In Body language, Facial expression, Feedback, Gesturing, Luminary, Mindset, News, Owning space, Politicians, The Winning Voice, Video, Voice

‘What is deep understanding? How can you realise when you don’t know something deeply?  In everything you do, refine your skills and knowledge about fundamental concepts and simple cases.

Once is never enough. As you revisit the fundamentals, you will find new insights.

It may appear that returning to basics is a step backward and requires additional time and effort; however, by building on firm foundations you will soon

see your true abilities soar higher and faster’

In a recent post, Are your finishes sloppy, I shared a champion skiier’s view on the importance of not being sloppy.

Aligned to not being sloppy, is the above quote from 5 Elements of effective thinking by Edward M. Burger and Michael Starbird.

The authors share a telling example of the wide gap in expertise, in the performance of simple piece of music by masterclass students – versus the performance of the same piece, by a true virtuoso.

Let me explain

Tony Plog, an luminary trumpet player, once held a masterclass. He asked his masterclass students to play a portion of their respective, selected pieces. The students played their pieces very well, and as normal Plog gave them advice on how to improve.

However, he then asked them to play a very easy, warm-up piece. One that novice players might be given.

After the students played the simple piece, Plog played it. Burger and Starbird take up the story:

…but when he (Plog) played it, it was not childish. It was exquisite. Each note a delightful sound. He gave the small phrase a delicate shape, revealing a flowing sense of dynamics that enable us to hear meaning in those simple notes.

The students’ attempts did not come close –

the contrast was astounding.

Tony explained that mastering an efficient, nuanced performance of simple pieces, allows one to play spectacularly difficult pieces with greater control and artistry . . . The lesson was simple.  Deep work on simple, basic ideas helps to build true virtuosity – not just in music – but in everything.’

Own the Conversation

With the view that deep work on fundamentals and simple basic ideas and techniques helps to build true virtuosity,

In the next seven days, focus on mastering a  simple interaction that your have in your role.

Here are samples interactions to choose from:

  • Master how you open a meeting you regularly chair.
  • Master how you explain what you do to a stranger at a networking event.
  • Master the open and close of a coffee meeting.
  • Master a brief update to your boss on your achievements.
  • Master a chance encounter with a colleague/prospective client.


p.s.  Here is a look back in time to former U.S. president Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address (please see clip and clip link below).

Watch the first 60 seconds of the clip, at least.

In particular pay attention to the following aspects of the presentation.

– Obama’s consummate ownership of the presentation from start to finish. The ownership of time. Pitch-perfect pauses. Never giving the impression of rushing. So in tune with the moment, connected with himself, his message and the audience.

– His ability to shift between a light and serious tone.

– How, near the latter half of the presentation, after praising the US military, he ‘drove home’ his respect for the military through repeatedly nodding, as the audience continued applauding.

– Despite the presentation running for 60 minutes, how quickly the time passed.

Here is the LINK to the clip

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