We recently introduced you to Carole Murko, a long-time Hired Gun and founder of Heirloom Meals. In the second installment of How To Do What You Love, Carole shares with us the trials and tribulations of launching her own company, as well as joys of eventual success. Her Thanksgiving special airs this week on your local PBS station!
To me, Heirloom Meals was destined to be a TV series with me as the host, sharing the stories and recipes of my guests. And, as a big thinker, I went straight to the head of the class. I networked and found a lifestyle TV producer who loved the Heirloom Meals concept and helped me produce a five-minute demo reel. We brought it to public television. They loved it. And they gave us a letter of interest to produce a 26-episode series. There was a catch, however: public television does not provide funding. Read More →
Monday was Veteran’s Day. Today, unemployment for post-9/11 veterans still sits at a staggering 10%. That’s a pretty grim employment picture to return to after serving your country. Not only do you risk your life, but you also risk your retirement. It doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?
Returning servicemen have two really hard battles to win when it comes to job hunting. First, vets have to figure out how to translate their military skills to what’s needed in Corporate America, but in many fields — digital in particular — those needs are constantly evolving. Maintaining relevancy, by which I mean “applying your work experience to what’s needed in a new job,” is a challenging task for even the most seasoned of job seekers, so imagine what it’s like for a returning vet. I’ll give you a hint: darn near impossible. Read More →
We were going to start this post with a clever analogy that linked the arrival of autumn with all the new stuff on our blog. But as it turns out, we were a few weeks late to the leaf-changing party and, frankly, the whole thing just wasn’t that clever. So let’s skip to the good part. Read More →
AP Photo Pool/Michael Reynolds
Last week, I wrote about what the first presidential debate can teach public speakers. This time around, I decided to switch gears a bit and consider the vice presidential debate with an eye toward those in Guns-land who are currently (or hoping to be) interviewing for gigs. Because I found myself traveling home via NJ Transit during the debate itself, I was forced to follow the whole thing on Twitter using a CNN hash tag. But being left to my devices gave me a great perspective on what TV audiences found most affecting, effective, distracting, and annoying – much of it focusing on Joe Biden and Paul Ryan’s presentational styles. When it was all said and done, I came away with four themes interviewees can learn from. Read More →
Whatever else you thought about the performances turned in by President Obama and Governor Romney’s during Wednesday night’s presidential debate (as well as that of Jim Lehrer, who had the nerve to keep interrupting them with questions!), the occasion was generally a study in good public speaking tactics. Though President Obama and Governor Romney shared a number of similar presentational techniques, the two did take some divergent approaches. Here’s a quick review of things they did right and not-so-right, as well as a few key takeaways that can help make you a better public speaker. Read More →
Last Friday, we sounded the call for your worst presentation horror stories. While we certainly don’t take any pleasure in your pain (okay, maybe one of us does), we do want you to keep submitting them! The winner of our #presentastrophe contest gets to be the Guest of Honor (and Guests of Honor attend for free) at Joel Schwartzberg’s Nail That Presentation! class this Wednesday, October 3. Submit your #presentastrophe by midnight tonight for a chance to win! You can leave it in the comments below or tweet @TheHiredGuns if you can fit your tale into a tweet-sized nugget of presentation horror.
Tomorrow, we’ll ask Joel to pick the winner and we’ll post it, along with the best of the rest, here on the blog.
You know that dream where you have to give a presentation and you’re woefully unprepared? The one where everyone laughs at you? The one that makes you wake up in a cold sweat?
Of course you know that dream. We all do.
That’s where Joel Schwartzberg comes in. Joel, our resident Hall of Fame public speaker, is hosting a class on that very subject this Wednesday, October 3 at The Hired Guns Hive. He’ll rework your sentences, polish your posture, and give you some invaluable tips to warm up, calm down, and get focused before a speaking engagement. Better still, you can go for free. Tell us about your worst #presentastrophe. The Gun who shares the most dire presentation moment will be given a free seat at Joel’s upcoming seminar.
Tweet your story to @TheHiredGuns using #presentastrophe or leave your tale of public speaking woe in the comments below. We’ll round them up, have Joel pick his favorite, and announce our winner on the blog next week. We’ll also share the best of the rest with the Guns’ very sympathetic audience.
Joel Scwhartzberg is the Michael Jordan of public speaking. Sure, that’s a cliche that gets thrown around a lot these days (“My uncle is pretty much the Michael Jordan of dishwasher repair”), but in this case the comparison is apt. He won the U.S. National Championship in after-dinner speaking. He won the Massachusetts State Championship in persuasive speaking. He was ranked among the top ten public speakers overall in the US. The man is in the National Forensic Association’s Hall of Fame for his public speaking.
Let that sink in for a moment.
We asked Joel to share his thoughts on the upcoming presidential debates (the first of which occurs the night of his Guns Academy class) and what the Guns’ audience can learn from them. Below is the first of several posts on the debates and career management.
The upcoming presidential debates aren’t real debates at all, of course, but a series of well-rehearsed, carefully-worded, tiny speeches written by committee. (So much for candid truths). But while not much new can be learned at this point about Obama and Romney’s policy positions, a lot can be learned from their public speaking styles. Read More →
We sat down with Larry Smith, our coach for tomorrow’s What’s Your Story? course, to talk about work, life, and presenting it all in just six words.
What is a Six-Word Memoir®?
Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. As the legend goes, he wrote: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In November 2006, at the online storytelling community I founded called SMITH Magazine, we gave the six-word story a personal twist, calling it a “Six-Word Memoir.” (And partnering with a little-know company called Twitter for what was supposed to be just a one-month contest to win an iPod). The idea is as simple as it sounds: tell the story of your life in exactly six words. Those six words can be an attempt to sum up your whole life — think of it as the title of your autobiography or epitaph on your tombstone, as Mario Batali did when he wrote, “Brought it to a boil often” — or one aspect of your personal life (“According to Facebook we broke up”) or professional life (“I tell amazing stories in PowerPoint”).
How does it help professionals refine their personal brand?
The parameters of just six words help you get to the essence of who you are and what you do best. Ever notice that the higher up you get on the ladder, the shorter your emails and meetings can be? Being brief, precise and very much in tight control of your own personal story is a boon for anyone in any part of their life — from your online dating profile to your resume. Read More →
As impossible as it may seem, summer’s already over. It’s time to put away the board shorts and flip flops and start thinking seriously about honing your professional skills. But unlike your kids, your fall schedule has something to look forward to. This fall, The Hired Guns Academy offers four distinct courses to help you take the next step in your career.
First off is What’s Your Story? Master the Art of the Elevator Pitch and Harness the Power of Short-Storytelling. On Wednesday, September 19, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH magazine and author of It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure, helps you hone your “elevator pitch” and teaches you how to make it “flex” depending on the audience you’re speaking to and the stage of your career you’re in, so people remember your name and what you do best. Sign up here.
But wait – there’s more (yes, we just went there.) We want you to take a crack at crafting your own six-word CV. Make them funny, make them heart-wrenching, make them suit-and-tie serious — just make sure they sell you in just six words. Tweet them @TheHiredGuns using #6wordCV, email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just leave them in the comments below. The best six-word CV, as determined by our eminently qualified and highly vetted panel of celebrity judges, wins free admission to Larry’s September 19 class. We’ll share the best submissions on our blog, but only the best six words will win. Read More →
Freelancers and freelancers-in-training: for more of Beth Temple’s hard-won, practical tips on getting paid what you deserve, check out her May 16th Hired Guns Academy class on Freelance Success: Independence, Not Insecurity.
It’s no surprise that the two most common questions I get in my class are about how to price yourself and how to get paid. Although we are in it for the love, love can’t buy food and shelter, or a ticket to a movie now and again. Read More →
This Thursday, October 27, The Hired Guns Academy will be hosting “What’s Your Story?,” our popular class on storytelling and elevator pitches. Below, the class’s instructor and creator, Larry Smith, talks about when he first realized that limits and parameters are your friend when it comes to creating a powerful, authentic story about your work life.
I was at a wedding this past weekend. The happy couple kissed. The dancing began. And soon enough it was toast time. One by one friends and family took the microphone to pay tribute to the bride and groom. And one by one those loving tributes turned into rambling disasters — often with no end in sight. “Somebody needs to wrestle the mic from him,” I heard a guest say at one point, in a less-than-hushed tone. Still, everyone was in a good mood and laughed off the hot messes who were doing their best to fete the happy couple.
After all, you’re allowed a certain amount of slack at a wedding. But when you fail to get your story straight when the stakes are higher — at a job interview, for example — the consequences are often much worse.
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On Monday, October 3, Noah Scalin will teach a Hired Guns Academy class on ways to stay creatively productive.
“In every creative person’s life, we arrive occasionally at a place where creativity stops flowing. For a while we’re happily riding a creative wave and then out of the blue—nothing. For a terrifying few hours (or days, or weeks), we think the next idea will never come. We become afraid that our ideas are not good enough and probably never really were good enough. At worst, some of us just give up completely.”–designer Peleg Top from the preface to my book, Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing
Does that sound familiar? It’s definitely a place I have found myself many times over the course of my 17 years as a creative professional. And while I always managed to find the way back to my creative path eventually, it took the unusual commitment of making a skull every day for a year to finally figure out some practical (and reproducible), ways for generating creative energy at a moment’s notice.
Since I can’t put you in a time machine and have you do your own yearlong project, I’ve created the Get Unstuck class as the next best thing. We’ll cover The Big Seven, a set of basic tools for stretching your creative muscles, which I learned during my own creative journey. And then we’ll put those tools into practice, with a hands-on exercise that will get your creative fires stoked and give you some experiences that you can apply to your own work right away.
There’s no need to wait for the muse of inspiration to show up once you learn to turn on your own creative tap. And this is the class that will give you the tools to you get (and keep) your creativity flowing.
To register for “How to Get (And Keep) Your Creativity Flowing,” click here.
We recently talked with Mark Hurst, the User Experience entrepreneur and writer behind the Gel Conference and Creative Good consulting firm, about his background and some of the simple steps that people can do to avoid getting overwhelmed by email, media, and information in general.
I think lots of people may have an inkling that they have a problem with information overload. But where should they start? Are there any simple steps that people can do?
Move your action items to a to-do list. Just try working from a to-do list, rather than the inbox, for a few days. There are other helpful things that people can do to reduce stress and overload, but that’s where I’d start.
Has changing technology, such as the rise of social media, made the problem worse, or has it always been this bad? Keeping up definitely seems like it takes more work these days. . . .
There are certainly more sources of distraction today, more easily accessed, than we’ve ever had in human history. However, I’d also point out that even 15 years ago, people were complaining about being overloaded by email. Personally I find that it’s just as easy today to solve overload as it was in the mid-90s. Empty your inbox and then focus on a to-do list to get your work done. Read More →