Niche Down


Many many people have talked about things like your true fans, niching down, and finding more products for your audience. In my (limited) experience, trying to make things for an extremely broad audience, many people may think that it’s not quite for them. Possibly unexpectedly, making things for more people may alienate the people that love what you create and cause a smaller reach.

Quit Rambling


I’ve drawn a few graphs about ability to share knowledge based on how much you know about a subject. This graph partially explains why the tail of those graphs at high subject knowledge cause poor communication. It may just be some (not all) of my professors, but it seems difficult to separate what’s necessary to understand the subject from the minutia that experts care about. Adding too much extraneous information causes you to talk in long uninterrupted chunks and sound increasingly rambly even when the information is solid.

Lead By Example


We’ve all tried explaining something that we’re clueless about to someone. Often it’s very clear what’s happening and we lack believability. Often you aren’t clueless about something you haven’t done. You can actually know a ton about it–but it can appear that you’re in the clueless category. Having directly done something when trying to convince others to do it adds an absurd amount of credibility and allows you to be far more of an authority..

Proper planning


Although I hate to admit it, the Write a Book in a Day event that Zack and I did this past weekend had far less planned out than a 10 hour event probably should have. However, our two participants were very excited and already trusted us a decent amount due to either attending or hearing of past events. This allows us to have a less polished and structured approach and their trusting of the process allows them to still have a great time even if it wasn’t seamless or perfect.

What Gets Measured Gets Managed


Have you ever tried to eat better without tracking what better meant? I have many times, and I normally seem to regress back to previous habits. If I do make some change that stays for a medium length of time it’s usually slight. I know not everyone is into data, but taking data about anything you want to change is not only a great way to track progress, but to accurately figure out what the problem is. Back to food, having a vague sense of needing to eat better is completely different then knowing a breakdown of how many calories you ate each day as well as the distribution of food groups.

Focus on the Words



In an older and more formal style of presenting, all of the information coming out of your mouth is also in writing on the slides. Sometimes this lingers, particularly in the technical corners of academia. This has been a struggle for me because in lab presentations the professors often don’t actually listen to what you say, and instead try to read the text. Then, any clarifications made through your words that’s not on the slides is lost and the presentation may be deemed incomplete or unclear.

Clear Speech


Stop saying um so much. There’s a few ways to get around this, but my favorite is to just talk slower. So many people talk very fast and have a fairly high percentage of filler words so the sentence takes nearly the same time. Talking slower sounds a bit more intentional, controlled, and emphatic. Add in some pauses for emphasis.