Blogless week…

…that was last week. So much to do, so little time, so blogging took a back seat.

It was a week of new experiences, spending time with fellow professionals I like and respect and a visiting a  much-loved place.

On Sunday I flew in to Cape Town and spent the day at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, one of the most beautiful places I know and love. I cannot get enough of it. I have visited a few times and there is still so much left to explore. I cannot wait to go back.

On Monday I did a talk at the Scrum User Group conference – this was a new experience for me. I am used to speaking in public – for entertainment purposes. This was different because it was an industry talk. I learnt that I am more terrified speaking in front of people, some of which I know, than 500 strangers.

Gimme MC’ing an event full of 500 strangers any day.

Forward in to the new week and blogging once again.

Share Your World – Week 41

Sharing a bit of my world through Cee’s Share Your World questions. Go over to Cee’s blog to participate.

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Would you rather take pictures or be in pictures?

Always being the person behind the camera I have very few recent photos of me, so I would like to be the person in the photos for a change. I was looking for a decent head and shoulders pic of me for my speaker bio and the only suitable one was taken 3 years ago. Hope the audience is going to recognise me next week :-).

What did you most enjoy doing this past week?

Playing with my 5 year old nephew on Saturday, building things, watching Disney channel and his drawing of my house and pool. He’s given my pool 6 steps (it has 3) and I am very blessed that he wants to improve my pool :-).

What is your greatest extravagance?

My Suzuki 750GSXR which is sitting in the garage. I think I should sell it.

Which letter of the alphabet describes you best?

S for Steady

S for Sometimes Scared

S for Strict

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

It was my 22nd wedding anniversary on Saturday, I am grateful for finding someone who is still in my life. I am looking forward to my birthday on Wednesday 🙂 – hint hint…presents…

Talk Like TED

2 months, 3 days, 2 hours and 45 minutes! That’s how long the book drought was. Quite long by my standards.

This week I picked up Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo.

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I had bought it some months ago, purely on impulse. It resonated with me now because I am doing a presentation at the Scrum User Group of South Africa conference later on this month.

I am normally comfortable with speaking in public because I have been a toastmaster for many years. The TED style of presenting intrigues me and I love it and wanted to learn the secrets of great TED talks. I have summarized them below from this valuable book to have if you are or aspire to speaking in public.

Structuring your talk  – create a message map

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The headline idea is rather cool – like the “elevator-pitch” for your talk. Write the headline as though you were tweeting it.

A few more take-aways from the book:

Talk about something you are passionate about.

Tell a story.

Use humour and personal stories and quotes from people you know – they do not have to by famous people to be effective.

Make it memorable -keep facts and stats to a minimum.

Paint a mental picture – invoke all of your audience’s senses, especially the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses. People may not remember your slides but they will remember how you made them feel.

Create jaw-dropping moments.

Teach something new.

Use natural conversational gestures. Be who you are.

End on a high note.

Now go out there and change the world!

In response to WordPress's daily writing prompt: Reader's BlockWhat’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell? Click here for more responses to this writing prompt.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

Two different kinds of dreamy…

Ghirardelli Chocolate, 5LB of it - dreamy!
Ghirardelli Chocolate, 5LB of it – dreamy!
Dreamy scape in India
Dreamy scape in India
WordPress's photo challenge this week: A misty morning, your handsome spouse, your grandmother’s house that’s also your elementary school and the Eiffel Tower — this week, show us something dreamy.

Click here for more kinds of dreamy.

Ready, Set, Done: Gatvol

WordPress daily prompt: Ready, Set, Done. 10 minutes. You and your keyboard (or smartphone. Or tablet. Or pen and paper). No pauses, no edits, no looking back: it’s free-write time! Click here for other entries.

Ten minutes over. Now if you see this, it’s because I have had the courage to post it. After a day like today I don’t care. I’m just gatvol*.

* gatvol – a South African word derived from Afrikaans, meaning to be irritated or sick and tired of something – to put it politely.