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Several of the largest firms have adopted business strategies that Dewey embraced: unfettered growth, often through mergers; the aggressive poaching of lawyers from rivals by offering outsize pay packages; and a widening spread between the salaries of the firm’s top partners and its most junior ones.
These trends, they say, have destroyed the fabric of a law firm partnership, where a shared sense of purpose once created willingness to weather difficult times. Many large firms have discarded the traditional notions of partnership — loyalty, collegiality, a sense of equality — and instead transformed themselves into bottom-line, profit-maximizing businesses.
“Because the partnership lacks any shared cultural values or history, money becomes the core value holding the firm together,” said William Henderson, a law professor at Indiana University who studies law firms. “Money is weak glue.”
I love teaching public speaking. I love it when students come into the classroom with different challenges and we get to work on them one by one and yet learn from each other. The best thing about being a teacher is leaving a class and having the feeling that I’ve actually been able to help someone today because of my own past experiences with public speaking. Hopefully, that makes us both better people and speakers, for tomorrow.
Everyone focuses on the fear around public speaking. I try to focus on the fun. We can be afraid of lots of things in life: relationships, finances, risk, change. But if we approach these things from a curious, rather than a trepidatious standpoint, we open some room for new experiences and then perhaps, for some success. For instance, on first date, if we go into it expecting Jeremy to complement us, ask us about our careers and pay for our dinner, and he doesn’t do any of those things, we might consider this a “failure” and complain about this to our friends. Or, we can consider what we learned from the situation. What did we complement Jeremy on? What did we learn about his career? Why did we expect him to pay? Maybe Jeremy is broke, afterall. (Or a third wave feminist trying to honor you?) Prolly not, but maybe!
The challenge we’re dealing with here is expectation. Expectation is a killer in public speaking. When we expect things to go a certain way and they don’t, we get disappointed and thrown off our game. The laptop runs out of juice, people stare at you weird, your boss shows up unexpectedly, no one asks questions at the Q&A portion, you sweat, you shake, you suddenly remember when Jennifer Hurnblad said in 7th grade that it looked like you peed your pants in front of everyone and you almost died of humiliation. Why did you just think of that right now? What are you supposed to be doing? Oh my god, you are talking about the budget right now and while you were thinking about Jennifer Hurnblad and have no idea what you been talking about for the last…10 minutes??!!
In Improv Your Public Speaking we focus on staying in the moment, connecting with your audience, remaining present and having fun. We bring back up handouts to prepare for faulty laptops, we practice thinking quickly on our feet so that we can go off script and then get quickly back on to stay on track, we work on what to do whether you have a raucous crowd or quiet audience, and finally, we figure out how to all of this while having FUN.
If you struggle with any public speaking challenges, take the class!! See you at the PIT!!
TAREN STERRY is a writer and performer in NYC. Her current play, 180 Days, is in its fourth extended sold out run at Stage Left Studio. Taren performed improv at the PIT for three years with Fancy Dragon and Tomahawk! Taren is a 2008 Manhattan Monologue Slam Winner and wrote, produced and starred in the totally hilarious “Totes Hilare.” In 2009, Taren was a winning model on Bravo’s The Fashion Show (long story). Taren can be seen every month performing original material at Stage Left Studio and teaches improv at the The PIT.
“Business leaders” taking a leaf from “the way that designers solve probelms”
Question. Don’t just ask the obvious questions. Look deeper and don’t be afraid to rethink basic fundamentals about your business and products. Care. Caring doesn’t just mean giving great customer service. Get to know your customers as intimately as possible. Immerse yourself in the lives of the people you are trying to serve. Connect. Find ways to bring together concepts, people, and products. Many great breakthroughs are “mash-ups” of existing ideas. Commit. Give form to your idea as quickly as possible: create a prototype and begin testing it right away. This is the only way to know if you’ve touched on something truly promising.
A couple more tidbits in this article listed below. What’s nice about these it that they are ripped from their linked sources, so if you find them particularly interesting, go nuts and read more.
When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.
Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.
The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
Special Guest Post: Consequences..., by Michael E. Gerber
Consequences are the inevitable result of actions taken without thought, or the right and appropriate thought, or the desire to act without having to bother with thought, or, of thought which betrayed us. Consequences are the sound music makes when we’re not playing the instrument, in our mind where a poor imitation of sound plays itself out, unspirited, empty of delirium, no love lost or gained. Consequences are most often thought of as outcomes, either at the heart of the matter, or at the start of the matter, or on its fringes, rarely related to the force which oozed them out, which found them in the still unquiet air, as though waiting for the right stimulus to stimulate them, they are objects where no objects lived before, reactions where none are allotted the space to become what they are, a continuity of expression in an expressionless haze, which are the bumps and bottoms of a life unfused. Consequences are simply more of the same, dressed however they choose, in blacks and browns or in garish red and orange, no matter, consequences are consequences and at the end of it, where it has no perceivable end, they are simply more of the mush called our lives.
Special Guest Post: Yes! to Improv, By Terry Daves
I was onstage, in the moment, facing an invisible tiger, when I realized the words “yes, and…” can change the way a person does business.
I ended up at the Peoples Improv Theater in my ongoing search for better ways to serve clients and motivate staff. I run Medallion Retail; we develop shopper experiences and environments for big retail brands. We’re all about creating a positive experience. Turns out, so is improv theater.
Our workshop at PIT was inspiring, invigorating and insanely fun. It was a safe space where non-actors like me got to play, mug and feel the thrill of really thinking on your feet. Being in the moment – and outside of your own head — is empowering.
Through scenes, games and exercises (Crazy 8s was a favorite!), I learned that the cornerstone of good improv is an affirmative attitude. Openness, flexibility and a willingness to extend yourself result in a good performance – on a stage or in a client meeting.
Good improv, and good business, require
o Truly believe in what you’re saying and who you’re saying it to.
o Share your vision and trust your team. Trust leads to empowerment, which leads to surprising and delightful performances.
o Exude positive vibes. Your audience – paying client or patron – can feel and feed on your excitement and passion.
I use my newfound improv skills everyday in my business to animate idea sessions, motivate staff and wow clients. Would I take another workshop at PIT?
Terry Daves is the President of Medallion Retail, a full service retail strategy company, offering end-to-end research through implementation expertise specializing in custom branded selling environments.
Medallion Retail helps great businesses become great brands. Fortune 1000 companies, global brands and the nation’s largest retailers rely on them to enhance and shape the customer experience at retail.
“Advertising is based on one thing, Happiness. And you know what happiness is? It’s the smell of a new car, it’s freedom from fear, it’s a billboard on a side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing, it’s okay… You are okay.”— Mad Men, Episode 1 (via retrolyn)
“The closer the relationship, the more people are likely to rely on nonverbal communication rather than spoken word.”— Cultural Psychology; Heine. Referring to a study by Azuma (1986) and Clancy (1986). (via norepinephrine)