A lesson at the Opera

A confession.
I was an English Literature major in University
I am a classically trained Violinist
I am a published poet
But I’m not really Mr. Culture. 
My closest friends know me as the guy who hates pants ( if it was socially acceptable to wear shorts 24/7, I would )
So, when my beloved Globe published this article:
I was offended …but secretly feared they were right. My hyper-connectedness is something I relish with delight, the speed in which I can now find, ingest and share information can be consuming.
So! Off to the Opera I went. Thank goodness a friend guided me and sent to me the Canadian Opera Company’s upcoming run of Semele. “If you’re going to try out Opera, this is the one to start with”.
I’m not going to lie, the first hour was hell. 
I WAS twitching, itching and aching. It reminded me of the first time I tried to really meditatively pray to (my personal) God.It was uncomfortable, but in the end, equally healthy for my body and soul.
Now, again, I’m no culturatti – but why didn’t anyone tell me Opera could be cool, edgy, funny, racy, raunchy and outright fun?
This particular production is a special treat.
Here we have a hundred year old Opera, given new flavour by fascinating artist Zhang Huan.
I had JUST read about everything he is doing in Toronto … I’m looking forward to visiting his AGO Exhibit
Check out the cool 450 year old stage he rebuilt and yes, there IS fighting Sumo wrestlers….
So, have you been wondering about the Opera? A beautiful new home, clear subtitles ( this one is in English ) and always great stories make it worth trying out.
To me, Opera is to art what Classical is to music.
I love movies, I go a lot.
But Lou Bega’s 5th Mambo is no Mozart’s 9th symphony.
As much as I love LinkedIn and Twitter, they help me to express thoughts…we need more mediums that help us to make space to reflect and think.I certainly walked out of this production, in a thoughtful mood.
Thanks as always Globe and Mail and the Canadian Opera Company!


Presentation Secrets

Seth Godin often says:
If your goal is to share your message and help others
It’s selfish to not tell your secrets
Telling your secrets makes you up your game
Until your product is just you.
And no-one can do you better than you.
I often get compliments on my presentation style – but the number ONE question I get is “where did you get that awesome powerpoint clicker?”.
Technically, Al Gore (see tip 5).
But it was more my annoyance of going to so many conferences and speaking sessions where we had paid the plenary speaker thousands of dollars and they couldn’t spend a couple bucks on a clicker. It’s distracting for me when you walk across the stage and hit a button on your laptop – it’s embarrassing for you if you’re the speaker.
Now the Logitech R800 is the next-generation of what I use but it’s the Cadillac!
Green laser for better clarity, easy to use buttons with and ergonomic design and that count-down timer is a MUST to respect the time of those you’re speaking to
Here’s the promo video:
But! The tools are just tools. The medium is the message right?
And so more secrets revealed, my favourite book on the architecture:
The design is the elegant Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen
And a great book “Speak Easy” which was a fast read but the tips have stuck with me for years…
So! Now that you have my secrets – get presenting!
As always, if I can help, I’m at your service,



UnMarketing: Revised and Updated by Scott Stratten

The integrity of Scott Stratten to update and revise his book simply astounds me.

Here’s my previous post on why this book ALREADY ruled.

Frankly. The book was still one of the leading voices and still my number one most recommended to understand the what, the why and the tone of business + social media.

The cycle wasn’t over, the book wasn’t overly stale.
There was money left to squeeze Scott.

Scott does a lot of talk about authenticity in the book.
He walked that talk with his actions not his words.

I tip my hat to you sir. ( and tweet it too )
And I’ll share your message every chance I get.

Enjoy a damn good updated talk by Scott below…



End Malaria: Good Cause Great Read


I don’t often ask readers to buy books but for $20 you’ll help this cause AND yourself. Talk about a win-win.

One of the last of Seth Godin’s Domino Project publications this book is insanely packed with high-value ideas from 62 business authors you probably know and love.

A 1 minute video on the book:

I love that Michael Bungay Stanier even wrote a thoughtful reflection on “Working at the Speed of Seth” and even put a FREE podcast featuring all authors online.

Why did this book appeal to me? LOOK at this author list!!!

Now, I read it flying to a conference. For the business traveler I think this is the perfect thought-instigator to read in transit. Me personally, it hit at that moment when you’re between the clouds – above operations, below pie-in-the-sky ideas: Where ideas about how to improve your real work world can happen

Some items I found invaluable:

  • Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired: What is the pinnacle of personal, professional skill? His insight from experience moved me.
  • Roger Martin, of the Rotman School drops some operational wisdom on how his concept of “thin slicing” actually opens up time for leaders to do their best work.
  • Mitch Joel, of Twist Image is the ultimate person to advise today’s professional on how to be CEO of Me Inc. His thoughts stung with 2012 truth on what Google says about you.
  • Three words from Ann Landers from another social media leader Scott Stratten are a great reminder of what matters and what’s fluff.
  • Premal Shah of Paypal now of Kiva who scaled from $1MM in 1 year to now $1MM each 5 days talks about how to plan for and handle rapid growth ( and not to fear it!! )
  • Michael Bungay Stainer a powerhouse in his own right talks about the power of scars and how we tell our own story. To ourselves as well as others.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk on the best marketing strategy in the world is as always, viciously on point.
  • Sally Hogshead of Fascinate never disappoints with her cheeky but powerful style: A note for the ‘haters’ and why having them is good for business.
  • BizRockstar Tom Peters’ 5 tips on achieving excellence found it’s way to my fridge in 24 hours.
  • Business book Titans; Nancy Duarte of Slideology, Patrick Lencioni, Keith Ferrazzi and of course the awesome Seth Godin himself the list goes on and on!!!

This book helps you think and rethink every aspect of business life but to me the value is in helping you:

1) Deal with problems you face now
2) Cultivating your own and team excellence
3) Creating a practical but better future

I also have a whole new list of great authors added to my twitter feed that are now rocking my daily world!

If you’re a @Strombo fan from CBC he featured the book on his program and Seth today too – enjoy!

So TODAY ( and on April 25th especially ) buy and enjoy this book.

Congrats to the team on the latest award too!

Ending Malaria is what you’ll do for the world.
Creating power in your world is what you’ll do for you.



Teams and Trust

What a delicious business book moment! My favourite business news column reviewed two of my all time favourite books on the concept of trust in teams!
If you don’t follow the Globe Careers team on Twitter or LinkedIn – I highly recommend them.

Patrick Lencioni is one of my all time favourite business
book authors because of how he uses the fable format. It makes for a
more readable book, more memorable lessons because you are discussing
theory AND case studies at the same time – powerful.

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team
is one of his global best sellers because it addresses the real
challenges that teams face in the office and comes up with solutions I
know work as I now know over 10 teams who have used it to solve issues
and boost productivity. I’m a fan of the audio book.

The second book in the article is Stephen MR Covey’s “The Speed of Trust
One of the shortest audio books around, and the most powerful in it’s discussion points and office solutions for issues around Trust. Don’t let the simplicity and the aw-shucks attitude fool you – this book solves real problems.

Lastly a quick plug for the thoughts from a peer I trust greatly, Promod Sharma. An Actuary turned blogger and media expert, Trust is the topic of his 2012. Enjoy!

Some of the greatest office problems I have ever faced were solved using techniques from these two books and advice from Promod– enjoy the read and as always please share your thoughts below!
Continued success in all you do,


Bonus. Two quick great video’s on the books!


CAGP 2012 Conference Twitter team!

Just a few more sleeps until the national CAGP conference!

A quick note for any twitter users attending, we have an official twitter-team to help guide and engage during our time together! We are:

Myself, Paul Nazareth @UinvitedU
Leah Eustace @LeahEustace
Christina Attard @GPTekkie
Kate Lazier @CharityLawCan
Trina Owens @towens0315
Samantha Laprade @gryphonreport
Amanda Stacey @EstatesLaw

Don’t forget to write your handle on your nametage when you get it!!!

The conference account is @CAGP2012
Most importantly the Hashtag is #CAGP2012

Now, I’m not going to lie and pretend this was my idea. No our resident social media expert Leah Eustace lead a huge team this past year with our peers at AFP, here is her valuable post

The chance to engage, network, meet up, help each other using twitter is amazing, a new benefit I’ve just started using this past year. Why not join us and create a twitter account today and tweet with us at #CAGP2012 !

Hope this is a helpful video to get you started!! See you in Victoria!


CAGP Victoria Conference Networking

Gift Planners from across the country will soon assemble in beautiful Victoria British Columbia!

Many of the country’s best and brightest will soon…..wander the streets and eat dinner alone?!?!

Didn’t anyone listen to Keith Ferrazzi?

Every year it happens, to newbies and grizzled veterans of the conference. You fly in and don’t know who’s in town and end up eating dinner alone the first night when you could be casually getting to know peers do some REAL relationship building – not the stuff done on breaks and over loud lunches at circular tables…..

Something I’ve done a number of years in a row… this year I’ve teamed up with fellow CAGP super-fan, Christina Attard to host not one but TWO networking events.

Tuesday April 17 – We’ll meet in the lobby of the Fairmont Empress
between 6:30pm and 7:00pm
Leave for dinner from there
No RSVP, bring anyone you like ( spouses too! )

It’s a tweet-up too!
@UinvitedU ( that’s me )
@GPTekkie ( that’s Christina )
Please use the hashtag #CAGP2012 ( for this event and the conference )

The second event? Friday April 20th – but it’s a secret …for now….( I may or may not be wearing the lobster claws from the 2007 conference ) *insert mysterious sound here*

Bottom line is, we came to connect and learn – why not have some fun too!
The conference theme is after all:
Explore. Dream. Discover ~ All things that are boring and unproductive alone right?

Whether you’re a type-a networking machine or a “thinking-class” strategist you’ll meet someone who does what you do and can help you do it better – that’s why we come to this thing right?


See you there, Paul

Why I threw the tie

What a ride at Stephen Thomas’
Young Nonprofit Professionals last week!

My first talk of this format, I’m still a little rough around the edges you be the judge – the talk is only 10 mins, would love some feedback/coaching

The topic? Managing Brand You,
Tips on How to Harness Your Superpowers

One thing I think didn’t come across was – why did I throw my tie?

Many people know me as “the suit guy“. I’ve been in a suit since I was 19. It wasn’t part of the uniform but yes, I even wore ties in High School.

A confession:
It’s my professional armour

And as much as that serves and gives me power on the “job” the time has come for me to engage in a more vulnerable way.

Spending time with consultants and creative types who dress with style and not by uniform – who dress to express – has created the desire to be that guy more often.

So! If you see me outside of work, help me “BE” the authentic aspiration I am encouraging others to be and – toss the tie.

What’s your tie? Find out, check out some of the resources I recommended in the video, books and otherwise.

And as always, if I can be of help, connect.

It’s not a catchphrase it’s my way of life:
I am at your service.


ps. Thanks again Stephen Thomas crew for the opportunity. If YOU want to be a part of this safe space of growth and challenge, connect with ST online and at my beloved LinkedIn too!

A day with Young Fundraising Professionals

I’m tired and I need sleep

But I just can’t put my head down without saying a deep, humble thank you.

Took the day off today to teach at Humber College Post-grad Fundraising Program on my two all time favourite topics : Planned Giving and LinkedIN

Special thanks to Dr. Bill Hallett, PhD, ACFRE who kindly asked me back.

Dear #HFVM12 you were engaging, curious and as always that energy of challenge and eagerness to do good was powerful. It is my hope that the time was of value to you – I know you inspired the hell out of me.

You ARE going to change the world. Thanks for taking me along for the ride….

A quick note on spending the whole day together…

And then we got in the ZipVan and went to #YNPCanada!!

One year, just look at the positive connections made. I hope you’re proud of yourselves Stephen Thomas – you’ve raised the bar yet again. So great that the whole team was out and the numbers were through the roof!

A note of wisdom right before my talk from @STPres Neil Gallaiford :
“know what I tell young professionals about what to do when opportunity knocks?”

“Say Yes”.

Yes to your excellence
Yes to the potential you know is there
You’re not cutting off a body part, it’s scary but don’t look back

Great advice Neil.

Just so folks can find the items I referenced in my talk:

@SusanCain ‘ s book Quiet : The Power of Introverts

@ShepaTweet‘s book Work the Pond

@ThisisSethsBlog book Linchpin

Managing Brand You

Most importantly, Dan Pink’s Flip Manifesto and his concept of “Uncommissioned Art”

Hope these messages were of value:

Lead without title – find a non-work skill and DO it daily

Don’t Fake it ‘Till you Make it / BE it until you ARE it.

You need people pulling you up, and pushing you forward.

Experiment with brand you, test it then make it your non-work passion.


As you go forward in life, know that I and thousands of others are here for you

Congrats again @ST_Digital on a great event!!

I leave you with the words of Neil G – Say Yes

Birthday networking #YNPCanada

March 29 – YNPCanada

We’ll be networking and raising a glass to one awesome year of connecting through #YNPCanada

It’s no secret I’ve been a fan since day one – this time I’ve been given the honour of speaking for a few minutes ( no powerpoint sorry, treating this like my first TED talk ) on the topic of the world-changing power of a career in non-profit and how a YNP can get the most out of it.

Fantastic venue choice, the Elgin & Wintergarden right downtown

No we won’t be playing hipster bingo but it may be the most pure non-conference networking event for the change-hungry, the up and coming, the futurists in this sector. No damn coffee, session fatigue, no 30 second conversations this is REAL connecting, real relationship building..

There are a few tickets left, this is ALWAYS a sold out event so MAKE the time and invest in yourself, your career, our sector – professional development will never be this fun again

As always, my hat tips to the pioneers at Stephen Thomas who sacked-up and stepped out in leadership, no one invests in young people – you did.

On this one year anniversary I will NOT be singing but I’ll leave the final word to our hometown boy……See you there!


Ps. If you use social media, please share!

#YNPCanada by @ST_Digital

I’ll RT if you include me @UinvitedU