record” button. Otherwise, realize you only now need to find a tool that can do everything you need. Either way you’re further along than you were a minute ago.
  • What are the things I’d like to do if money, time, expertise etc. weren’t a factor? In a perfect world you and your stakeholders probably know what you’d like to accomplish. List them and then take a look…. Can a marketing webinar be turned into part of a recorded archive for website visitors? Can it serve as training for your channel partners? What initially looks like 3 or 4 separate tasks could be a well-planned one that serves several purposes, (Probably not perfectly, but enough to get started and you can always perfect them later).
  • Who internally has the resources we need- and if not where can we find them? There’s an assumption that if you’re doing technical presentations, the decision making on this rests with IT or your technical people- not necessarily. You’d be surprised who you can draw on if you look past the silos.
  • Which chunk of the elephant do I tackle first? Where are you feeling the most financial pain? If travel costs are killing you, get internal communication up and running first and save the money for the future. If lead generation is your priority, schedule a single event and be prepared to record it so that you have both a live event and web content people can find long after the event.

Your webinar strategy doesn’t have to be a major undertaking and require a huge investment of money or precious time. All it takes is a deep breath, some key questions and a little ketchup for those elephant chunks

When you begin to write your book, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you’ve already made significant progress….especially, if you’ve been active in your field for a long time.

Because you may have already written a lot of your book, the first writing step you should take is to take a fresh look at your hard drive, looking for content just begging to be included in your book!

Existing content takes many forms

To help you locate contents you already wrote, I’ve added a copy of my Existing Content Inventory Worksheet to my Active Garage Resource Page which you can download without registration.

My Existing Content Inventory Worksheet will help you keep track of content like case studies, examples, ideas, opinions, perspectives, procedures, resources, shortcuts, tips, and warnings.

Where to look for ready-to-use content

Look for existing content you can reuse for your book in files originally created for projects like:

  • Articles & newsletters
  • Blog posts & comments
  • Books, e-books, & previous book proposals
  • E-mail
  • Memos & reports
  • New business proposals
  • Presentations & speeches
  • Press releases
  • Teleseminars, webinars
  • White papers

As you review your previous client, prospect, and writing files, you may be surprised at the content richness waiting for you.

During your exploration, you might want to search your hard drive for key phrases and words that might take you directly to the content you’re looking for.

What to do after locating existing content

Once you consolidate the titles, relevance, and locations of existing content onto copies of the Existing Content Inventory Worksheet, you can address questions like:

  • What type of content is it? Is the content an idea, a process or a technique, a case study, an interesting anecdote, or a tip?
  • Where does the content belong in my book? Which chapter?
  • How much of the content is useful? Where will it appear within the chapter? Will the content be used as part of the text of your book, or is it more appropriate as a sidebar interview or tip?
  • How literally can I reuse the content? Can I simply copy and paste the content, (assuming you have copyright ownership of the content)? Or, do I need to paraphrase the content? Do I need to expand the content? Do I need to verify the accuracy of the content?
  • Do I need permissions for quotations? You may not need to obtain permission, for example, if the quote appeared in a published magazine or newspaper article. You might have to get permission, however, if you quoting an individual’s comments in a recorded teleseminar interview you hosted.

In many cases, of course, you may have originally written the content in long-forgotten articles, blog posts, or newsletters.

Of course, if you already knew, or suspected, that you were going to be write your current book, you’d- -hopefully- -have tracked the content using a mind map like the one I prepared for this blog post series (among other free resources).

Conclusion

Writing a book doesn’t have to mean a time-consuming endeavor requiring you to write every word from scratch! If you’ve been active in your field for a long time, you may have already written a lot of your book! Even better, if you used tools like mind mapping to organize your content and track your writing, you may be pleasantly surprised to find how much of your book has already been written.

Roger C. Parker helps business professionals write brand-building, thought-leadership books. He’s written over 30 books, offers writing tools at Published&Profitable, and posts writing tips each weekday. His next book is Title Tweet! 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Article, Book, and Event Titles.

Why Isn’t Anyone Listening To Your Presentations?

by Robert Driscoll on October 28, 2009

untitledHow often have you made a presentation or given a webinar and felt like no one was paying attention to you or that you weren’t connecting with your audience?  Was it your material or your presentation skills?  Or both?  In my opinion, no one is a really bad presenter, but rather you might be using really bad presentation techniques.  Here are some techniques that I hope will help you connect more with your audience.

The slide presentation should not be the presentation

Too often people simply regurgitate what is in their presentation instead of engaging with the audience.  You need to learn to work with the presentation in the background and not have it be the focus of your presentation.  Some presenters think that overloading their slides with information will compensate for poor communication skills, yet this couldn’t be further from the truth.  The information in your presentation is like a book and you should simply be summarizing it for the audience.  If you connect with them and they see marginal value in your offer, then they will want to read your “book”.

Don’t overdo your presentation.

Don’t be THAT presenter who has the 100 slide presentation unless you’re presenting to an audience that is suffering from sleep deprivation.  Limit the number of slides that you are presenting and the number of bullet points or information otherwise your message will be lost during the presentation.  If you feel that there is detailed information that your audience might find of interest, feel free to provide them with hardcopy printouts or email them a softcopy after you have finished your presentation.

Don’t memorize it.  Understand the material you’re presenting.

Simply memorizing your presentation material will not make you connect with your audience.  You need to be knowledgeable about what you are presenting so that you can interact with them and let them participate and apply the concepts from your presentation as this will give them the opportunity to put in to practice what they are learning.  If you memorize your materials without having a good understanding of it, you will have a harder time connecting with your audience and gaining their trust.

Prep your audience and be respectful of their time.

The fastest way to lose the attention of your audience is to not have the right people in attendance.  Make sure your audience understands not only why you’re there but what you will be presenting as well.  You only have a limited amount of time to get their attention and to get them to gain interest in your offer.

While you primarily learn good presentation skills through trial and error and constructive criticism from your peers, having the right techniques in your arsenal will keep your audience engaged and increase the value of your offer.  Before you know it, your audience will start paying more attention.

Check your ego at the door!

by guest on August 12, 2009

check my ego at the doorWhen I look back over all the important lessons that I have learned during and related to my career, some of the most important came before my career even started.

First, some background:

I had the distinct advantage of being an engineering intern at a large aerospace firm while I was a sophomore in college. It allowed me a unique viewpoint in that I was surrounded by exciting technology and incredibly accomplished people (and I knew I couldn’t be laid off, which was a plus). I viewed this time as an opportunity to learn about careers in advance of starting my own. The world was bright and full of possibilities. I soaked up as much as I could about the profession, about corporate America, and about careers in general.

It was during this time that I experienced one of the most important lessons that I have ever learned – to check one’s ego at the door.

One afternoon I was asked to join an engineering review meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to review the progress and share ideas for improvement of the 8 major components that comprised the device we were making. Each component was represented by the lead engineer. In addition, there was a project manager and myself. The 10 of us entered a conference room at 2:00PM for a 2 hour meeting.

What ensued was a lesson that I still reference today.

The engineer of component #1 stood up, gave his progress report, and stated some of the challenges he was experiencing and how he planned to solve them. The other 7 engineering leads then suggested alternative solutions and constructive criticism (and the suggestions were quite good). Upon each suggestion, however, the lead engineer of component #1 immediately shook his head and responded that his solution was superior and that there was no need to consider alternatives. The other 7 engineers became agitated that their views were not being fully considered. But the engineer of component #1 concluded his presentation and sat down. Following his presentation, the lead engineer of component #2 stood up, gave his progress report, and stated the challenges that he was experiencing. Again, the other 7 engineering leads gave suggestions and alternative solutions, but they were similarly dismissed by the lead engineer of component #2. Again, the other 7 engineering leads became agitated that their solutions were not being considered. The lead engineers of remaining 6 components, in turn, gave their presentations, listened to the suggestions and criticisms, and dismissed them. And in each case, the 7 other engineers were agitated that their views were not being considered.

In all, the “2 hour” meeting took 6 hours to complete, primarily due to the length of time that each engineer took to refute the proposed suggestions. In each case, the lead engineer expended immense effort to prove that his ideas were superior to all the others. And in each case, the other 7 engineers expended immense effort to prove that their alternative solutions were worth merit. But in each case, the engineers were willing to provide criticism but not receive it… or one could also assess that each engineer was capable of talking, but none was capable of listening!

As an intern, I found myself amused and chuckling quietly to myself. If this had been a graded exercise for one of my engineering laboratory classes, we all would have failed because while we would have succeeded in communicating ideas, we would have failed in sharing and accepting ideas for improvement. What I didn’t immediately understand was that if I, a sophomore in college, could perceive the problem, why couldn’t the lead engineers? What was the specific problem that was preventing them from learning from one another?

What was the source of the problem?

And then it struck me!

It was not about the problem or the best solution anymore… it had become all about the egos! Each engineer had committed the same mistake of allowing their ego to interfere with the exploration of a better solution. Their egos were preventing the learning process from occurring.

It became clear to me, at that point, that the key to a successful meeting (and career) is checking your ego at the door so that your mind is open to other possibilities. Leave your ego outside the conference room (or office building).

I am so glad that I learned that lesson during that day. At each stage of my career following that meeting, I have allowed for the possibility that – “for every solution I have conceived, there may be a better one.”

The biggest takeaway for me:

I have recalled this lesson time and again and it has helped me to NOT avoid criticism. In fact, I have learned to seek criticism and feedback, whether it be good or bad, at all times. For if I reach the point where I think my solutions are the best to the exclusion of all other possibilities, then I have reached the point where I can no longer learn. And if I cannot learn, then I cannot progress as a person.

—–
mike markey outside cropped Michael Markey has 16 years of engineering and software experience in various areas including aerospace, military, and commercial sectors. He currently leads a team of consultants that specialize in access control and commercialization of online content.