Saturday, 22 February 2014

Triple Filter Test

One day an acquaintance met Socrates, the great Greek philosopher  and said,

 "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"

"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. 

I call it the Triple Filter test. The first filter is "Truth". Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"Well, no," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and…"

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don’t really know if it’s true or not

Now, let’s try the second filter, the filter of "Goodness". Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"

"Umm, no, on the contrary…"

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but you’re not certain it’s true

You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left—the filter of "Usefulness". Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really."

"Well," concluded Socrates,

"if what you want to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

If all of us use this Triple Filter test, the world will be a much better place, isn't it ? 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Have you tried REVERSE Brainstorming ?

I was in a fix. 

I was assigned to manage a project which was critical for the organization. I had to deliver the project within a very short period of time. My team was very talented and committed. But when I described the project to them in a team meeting and talked about how critical it was for the company and the deadlines were stiff and the expected quality standard was high,  I could feel the vibes of negativity emanating from them.  It was clear that they were not convinced about the success of the project. 

I did not discuss anything on that day.  

The next day, I again called for a team meeting and as expected , I saw unenthusiastic faces sitting around the table.  I took a deep breath and announced  "I would like to brainstorm about the reasons why the project should fail ". 

Suddenly there were murmurs of interest in the group. People became interested and I could see expressions of surprise on their faces.  The team was used to Brainstorming about positive things but suddenly they were exposed to REVERSE brainstorming ! 

So we followed the usual process of brainstorming and we came up with 53  reasons why this project will fail !

Just after we finished the brainstorming, I announced "There is a second part to this exercise... we will now  prioritize and select ten significant factors which pose major threats.  Then we will do a detailed action planning to ensure that these factors are taken care of ..". 

Since the team had come up with the threats and jointly created the  action plans , there was a lot of ownership and any hurdle which came up during the execution was dealt with alacrity by the team !

Our project was completed within record time and  we received the Star Team of the Year Award !  

Monday, 10 February 2014

The Most Powerful Presentation Tool

Good presentations include stories.

I usually start my presentation using a story. 

This helps to get their attention immediately and usually they drop their guards and go to the Story-time mode and connect with me instantly.

Stories engage people at because they engage people at the emotional level.

The best presenters illustrate their points with the use of stories, most often personal ones.  If you want your audience to remember your content, then find a way to make it relevant and memorable to them. You should try to come up with good, short, interesting stories or examples to support your major points.

Good stories have interesting, clear beginnings, provocative, engaging content in the middle, and a clear, logical conclusion.

If you’re not sure whether you can tell a convincing story, remember the last time you were out with friends and somebody started telling a story that reminded you of something that had happened to you recently — you couldn’t wait for the other story to finish, so that you could start telling yours, right?

And when you told it, you were so full of how exciting it was, the words came tripping off your tongue. And when your friends laughed or winced at the right places, you knew the story had hit home.

  • Start to notice what it’s like when you get that itch to tell a story — that’s the feeling you want to recapture when you get up on stage.

  • The most important thing is that the story will be meaningful and relevant to your specific audience. If it’s a business presentation and you want to make the link between the story and your proposed action crystal clear, use an an anecdote that they – or their customers – can relate to from direct experience.

  • If you think they are thinking too narrowly and need to broaden their horizons, use a more exotic story – from a movie, a novel, the news, or even an ancient myth or legend. If you do this, they may be more easily entranced – but it’s very important that you make a strong link between the lesson of the story and the main subject of your presentation.

Happy Storytelling !