Employment law attorney Mike Maslanka reviews As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick by Peter Meyers and Shann Nix.
If you’re thinking about a presentation you need to give, take a look at As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick, a new book by Peter Meyers and Shann Nix. Unfortunately, when you’re about to give a presentation, your reptile brain tells you to focus on your fears because that is how you will survive. After all, it worked 30,000 years ago. But Meyers and Nix advise against becoming a hostage to your fears. When we do that, we ask ourselves the wrong questions ― e.g., What is missing from my talk? Will I forget what to say? Will the audience find out I’m not as smart as they think I am?
Instead, the authors toss out this idea: Ask yourself questions that are embedded with positive presumptions ― e.g., What is the best part of this presentation? What am I most passionate about in this material? How can I make a difference? Meyers and Nix note that “positive presumption” questions aren’t positive thinking, which they describe as “trying to hypnotize yourself into a different mindset.” By contrast, positive presumption questions force you to think of new possibilities and shift your thinking from “Will I succeed?” to “How will I succeed?” The final advice is to wire your brain with the right questions well before the event.
Michael Maslanka is a partner in the Dallas, Texas, office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP. He has 30 years of experience in litigation and trial of employment law cases. He is the editor of Texas Employment Law Letter, and he also authors the “Work Matters” blog for Texas Lawyer.