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How to Prepare Your Talk Without Starting from Scratch

You have a big talk coming up. So you say to yourself, I’m going to sit down right now and write it. You type one sentence: “Good afternoon.” You delete it. You wonder if you’re a fraud. You wonder why you’re doing this. You wonder what to have for dinner. Then: Oh would you look […]

3 Questions to Ask Before You Do Your Next Talk

There’s nothing like getting tapped to speak at an event or conference—it’s not only nice to be asked, but it speaks volumes about what people think of you: That you have something of value to share with their community, and they want it. That said, there are three questions I ask myself before I accept, […]

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4 Ways to Get Laughs on Stage (even if you’re not that funny)

Of all the people you’ve seen get up in front of a room to speak, how many do you really remember? Very few. And chances are the ones who made an impact probably made you laugh, too. Solid content gets a nod. But funny gets rave reviews. Funny gets asked to speak again. And again. Here’s […]

Happy Accidents: Why Staying Open Should Be Part of Your Plan

After I finished my session on creativity at the How Design Live conference, a woman approached me and handed me a note. “I know now that I was meant to be here,” she said, dreamily. “I mean, I’m not even part of this conference.” Wait…what? But before I had time to call security, she was […]

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Unless You Haul Rocks for a Living, This Applies to You

If you spend most of your time at a keyboard, you can count yourself among the 60 million or so professionals known as “knowledge workers”—a term Peter Drucker coined in the 1960s to describe academics, tech people, analysts, essentially, anyone who didn’t work a physically demanding job. You know. People who “think” for a living. What a […]

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3 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Being on TV

If you’re smart, you’ll learn something new from every job. And given that you’ll switch, not just jobs, but careers several times over your life, your unique advantage comes from the wisdom you pick up along the way. If you worked in customer service, you’ll know how to handle clients when you go into business […]

What You Can Learn About Yourself at a Naked Party

You don’t really know if you would do a thing until you are in the middle of doing it. This is, I believe, how we find OUT whether we do things at all. We are often the last to know. The other night, a few friends and I decided to stop by a party of a […]

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How Knowing Too Much Is Holding You Back

My family is big into board games. At around 8:30pm on any given holiday or a night when at least two people are holding beers, my brother in law rubs his hands together and asks, “Who’s up for a game?” Taboo is one of our all-time favorites. The goal of this game is to get […]

The #1 Way to Get Clear on Your Messaging

Say what you will about holidays (Hallmark and otherwise)—they give us an occasion for doing a thing (exchanging gifts, drinking green beer, singing, etc). If you want something done, you don’t have to wait for a holiday, but you do have…

3 Signs Your Brand Is Having an Identity Crisis

Your struggle with branding yourself or your business comes from two conflicting fears: You don’t know who you are; You don’t want to ruin what you already did/created/have This places you at the crossroads between ignorance…

One of the Best Lessons Trump Just Taught You

It’s been more than a week since the election that reduced the entire country to a shivering, seething pool of rage. At this point, we’ve likely all been barked at—often on our own FB pages, including me. We’ve been told to buck up…

Don't just do something. Make something.

During a recent interview on SiriusXM, Howard Stern asked Lady Gaga if she listens to what the “kids are into these days” so that she knows what to do next, if she’s calculated and preplanned each phase of her career. The answer?…

Don't Get Good At Things You Hate

A recent episode of This American Life (#598: "My Undesirable Talent") told the stories of people who had become really good at things they regretted. One of them was a guy named Zora, born to Ugandan parents and raised in Fresno, who went…

Why Writers Need to Think Like Entrepreneurs

I sat next to a woman at a lunch recently who heads up the magazine publishing program at NYU, and she said the students are, understandably, feeling down about what they see as bleak prospects in magazine publishing—simply because…