Endorsed by the best-selling author of How to Work a Room, Susan Roane: It’s Your Move is filled with practical how-to’s to get you moving (yes, mingling, too) and achieving your goals. Play the 52 tip-filled cards suggested by Cyndi and Jill, and then share your success!”
Reviewed by Amy Lindgren, Minneapolis Star: Maxey and Bremer have structured motivational lessons about goal-setting around a fantasy card game. Each “hand,” consisting of two or more cards, focuses on a self-improvement topic such as learning, attitude and listening. The cards themselves are action steps to take in completing each chapter!
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Lyerly, Barry and Cyndi Maxey, Training from the Heart: Developing Your Natural Training Abilities to Inspire the Learner and Drive Performance on the Job, ASTD, 2000.
“Best Seller…ASTD Publications 2001-2002”
This book shows its readers how to find their “training heart,” and then use this discovery to create a better climate for learning in which learners actually apply the lessons from the classroom to the job.
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The most impactful wedding toast I’ve ever heard was Deedee’s toast as maid of honor to her big sister, Maggie, the bride, and Paul, the groom. Any woman who wants to speak up and stand out when toasting another can learn from it. As you read, note her use of repetition, personal stories, and audience engagement.
Here’s what she said:
(With hand held microphone, in front of 150 guests)
“I wasn’t ready to give up my big sister Maggie. But I’ve had a year to think about it and I guess I can. When Maggie and I were very little, we shared a big yellow room and slept in the same bed. We had a witch in the closet. Yes, we were sure we had a witch in the closet. But Maggie, my big sister, would hold my hand and say it would be all right and I would fall asleep. (Pause) And so, Paul, (referring to the groom) make sure you hold Maggie’s hand at night and you’ll be able to sleep.
Then we got a little older. Now we had bunk beds—mine was on the bottom and Maggie’s on top. At this time we had a lot of stuffed animals and mine were always all over the floor (Sorry, Mom!) but Maggie’s were always lined up on her bed and she would kiss them all goodnight and call them each by name every night. It would drive me nuts. But finally she would end and all would be quiet – and at just that time I would ask her for a cup of water. Now I was on the bottom bunk, but every night (and I asked every night) Maggie would get me a Dixie cup of water. Why I never thought of doing it myself I’ll never know. (Pause) And so, Paul, if you get thirsty, Maggie will bring you a cup of water.
Then we got a little older. It was middle school and we were competing for things. Maggie always managed to leave the house with some clothing item of mine, and I never noticed until we got to school. (Pause) And so Paul, watch your favorite clothes because Maggie will find a way to wear them.
Then we got a little older. And as you all can see and know, Maggie is beautiful and kind and has a lot of friends. And so in high school she was everything: prom queen, homecoming queen – everything. Then it came time for Turnabout Dance Queen’s Court nominations. And I was nominated to the Freshman Court and Maggie was the Junior Court nominee. When the winner was announced, it was again, Maggie – but at that moment she came over to me and gave me the queen’s sash and said,” You’re the most beautiful one here. You deserve this.” (Pause) And so Paul, Maggie will always give you something if she thinks you deserve it.
Maggie, I thought I was not ready to share you. I missed the sister who held my hand. And then I realized, Paul, that Maggie has two hands.” Continue Reading →
A CEO I spoke with recently said she’d like to be inspiring and quotable at her company annual meeting. I agree this is the ultimate goal of any great speaker. Yet the great speaker knows that inspiration begins with a complete mastery of the basics. The pros have the basics down first.
Without an understanding of audience focus, practice, and flexible delivery, it’s hard to be more innovative and still be successful. For the pro, the basics are like brushing teeth in the morning – so ingrained that they no longer take concerted thought. A current example of a pro at the basics is our new President Barack Obama. Most of the time audiences are assured that he’s not going to disappoint them with eye contact, volume, pause, stance and emphasis. These are ingrained and habitual characteristics of the pro.
The creative storytelling, innovative audience engagement and ability to go with the flow all happen well after the basics are mastered.
Master the basics first: research your audience to the absolute best of your ability; craft a talk responsive to that research; practice the talk responsibly; seek feedback on any bad habits you may have developed. Practice it again. The basics will become second-nature. Now you’re on your way to being quotable. What keeps you from mastering the basics as well as you’d like? Let me know!
As a lifelong urbanite I have never cared much for pigeons. They’re annoying and there are just too many of them. But an unfolding saga in a nearby lakefront park shelter changed my attitude.
During good weather, I jogged by Lake Michigan daily and stopped in the park shelter regularly. So did the area pigeons – who found the roof beams, alcoves and restroom interiors a perfect place to hang out. In fact, you could hardly enter the place without moving pigeons first.
But then last spring the city put some pigeon proofers up; on every possible horizontal area there were now rows and rows of plastic spikes to prevent nesting and perching. Sure enough, the spikes worked and the pigeons left – all except a few who struggled to maintain their territory on any un-spiked surface, looking strangely forlorn.
It’s time for magazines and newspapers to ply us with those typical year-end columns on “the best of” 2008. I usually skim a few and move onward, but The Chicago Tribune’s Top Ten Chicagoans of 2008 grabbed my attention with the inspirational story of Nancy Gianni, whose third child, Gigi, was born with Down Syndrome. Nancy, citing a need for more playful, social resources for Down Syndrome children, began Gigi’s Playhouse – an activity and learning center for such children – now with four locations in the Chicago area, all run by volunteers.
This struck me as a great example of an idea made significant. As a result of her efforts and her ability to Speak Up, hundreds and thousands of us are made more aware of the world of parents with children with special needs. Significance is defined as “importance”, “meaning” or “of value” – attributes that are hidden in the potential of many of our ideas. But it is the person who speaks up who turns potential into significant action. I hope in 2009 I can do more of that. How about you?
As the e-vites arrive and the company holiday party flyers go up, you may be thinking, “Yikes!” Most people find holiday mingling challenging, yet now is the absolute best time to Show up and Speak Up! May I suggest a few tips?
1. Go to everything. If you don’t go to everything, how will you know who you missed? I call this the “Ya Never Know” theory. Sometimes the smallest gatherings reap the most benefits – the church coffee hour, the neighborhood cookie exchange, or the brunch with old high school friends who are back in town.
2. Wear what you feel great in. Wear the same thing to all events if you want. If different people will be there, who cares? Professional speakers have a few great jackets that travel the country; if you’ve got one great turtleneck, shirt or blouse that inspires your outgoing self, wear it.
3. To begin mingling, ask “How was your day?” rather than, “How are you?” as this question will get you to specfics more quickly. Next, ask about where the person works, or their project or family or whatever clues you pick up in their answer.
Holiday mingling is THE BEST FREE WAY TO NETWORK AND CONNECT. This is the season of light. Let yours shine!
Browse our site www.cyndimaxey.com for over 46 free articles and how to order our new book, Speak Up! A Woman’s Guide to Presenting Like a Pro (St. Martin’s Press 2008) coauthored with Kevin E. O’Connor and endorsed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Highlights from an interview with the author and Justin Brustino for ASTD INFOLINE’s “Great Presentations” Issue (ASTD Press, September 2008). Available for purchase at www.astd.org.
What is the one bit of advice you would give to the novice presenter?
Don’t get bogged down with TMI—too much information! As you sit down, like many novices do, to write your speech using the PowerPoint program, ask yourself one question: “Why have I been asked to speak, really?” No matter your age, experience, or status, you bring something special to the picture.
Try this. Quit PowerPoint and write your reason for speaking on a piece of paper. Then write the goal—the desired outcome you want the audience to leave with as a result of your talk. Last, list three main points—things you need to say to reach that desired outcome. Then, and only then, open the PowerPoint program—and only if you really need visual support. Rarely will the audience remember all the “stuff” on your slides, anyway. The real message is not on the slides; it is in the mood you create and the unique examples you give.
Continue Reading →
By Cyndi Maxey and Kevin E. O’Connor – First published in Pharmaceutical Representative Magazine, June 2008
The way you relate to different aged customers and contacts is becoming more and more important in today’s pharmaceutical sales environment.
In Chicago, there is an upscale restaurant where each newly seated table of diners is greeted with: “How you cats doin’ tonight?”—not by a waiter, but by Michael Carlson, the owner and chef. He greets customers as he cooks, waits tables, and even cleans up at his tiny upscale restaurant, Schwa. At Schwa, all the cooks wait tables (or maybe all the waiters cook) and definitely all wash the dishes. Regardless, in the hustle bustle, we “cats” of all ages are greeted the same; this sets a unique tone for the evening, and as diners, we feel part of the fun; we play the part.
The tone of the pharmaceutical sale is a bit different. Can you imagine greeting your physicians (or perhaps more importantly) their gatekeeper nurses and office managers with “How you cats doin?” Hardly! But we ask you to seriously consider: Do you sometimes refer to everyone (regardless of age and gender) as “you guys” or say “hello” with a casual “hey” or “what’s up?” Your younger contacts may find this perfectly normal, older others will be irritated, some will simply write you off immediately—and none will tell you! And what they don’t tell you will hurt you. It will hurt your credibility, your connectivity, and their perception of your competence. Ask your parents how they feel when a waiter greets them with “Hi guys!” None will openly object, but the tip amount has just become questionable. Continue Reading →
Business & Professional Communication
DePaul University, Chicago, IL
College of Communication