It is a daily battle for me, someone who aims to communicate a formerly "boring" nerdy message to another person who isn't equally excited or informed about the subject matter. I am totally dependent on good design and have the visual skills of a bat. ...

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Even a Nerd Can Be Heard - NERD TALK - 5 new articles

A picture (and great design) is worth 10235.76 words

 It is a daily battle for me, someone who aims to communicate a formerly "boring" nerdy message to another person who isn't equally excited or informed about the subject matter.  I am totally dependent on good design and have the visual skills of a bat. 

The key to breaking down the communication barrier between me and my audience often lies in a great visual.  I have written untold whitepapers with what I consider clever themes but my message lives or dies based on what happens with the graphics that are used around my (oh so) clever copy. 

Here is an example of a whitepaper I originally crafted for a start up sales tax software company. The layout is my favorite example of excellent design. The designer,  Dirk Mynatt, who must have read at least one or two paragraphs about sales tax, played off of my main character who I named "Ethel".  Ethel, a model employee, is the low tech alternative to an automated solution.

The designer wisely chose a retro theme for the layout. 
Version 1 Startup
Eventually the startup was sold to a bigger corporation which took the very same copy and turned it into this version of the whitepaper. 
Version 2 Corporate

In this version, Ethel has been sent off to a nursing home and is now wearing a dopey grey suit. You cannot even make yourself read enough of this dry looking copy to find out about poor ole Ethel. 

I get big corporate brand policy. I understand consistent look and feel but it's a big fat bummer.

Do the brand police have to suck the life out of everything?   Where's the visual interest? The humor?

For me, it all comes down to finding clients who get my message. Who fit with my tone and style. Who value good design. That's when I can do my best work. Good design makes my words cleverer (?).  (It doesn't however fix bad grammar, or stupid. That is all me.)

I miss the little guys who would take risks and have some fun. 

My basset hound self

Note bowl of grits below the adding machine tape. 

Thank you to Rick Menard for perfectly illustrating my inner basset hound. 


I live for feedback. The worst thing I have ever experienced in a job is no feedback. I would rather have bad news than nothing. I want feedback so I can learn, improve, change course if necessary, get better.  (Check out my LinkedIn post on compliments.)

Every time I speak I rush to read the evaluations. Unfortunately, no matter how many positive responses there are, it is the negative ones I obsess over. What did I do wrong?  Why don't they like me?  Sometimes I carry that around for days.  But eventually, I return to reason and direct my focus to making my next presentation better than the last one. 

When I am on stage delivering a presentation, I feed off of my audience. If I feel them slipping away, I try to adapt my talk to regain their attention. Sometimes that makes me rush through my material and skip over a key point or two.  Other times, it makes me soar. But I have learned that this too can be survived.

Successful comedians learn how to survive what is called "dying on stage". It happens when no one laughs at their joke. They accept it as part of the job. Those who endure  learn to use the audience feedback as a way of constantly perfecting their craft.  I don't know how they do it. 

Winding up 2015 - nerd style

If you need evidence that putting your dream in writing works, I'm here to give you that evidence. Check out this page where I published my desire to be a keynote speaker in 2011. 

I didn't wait until I figured it out. I didn't have all of the answers. I wasn't even sure if I could do it. But I started. And that is 90% of the battle. 

And now I'm doing it. (And this isn't a dream, is it?)  If I can do it, so can YOU!

Wow it has been quite a couple of months. I have been having a great time talkin' nerdy and meeting so many amazing people so far this year - and there is still more to come. 

I was interviewed by Dr. Linda Tucker for a Challenge Your Thinking Podcast, which just became available  here.  

I taught one of my favorite classes to winery folk here in Napa for Wise Academy in late October at the Consentino Winery. You can catch my Demystifying Financials course either as day 3 of the 201 course or all by itself as #203

  • 11/4/15 QBConnect San Jose, CA "How to Get from No Voice to Influencer in 7 Steps or Less" .  What an amazing event!  I met so many wonderful, inspiring people there. 
  • 11/6/15 Toastmasters District 33 conference, Santa Maria, CA "How to say anything with humor."  Really intimidating to speak to so many great speakers in Santa Maria!
  • 11/19/15  SleeterCon, Keynote "Comfort is for Hushpuppies" 
  • 12/08/15   ITA Fall Collaborative, Scottsdale,AZ Closing Keynote:"Making the Most of the Communication Equation < Nerdy Words = >Value"

I hope to see you soon!

While you live, SHINE! 

Why do you do what you do? 

And here is a podcast on the subject thanks to The Bean Counter . 


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