How to Use the Secrets of Great TED Presenters in Your Online Meetings

 20th April 2017 by gihan

The world-famous “TED Talks” have set a new standard in presentation skills. Many of the techniques of TED presenters can be adapted for online use, even in shorter presentations as part of online meetings. Learn from the best TED Talks, and adapt these techniques to make your next online meeting zing!

Join me in this webinar, hosted by Logmein (the people behind GoToWebinar, GoToTraining and GoToMeeting), as I share the secrets of the best TED speakers, and show you how to use them in your online meetings.

In this live, interactive webinar, you will learn how to:

  • Build rapport with a remote audience
  • Use your webcam effectively to provide a more personal connection
  • Shift the energy regularly with interactive engagement techniques
  • Design attractive slides (fast!) when presenting data, facts and other detailed material

All of these techniques apply just as well to in-person presentations. So if you make any presentations at all, come along to this webinar and learn how to take your presentation skills to another level.

When: Tuesday 25th April, 11am BST (U.K.), 7pm Perth, 9pm Sydney/Melbourne

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Property Managers: How Smart Are You, Really?

 18th April 2017 by gihan

Experience is useful, but it can also get in the way – especially in a fast-changing world where the old solutions don’t necessarily work anymore.

Think about situations in your business where you might be acting on auto-pilot because you’re just responding to familiar patterns. For example:

  • When you make a management listing presentation to a new client, do you just make a standard presentation every time, or do you really listen to what this specific owner needs for their property and the way they deal with you?
  • If a tenant causes a minor problem, do you automatically react based on other tenants you have known, or do you take the time to discover their unique situation before you respond?
  • If your most junior team member suggests an idea in a team meeting, do you reject it because “We tried that before and it didn’t work”, or treat it (and her!) with respect and consider it seriously?
  • When somebody posts a negative comment about you on your Facebook page, do you hit back immediately because it raises long-held personal beliefs and emotions, or do you stop and take the time to push those patterns aside so you can respond more appropriately?
  • Do you lump all your agency’s salespeople into the same group because “They are in Sales, and don’t understand Property Management”, or do you treat each of them as skilled, talented, and motivated individuals who can help you build your business as well?
  • Do your processes, systems, policies, and procedures force everybody (tenants, owners, and your team) to fit into one way of doing things, or are they flexible enough to accommodate individual needs?

I wrote about this in an article “Is your own brain your number one threat?” for Elite Property Manager magazine. If you would like to read more about the dangers of operating on auto-pilot, you can download and read the full article here.

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Future Proof – Align Your Business Strategy with Future Trends

 13th April 2017 by gihan

Disruption has become a bit of a buzzword now – and it’s become so hyped up it’s lost a lot of its meaning. You hear that you’re being disrupted, you know you need to do something about it, but you don’t exactly know WHAT disruption means, and then you don’t know HOW to manage it. In this podcast, we look at global megatrends affecting us all, the six biggest disruptive forces that could turn your business upside down, and how to do your strategic planning so it’s aligned with future trends.

Listen To the Episode

The Fit for the Future Podcast brings you regular ideas, interviews and insights about how you, your teams and your organisation can become fit for the future.

More ways to engage with me:

Published, Not Polished – The Four-Step Secret to New Media Success

 6th April 2017 by gihan

Published, Not Polished - The Four-Step Secret to New Media Success

Social media and other new media channels are an important part of business and the workplace. Younger generations are “digital natives” and take them for granted, but many others – including many leaders, managers and business owners – struggle to master them. Understand the key differences between old and new media, and learn how to use them effectively for communication and collaboration.

You can watch the recording here:

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“Your line “When was the last time you did something for the first time” struck a chord. Also, concept of reverse mentoring – very interesting.”

“Reminder about moving away from text”

“4 principles of new media”

“That I’m probably more familiar with new media than I imagined.”

“Loved the 3 action steps & the question…when was the last time you learnt something completely new.? We all need to enrich ourselves in order to grow & develop regardless of our stage in life.”

“That new media is visual, not just print”

“The concept of conversation rather than commercial.”

“The reverse mentoring – I talk to my daughter about things, but now I can see our discussions in new light.”

“New media principles and key actions”

“Get a reverse mentor”

“Quantity not quality”

“I learned there is so much I didn’t know that I didn’t know! So hard to keep abreast of all the latest technology – thanks for sharing so generously Gihan”

“How quickly the technology gets old!!!!!”

“A talented young lady has appeared as a consultant to our wilderness and nature tours, really enthusiastic about our products and would be a great reverse mentor”

“”The distinction between new and old media.”

The Future Proof Webinar Series

The Future Proof webinar series will keep you in touch with our future - what's ahead, what it means for us, and how to stay ahead of the game.

In each webinar, I'll cover an important topic about the future - for example, the shift of power to Asia, the changing workplace, healthcare technology, the shift to customer-centric business, big data, and more. This is not just theory; I'll also give you practical examples and ideas for you to future-proof your organisation, teams, and career.

Register here

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The Future of Medicine is the Patient … err, Customer

 31st March 2017 by gihan

Last year, my parents moved house after 40 years. When searching for a new local GP, my 80-year-old father’s first source of information was online reviews he found on Google. Although he’s intelligent and computer-savvy, he’s hardly the stereotype of the typical social-media-obsessed Internet user. And yet even he knew – and used – the power of the tools at his fingertips.

The last few years have seen dramatic changes in healthcare technology – such as 3-D printed organs, smartphone ECG devices, predictive analytics and Big Data, and nanotechnology robotic surgery. But the biggest change in healthcare is the profoundly different relationship between patients and providers.

It’s become a cliché to say healthcare is becoming like a business and patients are acting more like customers. And yet, many healthcare providers don’t understand this profound change in their profession.

Siemens highlighted this in their “Picture the Future” report about healthcare in Australia in 2020: We’re changing focus from cure to prevention, from sickness to wellness, from acute events to chronic diseases, and – most importantly – from patients to customers.

Eric Topol describes this shift in his book “The Patient Will See You Now”. You don’t even need to read the book – the title gives away the punchline.

But, even if you understand it, are you living it?

Healthcare consumers are customers first and patients second, and expect to be treated that way. They expect instant access to information, communication via e-mail and SMS, ownership of their private data, fast response times, and the right to review poor service (and praise exceptional service). They don’t want to sit for hours in germ-filled waiting rooms, no longer automatically trust a white coat and stethoscope, and won’t rely on an opinion from just one healthcare professional.

Deloitte’s Centre for Health Solutions asked patients how comfortable they would feel dealing differently with medical professionals. The results offer a fascinating insight into the modern patient:

  • 60% would be comfortable with video consultations rather than an in-person appointment.
  • 55% were happy to receive medical images (such as x-rays) by e-mail.
  • Almost three-quarters would be happy choosing a treatment online based on advice sent by their medical professionals.
  • Almost three-quarters would prefer e-mail and SMS consultations.

In most other industries, suppliers would be falling over each other to serve these customer needs. In healthcare … not so much, unfortunately. A Price Waterhouse Coopers survey of doctors showed many of them simply will not adopt these practices. Here are their top five reasons:

  • 45% said they have concerns about patients’ privacy and security.
  • Almost as many said they don’t get paid for things like e-mail, SMS and video consults (there’s no CMBS code for it!)
  • One in three said it would be too expensive to implement.
  • About the same number didn’t know enough to make an informed decision.
  • A quarter said it would disrupt their current workflow.

What about you? Are these real reasons for you not to change – or just excuses? It’s always easy to find reasons to say No, but it takes real leadership to say Yes.

I wrote this article for Medical Forum WA, where it appeared in the February 2017 issue. Read the magazine online at

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Think Sharp: Great Minds Don’t Think Alike

 29th March 2017 by gihan

Every month, I host a “business book club” at my house for a group of 15 people. Each month, we choose a business book – the most recent was Daniel Coyle’s book “The Talent Code” – and discuss it, accompanied by catered food and a few bottles of red wine.

It works extremely well, for two reasons.

First, we have people from diverse professional backgrounds – including mining, aged care, education, the arts, marketing, financial planning, accounting, and IT. We also have diversity in other areas: both men and women, different ages and generations, and from different cultures. We didn’t design it that way, but it’s a big advantage.

Second, we have a clear focus (the book of the month). Our conversation always extends beyond the book itself, but it’s a common starting point for everybody.

The group always generates a variety of interesting insights and new ideas. I always walk away with something new I can apply to my life, and I hope the other participants feel the same way.

I facilitate the meeting, and we capture our thinking in different ways. Last month, we used sticky notes on a whiteboard, like this:

Even if you can’t read the details, I’m sure you can see the variety and breadth of ideas.

This is the core secret to sharp thinking.

Our recipe for success has two ingredients: Diverse backgrounds and a clear focus. That’s the ideal combination for sharp thinking, which leads to innovation.

Combining diversity and focus in this way gives us four options:

All of them have their purpose and use, so let’s explore them in turn …

Similar Backgrounds + Vague Goal = Fixed Thinking

This is the default mode in most workplaces, where people mostly do routine work (and – if you’re lucky – with occasional flashes of brilliance). It would be harsh to say they are “plodding along”, but they are definitely not innovative. They bond through their similarities, and might not have specific goals, so there’s no need to stretch or think differently.

That doesn’t sound very inspiring – and it’s not – but most people aren’t doing inspiring work all the time. Fixed thinking and routine work are important. Fixed thinking only becomes a problem if it’s the only kind of thinking you have.

Similar Backgrounds + Clear Focus = Narrow Thinking

Many leaders try to break people out of fixed thinking by giving them a clear focus – at an individual, team or organisational level. That will definitely narrow their thinking, and this often creates positive results. In fact, that’s the way most projects work: You set a goal, share that goal, and then work towards it.

Narrow thinking is useful for project work. But it’s not so good for innovation, because it can lead to groupthink, where you end up with bad ideas just because everybody agrees. Innovation is not a popularity contest!

Diverse Backgrounds + Vague Goal = Wide Thinking

Alternatively, instead of narrowing their focus, you might try breaking out of fixed thinking by increasing the diversity of thinking in your team. You can do this from natural sources (diversity in age, gender, culture, and so on) or by artificial means (creativity exercises, off-site retreats, flexible workplaces, and the like).

This widens the thinking of the group, and can be extremely useful for generating new ideas. But it runs the risk of just creating a talkfest, where you get lots of ideas but not many results.

Diverse Backgrounds + Clear Focus = Sharp Thinking

Finally, we get to the best option for innovation, which combines the previous two areas. To get the best ideas, take a diverse group of thinkers and give them a clear focus. That’s sharp thinking: The diversity generates more ideas, and the focus means you narrow them and sharpen them towards specific goals.

Ideally, you will build a diverse team and continue to encourage diverse thinking, so that innovation becomes a natural part of your workplace. If you’re not there yet (and most teams aren’t), work on those two areas:

  1. Encourage more diverse thinking in your team.
  2. Channel their ideas into clearly-defined goals and projects.

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The New Skills for the Legal Profession (and the Rest of Us, Too)

 21st March 2017 by gihan

Last week, I presented the closing keynote presentation for the Queensland Law Society’s Annual Symposium.

Their theme was “Framing the Future”, and the previous speaker was Professor Nick James, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law at Bond University. Professor Dean spoke about what it takes to be a legal professional in the 21st Century, and I was pleased to see his emphasis on people skills rather than technical skills.

Here is one of his slides pointing out the difference between “old” and “new” law:

In case you can’t read the details, here’s a summary:



Legalistic mindset   

   Commercial realism

Orthodoxy orientation   

   Digital literacy

Emotional distance   

   Emotional intelligence

Demographic bias   

   Cultural competency

Moral neutrality   

   Moral leadership

He was addressing the legal profession, but his advice applies to all of us. If you want to be fit for the future, start by building the five skills he recommends:

  • Commercial realism
  • Digital literacy
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Cultural competency
  • Moral leadership

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Draw to Win, by Dan Roam

 17th March 2017 by gihan

If you have already read Dan Roam’s bestselling book “The Back of the Napkin”, you know his philosophy of conveying ideas and messages using simple drawings. This is his fourth book, and it’s a kind of “best of” book, summarising the main ideas in a concise form. There’s some repeated material from the previous books, so don’t expect a whole bunch of new stuff. But if you’re looking for a quick guide to sketching out your ideas to cut through the clutter, this is a great start. And if you haven’t read his previous books, start with this one.

The book’s subtitle “A crash course on how to lead, sell and innovate with your visual mind” promises a lot, and if you take this literally, you might be disappointed. This is not really a book about leadership, sales, or innovation. Rather, it assumes you already have some of these skills, and it shows you how to share your ideas with others using drawings, models, sketches, and diagrams.

I think this book is most valuable for people who say, “But I don’t know how to draw!”. Roam explains why that doesn’t matter, and why you don’t need to be a Leonardo or Picasso to create simple ideas that convey a powerful message.

This book is also extremely useful if you’re caught in the “Death by PowerPoint” trap, with presentation slides full of dense blocks of text, long bullet lists, or complex graphs. You know you want to escape this trap, but you don’t know how. Well, this book will show you how.

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