5 Rules for More Effective Presentations

Presentation software can be a wonderful tool if used correctly. It can also be a dangerous distraction that interferes with communication rather than facilitating it. The line between the two is thin.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/mbbirdy, Image #4746463

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/mbbirdy

Over the course of my career, I have sat through hundreds of presentations. Most of them were done with PowerPoint. Most of them are done poorly.

Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse Is So Important

As a leader, the health of your marriage directly affects the impact of your leadership. I have witnessed this time and time again. Being effective at work or in ministry begins by being effective at home.

Happy couple embracing and laughing on the beach

Early in our marriage, Gail and I attended a church led by a dynamic, thirty-something pastor. He was an extraordinary communicator. He was a wise and empathetic counselor. As a result, the church grew rapidly.

The 5 Marks of Authentic Leadership

Many people have written on what it means to be a leader. Almost everyone identifies influence as the primary characteristic. By definition, this means that leadership and position are two different things. You can have a title, and a position of power, but this does not mean that you are a leader. Even people without these things can exert influence and thus leadership.

Business man stripped to his shorts and jumping off a dock - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/PeskyMonkey, Image #11582459

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/PeskyMonkey

But leadership is more than influence. It certainly includes influence, but it is more. I believe it includes at least five characteristics. When I speak on this topic, I call these “the five marks of authentic leadership”:

Slay Your Dragons Before Breakfast

3 Disciplines for Achieving Daily Victory

I awoke this morning to the dragon’s hot breath on my face. I was disoriented, not quite knowing where I was. I struggled to open one eye. Then another.

St. George and the Dragon

And there he was. A dragon. A very big dragon. With three heads. Sitting in my bedroom, like so many mornings before, he was waiting. His heads swerved back and forth, dancing in the dim light. Each head alternately belching fire and hissing smoke.

How to Know When to Change Course

This is a guest post by Thad Puckett. He is employed by The Karis Group, an Austin, Texas firm where he is an Implementation and Data Manager. He formerly served as a cross-cultural missionary in Asia for almost twenty years. You can follow Thad on his blog and on Twitter.

There will probably be no more iconic symbol for failure in our lifetime than the picture of the Costa Concordia cruise ship listing while aground off the shore of Italy. At least seventeen people died in the tragedy after the captain of the ship (apparently) intentionally moved closer to the shore than is safe for ships of that size.

Costa Concordia on Its Side

It is easy to compare the Costa Concordia with the Titanic, another cruise liner disaster from long ago. But there are some key differences. And it is in those differences that we can learn a few lessons to navigate life.

Leadership, Success, and Accessibility

The more successful you become as a leader, the more other people will demand of your time. As a result, if you are going to maintain margin for your most important priorities, you will have to make some difficult decisions about your accessibility.

Limited Access - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/ugurhan, Image #13855601

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/ugurhan

Recently, I was listening to Andy Stanley talk about this very topic. He said,

4 Ways to Pour Yourself into Your Pursuits

This is a guest post from Ryan J. Ferrier. Ryan has successfully launched internet startups that have been acquired by Microsoft and Zynga. He now helps young professionals launch lives that matter at Bootstrap My Life. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Nothing can stand in the way of the man who focuses his entire self on a problem” (from The Power of Positive Thinking).

A Runner in a Relay Race - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/photosbyjim, Image #1382291

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/photosbyjim

If you have a problem worth solving or a prize worth pursuing, it’s not enough to just put your mind to fulfilling that purpose. It is not just a matter of putting your heart into it either.

An Interview with Bob Goff [Video]

Bob Goff is one of the most amazing men I have ever met. I don’t think I know anyone else who is as adventurous as he is. I certainly don’t know anyone who is a better storyteller.

I first read about Bob in Don Miller’s delightful book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Shortly after that, Don introduced me to him. Then, I had the privilege of spending a few days with Bob and his wife, Maria, at their beautiful home in British Columbia.

Embrace Permanent Beta and Launch

A while back, I met with a friend who is a blogger. She has been blogging for a few years, but her blog is in desperate need of a facelift. It has grown a little “long in the tooth,” as they say. I have been meaning to speak to her about his, but she brought it up herself.

The Last Flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Neutronman, Image #19528606

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Neutronman

“I am redesigning my blog,” she mentioned. She then showed me a prototype. I was flabbergasted. It looked … great! It was a hundred times better than what she currently has.

3 Ways To Find the Truth—About Yourself

This is a guest post by LaRae Quy. She was an FBI agent, both as a counterintelligence and undercover agent, for 25 years. She exposed foreign spies and recruited them to work for the U.S. Government. Now she uses the skills she learned as an FBI agent to help others develop personal leadership strengths via her blog, Empower the Leader In You. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The quickest and surest way to get fired as an FBI agent is to lie. Proven lack of candor is automatic dismissal—truth is a precious commodity in an organization whose primary purpose is peeling back layers of deceit to expose cold, hard facts.

A Woman Writing Notes in Her Journal - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/petrograd99, Image #3584474

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/petrograd99

Many of us have a love/hate relationship with truth. We tell ourselves we want to know the truth, but we’re very selective about the kind of truth we seek. About others, yes—and usually about world events and situations that impact us directly, but we are less receptive to revelations about ourselves.

Before You Send That Angry E-mail

Over the course of my career, I have fired off my share of angry letters and e-mail. However, I cannot think of a single time when these communiques had a positive effect. Usually, they only served to escalate the conflict and alienate the recipient.

A Man Punching His Fist Through His Laptop Computer - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/clintspencer, Image #3237600

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/clintspencer

Several years ago, I wrote a fourteen-page diatribe to a business associate. I skewered him. I was right. He was wrong. And I had the proof.