One Secret to Success: Keep an eye on the Ball!

 [From the Movie Forrest Gump] You know how to play this? Come on. Let me show you.

Now the secret to this game is, no matter what happens, never, ever take your eye off the ball.

“Where did I go wrong?” said most of us at one point in time… Felt frustrated and started blaming things on life and on outside circumstances, blaming so many factors that are not within your direct control on your failures while crediting only yourself on the successes. Was that person You in one point in time? is that you now?

Well, let’s put it this way, we will never ever reach to a point where we can be totally in control of our Fate; Life will always hit us, push us, surprise us; External factors might play in our favor or not and the person who will surprise us most might simply be our selves when we CHANGE.

I was having an interesting discussion with a Fellow Business Mentor at an Entrepreneurship Boot-camp in Lebanon few years back, and the conversation took a broader diversion to take us to understand the role of a Life Coach and the importance of having a Coach and a Mentor in one’s professional life. One Simple analogy I still remember today from that conversation that would act as a great example for this week’s Tip.

 “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ~Søren Kierkegaard

My Good Friend told me something then, he said to me that life sometimes is like playing Tennis or Ping-Pong; there is no way that the game will keep up for ever, you will lose and win and lose and win again, and at the end it’s the score that will define if you succeeded or not, and there’s really only One Secret to winning in that game… Keep your eyes on the Ball, and ADAPT. 

So here’s a Good tip for this week, When you Start the Game:

  • Never take your eyes off the ball, at all times
  • Move and Adapt; it’s almost impossible that you can survive the game while you can’t move a single inch… and your Moves are dictated by the movement of the Ball.
  • Predict the Moves of your opponent; The more experienced you become at playing the game, the easier you would start moving towards the ball EVEN BEFORE your opponent decide on the direction he/she wants to toss it towards you.
  • Realize that winning some and losing some is part of the game, and you show NEVER get frustrated by early losses or get very excited about your early winnings.

When I asked My friend the Executive Coach, on the role of the Mentor or Coach in such a game, he told me: “A Good Coach will make time slow down, and the ball will come at you in a slower-motion giving you enough time to take advantage.” | Thank you Adrian for the Lovely Talk 🙂

Cheers,
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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

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Increase your productivity in 30 seconds!

Most people look at Time Management as being a hard-to-learn discipline that is optionally added to their personal life or required to their professional life as they grow,  rather than being a skill that would help them benefit the most out of their life (whether personal or professional).

In this week’s tip, you will learn a simple trick on how to change the way you look at your To-Do items in order to dramatically increase your productivity  and the nice thing about it, is that each time you will apply this trick  won’t take more than 30 seconds!

Let’s not make things very complicated, if you just look at your to do list, you will find items that would probably look like this:

– Write a report
– Call X,Y,Z
– Bring ABC from the Supermarket
– Meet with X,Y,Z

and the list would go on, and the list above applies to the tasks that you know in advance, but what about the interruptions that happen WHILE you’re doing another task, let’s say when one of your staff knocks on your door and interrupts your meeting to ask you about something… How to deal with that?

The answer is simple, as of today the trick is to expand the To-Do list (whether planned or un-planned) to have 4 items associated to it:

  • Related to?
  • Time to Execute
  • Urgent / Important
  • Context

New To-Do Perspective

So when you view your next task, you need to ask yourself (and preferably write down the answers)

  • Why should I do the following task?: per example To which project this is related; most of the times we are faced with Tasks that does not add value to our core personal or professional objectives, and therefore you can simply ignore the task all together.
  • How Long will it take to execute: divide it in 15 minutes chunks, even if it takes less… Practice makes perfect in this 🙂 and the general rule is that if it can be done in less than 2-5 minutes, then you can finish it immediately.
  • When is the deadline for this: How urgent and Important this is? (is your friend’s Facebook status is about her new outfit or about her mother’s passing away??)
  • What’s the context: do you need to Drive somewhere to finish it? do you need to be in the office? do you need internet? is it a phone call?

Once you practice the above method, things will start getting done more and you will be able to easily manage your time, and take better decisions on how prioritize your tasks.

Have a great week!
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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

3 Things your Future Self will Thank you for

Do something today that your future self will thank you for ~ Author Unknown

It’s not very tricky to realize how our actions today will shape the way we will be living in the future, just like our actions and decisions influenced our life today; and to be able to understand that very well, maybe you can do this small exercise:

Take a look at an old photo of you, let’s say 5 or even 10 years old one! maybe a few laughs and great memories of how you hair, face, skin looked like and maybe some nostalgia, but once you bypass the physical appearance of that person in the photo, you will see a Different person than your current self, if you would to jump into a time machine and go back to him or her and Thank them for one thing you’re grateful for today… What would that be? would it be a decision? an action? or even a MISTAKE?

For me personally, I would Thank the old SC for that afternoon in August 1998, when he was very frustrated from several academic challenges, and on that day, he decided to take one piece of paper and start writing, and maybe one day to publish a book and become an Author. 7 years later, the number of written ideas was too impressive that actually made the dream of becoming a published author, MORE realistic! and by the time you’re reading this post, I’ve already published 5 books (where one of them is a National Best Seller! 🙂 ) – Thank you 1998’s SC

In this week’s Tip, here’s 3 things you can do TODAY that your future self will thank you for it:

  1. Start: Yes, it’s simple, Just START, don’t worry about finishing or even by the depth of how far you will be going or even willing to go…
  2. Stop: Stop worrying about the details of the FUTURE, more likely it will change in ways you wouldn’t have imagine, and in lots of ways that will make your future self take advantage of at the right time!
  3. Share: Give to others part of your time, your knowledge, you enthusiasm and the gift of Caring… Chances are that you will meet some people who will play a vital role in your future TODAY, and by then your Future self will just smile of  “what are the odds of that happening” at you 😉

Have a great Week!
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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

5 PowerPoint tricks excellent speakers use flawlessly

Delivering an excellent presentation depends heavily on the speaker’ support materials, and how he/she uses them effectively. One of these tools (and probably one of the most famous ones) is Microsoft PowerPoint.

I have been doing presentations and public speaking for over 12 years now, and performed before thousands of people worldwide, and I can tell the tricks that would capture the attention of the audience, and in this week’s tip, here’s 5 simple tricks you can use to transform your presentation style with.

1. Automatically Play Videos: Multimedia Always do the Job and using Video / Audio within your presentation has an impressive effect on your audience and I’ve seen even “boring” speakers capture the attention of their audience when they play a video. Just use the following Trick for that: Make the Video Play Full Screen and “Play Automatically” rather than “On Click”. Choose High Definition videos and make sure your audio is well heard across the room

2. Use Presenter View: now although this may seem an obvious tip, but believe me when I tell you that most speakers don’t use Presenter View, and they just Duplicate their screen. Luckily with the Latest version of PowerPoint 2013, it is Set by Default to use Presenter View and for all the right reasons

PowerPoint-2013-Presenter-ViewYou see the new presenter view is an amazing work of ART for presenters… it’s so well designed with features that would make the presenter shine without having his audience know what’s happening.

in-slide-controls

Couple of my favorite features would be: Using the Zoom Tool to zoom on a specific section in the slide, using the Pen & Laser to literally write notes on your slide and See All Slides where you can actually navigate between slides in real time, without the audience seeing that happening. And when you are in a situation that you will need to SKIP some slides or refer back to a previous slide (Like the CEO Suddenly Decided to jump on stage and say a word)… you can do that Smoothly!

How-to-navigate-your-slides-in-PowerPoint-2013-01

3. Use Video Backgrounds: a lot of speakers would be emphasizing on a specific idea by illustrating it with a Video and some would just say: “like what we’re going to see in the next video”… Here’s 2 mini-tips: 1) unless your audience are in kinder garden, don’t announce what you’re going to do 3 seconds later.. and 2) use Video backgrounds when possible; you can start playing a video while muting the audio to avoid distraction, and add items on top to highlight the points and make it start automatically while you keep on talking…

Video Background

4. Design LESS: they always say LESS is MORE… and in Presentations, try not to put all of your wordings into the slide and the READ your presentation to your audience, but use the Technique that all the legendary speakers (like the late Steve Jobs) use… Just 1 photo and 1 sentence can sometimes do the trick… Just make sure you photo fill a good portion of the screen and your 1 sentence is very visible (choose a nice font to go with it as well, rather than the default fonts)

set-and-execute-your-goals-main-page

For the above image, I used a combination of the same image 3 times, and applied a filter on each and let PowerPoint offer me Visual Aids 🙂

5. Embed background Sounds in your presentation when needed: sometimes your presentation is done in a modest environment with no support of audio/visual engineers and extra screens to display the text for you and all of the things that Executives have in their events… But that shouldn’t stop you from performing an emotional talk and engrave the echo on an idea in your audience’ heart. It is very simple with PowerPoint, just choose a good soundtrack and Insert it in your slide and use the Fading / cropping tool to match it to your tone, and the Volume shouldn’t be louder than your own voice. and Voila! 

Audio in PowerPoint

There you go!

Present like a Super Star and make a long lasting impression 🙂

See you Next week & Cheers,
SC

Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

The Illusion of the First Time

I normally wrap up an intensive workshop on communication skills, with this tip “Create the illusion of the First time” and it’s one of the tricks that some of the best public speakers in the world use more regularly than people would notice.

Picture those 2 scenarios; The first time you watch a specific someone public speaking, and you were drawn by the depth of his words and how he was in touch with yours deep inside. He was very genuine and everything he was saying was just perfect… Now picture this, it happened that you bumped into that same amazing public speaker and it happened that he was speaking about the same topic.. But now what? he was repeating exactly what he was saying the first time you met him… and not only that.. he was even “Faking Genuine emotions”

Now if I asked you how would you feel about that, you may say things like “Disappointed”, “Angry”, “Feel like being Played”… The truth is that everything you see and witness for the FIRST TIME will cause you some sort of an excitement or Fascination. And that would apply to almost everything at the FIRST TIME 

In public speaking, it is always fascinating to watch a new enthusiastic and relatively young speaker (as long as he/she is good) talking about fresh ideas or even an experienced speaker talking about SOMETHING NEW than to see a relatively old speaker talking about the same thing they have been talking about for years.

So in brief, the First Time of everything, is always memorable, you ALMOST would never forget it… and When you cannot re-create a First-Time... you can “Create The Illusion of the First time”.

As I coach Salespersons on how to communicate with customers & potential clients, I insist on having them practice this week’s tip… and Create the Illusion of the first time… over and over and over… Just imagine the impact of the sentence “I Love you” coming from a man to his loved one or from a Woman to her loved one… when it’s said in a Genuine way… like it was never every been said to anyone before or that will never get the change to be said to anyone after… 

However, if you would hear something that was “exhausted” before and repeated over and over, it will lose its SCENT…

So Creating the Illusion of the First Time requires 2 steps:

  • Memorizing the core of the message you want to deliver
  • Cheating to convey that message

The first time I used that trick, I was suppose to deliver a speech on behalf of Microsoft in one of the awards ceremony. and I had a Long 2 pages speech carefully written by PR that included the main messages. But it was fully written in Arabic… and Arabic (while I speak it fluently) was not my strongest READING language. So instead of making a fool out of my self, I practiced a different speech over and over and over. and when it was my turn to speak I did exactly the following:

I Started reading from the paper, then I stopped, continued reading silently, and then looked at the audience in a Helpless look. Everyone was giving me their full attention, (since they were preparing to laugh at me 😉 ), so I placed down the paper and said to them, that I don’t really know how to read in Arabic, and I will “Just Say few words from the heart”… and placed the paper down, showing the small notes I’ve written and started a very powerful yet emotional speech about innovation and creativity and how Microsoft was supporting innovation in the Middle East etc etc…

I left a very long impression, and most were fascinated by the “genuine” speech I made… and kept reminding me of that evening for years later 🙂 .

Hope you can use this trick in a good way.

Cheers,
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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project