After a wonderful learning experience (read: “Oh, WordPress can delete everything just like that?”) over the weekend, previous blog posts are temporarily unavailable. Sorry! We are working hard to get them all back in working order. Favorites like the Paperless Interpreter Part I will be restored ASAP, with Part II soon to follow.
Thanks for your patience.
This little business has me doing fantastically interesting and varied work all over Dallas/Fort Worth and sometimes beyond. And it just keeps getting better. This year was off the charts and I am thankful.
Inspired by this article in the Harvard Business Review, rather than specific goals I’m going to look at what I want to spend time on in 2013:
- Continuing education. From a course on advanced legal editing to a workshop on improving my speaking voice, regular continuing education has been worthwhile both to improve my skills and, best of all, to get to know more people. Interpreting is solitary work most of the time so these relaxed learning days are refreshing and a great way to keep improving my game.
- Pro bono services. This year I got to provide almost four weeks of conference interpreting and bilingual multimedia services for nonprofit groups.
- Mentoring. I believe that we are all able to reach back and help someone who is not quite as far down the road as we are. This year I got to help two local interpreters improve their skills and earn higher rates, share advice with a translation student at my alma mater, and continue providing real-world practice for my intern.
- Criminal cases. Although I’ve interpreted hundreds of hours in administrative courts and almost as many in civil cases, so far I’ve been timid about criminal matters. But the criminal cases I have taken have gone great, with very good feedback from defendants, attorneys, and judges, so for 2013 I’ll stop giving preference to civil cases.
- Translation. Interpreting is exhilarating but even after extensive preparation you always drive home from an interpreting job thinking about things you could have expressed better. Translating documents, on the other hand, affords me the chance to be a writer, mulling over the best way to phrase a sentence, researching a little more, sleeping on it and tweaking the text till I’m totally satisfied.
- Non-work. As I ease back from my habitual emphasis on productivity and advancing toward goals, I want to spend more time on spiritual edification and personal interests like photography, guitar, Crossfit, and homemade ice cream.
Does your outlook for 2013 look similar? Is there anything you definitely want to spend more time on this year?
Hat tip to Catherine Christaki, Greek translator, for sharing the Harvard Business Review article on LinkedIn.
Recently, I had a wonderful opportunity to hear Guy Kawasaki speak on Enchantment to a small group of about 200 people in Dallas, Texas. Guy is so good at getting people to listen, most famously during his time at Apple, that companies like GM send him products like Corvettes hoping he will put in a good word.
Guy Kawasaki speaks at the Angelika Theater in Dallas
Click here for a full one-hour video of his Enchantment speech. The fact that Guy gives away the presentation and slides, yet people still pay him to fly in and speak for 30 minutes on the same topic, shows he really practices what he preaches about providing great content and getting people to like you.
During his live chat in Dallas he gave several of tips for presentations. But I also noticed his use of a few presentation techniques that he didn’t mention, but worked extraordinarily well.
What he said was:
- No more than 10 slides. Minimum font size is 30 points.
- No more than 20 minutes long and number your points so people know how close you are to the end.
- Customize the introduction to show that you know where you are. Here in Dallas, he showed up wearing ostrich cowboy boots and told us how much he loved them and would like to see the factory.
But I found a goldmine of subtler techniques underneath the other things he said:
- “What the hell does this picture mean?” Everyone knows that high-definition, striking images help people stay engaged and remember your message. But the relationship to your point doesn’t always have to be obvious; at one point Guy pointed to a bizarre image of pantomime artists and asked the question in everyone’s mind – “What the hell?” He made us look forward to his explanation.
- “My presentation is not displaying properly. I could go over and fix it right now, but I’m not going to.” I have to admit that I’ve put audiences or classes through those awkward moments that stretch on for eternity while I search for the video that was supposed to play but didn’t. Guy, on the other hand, made a Windows joke and told us what was supposed to be on screen. He didn’t lose the audience’s attention for one second. Total control.
- “I have tinnitis in my ear and it’s nearly impossible for me to hear you if there is a lot of other noise. I’m sorry if you try to talk to me and I don’t hear you.” This was Guy’s simple response when the event organizer wanted to cut short the Q&A to move everyone from the quiet theater to the bar area, per the event program. Guy didn’t ask for anything, show one ruffled feather, or create tension. Instead, he gave information and let the organizer decide whether to end the Q&A, knowing this was the last chance for attendees to talk to Guy. Of course, the organizer let the Q&A run over.
Thanks to Social Media Club of Dallas for giving me the chance to learn from watching a true influencer (rare thing indeed) in action.
Note: As part of my Paperless Interpreter experiment, I took handwritten notes for this post using a Bamboo stylus on an iPad 2, using the Notability app. Full report on that part of the experience in a future post.