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Discover your 4-Fold Capacity

Discover your 4-Fold Capacity

I worked in retail for a short time, and detail business that retail is, the experience created some lingering impressions for me. One was a fascination with taking inventory, and projecting the potential margins that inventory could represent.

In the retail business I learned to consider assets as a means to an end; the ‘end’ was product and service. My shop inventory created a product experience for the customer which exponentially magnified my actual cost of goods sold, generating much larger revenue streams. In its raw form, my inventory was actually capacity.

Capacity. The word began to be one that struck some very resonant chords with me. As I discovered my passions in management and leadership, it didn’t take me too long to connect the abundance of human intrigue to capacity too. I wondered about the human capacity for worthwhile work: Could that be something we could ‘take inventory’ of?

Today, I look at our capacity for work in four different ways; physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Within each realm, we can reveal the incredible potential people have, because we look at their innate strengths with a bigger view; we ‘see more’ of them in that we see them with a greater wholeness.

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In particular, this four-fold view of a person’s capacity has been a good way for me to coach leaders in the mentorship they offer to those they feel are their possible successors. When we mentor, we want to help another discover all they are capable of achieving in a full exploration and celebration of who they are, and who they can be.

Let’s look at these four different dimensions of human capacity one at a time. I am still learning about the abundance to be found in each, and I invite you to investigate them with me.

Physical Capacity

Athleticism, appearance and health are the more obvious parts of physical capacity, however this also includes demeanor, disposition, and those personality traits important for likeability. Beyond those surface traits we recognize, we are looking to discover someone’s born-in talents. From those talents we can reveal their natural inclination for learning certain skills. Conversely, their non-talents will reveal when learning other skills will prove difficult for them.

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Intellectual Capacity

If we are to ‘respect a person’s intelligence’ we must reveal all of their intelligence and celebrate it. Intellectual capacity is what we most often refer to as a person’s pool of knowledge, and further, how they apply and use it. It is how a person thinks and reasons, and how they make decisions. Intellectual capacity includes their ability with problem solving, their thirst for learning, and their capacity for generating new ideas. I have begun to think of self-talk and ‘mental gymnastics’ as the tools of intellectual capacity.

Emotional Capacity

Included in emotional capacity is self-esteem, confidence, and the assertiveness which stems from personal values; thus I consider someone’s beliefs and deep-seated convictions to be more a part of their emotional capacity than of their intellectual capacity. Going back to the concept of ‘taking inventory,’ emotional capacity also includes our tolerance and load factors for stress and burn-out. This is where I’ll also look at someone’s sense of belonging and needs for security. Energy level is directly related to your emotional capacity.

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Spiritual Capacity

I have always found it most useful to look at this as defining the ways a person is inspired, in other words, how they are ‘in-spirit.’ This is the inventory of someone’s personal values, their grounding and sense of place, and their aloha spirit (how they are in the ‘breath of life’). Within spiritual capacity we can start to recognize our connections to social responsibility, to civic duty, to our humanitarian tugs-of-heart, and with those things which bring us closer to a sense of self-actualization.

When managers are coached to look at their people through these lenses, it is akin to their meeting them all over again. They can gain far greater levels of respect for the richness people represent, and they get excited about the opportunity they have been given as coaches and mentors. They begin to realize how unlimited our capacity can be, and they coach better because they encourage more, and with a far greater sense of optimism and celebration.

When you are a manager, the capacity of your people is an inventory well worth taking, for the abundance it creates is actually within you and your outlook.

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Related Articles:
Experience Required. (Are you sure?)
What it means to “Look to your source.”
Mastery, Permission to be oh so human. Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership. For more of her ideas, click to her Thursday columns in the archives, or download her manifesto: Managing with Aloha, on ChangeThis.com.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: Easy to duplicate = Easy to learn.

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Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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