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The Spotlight is On More Than You Think

Be it stand up comedy, live music, or a presentation at work. Live performances are a dynamic affair featuring two parties, the performer and the audience. The spotlight is naturally on the performer with the audiences' role largely overlooked.  It doesn't appear so at first, but the audience is a co-lead. Having given my fair share of presentations, I've felt the impact of a well-timed question or comment. Whether affirmative or challenging, audience participation can drastically shift the way I feel and how I'll proceed.  Non-verbal actions are equally strong. Passive participation is anything but. A nod goes a long way in assuring me. A questioning look makes me pause. Checking your phone makes me second guess the interest. As audience members, we think we're invisible. We're not. We're in it together.  So much in the study of influence is on achieving what we don't have but it's important to be mindful of the influence we already do have. If we&#

Ta-Don't: Avoiding Big Surprises

The grand reveal. Where the covers are dramatically pulled off and gasps ripples across the crowd. Sometimes a sound of joy. Other times, not so much. Whether good or bad, the unknown always adds a touch of drama to it all.     While the "Ta-Da" moment is great TV, it's not so great for the workplace. Quite the opposite, it's a sign of failed communication and a lack of teamwork.  When leading an initiative, its best to keep folks involved early and often. The cadence and level of detail will vary, but erring on the side of over-communication is a good starting point while you gauge what's appropriate.    Keeping folks in the loop reduces the risk of expectations diverging. Maintaining aim at the same target. Transparency opens the floor for constructive feedback. Unique skills and perspectives will remain untapped in a silo. In addition to the sense of ownership and accountability of others.  The need for perfection is a common culprit for the big reveal. Be comf

Designing Above Your Weight Class With Canva

Early into my career, I realized I was clueless about personal finance. My employer offered me options for a retirement plan and this paralyzed me with doubt. I was deeply intimidated by all the choices, acronyms and numbers. I didn't know where to start; despite going to school for accounting, which only added more egg to my face.  I dove into the space to build my confidence. Once I got going, I realized it wasn't that hard. I started to enjoy learning about taxes, planning, and investing. It was empowering. I felt ownership over my financial life. As a way to reinforce and share learnings, I began blogging. I figured learning in public was a good way to test ideas, get feedback, and help folks in similar shoes.  I was focused on writing, but soon it became clear that my blog looked pretty dull with just text. I needed cover art to give my content some pop, some character, some life.  I started with stock images from Unsplash , but soon this felt unoriginal and limiting. You&

Ending Meetings with Commitment

With Zoom, it's so easy hop from one meeting to the next. We present and get presented with ideas all day long. It's no wonder when the floor opens up for questions, the room falls silent. Silence is often taken as agreement. " No one is outright challenging me, so we must be good!"  Even when presented with an idea that team members are wary of, no one raises their hand. They are unsure and rather not get their hands dirty. This is mistaken as consensus and initiatives move forward with unmotivated squads.  To avoid this trap, companies like Intel and Amazon use " Disagree & Commit ", where each person need to proactively declare their commitment before proceeding, if they don't, explain why. The goal is not consensus. This is impractical for any healthy team where diverse opinions are encouraged. The point is to create an environment where all the relevant information is shared, getting us closer to the truth.  Not everyone will fully agree with th