Tag Archives: Literacy

About to present? Don’t say these things! #MRX

My presentation is the last thing between you and break/lunch/cocktails/dinner. I hear this at least twice in every conference. Guaranteed. It makes me think your presentation is going to boring and maybe  I should just leave for the break now. Should I? It’s just not funny anymore.

I’m really sorry but I won’t be as awesome as the last presenter. This usually happens after a presenter who showed cool videos or played fun music or who was really animated on stage. It rarely happens after a presentation that was full of helpful and practical tips. I don’t know about you but I’d rather be the person who was practical. I’m not particularly impressed by fluff. Give me substance. Even if you’re boring as heck.

I know nothing about this technology, so you’ll have ask my IT guy if you have any questions. Wonderful. I’m supposed to take you seriously when you’re talking about something you don’t understand? Why don’t I just go talk to your sales person instead. Where’s the brownie? Know what you could say instead. “My colleague would love to explain that in more detail.” See? You don’t sound stupid that way.

I don’t understand all these numbers, ask my data guy. This is nothing to be proud of. If you don’t understand the numbers on your slides, you shouldn’t be presenting them. Take a class, attend some webinars, read some textbooks. Numerical illiteracy is nothing to be proud of. You CAN learn. I did. (Check out @ResearchRocks. Awesome training with a kind and patient person.)

To conclude, don’t criticize yourself on stage. Be confident, project intelligence, and the audience will respond.



“Where’s the brownie” is what I tweet when presenters are doing a sales pitch or have no content. If you’re a presenter, avoid the brownie!  🙂

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Functional Literacy and Human Economics by Ana Lucia Lima #ACEI_CO #InvestigAction #MRX

… Live blogging from Bogoto, Colombia, any errors are my own, any comments in [] are my own…

ACEI Bogoto Colombia

  • 14 million adult Brazilians cannot read or write, 7% [sad 😦 ]
  • half of kids do not meet standards of reading and math in grade 3
  • less than 30% learn reading/writing/math to expected standards by grade 12 which means they have huge limitations in life
  • even people who stay in school do not learn as much, as well, as they could or should
  • this is not ok, you must do something to change this no matter what you do in life
  • but we are improving, today’s terrible is better than yesterday’s terrible
  • school’s must produce not just students, but capable students
  • they created a literacy index to track the learning curve, it’s not sufficient to just look at the results, we must act on the results
  • classified into four groups – can’t read at all, basic readers who may misinterpret things, people who can read and write, people who are extremely literate
  • want to know if they can live in a social context with many inputs from everywhere, newspapers, blogs, products
  • 27% are still functionally illiterate and this is an improvement from 39% ten years ago
  • only 60% of people with a university degree are functionally literate considering all of reading, writing, and math
  • the test is done at the person’s home, it’s done one on one. answers are verbal and written as needed. e.g., what is the name of this magazine or using a calendar what day of the week was September 7. Advanced people are given a paragraph to read and asked about a fact named in the paragraph.  The questions always related to your daily routine. Spelling mistakes are allowed.
  • people are asked if their parents can read, if there are books in their home, do they go to a public or private school
  • [imagine how different your marketing would be if half of your audience was functionally illiterate]
  • this can be used as a planning tool by government organizations
  • data is made available to anyone who wants it, lots of doctoral research uses it
  • anyone who wants to use the data or help promote the cause by sponsoring or volunteering in some way, please get in touch
  • adults do not want to go back to school so the help needs to come from church, friends, family, and community
  • “De Olho nas Metas 2012”  Rep sample of 27000 english tests and math tests


This is Why University and College Suck

Don’t get me wrong. I 100% believe that college and university makes you a better person. Even people who take a “useless” degree like English, Psychology (mine are in psychology), or any other useless degree, come out of college ahead of the game.

  • You gain critical thinking skills
  • You improve your literacy and numeracy skills
  • You learn organization and time management skills
  • You learn about consequences for misbehaviour, inappropriate behaviour, and lack of behaviour
  • In many cases, you learn how to be an adult without mummy or daddy telling you to eat your vegetables
  • And as a bonus, you hopefully learn a content area and skill set

But there is one major problem. College teaches you to follow the rules. Do exactly what the teacher says and get a B. Follow this essay template and get a B. Be on time, raise your hand, and get a B. This works for college, but certainly not in real life. This is why university and college suck. They teach you to do exactly and only what was requested.

In real life, in the business world, following instructions doesn’t cut it. In fact, if you just do what you were told to do, you might find yourself out of a job. In real life, thinking outside the box, that dreaded catch phrase, is what we need. And thinking outside the box doesn’t even mean thinking of or creating new and amazing and fantabulous things. It simply means taking instructions, interpreting those instructions, and giving back more than what was requested. Indeed, it means giving back what the person actually meant to ask for.

In real life, workers need to give what was requested but go beyond that and apply their expertise to the request. Essentially, give them what they want and get a B. Give them what they were unable to verbalize and get an A. Getting an A in the real world means new job opportunities, raises, rewards, bonuses, and promotions. Like the sound of that? Think outside the box.

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