In response to my article with the summer reading list, one of the readers asked me the question “I wonder when do you get time to do the readings?”.

Well, as a matter of fact, I have always been reading a lot. I like to absorb new information about topics that interest me, both on business and nonbusiness related items. In business, it allows me to sometimes combine it with situations I encounter with my clients, which can lead to added value in the form of new solutions and insights.

Reading can indeed consume a lot of time. I have yet to meet the first business leader who has plenty of time and does not know what to do with it and thus spends it all on reading. We all are busy and sometimes we let our schedule be filled by others. However, reading can be such a rewarding activity! And so it continues to be a balancing act between the things we need to do and the things we want to do.

Recently I managed to increase my reading while having one of the busiest 6 months. That sounds like a contradiction, so what is the secret? I discovered audiobooks. No rocket science at all, no new way of super fast reading, just plain old technology and it finally came to my smartphone. So, nowadays, when driving my car, I listen to audio books. The great Amazon Audible service nicely synchronizes between audio and Kindle books. This means that in the evenings, when I pick-up the Kindle version of the same book I was listening to during daytime, I can seamlessly continue to read where I left off on the audio version.

Currently I am reading the book “TED Talks – The official TED guide to public speaking” * by Chris Anderson. Absolutely worthwhile to read! The biggest take aways so far?

  • Don’t let your slides distract the audience. Your slides are there to support your talk, not to lead the talk.
  • Rehearsal is key in giving a natural talk. Only a very few people are natural talents in the way that they can give an impactful speech instantly.

You might think that these first take aways are no big eye openers. I agree, so two questions about your latest presentation:

  1. How distractful were your slides?
  2. How much time did you spend on rehearsing the presentation?