Craig Strachan - Keep Talking!

Do you backup?

Craig Strachan - Keep Talking!

I just read an email about an author from Port Elizabeth who has lost over 200 pages from a book that she is busy writing after her laptop was stolen. These are over 200 pages of the only draft! While I feel sorry for her, I hear this kind of story almost every week. How simple is it to really backup your files? I am sure that right now, she is thinking that perhaps she should back up on a more regular basis.

2017 144

On running and pacesetting

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year ago I started paceseting for races in Cape Town. My first race was the UCT 10k. I drove a (somewhat empty) 60 minute bus, and arrived at 59:10. Over the past year I have been a pacesetter for 20 races with a total distance of 704km (ok so I love numbers; I freely admit it). Even though it has only been a year, pacesetting has taught me about running in a bus, and about running in general, and my busses are a lot more full. Here are a few tips. I hope they help. When running in a bus.

2017 158

4 Ways to Become a Charismatic Speaker

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Communicating your presentation idea alone won’t be enough to convince your audience. You should also have the charismatic appeal to enhance your credibility and complement your central message. A likeable image is what leaves them swayed, in awe, and wanting more.

2016 194

Why Toastmasters

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I was asked to write a short piece as to why I have been a member of Toastmasters for over 15 years. I have shared it below. My intention when I joined Toastmasters was to be a member for a few months – just long enough to improve my business speaking skills.

2015 200

On getting tasks done

Craig Strachan - Keep Talking!

Some tips on completing tasks. Avoid add a task to today’s todo list, rather add it to the future. Adding it to today’s list adds additional pressure to completing what you have already committed to do. Does a task need to be completed perfectly, or just good enough? Remember the 80/20 rule. Often good enough is good enough. Remember – you will always have things on your todo list. Delegate the fun stuff – then it will get done. Have one todo list only.

2017 116

Lessons from Gary Bailey

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Gary Bailey plated goalkeeper for Manchester United for almost 300 games, and being South African he is considered something of a local hear. Here are some lessons from him: On Manchester United: Is a $1 billion business. Delivers weekly. Has 300 million customers. Lessons. Be tough and learn to takes knocks. Build on gratitude. Appreciate staff and all those around you. Things go wrong for everybody at some time. It’s how you deal with life, not what happens to you that makes a difference.

2017 126

Presentation tips for PowerPoint

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This is an extract of a training session that I present “Putting the POWER back into PowerPoint”. Nowadays, many of us use PowerPoint for our presentations. While there are many courses and books on the technical side of how to create slides, there is very little material available on how to create effective slides and presentations. This course helps to address that issue. Only use slides if appropriate. Nowadays, we often automatically haul out PowerPoint when asked to do a presentation.

2017 109

What I talk about when I talk about running

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Haruki Murakami is best known as the author of “Norwegian Wood”, and the “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” – and many other books. If you haven’t read his books I highly recommend you check them out.

2016 151

Schrodenger’s Restaurant

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Isn’t it interesting that as soon as you find a quiet, out of the way restaurant, everybody starts going there. You know what I mean, the sort of place that is reasonably priced, serves really fine food, and has a fine ambience. Then everybody hears about this place, and before you know it you have to book weeks in advance. And then when you finally manage to visit the restaurant, its full, noisy and impersonal. Everything that you liked about it has gone.

2017 109

4 tips on PowerPoint

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Use PowerPoint to enhance your presentations, not as a substitute for poor presentations. Create your content first, and then create the visuals. Creating slides is far more fun that creating good content; don’t fall into the trap of creating great slides that support a weak message. Budget your time. Allocate a set amount of time to create the slides, and budget that across all the slides you need.

2017 109

3 acronyms to make email messages a little more effective

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Hey are three acronyms you can use to make your email communication a little more effective. NNTR / NRN**. If you put NNTR in the end of the subject line (No need to reply, or no response needed), it tells the recipient that you are not expecting a response. e.g.: > Minutes of last night’s meeting attached NNTR. Personally I prefer to assume that unless you explicitly tell the reader that a response is needed, a response is not expected. **EOM**. EOM**.

Email 109

What to get done

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In my previous post I gave some tips on getting tasks done; here are some tips on what to get done. Never accept a meeting on the same today – it messes up your planning. Know what you need to do today, and only focus on those – remember to eat the biggest frog First (Brian Tracey). Don’t do other people’s work – it is too easy to say yes, but mean no – delegate! Only commit to work that you can complete, and if you can’t complete it, don’t commit!

2017 109

A thought on pseudoscience…

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Would you use a soap containing drain cleaner as a key ingredient? If you won’t, then you probably won’t use any soap. One of the best drain cleaners is sodium hydroxide. The reason it is so good at cleaning drains is that it dissolves fat. But what happens when the fat dissolves?

2016 141

Ulysses – markdown editing

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Before I tell you about Ulysses and why I think it’s a great piece of software, a quick primer on markdown. What is markdown? Markdown is an easy way to create rich documents using a plain text editor (with bold , italic , etc), and it is particularly useful to create HTML content. Markdown makes it easy to create blog posts without having to worry too much about the formatting, but you can still perform powerful formatting in a text editor. For example, you can create: A headings.

2017 109

Lessons from David Grier

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A few days ago, I listened to David Grier giving a speech. David does crazy runs that make my marathons look like a walk around the block. He ran across the entire Great Wall of China (4200km), across Cuba (1800km), and a bunch of other crazy runs.

2016 141

Servant leadership in a restaurant

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An example of servant leadership happened in a restaurant last night. My wife and I were enjoying a meal in a local restaurant. We were not enjoying our drinks, because even though we had repeatedly asked for them, the drinks failed to arrive. A waitress, Jade, who was working another table saw that we were having a problem. When we told her she went off to the bar, spoke to the barman and came back immediately with our drinks.

Day One review

Craig Strachan - Keep Talking!

If you use a Mac and keep any sort of journal this is an app to look at. If you are a Windows user this is one more reason to make the switch. I have been a user of Day One version 1 for several months, and it is an excellent tool for journaling.

2016 141

What do you need to do?

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What do you need to do today? What do you need to do this month? What do you need to do this year? What do you need to do next year or further in the future? Productivity time management

2017 109

Stop being interrupted

Craig Strachan - Keep Talking!

Put your phone on silent and turn it over (so you can’t see the screen). Switch off your email. You can check your email when the task is complete. Turn off your messaging clients (FB messages, Lync, Skype etc). Even better turn off your network connection if your task doesn’t need you to be online. Hide – one of my biggest distractions is people coming to my desk to ask a question.

2017 109

Tips from “The Positive Guy”

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I hard Andre du Toit speak “ The Positive Guy ” this evening, and he left us with a few valuable tips about public speaking. Here they are. I hope they are useful! Some tips. It’s all about personal brand – you and not your company are the brand. Small audience – content; large audience – a show. You have to want to be a better teacher. PowerPoint is used for training – not for speaking. Companies hire you to: Make more money. Save money.

2016 100

DEVONThink or Evernote?

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I have been a paid user of Evernote for a couple of years and have always found it to be a very good service.

2013 169

On goal setting and running

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Here is a thought about running and goal setting. It is very seldom that I don’t have a big race coming up in the future, hence a lot of my runs are training runs for that race.

2015 130

Book review: The Healthy Programmer.

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This book is a practical guide for computer programmers (or any office worker) who want to get more fit and healthy.

2013 151

Free PowerPoint templates

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Here is a pretty cool website that I have been looking at: Slide Hunter , an online collection of free PowerPoint templates. I am not sure exactly how many there are, but at about 40 pages of 7 templates I estimate at least 280 or so templates (and they are all free).

Free 151

Presenter View; a quick tip

Craig Strachan - Keep Talking!

Here is a quick tip to make your PowerPoint presentations a little more effective. If you setup Presenter View, you can see a great summary of your presentation on your laptop screen, and show the regular presentation on the projector screen. So when I give a presentation, I see something like this.

2013 151

10 steps to creating a really strong story

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Guest post by Jim Harvey. It sounds like a presentation trainer’s cliche, but it’s not. In business presentations, the story is the thing. There’s a skill and a structure to creating interesting and compelling narratives.

Story 158

Free resources from Udemy

Craig Strachan - Keep Talking!

The folk at Udemy have put together good collection of youtube videos focusing on public speaking. The videos are short, and give good examples and advice on become a better speaker. Udemy also has a several online public speaking courses for sale. But like many learning sites you may have to look around to find the one that best suits you (hint: click on the courses and check out the table of contents).

2015 109

Shopping with Cybercellar; a lesson in customer service

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First of all full disclosure; Cybercellar gave me a R100 discount voucher to try out their website with the aim of writing a blog post about it “if you feel that we are worth mentioning, we believe we are!, it will be appreciated.”

PowerPoint Karaoke slides

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On Monday evening, I ran a PowerPoint Karaoke contest at the Cape Communicators Toastmaster Club. This is the first one that I have ran, and it was a fantastic evening!

Five Tips to Deliver Exciting Speeches

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I received this article in Patricia Fripp’s email newsletter, and I have reposted it with her permission. Five Tips to Deliver Exciting Speeches. Open Hot, Close Hotter. To grab audience attention and be remembered, start the presentation with a bang, not a limp “Thanks, it’s nice to be here.” ” The first (and last) 30 seconds have the most impact on the audience.

2012 136

Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to publish a book

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Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to publish a book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. Although I would like to publish an ebook at some stage, it is not something that I am looking at doing right now, so the review copy on my Kindle sat there for quote a while before I got to browsing through it.

Charteo review – create custom slide decks

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Here is an interesting way to create your presentations. It’s an online tool called Charteo, which allows you to create a custom slide deck based on a selection of over 10000 online slides. In summary, you pick and choose your slides and create a custom desk.

Grow your Voice to Speak with Confidence

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Grow your Voice to Speak with Confidence. Dr Petro Janse van Vuuren. This book discusses aspects of public speaking that we often neglect, and that is using your voice as an effective tool to get your message across.

2011 151

Just get out there

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Two of my interests are photography and public speaking, which is why I follow the blogs of Both Darren LaCroix , who won the world champion of public speaking in 2001, and Jared Polin (aka the Fro) , who is the most amazing photographer and teacher out of Philidophia.

2012 130

Syndicating your blog – Word Camp Cape Town

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Some of you have asked for a copy of my recent presentation at WordCamp Cape Town. The organisers have loaded all of the sessions onto YouTube, so if you would like to watch my session (or any of the others, look below).

2011 141

7 lessons from wordcamp

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Last week I spoke at WordCamp, Cape Town (the WordPress conference), and I watched many of the other sessions as well. Here are a few lessons I learned from my and the other sessions: Keep the sessions short and sharp.

2011 141

Review: Cloudberry online backups

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I have far too many friends that just don’t create backups, and far too many that backup to an external drive that lives next to their computers, which while marginally better is still basically useless.

Online 130

Ben Zander – tickets still available for JHB

Craig Strachan - Keep Talking!

Yesterday, I saw Ben Zander speaking in Cape Town. He and his wife Ros were here for the launch of the Alive With Possibility DVD, a DVD celebrating the possibility in South Africa.

2011 141

A clear message

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I saw this sign on one of the movie cameras at the recent Toastmasters Convention. A short and simple way to get your message across. How do you get your message across? Communication Toastmasters message sign

2011 130

I’m feeling lucky – book review

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I’m Feeling Lucky. The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59. Doug Edwards. This book is for anybody looking for an inside view into the growth of one of the biggest brands in the world. Marketers, techies or anybody wanting to learn what it is like working at Google should ready this book.

2011 130