Being Great
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
1M ago
Over the last month, I’ve taken in an unusual amount of “culture”.  The Night before Christmas as a live play.  The Nutcracker with full symphony accompaniment.  An Irish Christmas concert, with one of the most talented bands I’ve ever seen live.  A Christmas music/drama.  I also attended a Division I football game, a women’s basketball game, and watched copious amounts of some of the most skilled athletes in the world playing NHL hockey (my Hurricanes are getting it done!) and World Cup fútbol.  In between, I had an electrician, an insulation guy, and a drywall e ..read more
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Motivation
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
1M ago
Last month, at two different events, I met folks who would be in my audience who responded, “Oh, you’re our motivational speaker!”  I’m frequently not included in the internal PR for the events I’m speaking at, so I don’t know how I was advertised.  But it’s a term I don’t like.  At the risk of throwing an entire genre of speakers (including myself) under the bus, to me a “motivational speaker” hypes up emotions in their audiences, focusing on feelings and trite phrases over substantial content that will change behaviors after they are gone.  I’d like to think if I’m motiva ..read more
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Dress Up
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
3M ago
As a kid, I never got that excited about Halloween.  I probably went Trick-or-Treating a few times, and probably attended a community event or two.  I loved the candy, to be sure, but dressing up to fool people into giving me stuff never felt… genuine.     And then, I had kids.  It was fun to dress them up.  Lion.  Football player.  Fairy.  Buzz Lightyear.  Fireman.  Take them out.  Eat their candy when they weren’t looking.  That may or may not have happened.       A few years ago, the MBA class I was privile ..read more
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Adaptation
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
4M ago
I was recently an invited breakout speaker to an organizational learning event.  They had devoted a full day for their 1500+ people to attend dozens of breakouts across a full day and most of a college campus.  I was given two slots for the same speaking topic.  Since this was an out-of-town event, I was unable to see the venue prior to arrival on the day of the program.  I was told I had approximately 30 people in each of my sessions.  A few days before the event I found out that I had mixed up this event with another and had half the time I thought I had.  I mad ..read more
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Tears and fears: Speaking Under High Emotion
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
5M ago
I recently had one of those once-in-a-lifetime, pinch-me moments as a speaker.  I was able to give two toasts/speeches in the context of my son’s rehearsal dinner and wedding reception.  As my oldest child and only son, the event was a wonderful mix of happiness, craziness, sadness, and disbelief.  I’m not sure what people mean when they say something is surreal, but it feels like this fits.       When I first learned of the event and my responsibilities as host and best man, I did what any warm-blooded creature would do: I Googled “How to give a best man toa ..read more
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Changing a Culture
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
6M ago
Pre-COVID, I was given the opportunity to travel to three continents in the span of a year.  Those experiences had a profound impact on my view of the world and the people in it.  One of the most amazing aspects was my awareness of CULTURE.     One of the best works I’ve read about Culture is Erin Meyer’s The Culture Map.  Ms. Meyer has lived in several parts of the globe and advises businesses on how to interact across cultures.  She analyzes and addresses several categories where cultures differ.  She has taken the time to quantify these criteria by country ..read more
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Mimic The Best
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
7M ago
Those who wish to become great at any craft are wise to study those who are already great. Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 for his speeches.  He makes almost every list Google produces searching for “great orators”. (Interestingly, a peer of his era also makes those lists: Adolf Hitler.  Great skill does not equate to great purpose, but that’s a topic for another newsletter).     I’ve been listening to a biography of Churchill.  From an early age, he had aspirations of influence on the political stage.  An insatiable reader, he ..read more
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Winning and Success
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
8M ago
“Second place is the first loser.” – Dale Earnhardt   “If you ain’t first, you’re last” – Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights   “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” — “Red” Sanders, UCLA Football coach, 1930s.     With quotes like those being broadcast in the world of sports (and applied to other areas rather easily), it’s no wonder that (business) competition results in a cutthroat world where rules are bent and character is challenged.  All for the glory of having a larger (or smaller – golf?) number than the competitor.     It was mostly humorous in ..read more
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Catchy
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
9M ago
You’ve got a lot to celebrate this week! May the Fourth be With You (Star Wars Day, followed shortly by Revenge of the Sixth) and Cinco de Mayo(interestingly, more popular in the US than Mexico).   While I will leave the merits of celebrating – and how – to the individual reader, I am particularly interested in how the respective holidays have gotten popular. I think it has less to do with what they celebrate and more to do with how they are marketed. And marketing starts with the name.   These two holidays are both great examples of “sticky” communication. Sticky ..read more
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Funerals
MillsWyck Communications
by Alan
10M ago
It’s likely a statistical blip.  Maybe it’s the phase of the moon.  But after years of going without, I’ve been to four funerals in the past six weeks and have three more coming in the next few days/weeks.  With one notable exception, these are “expected” deaths; parents of friends and relatives who were at the tail end of long battles with decaying bodies.  But it doesn’t make the events any more pleasant or easy to observe.   I’m tempted to put in some of my many thoughts about the brevity of life and the importance of using our years on this earth for good, but this ..read more
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