What’s your ‘impact per minute’?

21260390-grunge-rubber-stamp-with-word-impact-inside-illustrationWe recently concluded a phenomenally successful series, training speakers on how to craft and deliver a TED talk.  During the process Jon Yeo, the curator of TEDx Melbourne, challenged the speakers to think about their impact per minute.  Impact is the cognitive or emotional ‘a-ha’ moments you create as a speaker.  Without impact points, a presentation is dead in the water and you could just send an email.  (Tough love.)

So how do you create impact points?

Be yourself: The starting point is authenticity.  As this quote advises: “Be yourself, unless you can be Batman.  Then always be Batman”.

Paint a picture: Words can be weapons or bouquets.  Seldom has impact been made using corporate jargon or clichés.

Humour me: People love to laugh.  Even the most serious topic can be lifted (not diminished) through the right shade of funny.

Pack an image punch: We can have an emotional reaction to a carefully selected personal photo.  Impact is never created using stock images.

Tell a story: One of TED’s commandments is thou shall tell a story.  Purposeful, authentic storytelling is the most powerful way to move people and create impact.

Here’s a talk, that is a lesson in impact points by musician-turned-businessman Derek Sivers.  He is able to do this in just 2.5 minutes.  Spot all the impact points (hint: they are when the audience is laughing and clapping).  At the end you might also have a new view of the world!  It’s the ultimate impact to make.

Please comment, I love hearing from you.

The most powerful form of influence

648341_1379364303.1241What do you think most people would do if they found $40,000 on the street?  This is exactly what happened last September to Glen James, a homeless Boston man who found a backpack with over $40,000 in it.  James flagged down a police car and handed in the backpack.  The police located the distraught owner, an overseas student and reunited him with his backpack.  For his actions, James received a citation at Boston police headquarters and was widely praised.  But wait – there’s more!

James’s story compelled Ethan Whittington, a 27-year-old from Virginia – a complete stranger who had never been to Boston – to launch a fund for James.  In four hours, Whittington’s campaign raised $3,152, but in a few days, the tally soared to almost $100,000.  Whittington said he planned to keep the fund open for as long as people wanted to give.

Whittington said, “It’s just inspiring to see somebody do an honourable thing like that.  If everybody could have the humanity that he did that day, it’d be a special thing.”
And the money keeps growing as James’ actions move people all over America.  Whittington thinks a home is now a reasonable goal for James, a softly spoken man in his mid-50s who has been living on the streets for five years.  Glen James changed his life simply by being who he was: an honest human being.

This is the most powerful form of influence: influence not by doing, but by being.  And it’s so hard.  I know I often let out a precautionary shout in many situations, particularly with my family ‘Do as I say, not as I do!’ And in leadership this is also our daily challenge.

So who are you being?  Please comment, I love hearing from you.