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Scribbles

Readability

Reference: Readability for technical writers – Readable, free readability test

Gunning Fog, Coleman Liau and Flesch–Kincaid are three names which are connected to readability levels of a piece of text.

I have always been interested to know how readable my speeches were and used to run them on platforms like Readable.

I then tweaked my speech to make it more readable. That’s right. READABLE.

At some point you realise, speeches are rarely read – they are listened to.

Is there a listenability level? I have not come across one yet. I think speeches are subjectively evaluated by an audience.

Here is my mini tool to help you with the readability of your text that you write to be read. Make no mistake, each Readability level has its own limitations but gives you a rough idea of how readable your text is for different levels of the target reader.

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Scribbles

Toastmasters Timer

Timer for Toastmasters Speeches, Evaluations and Table Topics

Click here for the Toastmasters Timer

This is the first version of the Toastmasters Timer. Stay tuned on the above page for newer versions.

Thank you to Toastmaster Caleb Grove for his Toastmasters Timer. It helped me a lot with practicing for Table Topics, Evaluation and Speeches. Here is his Timer: Speech Timer for Toastmasters (calebgrove.com)

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Scribbles

Climb & Slide

Galaxy Water Slide World (therme-erding.de)

I was in a Theme Park last weekend and experienced water slides in all their glory indoors and outdoors!

Each slide seemed to have two components – the Climb and the Slide.

The Climb

You could climb to the slide with a tube or a mat or just yourself. I found this initial step of getting a tube or mat itself interesting as it sets you up for the slide later.

You could watch a speech with a notebook or just yourself. I find that I approach a speech differently if I actively take notes or passively listen to it.

The climb itself is sometimes a long way and you need to wait in a queue to get to your chance for a slide. If the queue is long you might switch to another slide. If the slide is amazing, you will wait as long as it takes in the queue.

The body of a speech itself can be long or feel long. Sometimes we wait for messages in a speech to reach us. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.

The Slide

Before the slide you could see the information about for what age is it appropriate, what medical conditions are to be kept in mind and even the weight of the person involved.

Before a message is crafted in a speech, we need to get into the shoes of the listener to see if we can provide a ride that they want to get onto. If the message is not crafted well, our listener will very easily be distracted and stray.

During the slide, the speed gets the adrenaline going and there is pure joy. If you do not like high speeds you might enjoy the blue slides. If you enjoy high speeds you might enjoy the black slides.

During the speech, the way we make our listeners feel can be joyful or hateful or much worse – indifferent.

After the slide, if it was fun – we want more. Sometimes more of the same slide or more of something different.

Likewise after a speech, we want to listen to the speaker again talking about the same thing or something different or we might want to listen to someone else

I went up and down many slides and felt great!

Can we take our speech listeners on many rhetoric slides and leave them feeling great?

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Scribbles Workshop

1-2-3-4 Content

I had the opportunity to run a lunch talk for Amiga last month.

We spoke about a few things:

  • Why LinkedIn?
    • Did you know that 1 out of 8 professionals in Germany use LinkedIn?
  • Why Career Advancement?
    • Grow or become a linchpin (Check out Video on References)
  • Kinds of LinkedIn Posts
    • Focus on Image and Video based Posts (Check out posts using Images and Videos)
  • Creating Content
    • Idea–>Write–>Craft–>Share

How many of you have Ideas week in and week out but never take the time to put them down?

“Look at an Event from last week or month that stayed with you where you learnt something or helped someone”

Something of value to the reader can be created in even 280 words. Sit down and write atleast once a week

“Write down 280 to 500 words

PS: 280 words are allowed in a tweet”

Crafting a message with an image or video gets the attention of the reader who has multiple information sources

“Use unsplash or other license free websites to get an appropriate image or use own images

Use license free videos or your own videos”

Sharing the content of multiple platforms or atleast the platforms that your clients are active in is a good practice

“Share on LinkedIn as a Post

If you are on other social media channels you may reuse the crafted message”

References:

  • EVENTS – amiga (I can recommend these Events for International professionals in Munich looking for opportunities)
  • Ranjith @ LinkedIn (Example posts using Images and Video)
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Scribbles

Is there a Gratwanderer in you?

View from Heimgarten to Herzogstand, Bavaria, Germany

A Gratwanderung is “Walking along mountain ridges”

I imagine walking along mountain ridges from movies.

  • Like in the Lord of the Rings when the group keeps walking from one mountain to another

I had been on simple treks with a few metres towards the end with ridges. Last weekend me and my sister were faced with a walk that would take 2 hours and 15 minutes one way with an elevation difference of 200m.

Both of us do not like heights

Both of us considered ourselves to be avid hikers and trekkers but not necessarily gratwanderers!

Here are a few things the German Alpine Organisation (DAV) recommends

  • Local weather conditions
    • 20-22 degrees Celsius
  • Elevation difference during the ascent and descent
    • Herzogstand 1731m
    • Heimgarten 1790m
  • Length and Timing for the tour
    • 2 hours 15 minutes for international tourists
    • 1 hour 30 minutes for local hikers
    • 1 hour for sporty hikers
  • Type of terrain
    • Walking along mountain ridges
    • DAV calls it BLACK
  • Huts to eat and drink
    • Heimgarten has a small hut heavy on sausages and pea soup for vegetarians

We decided to do it.

The first 10 minutes were difficult but after that our lungs got used to the new breathing and our legs to the new terrain.

When we arrived at Heimgarten we saw a guy wearing a pink bunny costume and singing Oktoberfest songs.

The beer was cold and the pea soup was just right to get us ready for the way back.

We took 2 hours on each way.

The way back felt easier because our lungs and legs knew what was in store.

When we came back to Herzogstand we added a BLACK rated hike as a feather on our caps.

We were proud of ourselves.

Are we walking blue and red rated hikes at work?

  • Is there a black rated hike that we are postponing or hiding from our teams?
  • Can we take it on with proper preparation and bit of courage?
  • Do we know the hikers and trekkers in the team waiting to become gratwanderers?

Is there a Gratwanderer in you?

Are you ready for your first or next BLACK hike?

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Scribbles

Message first or Story first

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

How do we start putting together a speech?

Message first or Story first?

I very often have a story that happened to me in the past. I feel like I learnt something from that story that I would like to share. I then take it and make it part of my speech and then build the speech around it. I find this approach organic. Sometimes getting a supporting frame to this story is challenging.

Having a message first reminds of me of being called to make an Impromptu speech. I have a phrase or challenge thrown at me and I need to build from there. In this case as I get warmed up with a first few sentences, my mind is chugging away in the background trying to put together stories that happened in my life and try to relate them with the topic. The moment any story matches a bit, I bring it in. During my story narration, I keep looking for a nice to loop back to the message. The advantage of this approach is that the message is known and everything is built on it.

What is your approach when you write your speeches?

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Scribbles

Story Cubes

I like games.

I like stories.

I like games which encourage storytelling.

I picked a game called “Rory’s Story Cubes” for my daughter recently.

You throw dice and start your story with the classic “Once upon a time”

And here goes:

https://www.storycubes.com/

Once upon a time

  • there was a bee called “Walter”
  • Walter lived in a tree on the topmost branch.
  • One day he flew down to smell a flower.
  • Walter noticed a big scary shadow from the side of his eyes.
  • BAZOOM! A shooting star just streaked past the sky!
  • From behind the tree walked a man wearing a mask.
  • He was singing a tune about how happy he was!
  • Walter gave a timid smile and only realized
  • There was LOVE in the air!

We even play the games in different variants

  • Each one says one sentence on one dice and the other one continues
  • We change languages – English one round and German another round
  • We change endings – Happy and Sad ending

Do you have a game which encourages storytelling?

Are you using storytelling at work to grab the attention and increase retention of the idea with your team members and stakeholders?

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Scribbles

Agile Vlogmas – Apps and Hardware

I decided to do a Vlogmas for Christmas last year.

24 short videos over 24 days from December 1 to December 24, 2021.

After trying a few different tools, I settled down with two Apps inbuilt in Windows namely the Camera and the Video Editor App.

Hardware used: (links below)

I use the Logitech 4K Pro Webcam and I am happy with the video quality.

I use an external mike namely the RODE NT-USB Mini and I am happy with the audio quality.

I use a table top external ring light namely the Neewer LED Ring Light and I am happy with the light quality.

Step 1:

Recording the video using the Camera App.

Two settings which helped me were the Framing Grid and the Video quality.

I used the “Rule of thirds” for the framing grid and ensured that my head moved around in the middle box.

The Video quality was set to 1080p (Full HD). If your laptop does not have Full HD, get yourself a Full HD webcamera. It is worth the video quality.

I decided on an idea for the video and storyboarded in my mind. As the video length is aimed at 2 to 3 minutes, it is easier to storyboard it in the head. Anything longer might need a storyboard on paper or the equivalent.

Once the video was recorded, the only thing that it needed was to be trimmed in the beginning and the end for a few seconds.

I first did it with YouTube video editor but then realised that there is an Windows inbuilt video editor which is easier and faster.

Step 2:

Editing the video using the Video Editor App

Create a new video project and import the untrimmed video from earlier.

The video trimmer is very basic and I like it for this kind of video.

The first few seconds are the ones where you click on the record button and get ready. These seconds need to be trimmed. You may either move the trim control or use the arrow buttons to move step by step. I realised that I have a special look in my face before I start talking and I wait for that short span before the mouth opens and catch that point for the initial trim.

The last few seconds are the ones where you click on the stop record button. Your eyes are looking at the stop button and these seconds need to be trimmed too.

Once the trimming is done, you may finish the video and remember to select the 1080p for Full HD video quality.

Now you have a video ready for publishing in different platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Apps:

Camera App

Create films with Video Editor

Hardware:

Logitech 4K Pro Webcam with HDR and RightLight 3

Logitech G HUB – Logitech Support + Download

NT-USB Mini | Studio Quality USB Microphone | RØDE Microphones (rode.com)

RØDE Connect | Podcasting & Streaming Software | RØDE Microphones (rode.com)

Table Top Ring Light – neewer.com

Categories
Scribbles

Loyalty

Photo by Sebastian Vacca on Unsplash

It was afternoon and I had written two messages on WhatsApp to two different friends. As usual, I expected the messages to show me a tick in a few seconds.

NO! I saw an icon I had not seen for years. Something which looked like a clock indicating that my message had not been sent.

I waited for 5 seconds!

I started getting jumpy at 10 seconds!!

I knew that something was wrong with the world at 15 seconds!!!

I started to PANIC.

One message was about a cousin looking for a job.

Another message was about planning a meeting for a restaurant.

Both obviously very important messages that could NOT wait.

I opened another App after 1.5 minutes namely Telegram.

Luckily both friends were on it and I copied the messages from WhatsApp and sent them on Telegram.

Both messages left my phone and went off to my friends!

PHEW, I was saved.

My loyalty for sending messages to friends using an App(that I had used for 5+ years) switched after a downtime of 1.5 minutes.

How long does our loyalty to our Apps last?

How long does our loyalty to our Companies last?

How long does out loyalty to our Friends last?