Impact Investing can make a Difference

As a toastmaster I found the pacing in the speech distracting – stand your ground man – but the message is heartfelt, thought provoking, and inspiring about how to change the world by combining philanthropy and investing.

Sasha Dichter: The Generosity Experiment | Video on

The best investment mix for each person will be different but the key message is that impact investment in people can make a difference to chip away at problems that many have thought were impossible to solve.

Ignite: How Speakers Prepare

Ignite is an event where speakers have 5 minutes to present 20 slides that are auto-advanced every 15 seconds. It is a bit like speed chess where timing is a big part of the game.

Interesting survey data from Scott Berkun on how speakers prepare for ignite presentations.

Conclusion is that excellent speeches take a lot of preparation, even for pros, and that generally speakers don’t rehearse enough.

Why are professional speakers so good? One explanation is that they do a speech many times to improve it. They also prepare and rehearse more than regular speakers.

Networking for Results

This past Thursday I attended the Ottawa chapter of the Certified Management Consultants meeting which had the theme of networking. The meeting was in a real nice facility where Bitheads does business. It has a comfortable area for mixing and mingling and a theatre for the guest speaker Michael Hughes to present:

“Turning 3 minute Conversations into long term relationships and lasting results”

I was impressed by Michael’s content and presentation. As a toastmaster I couldn’t help but evaluate Michael’s speaking style and passion. I thought he did a wonderful job as a speaker and reinforced his points by getting the audience engaged in some short exercises. With his wealth of experience he had lots to share and he did it most effectively by breaking the information into manageable chunks.

I particularly liked Michael’s networking model that has 6 phases. He explained not only what needs to happen in each phase – he also identified the most common myths and hangups people have with each phase and what can be done to overcome them. Michael provides a free document summarizing his networking model on his web site –

Mixed in with all the practical advice and wisdom was the really effective use of stories to reinforce his points. I especially liked his story of sitting down with the chairman of the board (his wife) to do a startup company review. I think all the small business entrepreneurs in the audience could relate to the struggles and desire to do better faster.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Michael to anyone who is interested in improving their networking skills. I really believe in Michael’s key point:

Put relationships first with a sincere desire to help and business will follow.

The Compound Effect of the Growth Mindset

I have written before about the importance of attitude.

The contrast between the growth mindset and fixed deterministic mindset is just another example of the importance of attitude and mental models for perceiving how the world works and can work. Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset is a valuable reference to understand the importance of mindset to living the best quality life.

The Growth Mindset presentation provides:

  • a framework on how the growth mindset relates to how our brain operates
  • problems associated with our lizard brain fears
  • how a growth mindset can help us deal with our fears and problems
  • the benefits of adopting a growth mindset
  • an action plan for achieving results with a growth mindset

Lizard Brain

It could be useful to refer back to another article I wrote on focused goals for several references on dealing with the lizard brain. This is an ongoing battle that is not to be underestimated. The lizard brain can not be shouted down, argued with, or ignored. Some say this just gives it more power. The recommended approach is to calmly listen to the lizard brain and unemotionally acknowledge that this is a point of view (usually based mostly on fear) that may not be accurate, whose risks could potentially be minimized by planning and action, and that alternatives are possible which may be better than avoiding the fear. This is similar to some techniques that are advocated in learned optimism (disputing limiting beliefs and energizing yourself to take action). This is also summed up in the excellent book Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.

Growth Mindset Chain of Events

Nigel Holmes has done an excellent graphic contrasting the fixed mindset with the growth mindset and how a series of decisions with a different mindset can lead to a cascading chain of events that leads to divergent life paths. One way, the fixed mindset, leads to a limited life based on fear. The other, growth mindset, offers the potential for ongoing growth.

The chart, A Matter of Mindset, contrasts the vicious cycle and virtuous cycle that can occur with different mindsets in a business context. Just like in systems theory the feedback loop caused by the mindset difference can cause a self reinforcing downward or upward spiral that ends up with vastly different results.

Want to have a lucky life? Here is the formula from The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy publisher of Success magazine:

Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) +

Opportunity (good things coming your way) + Action (doing something about it)

= Making your Luck

The Compound Effect makes a compelling argument that achieving success is more about the life trajectory you set yourself on by many small decisions you make each day. The compounding effect of these decisions tends to be underestimated because the results escalate over time rather than being instantly observable. Decisions influenced by a growth mindset attitude will eventually lead to results that are vastly different than those achieved by playing it safe and being limited by the fears of the lizard brain.

Growth Mindset Action Plan

If you are convinced of the benefits of the growth mindset as summarized in the attached presentation and chain of events how do you get started? Here are some suggested action steps:

  • Take the mindset test online to see what your current mindset tendencies are
  • adopt the growth mindset by practicing techniques to migrate towards this way of thinking
  • seek stage time (opportunities to practice your craft) by embracing uncertainty, seeking new experiences, and broadening your repertoire.
  • Read Carol Dweck’s Mindset book and use the resources on her web site to strengthen your implementation of the principles.

Social Media Awareness About You

Even if you are yet to be convinced or perhaps just haven’t yet established your social media presence you should start building some awareness of what is being said about your business and personal brand (i.e. your business and personal names) on the Internet.

It is a start to find out either:

  • You have no presence on the Internet such that nobody knows about you or has anything to say about you.
  • People are using various Internet venues like Twitter and Facebook to complain about you or your business
  • People are praising or asking questions about you

Any of these results could prompt you to want to get involved in social media to respond to and attempt to influence your reputation online.

Step 1. Google Search

Google your own name, business name, or keywords associated with your business.
Standard search techniques apply here so you may want to use quotes around a specific phrase (like your full business name) and use the + between keywords to get combined results (AND function). Check out the advanced search link or Google search tips to increase your searching effectiveness. There is a whole book that has been written on how to get more out of Google search as it is a very powerful business and personal tool.

Using Google search works to get an occasional snapshot of what is being said about you on web sites and blogs at any given time.

Step 2. Google Alerts

The Google alert service can continuously monitor search results of your choosing and alert you by either email or as a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed. (If you are new to RSS check out my articles on how to setup an RSS reader and free desktop newsreader software). My preference, to give my overburdened email a break, is to use RSS feeds monitored by Google’s Reader. This way you get more of an ongoing view and can see trends and progress. Using an RSS reader is very beneficial if you want to process large volumes of information with many topics that are constantly being updated.

Step 3. Twitter Search

Twitter is known for short real time tweets of information. On the twitter web site you can do searches on various topics and also check trends. There are many Twitter clients that can be used on your computer, tablet (e.g. iPad), or phone that can also show search results. Tweetdeck, which can show multiple columns of tweet streams including ones for searches, is one I would recommend because it is very capable and is also free. Tweetalarm is a new web service which will send alerts to your email about tweets that match keywords you have identified.

Step 4. Facebook Search

You can search Facebook from the public page, from within Facebook as a member, and also using the Bing search engine.

Step 5. More Options

By now you may be really getting into it and want to check even more sources to find out what the buzz is on yourself or your business. Check out the Digital Inspirations site for more on how to monitor your online reputation.

Oh, yeah. When you are done searching about yourself and your business you might want to do some searches to build awareness on your competitors and keywords about your industry so you have a benchmark for your results. Competition is a great way to up your service so your customers can win.

There is a lot that can be done with social media but this is a way to get started by first building awareness of what is happening online. That could be very important to your reputation and that of your business.