Friday, December 19, 2014
There are a number of common units in use in the media. Here's a guide:
Double-decker bus Used to measure height, or sometimes length. Why anyone should be able to envisage a stack of buses is a mystery.
Wales Used for the area of islands, icebergs and the size of asteroids.
Belgium See Wales. Used for larger areas (did you know that Belgium was larger than Wales?)
Isle of Wight See Wales. Very handy for asteroids in particular
Football pitches Used for smaller areas and sometimes length. Even stranger, sometimes height.
Wembley Stadium Sometimes filled with stuff ("enough rubbish to fill Wembley stadium several times over") or people ("ten Wembley stadiums full of people are affected")
I think it's time we moved to a new system that makes more sense to everyone, so here are my recommendations:
London Eye Used for height. Many people have seen it, and many have been up in it, so they know what it's like to look down from it. "Three times the height of the London Eye" makes real sense.
"Strictly" dance floor Used for areas, replacing football pitches. Far more people watch Strictly than sit in football stadiums these days.
Shopping Mall A replacement for Wembley stadium. OK, malls vary in size, but these comparisons are pretty vague at the best of times
Apple Store Used for volumes of stuff, replacing Olympic swimming pools. I rather like the idea of "enough PCs to fill an Apple Store"
Alas, as for really large areas, I'm stumped. Any ideas?
Thursday, December 18, 2014
So this is Christmas; Time for a review; The Apprentice; MediaMaster and MediaMug of the Year; Deliver it, change it , deliver it; Say it, say again and again; Get more engaged in 2015; An interview with Katie Bulmer-Cooke; Music from Out of the Rain.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
'Tis the season for reality shows; Jeopardy; Commander Chris Hadfield; Sergei Chaban; How to create a cracking speech; What you can and can’t do; Three nifty social media updates; An interview with Rebecca Morgan; Music from Jim Boggia
Thursday, December 04, 2014
YouTube breaks; End of the Human race?; A great headline; Ian McLagan; Mario Balotelli; Interruptions and Heckles; Has something gone wrong?; How to avoid friends and followers; An interview with Paul Cook; Music from Katie Sutherland
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014
A speaking trip to Malaysia; Missing flight MH370; Mike Nichols; Bill Cosby; Mind your (stage) manners; Don’t get battered and fried; Be relevant, be original, be there; An interview with Krishna Muthaly, Music from Band Aid
Friday, November 14, 2014
One of the analysts said "A real problem was getting the probe to work at all. Nothing sticks to Comet FIFA, so it's very hard to keep the probe in place. It's possible that it may shut down due to the hostile conditions on FIFA, which is continually shrouded in a blanket of fog, thickest around Mount Blatter.
It's taken many years to get to the heart of FIFA. Analysts have been speculating about the toxic clouds around Mount Blatter, suggesting that they have created an environment that defies the laws seen elsewhere in the universe. "Some very weird things happen on FIFA" said one US investigator "We've never seen the level of powerful forces that exist there, which seem to deflect all external threats"
Though most analysts are shocked and stunned, the Eckert institute in Germany has gone against the trend. Their project COVERUP (Calling Out Virtually Each Rumour as Utterly Preposterous) has produced a summary saying that all is normal on Comet FIFA, and everyone else is wrong.
While analysis of the data from Comet FIFA continues, the body continues to thunder through the universe, destroying everything it its path. Analysts fear that it might one day destroy Planet Football. "We suspect the such a comet once crashed into the earth, causing the extinction of honest football administrators" said an analyst. "We hope it doesn't do the same to Planet Football".
Image credit Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
Techno-speaking; Misleading advice online; Neil Mullarkey; 100 years of film; A car vanishes; It’s really a conversation; Spoon collector monthly; Keeping it current; An interview with Ross Shafer; Music from Nugent & Belle
Thursday, November 06, 2014
Monday, November 03, 2014
The Virgin Founder was on the scene of the incident in the Mojave Desert within hours of the crash and delivered a press conference in which he praised the bravery of both men on board, determined to find the cause of the problem, and re-stated his commitment to commercial space travel. Not only that, he confirmed that he would still be a passenger on the first Virgin Galactic flight. "There is no way I would ask others to go on a Virgin Galactic flight if I didn't feel it was safe enough for myself," he told CNN on Monday.
His words echoed those he delivered back in February 2007 at the scene of a rail crash in Cumbria, where a Virgin Pendolino train had derailed with many injuries and one fatality. In a memorable address to the assembled media, Sir Richard said Virgin cared about "people" and "safety" above "profit" and "finance". He called the driver a "hero" and thanked the local community for rallying round "opening their hearts and doors" to those injured and shocked.
Though he's not a naturally confident speaker, Sir Richard Branson has the ability to deliver the right words at the right time. His response to both incidents is exemplary behaviour for the head of an organisation involved in such crises. In short he:
- Makes great efforts to reach the scene as quickly as possible
- Takes control of the media by calling a press conference
- Talks about his feelings for the people involved, especially those injured, and the families and friends of anyone killed
- Promises to find the cause of the incident, without speculating what it might be
- Reassures customers that safety is a very high priority
- Ensures that any victims are properly looked after
Any CEO with the misfortune to find themselves with a similarly tough crisis to deal with would do well to borrow the Branson playbook.
Image Credit: Creative Commons License
Friday, October 31, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
On Wednesday, I was in an enthusiastic crowd at The Roundhouse in London to watch a unique acoustic performance by Status Quo. It was simply fantastic, and made me think about a number of lessons they demonstrated that all performers, including speakers, should think about. Here are four ways that the the Quo demonstrated not only their professionalism, but some things that every performer should take care of.
1. Timing The concert was being broadcast live on the BBC, so had to start after the news at precisely 8.03pm, and finish at exactly 9.30pm. Even though the band played two encores, they kept exactly to that time constraint. Very impressive for a rock band. Speakers should show the same discipline. Over-running is disrespectful to the organiser and speakers who may follow. Under-running creates gaps in the programme that something has to fill. Keep to time, every time.
2. Connection With hundreds of loyal fans singing along with every song, it wasn't too hard for Status Quo to make a connection. However, they still worked hard from the stage to encourage the crowd to sing and dance, responding to call-outs with a smile, and playing with the crowd rather than to them. Speakers too need to make that vital connection so that a speech is not a monologue, but a dialogue, even if the audience role is simply laughter and applause.
3. Experimentation On the admission of Francis Rossi, the band was very nervous of playing an acoustic set. He joked that they'd felt sick the night before when they played a preview in front of family, friends and press. He even suggested there would be lots of wrong notes (I didn't spot any). The thing was, even after fifty years in the business, and over a hundred million sales, they were prepared to try something new. Doing the same old speech on stage year after year can make you stale, so finding ways to innovate, even for only part of a speech is vital. If it works, keep it in. If not, move on and try something else.
4. Delivery This is where the best performers excel. They know exactly what to deliver, and how to deliver it, to excite an audience. That comes only from experience on stage. It's why speakers talk about "stage time", or the need to get in front of an audience as often as possible.
Follow those four rules and you'll be rockin' all over the world. (Sorry!)
Picture Credit : Alan Stevens 2014. All rights reserved
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Social media breaks the news; Ben Bradlee; Raphael Ravenscroft; Mike Read and UKIP; Status Quo’s four lessons for speakers; I’m not talking about that; Picture this; An interview with Phil Hall; Music from Robbie Boyd
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Speakers from around the world; Galileo at the West Wing; BBC archives; John Grisham; What doesn’t make an exceptional speech; How re-bookable are you?; Unique content can be priceless; An interview with Tim Campbell; Music from Dawn Langstroth