May 082013

I enjoy meeting all kinds of people and it’s easy for me to talk with people without an agenda. I love to get to know people by sharing our stories with each other, talking about what we’re working on, and explore how to help one another in life. But, I have to confess, I get easily confused about these “networking” opportunities, when I read tweets like these:

The best way to convince people you don’t have an agenda is to not have an agenda.” — Kip Jacob via @Qideas

It’s great to have good friends who truly love me and don’t have an agenda.” — @JanPlansATL
I’m good at not having an agenda, being sincere, unassuming, and helpful. But maybe there’s more to the story, or there’s too much to explain that doesn’t fit into a tweet, because just having no agenda doesn’t quite work in cultivating business as a consultant or salesman, does it? I’m confused, when the tweets above are contrasted with these tips for success::

via 3 Powerful Skills You Must Have to Succeed in Sales

Listening sincerely and without an agenda. The buying process is not about you and your wants and needs, it is about the customer. Too many of us come to the sales table with our own agenda. We are sometimes too busy thinking about quotas, promotions and commissions. It’s not about us, it’s about the wants, needs and expectations of the prospective buyer.

A sales person with an agenda tends to push too hard and often doesn’t listen well. Leave your agenda at home.

Huh? How can a sales person close a sale if s/he doesn’t have a desire to make a sale, thus an agenda? I get that listening well and explaining how a product/service fits the customer needs is a good thing, but that sounds like an agenda to me, because a competitor’s product/service might fit better during that conversation. Does a good sales person without an agenda tell the truth and honesty refer the competitor, rather than manipulate the conversation to sell the product/service that’d earn him/her commission?

via book description for The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following by Kevin Allen –

Each of us pitches ideas every day. Sometimes we sell our ideas to a small room full of skeptical colleagues. Sometimes we pitch to a boss, or a board of directors, a new organization, or for the contract of our dreams. Regardless, it all boils down to the act of stirring someone to join you—to agree to follow you. Yet we consistently underestimate how critical it is to recognize the needs, spoken and unspoken, of the decision maker. Decisions are made by people, and people have needs and agendas. Understanding these needs and agendas are critical to success in business. Kevin Allen’s approach is not about persuading, but about creating a connection that assures a mutual win.

So do I need to have an agenda or not? Or are there different rules when it’s about friendship vs. work in the marketplace? Help a brother out, help me understand, please, thank you.

Nov 082012

I’m meeting up with a group of church planters in downtown Long Beach, California, and talking about social media in 17 minutes. That’s 1 minute short of an iconic TED talk. And the schedule has room for 17 minutes of Q&A to follow my color commentary about social media and church planting.With this being a less-structured more-stream-of-conscious talk, my game plan is to do a show-and-tell of these links below, and they’ll serve as conversation starters and real-time learning.

As I walk-through these links, I’ll aim to get the audio/video recorded and post-produced for the next episode of Social Media Church, so all the world can benefit from this valuable conversation about why church planters must use social media. And a word of thanks to Vision 360 Long Beach for hosting this gathering and inviting me to be a part of one!

Listen to raw audio recording (mp3) below

Aug 312011

I’ve heard it said that you learn to teach by teaching. You learn to preach by preaching. “Practice makes perfect.” I’d say that practice does help. And some other resources can help too, like a personal coach and looking at a broader range of samples than just a few favorites. As someone who does public speaking once in a while, I’m realizing the process is discovering your strength in speaking with your own voice and style.

Dave Stone’s Refining Your Style: Learning from Respected Communicators [unfortunately, out of print; cf. preview excerpts in Google Books] is a phenomenal book that describes 13 different preaching/teaching styles: Creative Storyteller, Direct Spokesperson, Scholarly Analytic, Revolutionary Leader, Engaging Humorist, Convincing Apologist, Inspiring Orator, Practical Applicator, Persuasive Motivator, Passionate Teacher, Relevant Illustrator, Cultural Prophet, and Unorthodox Artist. And he deconstructs seasoned communicators like Zig Ziglar, Max Lucado, Chuck Colson, Max Lucado, Lee Strobel, Franklin Graham, Kirbyjon Caldwell, Erwin McManus, Rob Bell, Tim Keller, Gene Appel.

Another book that’s coming in January 2012 looks really promising = Excellence in Preaching: Studying the Craft of Leading Preachers by Simon Vibert [cf. table of contents] with color commentary on preaching by Tim Keller, John Piper, Nicky Gumbel, Alistair Begg, Mark Driscoll, Mark Dever, John Ortberg.

Just hearing and reading what they preach is one thing. To get an explanation of how they’re crafting their words and preparing their delivery — now that’s gold!

And, there’s Delivering the Sermon: Voice, Body, and Animation in Proclamation by Teresa L. Fry Brown (cf. Table of Contents, Introduction, Chapter 1) and Preaching to a Shifting Culture: 12 Perspectives on Communicating that Connects, edited by Scott M. Gibson, has a collection of essays about issues related to contextualizing, i.e. preaching from the Hebrew Scriptures, utilizing the “Speech Act” theory in preaching, the message of the Kingdom of God, sermons that connect to the atonement of Christ, importance of authorial intent, argumentation and structure, knowing your audience, psychology and mindset, globalization and authority.

On the occasion when your public speaking can be enhanced with visuals, the 2 bestselling books on presentations are — Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Garr Reynolds) and Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences (Nancy Duarte).

I loved watching the recent talk about WordPress by Matt Mullenweg: State of the Word, with a beautiful set of slides. The ideating behind the making of those slides of Michael Pick’s thought processes is also a fascinating read. See the slides for yourself.

Jun 232011

This is a conversation I want to engage. And Vince Marotte has fired the first shot. It won’t be the last. The church has a big glaring communication problem and Vince calls it out with his first eBook, Context and Voice: Communication Design in our New Media Culture.
Vince describes the problem this way in Chapter 2:

Something is broken in the way that the Church communicates. There is a serious disconnect between how the culture communicates and how the Church does. This is in stark contrast to the church of a hundred and fifty years ago which was the catalyst of cutting edge communication technology and strategies. Starting with the Hebrew culture of story telling and the passing down of scriptures, history, genealogy and arts through simple spoken word.

My remarks here will be a book impression. Not a book review. Not a critique. Not a summary. Not an overview. More of a book reaction. I was very eager to read the book and finished it in a day.

I liked the book’s idea, not just because I’m an ideas guy. I like the author. I just had a nagging feeling that something was missing.

Maybe I’ve hung out with Vince too many times during this year; one too many. *grin* The book didn’t have the shock value for me that it will have for average joe church leader. And if you’ve been a follower of @m_vince or subscriber to like me, you would have heard these ideas before too: on a webinar and/or in a presentation slide deck.

Maybe I read it too fast. The book is written in a stream-of-consciousness conversational-style and the reader is warned right in the introduction. This did make the book easy to read. Did I mention I read it in a day, actually, under a day?

Maybe the typos bothered me. Did Vince talk into his MacBook and run a voice-recognition software like Dragon Naturally Speaking, and out came this eBook? :) Again, I love what he said but what was written (typed) made for a bumpy ride. :)

One thing missing from the book was pictures, or diagrams, or charts. That didn’t reflect new media very well. In other words, words alone don’t do the book justice. Or was this a restriction of the eBook format? I needed a picture, a framework to unpack the big ideas. And I’m an ideas guy.

Vince uses key words in a new way and with fresh nuances: designing communication. context. voice. culture. distribution. content creators. What does it all mean? It wasn’t mapped out. (And that’s okay by me.) Vince does like to skateboard, and there are no paths in a skate park, so he takes us on quite a ride. Doesn’t give us answers. He does get our adrenaline going and I know for me I want more. Here’s the 1 diagram that can help you get the lay of the land, the skate park, of the eBook:

Maybe it was the form factor. The eBook read like a series of blog posts, but more than blog posts. On almost every page, I was itching to click something to add a comment, but I couldn’t! I was reading the eBook in ePub format on iBook. The book’s begging for a conversation, but without a way for me to immediately respond on the spot, it felt like a monologue. Ugh. I know this is not the author’s intent. He does want to cultivate conversation, a lot of it at that. And it’s hard to find conversation partners on this topic. He’s asked me, in person, and indeed they are hard to find. The business of church is too consuming, of both our time and money. Maybe that’s an underlying issue, too, for why we don’t have more front door content that can connect in the context of our new media culture today. Maybe the whole economic engine and business model of sustaining the church as we know it is broken.

The hope I have in this eBook is that it is The Conversation Starter. Where the eBook form factor does work is this: you, the reader, can take it in 1 piece with you. Reflect and digest. Then come back and engage and join the conversation. I’ve seen Vince do online “coffee talk” sessions at his Gateway Church Internet Campus, so he’s definitely accessible and conversational. The eBook speed-to-publish reiterates the urgency and need for “front door content” to be created and distributed via new media. Traditional publishing takes 12-18 months, that’s too slow for ideas about new media that’s running on network technology that goes obsolete in 6 months.

In the end, I felt the book left me hanging. I finished chapter 10 and tried to turn the page and it wouldn’t go anywhere. That’s it?! No conclusion? Screeched to a halt. To be continued? No web link to continue the conversation? Abrupt ending. Did I get an incomplete download? Help?! The suspense is killing me! Great job, Vince, you’ve left me wanting more!

Apr 172011

I’d love to connect with you at the Cultivate Conference in a few weeks — the dates are May 4-5 in Huntington Beach, California. That is within driving distance all over Southern California, so you can drive it, even from San Diego. Bring someone with you and you can use the carpool lane to get there faster. And if you’re ambitious, you can drive it from Fresno or San Francisco. Or, fly into SNA.
panelists qualman-speaking-events
Described as “The Next Thing in Church Conferences” by Outreach Magazine, the Cultivate Conference is about making your non-profit organization’s communications more effective. Be it social justice or other important causes, community services or advocacy, ministry or church, it’s a gathering where you don’t sit and soak (beaches are better for that.) Time and space is set apart for panel discussions and conversations with experienced communicators serving as facilitators. It won’t be “pooled ignorance.”

People who’ll be there include: Bianca Juarez + Brad Abare + Chad Cannon + Cynthia Ware + DJ Chuang + Drew Goodmanson + Kem Meyer + Justin Wise + Lindy Lowry + Lori Bailey + LV Hanson + Michael Buckingham + Scott Overpeck + Dawn Nicole Baldwin + Tim Schraeder + Curtis Templeton + Erik Qualman + Mark Horvath + Mel McGowan + Phil Cooke + Charles Lee + Shelene Bryan +Danny Yount and many more listed on the registered attendees list.

Plus, use promo code “DJ” and get $30 off the current registration rate of $159. (If my math is right, that’s $129.)

And, one more thing. You can win a free pass to Cultivate! 3 ways to get a contest entry: 1. Add a comment here with why you’re so tired of the typical conference format of keynotes + breakouts; 2. tweet on Twitter with a link to this blog post; 3. share a link on Facebook with a link to this blog post. Your name will be entered for up to 3 times into a random drawing. One winner will be selected on Wednesday 4/20 8:00am Pacific Time. Bon chance!

Apr 082010

At the Ideation Conference this week, one of my aha moments was realizing a new breed of non-profit organizations that primarily serve the role of fundraising and raising awareness. I was touched by the collaborative spirit of the humanitarians at #theideation, and how each org finds the role they play best, and partner with others for the rest, to tackle the biggest problems in the world together. Here’s 3 of them that presented both the compelling need and provided easy entry points for how anyone can help::

One Day’s Wages uses the best of social media to cultivate a grassroots movement towards ending extreme global poverty, currently raising funds to support the excellent work of 6 partner organizations. Founded by voracious blogger Eugene Cho (a church pastor), One Day’s Wages was notable for launching with a million members on its Facebook fan page. I thought I heard Eugene say that One Day’s Wages‘ big hairy audacious goal was to raise $1 million, but that might have been a figment of my imagination. Here’s a visual graphically-drawn capture of his talk: Continue reading »

Feb 252010

Words mean things. And different people use the same words to mean different things. This makes for either mass confusion or fierce conversations. The context of our own self-talk (internal conversations) colors everything we hear and read. These are some recent phrases that may be creating cognitive dissonance: of words and meanings
“epic” – I’m guessing this one is becoming a pop culture slang. It used to be, I think, about those movies with a grand bigger-than-life story, just a tad bigger than classic. Now it’s an above-average awesomeness; a recent referential pointer like “did you hear?”, a filler adjective.

“mentoring” – I’ve posted a handful of blog entries about this one already.

“authentic” – the word itself is all about the real deal. The word “real” gets jumbled in the same mix. The word _implies_ being transparent and vulnerable and unpolished. But, for some people, authentic means being non-transparent, not sharing their feelings out loud, not sharing their weaknesses, fears, and concerns, because that’s their being real.

“racist” – undoubtedly a loaded word. There’s the obviously intentional kind. And there’s the unintentional or blind-spot or passive or ignorant or systemic kind. Some people don’t think passive racism counts as racism. Some think any racial inequality and inequity makes for racism. Some are honest enough to say we’re all racists. We don’t live in a world with a level playing field. Race is a part of that dynamic. Race isn’t everything, and neither is it nothing. It’s also been used as a sign-off.

There are many, many more. The above are a few that came to mind during the composing of this post. Add a comment and we’ll add to the list.

Aug 202009

Here’s what I tell people when I advise someone about which web tool they should use. Summary:

  • Choose twitter if you like to text
  • Choose blogging if you like to write
  • Choose audio podcasting if you like to talk
  • Choose video if you like to talk with your hands

When it comes to having an active online presence, it’s basically about content generation. It’s your personal voice. We’re not talking about having a website – which is more of a brochure, or an interactive one. We’re talking about how to get your voice out there, your ideas, your experiences, your thoughts, your questions, your desire to help make a difference in the world.

As twitter and facebook have become more mainstream, and I hear them talked about everywhere, or overhear it, and it’s not me bringing it up. I’m learning to avoid talking about work-related subjects, which is hard to do, when that work closely aligns with the things I love to do and dream about and think about. I’m avoiding an overused word that begins with “P”. Yes, that’s another blog series in the hopper that I hope to get online soon. Might do some during vacation next week. I am not doing an offline unplugged vacation. Oh, so that was off track rambling.
Continue reading »