Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pinnochio was a bad motivational speaker

























GEICO has an amusing 30-second television commercial about why Pinnochio was a bad motivational speaker.

The classic bad motivational speaker was Matt Foley, portrayed by Chris Farley in a six-minute sketch on Saturday Night Live.

A close second is a brief sketch with a failed trust fall by the infamous Todd Conner. 

An image of Pinnochio was adapted from this one on Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Comparing U.S. and British 2014 YouGov fear surveys
























Last month something very unusual happened. YouGov plc conducted fear surveys of adults in both Britain and the U.S. using the exact same set of questions. Those people were asked about the following 13 different fearful situations:

1. Being in a closed space
2. Blood
3. Clowns
4. Crowds
5. Darkness
6. Dogs
7. Flying in an airplane
8. Heights
9. Mice
10. Needles and getting shots
11. Public speaking
12. Snakes
13. Spiders


They were asked if they were:

A) Not afraid at all
B) Not really afraid
C) A little afraid
D) Very afraid


We can compare the results to see how similar or different they are. Before we do this, we need to look at the margins of error, or confidence intervals, which depend on the sample sizes. For the survey in Britain the sample size is 2088, so the margin of error for 95% confidence is plus or minus 2.1%. For the U.S. survey  the sample size is 991 people and the margin of error is  3.1.%. (95% confidence means there is only a 1 in 20 chance that the survey result would vary by this much). If the difference between the results is greater than the sum, 5.2%, it can be considered significant statistically.  


















Results for Very Afraid are shown above in a bar chart. (Click on it to see a larger, clearer version).The top five fears for the U.S. [and their difference from the British results] are:

1. Snakes (32%) [11]
2. Heights (24%) [1]
3. Public speaking (20%) [0]
4. Spiders (19%) [1]
5. Being closed in a small space (15%) [1]


Significantly more U.S. adults are very afraid of snakes [11] and flying [7] than their British counterparts.


















Results for A Little Afraid are shown above in a second bar chart. Now the top five fears are:

1. Public speaking (36%) [0]
2. Heights (33%) [-2]
3. Snakes (32%) [1]
4. Spiders (29%) [5]
5. Being closed in a small space (27%) [-2]


Significantly more U.S. Adults are a little afraid of flying [7] and darkness [8] than their British counterparts.


















We also can add the percentages for A Little Afraid to those for Very Afraid to produce impressively large percentages for Total Afraid, as shown above in a third bar chart. The top five fears are:

1. Snakes (64%) [12]
2. Heights (57%) [-1]
3. Public speaking (56%) [0]
4. Spiders (48%) [6]
5. Being closed in a small space (42%) [-1]


Significantly more U.S. adults are afraid of snakes [12]. spiders [6], flying [14] and darkness [9] than their British counterparts.

Very curiously, the same percentages in both countries were afraid of public speaking:

Very Afraid: 20%
A Little Afraid: 36%
Total Afraid: 56%


The cartoon was adapted from one in Puck back in 1901.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Top 20 Tips for Successful Public Speaking from David Meerman Scott



















On his Web Ink Now blog David Meerman Scott posted on April 2nd about More top ten tips for incredibly successful public speaking. His previous post in 2009 also had ten, so in summary his top 20 are:

1. Take it seriously.
2. Know the conference organizer’s goals.
3. Tell stories.
4. Nobody cares about your products (except you).
5. Prepare and practice.
6. Don’t use PowerPoint as a TelePrompTer.
7. Arrive early.
8. Bring an electronic copy of your presentation.
9. Don’t go long.
10. Be aware of body language.
11. Learn from the best.
12. Find out about the audience.
13. Test the technology!
14. Prepare for things to go wrong.
15. Help the MC to find an interesting way to introduce you.
16. Have fun!
17. Work the entire stage.
18. Include real-time elements.
19. Get photos of the event from the organizers.
20. Ask for honest feedback.


David is well-known for his 2007 book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, which now is in its 4th edition. Both of  his posts are excellent and well work reading for the details. His items #13 and #14 are related. Even when you check out the equipment the day before you may still be surprised, and be heading for a worst moment.

For example, back in 2008 I spoke in one half of the split ballroom at the Sun Valley Inn. The previous day everything had worked fine - because the other half was not being used. When I got up to speak, the sound from the speaker now using the other half took over. They had forgotten to split the sound system when they split the room with a movable wall. So, ask the A/V person what’s going on next door too.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

YouGov survey of U.S. adults found they most commonly were very afraid of snakes, heights, public speaking, spiders, and being closed in a small space















If you were thinking about referring to a fears survey published in the 1977 Book of Lists that really came from a Bruskin survey way back in 1973, please stop. Why not update to one from 2014?

On March 27, 2014 YouGov plc posted an article by Peter Moore mistitled Argh! Snakes! America’s Top Phobias Revealed with the results of their fears survey just done in the U.S. on a sample of about 1000 adults. Those people were asked about the following 13 different fearful situations:

Being in a closed space
Blood
Clowns
Crowds
Darkness
Dogs
Flying in an airplane
Heights
Mice
Needles and getting shots
Public speaking
Snakes
Spiders


They were asked if they were:

A) Not afraid at all
B) Not really afraid
C) A little afraid
D) Very afraid


Back in October 2011 I blogged about the clinical definition for What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia? A phobia calls for more than being very afraid, so these really just are fears.



















Results for Very Afraid are shown above in a bar chart. (Click on it to see a larger, clearer view). The top five fears are:

1. Snakes (32%)
2. Heights (24%)
3. Public speaking (20%)
4. Spiders (19%)
5. Being closed in a small space (15%)


The most common fear, snakes, was consistent with the 2001 and 1998 Gallup Polls. Note that public speaking came in third, contradicting the often seen claim that it always ranks first. To see if a difference is significant, we need to compare it with the margin of error, which for Snakes (991 people) and 95% confidence is 3.1.%. (95% confidence means there is only a 1 in 20 chance that the difference would be this large).



















Results for A Little Afraid are shown above in a second bar chart. Now the top five fears are:

1. Public speaking (36%)
2. Heights (33%)
3. Snakes (32%)
4. Spiders (29%)
5. Being closed in a small space (27%)




















We also can add the percentages for A Little Afraid to those for Very Afraid to produce impressively large percentages for Total Afraid, as shown above in a third bar chart. The top five fears are:

1. Snakes (64%)
2. Heights (57%)
3. Public speaking (56%)
4. Spiders (48%)
5. Being closed in a small space (42%)


Note that for the total the order is the same as for Very Afraid, and fear of public speaking drops back to third place.

Detailed results also were provided in an Acrobat .pdf file which you can download. They tabulated them with the following categories:

Gender (Female or Male)
Party ID (Democrat, Independent, Republican)
Race, which should be ethnicity (Black, Hispanic, White)
Age (18-29, 30-44-45-64,65+)
Family Income $ thousands (Under 40, 40-80, 80-100, 100+)
Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)


Today I’ll just discuss those for gender. The sample for Snakes 517 women and 474 men. To see if a difference is significant, we need to compare it with the margin of error, which for 474 and 95% confidence is 4.5%.


















For Very Afraid, women and men have rather different fears, as shown above in a fourth bar chart (sorted by rank for women). For women the top five fears are:

1. Snakes (44%)
2. Heights (30%)
3. Spiders (25%)
4. Public speaking (24%)
5. Being closed in a small space (20%)


For men the top five fears [and difference re women] are:

1. Heights (19%) [-11] and Snakes (19%) [-25]
2. Public speaking (16%) [-8]
3. Spiders (13%) [-12]
4. Being closed in a small space (10%) [-10 ] and Flying (10%) [-8]
5. Needles (10%) [-2]


Heights came in first, followed by snakes. Note that public speaking came fourth for  women and second for men, contradicting the often seen claim that it always ranks first. At least twice as many women as men were scared of snakes, mice, and being closed in a small space. The difference of 2% for needles isn’t significant, but the other six are.   


















For A Little Afraid, women and men also have rather different fears, as shown above in a fifth bar chart. For women the top five fears are:

1. Public speaking (38%)
2. Spiders (33%)
3. Heights (32%)
4. Being closed in a small space (31%)
5. Snakes (28%)


For men the top five fears [and difference re women] are:

1. Snakes (35%) [-7]
2. Public speaking [-5] and Heights [1] a tie (33%)
3. Spiders (25%) [-8]
4. Being closed in a small space (24%) [-7 ]
5. Flying on an airplane (22%) [-3 ]


More men than women were afraid of snakes.  At least twice as many women as men were scared of mice.


















For Total Afraid, women and men again have rather different fears, as shown above in a sixth bar chart. For women the top five fears are:

1. Snakes (72%)
2. Heights and Public speaking tied (64%)
3. Spiders (58%)
4. Being closed in a small space (51%)
5. Mice (45%)


For men the top five fears [and difference re women] are:

1. Snakes (54% [-18]
2. Heights (52%) [-10]
3. Public speaking (49%)  [-13]
4. Spiders (38%) [-20]
5. Being closed in a small space (34%) [-17 ]



At least twice as many women as men were scared of mice. The largest gender difference was for Spiders [-20%].

An image of a viper is from Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Goodbye Glossophobia - an April Fool’s Day satire
























Yesterday evening on the Huff Post Comedy Blog John Malik posted an April Fool’s Day article titled Goodbye Glossophobia. He described a fanciful new anxiolytic drug called Extrovertialis that briefly could make a speaker as confident as the legendary Theodore Roosevelt.

























I’ve shown above how a marketing campaign would arrange some of those lurid purple pills in a letter formation. John cautioned that possible side effects for Extrovertialis include:

"...impressions of arrogance, conjunctionitis, mild incontinence, temporary blindness, potentially fatal levels of conceit and an occasional night sweat.”

Bully! The 1907 stereograph image of Teddy speaking came from the Library of Congress.




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sorry, but Zero Gravity Day just is an old April Fool’s Day joke



















Over on News Hound Sarah Morris posted an extremely silly article titled April 4th 2014 Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity - Float for 5 Minutes! #Zerogday. She absurdly claimed that:

“...if you jump in the air at 9:47 AM local time on April 4th 2014, it should take you about 3 seconds to land back on your feet instead of the usual 0.2 seconds.”

Sarah claimed this had been revealed by the British astronomer Patrick Moore. Well, sort of. Ten seconds of research at Wikipedia will show you that Patrick Moore died back on December 9, 2012. He’s pushing up daisies, and is not revealing anything.

I read about this silly article on Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog, in a post he titled: No, April 4, 2014 is NOT “Zero G Day.” No.

When you look on either Snopes or at the Museum of Hoaxes you’ll find the nonsense just was an April Fool’s Day joke done by Patrick Moore way back in 1976! It has been popping up again ever since.

If you stay on the News Hound page for a while you will get a pop-up ad saying to:

“Please Share This Page
We rely on word of mouth. 
Take a moment to share this with your friends (on Facebook).”

Please don’t share it! It's absolute rubbish!

The image of Clayton Anderson floating while on the International Space Station is from Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Survey by Molly Maid found that 44% of U.S. homeowners would rather speak in front of a large group than clean their home
























On March 26th a cleaning company based in Ann Arbor Michigan issued a press release titled Molly Maid Survey Reveals Majority of Homeowners Won’t Spring Clean. Their survey of over 2000 people also redundantly reported that rather than clean their home 44% would rather speak in front of a large group, and 30% would rather go on a six-hour car ride with their in-laws.















Why did I say redundantly? Because, as shown above in a bar chart, 93% said they would rather do anything else than clean their home. That’s an impressive level of disdain!  The Molly Maid Anonymous Cleaning Confessions Survey was done on SurveyMonkey from February 5th to 14th. Apparently no one said that they’d rather eat a bowl of dog food than clean, or that there was nothing they’d rather do than clean, since they love cleaning.

The 1870 image of a young housekeeper and her mother dusting the parlor came from the Library of Congress.