August has arrived!

I love summer- and I especially love the air of nostalgia that comes with late summer. Come August; memories come flooding back to me.

My dad died nine years ago, and one of the things he loved was August in Saratoga Springs, NY, where he lived. Many of you may know that is when the Saratoga Racetrack runs…or as my dad would say, “time for the ponies to come to town.”

I learned numerous lessons from my dad, but one important one was in that special August month. Always do your background work!!! This meant in horse racing to get the newspapers and pink sheets the night before to see who was racing the next day. The rider, the owner, the horse, previous wins…he knew it all. To my dad, this was far less about betting as it was about understanding the mechanics of what it takes to be successful. As we all know, sometimes you can have the fastest horse but just not win the race.

As I think about my work life, these August lessons are so important. Every important meeting or conversation I have had HAS always been better when I do my homework. Who am I talking to? What do they think or know about this topic? Why should they care? Simple questions that allow us to be so much more productive when we communicate. It can be so easy to go from meeting to meeting and not take even a few minutes to ground yourself in a little background info. Sometimes you may get it right, but in the long run, every relationship you have will be better with this small investment of time!

What to do With Fear and Nerves in Communication

Mark Twain has a famous quote, “there are two types of speakers, those who are nervous and those who are liars.”  Nerves happen…they are human. At Decker, we work with tens of thousands of executives every year, and an all too common statement and question come to the surface when … Continue reading

Learnings from Vin Scully – A Legend Passing on Legendary Principles

As we approach the final weeks of the legendary Vin Scully announcing for the Dodgers (67 years!), it’s important that his lessons don’t go unnoticed. Tom Verducci had a great write-up for Sports Illustrated, and we recommend all to read. We took something away from his article, of course tied … Continue reading

I Don’t Need to Prep. I Can Wing It.

Does your calendar look like the above? Many do. Just yesterday I was talking with an executive about an upcoming meeting. A few minutes into the conversation, he realized, “Whoa. This is a way bigger deal than I thought.” This is a critical week for meetings, as we’re all squeezing … Continue reading

The Audience Only Gets What You Give Them

The mask used by Michael Myers in the original “Halloween” was actually a Captain Kirk mask, painted white, due to low budget. Did you know that? I sure didn’t – I was so darn focused on how frightening he was. (Although after reading this fact on an airplane, I couldn’t … Continue reading

Where It All Begins: Your Listeners

You can’t pass go, you can’t collect $200 (let alone $20,000 or $200,000 for your next initiative) if you haven’t gone through the first step: That’s right. Rephrase your agenda to meet theirs, instead. Since our goal is to influence others and to persuade them to take action, we can’t … Continue reading

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

I’ve heard over 100 presentations on philanthropy and giving. I spend a lot of time recording people speaking on video. Luckily, many of us are motivated to give back, and we want to urge others to do the same. This is not a complaint – instead, there is a great … Continue reading

Decrease Your Disparity Gap

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it the same person your boss, your family, your audience and everyone else sees? All of us, men and women, alike, can be our own harshest critics. That’s why Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign immediately went viral (as did … Continue reading

Communicating Likability

In effective communicating, it’s not just important to be likable, but to exude likability. Proof? The Voice vs. American Idol. Are you an old time addict of American Idol as I was? I even blogged on how critical confidence was for success – probably my favorite Idol of all time … Continue reading

Sticky Statistics

Sometimes it feels like life has become a series of statistics. Thing A is the #1 cause of Disease B, only 56% of Demographic C believes in Opinion D, and so on. At some point, we become worn down by the numbers, and they lose their impact. So, what do … Continue reading