Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Floor Routines Gone Bad

YouTube has quickly become the location of many of our stories in life.  This compilation video of girls’ gymnastic floor routines is helping us see how our stories need proper context to be understood.

Hideous Choreography Gymnastics Montage – YouTube.

As a communicator one of the most important things you can do is ensure your audience understands the context surrounding your story.  If you fail to set the context properly, the audience is disoriented and you or your message look out of place.

Here are the A-E’s of elements to consider when setting context:

  • Acronyms or Abbreviations – Have you made sure everyone knows what you mean when you use short hand.  After all, what you mean by CYA could be different than what I mean.
  • Background – does your audience understand the proper background related to your story. This helps eliminate a number of confusions because your audience understands the time and place of your story.
  • Characters – Is your audience aware of who the protagonist and antagonist are? Do they know who they should root for or against?
  • Difficulty – In gymnastics, the scoring system is based upon the difficulty of the routine.  If your message requires a degree of expertise or concentration, let you audience know.  Alerting the audience to the need to “put their thinking caps on” is helpful.
  • Ending – Though I enjoyed the video, I felt like it was a bit long.  I think it should have been three minutes versus five.  I’ve sat in presentations where I thought we were at the end of the story, but we weren’t.  Give your audience an expectation regarding the ending and live up to it.

What advice do you have regarding setting the context for your presentation?

What is the worst example you can recall of a message that lacked context?

Dressed to Kill: Your Fashion Choice and Your Audience

Is the way you are dressed killing your credibility?

I love the shift in our culture away from a stuffy look to a comfortable look.  Escaping neck ties, panty hose, overcoats, and those blouses with the weird neck thing, are welcome! Yet, just as I’ve escaped so many of those types of trappings I’m wondering how it has effected our ability to take each other seriously.

Recently, former Vice Presidential candidate and Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin showed up at a political rally dressed very casually.  The Washington Post’s Diana Reese described it this way:

First, her shoes: Five-inch wedges. Her black capris weren’t quite skin-tight but tight enough, and her t-shirt with its Superman logo emphasized her figure. She never once removed her oversized sunglasses.

Sarah Palin in Casual Attire

Palin in casual attire speaking at a political rally
(picture from Washington Post)

In fairness to the governor, that’s how we dress today.  Yet, if I had been in the audience that day, I would have been surprised.

You may be familiar with the saying “It’s the suit that makes the man!”  Whether you agree or disagree with the statement, how we dress matters.  If you want to be taken seriously, dress seriously.

I’m not suggesting we should return to coat and tie or stockings and skirts, but I am asking you to bear in mind your attire shapes an impression.  If you are a public speaker, the temptation is to dress at the same level as your audience.  My advice, as someone who speaks to various-sized crowds for a living, dress one level better than your audience.

So here’s what this might look like:

  • If your audience is in shorts, wear jeans
  • If your audience is in jeans, wear khakis
  • If your audience is in khakis, wear slacks
  • If your audience in in slacks, wear a suit
  • If your audience is in suits, wear a nicer suit.

Dress one step more formal than your audience.

You may disagree with me, but remember, I’m not the one you need to impress.  You need to impress your audience.

Reese adds this comment to her first visit to see Gov. Palin:

I’m sorry, but I’d like my minister, my doctor and yes, my politicians, to look and dress for their parts.

144 Hours • 1,500 Miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 6)

As I write this final entry into my IYC2012 adventure, I’m reminded of how full the week was.  When I finally made it to bed on this last day, I had been rock climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, laughing, dancing, surfing, ninja-ing, praying, singing, driving, crying, and just about any other “ing” you can add.

The final day of the conference featured Charlie Hall leading worship and Francis Chan delivering the keynote message.  Francis is very popular on the speaking circuit of Christian conferences.  This would be my third time to see him live.  I’ll never forget seeing him for the first time at the Exponential Church Planters Conference in 2009.  The house band and creative team introduced Francis using AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”

Francis’ message was about the power of being connected in our faith journey.  As he shared about his personal desire to see God work in his day to day life like he did through the prophet Elijah, Francis confessed for that to happen he would have to be in a position where death was a possibility.  He emphasized that we want to see God at work, but we tend to stay within our holy-huddles, aka church, and expect God to do the miraculous.  God never said he’d do the miraculous at church.  The scriptures help us see that God does the miraculous among the world, particularly in the face of persecution.  Francis added that the role of church is to “incourage” us.  We gather and connect as the church to put courage in one another.  When we connect it should be to pray for boldness in one another and to build up each other’s courage.  It was a powerful message to close out the conference.

GPTeens preparing for the ride home

The Grace Point teens and I enjoyed our last meal in Denver as scarfed down some amazing burgers from Red Robin’s Burger Works.    From there we packed it up for our 11 hour drive home.

We took a different route home.  This time we spent more time in eastern New Mexico.  It rained a few times and we were fortunate to see close to six different rainbows.  The two-lane highways of New Mexico were desolate, but they held their own enchantment.  It’s easy to underestimate the terrain of an area, especially elevation, until you come across a big change.  That’s exactly what happen as we made our way down a 1,000+ foot drop.

We stopped for dinner at The Annex in Logan, New Mexico.  Who knew there was a state park and lake there.  We didn’t until we saw all the sunburnt people and water craft.  We had hoped to get a peek of Ute lake, but the sun had set and we needed to get home.

We can see Texas from here!

We approached Farwell, Texas right at midnight.  As we were getting ready to cross the New Mexico-Texas border, a train came barreling down the track.  We sat and watched as this train crossed in front of us for nearly 7 minutes.  We were ready to be in Texas and the train was holding us up.

Pushing through the empty roads of west Texas, we arrived in Odessa just after 2AM.  After dropping off all the teens at their homes or pick up points, I made it home and into bed by 3:15AM – 144 hours after I had woke up to begin this journey.

It was worth it!

Here is our highlight video of our entire trip.  Thanks to GPTeen Abi for putting this video together.

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