26 Life tips


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1. Primacy and recency: People mostly remember the first and last things that occurred, barely the middle.

When scheduling an interview, ask the employer the time slots they do interviews and try to be the first or the last.

2. If you work in a bar or in customer service of any kind, put a mirror behind you at the counter.

In this way, angry customers who approach you will have to see themselves in the mirror behind you and the chance of them behaving irrationally will be lowered significantly.

3. Once you make a sales pitch, don’t say anything else.

This works in sales, but it can also be applied in other ways. My previous boss was training me and just gave me pointers. I was working at a gym trying to sell memberships. He told me that once I got all the small talk out of the way and presented the prices, the first person to talk would lose. It didn’t seem like a big deal but it actually worked. Often there were long periods of awkward silence as the person tried to come up with some excuses, but usually they bought.

4. If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait.

If you stay silent and keep eye contact, they will usually continue to talk.

5. Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous, like public speaking or bungee jumping.

When we eat, our brain tell ourselves, “I would not be eating if I were danger. So I’m not in danger.” This has helped me to stay calm.

6. People will always remember how you made them feel, not what you said.

Also, most people like talking about themselves; so ask lots of questions about them.

7. When you’re learning something new, teach it to a friend. Let them ask you questions about it.

If you’re able to teach something well, you will be sure that you’ve understood it very well.

8. If you get yourself to be really happy and excited to see other people, they will react the same to you.

It doesn’t always happen the first time, but it will definitely happen the next time.

9. The physical effects of stress — breathing rate and heart rate — are almost identical to the physical effects of courage.

When you’re feeling stressed in any situations, immediately reframe it : Your body is getting ready to be courageous, you are NOT stressed.

10. Pay attention to people’s feet.

If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation. Similarly, if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing in another direction, they want the conversation to end.

11. Fake it till you make it; confidence is more important than knowledge.

Don’t be intimidated by anyone, everyone is playing a role and wearing a mask.

12. If you pretend to be something for long enough, you will eventually become it.

13. Not to be creepy, but if you want to stare at someone unashamedly, look directly past them and wait for them to try and meet your eyes.

When they fail to do that, they’ll look around (usually nervously for a second) they won’t look at you again for some time. This is your chance to straight up stare at this person for at least 45 seconds.

If you’re staring at someone and get caught, DON’T turn your head or your body to look away, because that just confirms that you were staring. Just move your EYEBALLS off the person. Unlike turning your head, it’s instantaneous. And the person will think you were just looking at something behind them and that they were mistaken for thinking you were staring. Do it confidently, and ignore any reaction from the person, and you can sell it every single time. After a second you can even look back at them with a “Why are you staring at me?” look on your face to really cement the deal!

14. Build a network.

Become the information source, and let the information be yours. Even grabbing a beer with a former colleague once a year will keep you in the loop at the old office. Former co workers might have gotten a new position in that office you always wanted to work in, great! Go to them for a beer, and ask about the office. It’s all about connections and information.

15. If you are angry at the person in front of you driving like a grandmother…

Pretend it is your grandmother, it will significantly reduce your road rage.

16. Stand up straight

No slouching, hands out of pockets, and head held up high. It’s not just a cliche — you literally feel better and people around you feel more confident in you.

17. Avoid saying “I think,” and “I believe” unless absolutely necessary.

These are phrases that do not evoke confidence, and will literally do you no good.

18. When feeling anxious, clean up your home or work space.

You will feel happier and more accomplished than before.

19. Always buy the first pitcher or round of drinks.

You’d be surprised how long you could drink on the phrase “I bought the first one.”

20. Going into an interview… be interested in your interviewers.

If you focus on learning about them, you’ll seem to be more interesting and dynamic. (Again, people love to talk about themselves.)

21. Pay Attention Parents: Always give your kid a choice that makes them think they are in control.

For instance, when I want my son to put his shoes on I will say ,”do you want to put your star wars shoes on or your shark shoes on?” Pro-tip: In some cases, this works on adults.

22. Your action affect your attitude more than your attitude affects your action.

As my former teacher said “You can jump and dance FOR joy, but you can also jump and dance yourself joyful.”

23. When a group of people laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.

24. If you want to build rapport or gain someone’s trust quickly, match their body posture and position.

If someone is sitting with her legs crossed, cross your legs. If they’re leaning away from you, lean away from them. If they’re leaning towards you, lean towards them. Mirroring and matching body position is a subconscious way to tell if someone trusts you or is comfortable with you. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed and you notice someone else is sitting with her arms crossed, that is a good indicator that you have/are successfully built/building rapport with that person.

25. The Benjamin Franklin Effect (suggested by Matt Miller)

I find the basis of the Benjamin Franklin effect is very useful and extends far beyond pencil borrowing. This knowledge is useful in the world of flirting too. Asking a girl in your class if you can borrow a pencil or her notes or to explain the homework will make her more likely to like you than if you let her borrow your stuff or are the one to help her. Even just asking a girl to buy you drinks (facetiously) leaves a much bigger impression than offering to or actually buying a girl a drink. The best part is it kills 3 birds with one stone: you get the advantages of the favor itself, the person subconsciously likes you more, and it makes them more open to future favors and conversation.

26. Handling Panic and Anxiety Behavior (Suggested by Jade Barbee)

When you’re feeling stressed, worried or angry, tap each finger tip while thinking (or speaking quietly) a few specific words about what is bothering you. Repeat the same words while tapping each of your 10 fingers, including thumbs. For example, tap while saying, “I’m so angry with her…” Doing so will likely take the charge out of the feeling and return you to a more resourceful (better feeling) state of being. It’s called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “tapping,” and it is useful in many life situations – emotional sadness, physical pain, food cravings, traumatic memories…

Speaking keynote tips

I’ve had the incredible privilege of speaking to audiences large and small on every habitable continent. My last keynote in Brazil drew 8,000 spectators to a space so massive, I couldn’t see its end from the stage!

These engagements are invariably scary. It is always with a blend of nervousness and confidence that I take the stage. Those 8,000 attendees invested a lot in the event, and I was the opening keynote, thus setting the tone for the next few days. It is intense pressure, I am a little freaked out.

To ensure confidence _ outweighs nervousness_, I’ve always worked hard on the stories I want to share, hyper-customizing them for each unique audience. I personally craft every visual, and every thought is original. Such thorough preparation provides subconscious assurance that it will go great.

Having experimented with new techniques and tweaked my approach over hundreds of speaking engagements, I’ve established a set of rules for effective storytelling on-state.

The rules are universally applicable and widely versatile, so I thought I would share them with you to aid your persuasive storytellin

Five strategic recommendations.

1. Don’t tell people what they already know.

Many speakers will occupy 20 – 40 percent of their time simply restating obvious facts and commonly known industry stats, pimping their company, and so on and so forth.

You open a presentation with 14 minutes on the importance of tags or digital’s growth or why measurement is critical, and you’ve lost the audience before anything of value comes out of your mouth.

Why do speakers so often do this? Most commonly “I want to bring everyone in the audience along with me, ensure we are all on the same page.”

The only outcome this approach ensures is failure.

Twenty percent of any audience will be new to the space or in the wrong room. They can benefit from your obvious facts. The problem is, you’ve lost the remaining 80% , the ones that matter, who will actually take action from your insights. Focus on that 80%, skip the obvious facts, and get to the meat as fast as you can.

Your job is not to inform; your job is to inspire action.

2. Speak only about what you really know.

Some presentations call for presenting thought leadership. Others require you to drag yourself into one more conference room to speak for the 90th time about cloud services or printer toner.

Regardless of the situation, only discuss what you really know.

People can smell fraud a mile away. They might not walk out when you start presenting someone else’s work, but, you’ve certainly lost them. They are on their phones swiping left or right on Tinder.

And your audience knows when your presentation has been created by a team of underlings. Your conspicuously shallow knowledge reveeals witn the work is not your own.

If you really know everything about printer toner, you’ll appear confident, excited and passionate as you pitch your idea or inspire an action. These characteristics will make you a persuasive and memorable speaker.

Remember: If you are bored with your presentation, so is the audience.

3. Tell complete stories with the Care-Do-Impact storytelling framework.

The most compelling short stories clearly answer three questions:

Why should you care?

What should you do?

What’s the business impact if you do the do? :)

Most speakers get in front of an audience and tell them what to do. Usually this is sourced in something their company is selling. They give you the full sales pitch, masked with pseudo-inspiration, then wait for the money to fall from the sky.

Before you tell people what to do, prove your empathy and expertise by demonstrating why they should care. Define the problem. Ideally, quantify the scale of the pain and opportunity. This drives them to lean in and understand that you’ve spent time understanding their unique problems within their specific industry.

When you offer actionable direction, be specific. Implement x tags with y parameters in z time frame. In Wisconsin and Florida focus on ages aa and bb to achieve outcomes mm and kk.

Then, create a sense of urgency with the business impact. This can be difficult, requiring you to stress test your own ideas, study the business dynamics of the audience, then use predictive modeling. But, when you do, you’ll win the confidence of your audience and inspire a rush to action.

Your site is losing $14 million dollars of paid media spend because the bounce rate is 62%. Our personalization engine will ensure your display ads are triggered by customer behavior over the last 90 days AND customize the landing page to deliver consistent messaging. This will reduce wasted paid media by $7 million and increase the conversion rate for an additional $10 million in revenue. BOOM!

Does your current presentation on cloud automation or toners have Care AND Do AND Impact?

4. Don’t be content free.

TMAI 111 was dedicated to content-free and offered two useful examples you can use as reference.

90% of the presentations that fall flat, 99.99% of the presentations that fail to persuade, are content-free. Much of what comes out of the speaker’s mouth and appears on slides, flipcharts and whiteboards is meaningless.

This is a fast track to losing the respect of every person in the audience – including the A/V staff.

5. Pro tip: End with targets.

Even with just one or two ideas — no matter how simple or compelling, the audience will face a hurdle figuring out how to employ them, when they should start and what success should look like to them.

If you follow Care-Do-Impact, you’ll want to end with a summary of actions (the Dos). This gives the audience actionable takeaways.

If the Dos slide ranks and prioritizes the actions, even better!

If you want to go the extra mile, apply time-frames.

As an example my latest keynote on artificial intelligence and machine learning shares specific Dos in three categories: investment in internal company capabilities (Learn), the first collection of projects to execute inside a company (Build) and specific applications of machine learning on analytics and marketing (Profit).

My final slide has a specific target I want the audience to hit in each area, in the next 12 months.

I’ve told them what to do, with prioritization, and demonstrated what success looks like within a specific time-frame. They know just what to shoot for. :)

Six tactical recommendations.

1. Please, please, please don’t use stock photos on your slides.

Stock photos are always used incorrectly. They obstruct your own view of your own ideas, driving you to spend too much time photo-hunting and not enough applying critical thinking to your message. The net result: (what you think is) a pretty slide without substance.

Pictures are triggers—different for every viewer. Your stock photo appears and I immediately stop listening to you and start wondering what ducks walking into a pond have to do with sales attribution.

What’s pretty in your presentation are your ideas. Present them in the raw. You’ll be more persuasive.

2 . Use fewer words on slides.

Everyone agrees that dense slides suck for presentations (they might serve better as handouts). Here are two small but effective tips to minimize verbiage:

A. No more than a tweet (140 characters) on a slide. If you have more, finesse, sharpen, sculpt.

B. No words coming out of your mouth should be on the slides.

You’ll be surprised at how well these simple rules work.

3. Buy a clicker.

I use the Logitech Spotlight. It is a bit expensive, but its simplicity, long range and snazzy aesthetic make the investment worthwhile.

Most of effective presenting is the comfort with which you manipulate your slides. The best storytellers reveal rather than puke, and revelation requires animations and transitions. A clicker you are comfortable with ensure you’ll do this comfortably and effectively.

Your posture and projected confidence will improve with heightened control over pacing.

4. Don’t stand in place.

It is unnatural. Walk. Make eye contact. Point at people. Stand in front of a person, look into his eyes and focus just on him, ignoring the other 2,000. You’ll be amazed by how special not just that person but everyone feels.

As you pull people into your storytelling, you’ll personify the story. Magic.

5. Notice the people on their phones.

As I tell stories, I’m very much in tune with the environment of the room, constantly gauging whether the audience is engaged, smiling, sitting just a little bit ahead in their seats.

I’m also noticing how many are on their phones. If 30% of your audience is on their phones or laptops, you are doing something wrong. Do something differently.

Change the delivery, skip to the next story, speak louder (or softer), increase the pace, say something provocative, stop talking… Do something.

I want my audience to listen to me, to give me their undivided attention. If they are on their phones, I’m losing—even if they are praising my keynote on Twitter. I want them to stop. I want them to listen.

Bonus: If people start asking unrelated, irrelevant questions, you are losing. Do something differently.

6. Don’t confess that you are accelerating; just do it.

To admit that you’re speeding up, or skipping slides, attempting to finish faster is to expose a lack of control. It reveals weakness.

If you need to skip slides because you want to finish on time, keep talking, create a bridge from where you are to where you need to be. the audience won’t notice any pivots; only you know your original presentation.

If you realize you are boring the heck out of people, don’t say, “I realize this part is boring; I’ll get to the good stuff soon.” Just jump ahead.

If you realize you need to speed through a section, don’t tell the audience. Just do it. (Ideally, just jump to the end, because rushing degrades the quality and retention of a presentation.)

Bottom line: It is challenging and frightening to stand in front of an audience of professionals and persuade them to see the world the way you see it. But that challenge offers a rare opportunity to activate a large group of people on your behalf, to drive them to work on your ideas toward not only their goals, but yours as well. When you do it right, you’ll find it immensely soul nourishing. It is why I do it, despite tossing and turning sleeplessly every night before. I remain a victim of impostor syndrome. My nerves still go wild every time I walk on stage.

But it couldn’t be more worth it, and I’m excited for you to find the same joy in persuasive storytelling.

-Avinash.

How might we…

“most of us try to fix a problem as fast as possible without stopping to think about what the problem really is.”

How might we…

Ask for what you want to solve, not just make a similar product to the one you want to beat… good read

Google and Facebook still use the 3-word question that saved a $225 billion company in the 1970s

Google and Facebook still use the 3-word question that saved a $225 billion company in the 1970s