John C. McGinley on Memorizing Scripts

November 18, 2013

John C. McGinleyJohn C. McGinley, best known for his role as Dr. Cox on “Scrubs” was interviewed on The Opie and Anthony Show.

He was asked how he memorizes a script. He gave three steps:

  1. He writes the entire script by hand. This helps cement the words in his head.
  2. In the column, he writes down the “verb” describing his action for that point of the script, such as smirk, listen, assimilate, etc. This allows him to quickly recall the mindset needed at any given moment.
  3. Once he has the script memorized, he reads the script while juggling (yes, with balls). It serves three purposes. It further implants the words in his brain. It helps him identify parts of the script that are not working (when he drops the ball at a particular point, it is usually because the words are not flowing). And it helps him be better prepared for distractions on the set.

John is an incredible actor, and has been in nearly 100 movies/TV shows. There is a lot to be learned from someone with so much experience.

As a professional speaker, I’ve done #1 many times. But I’ve never tried #2 and never considered #3.

The next time I struggle with the flow of a particular part of my speech, I will pick up the juggling balls and give it a try. How about you?


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In March, You Can Have Your Pi and Eat Cheese Doodles Too

March 15, 2013

Today’s Friday Fun Fact

St. Patty’s Day is right around the corner.  It’s time to break out the corned beef and cabbage –  that is assuming that you are not too full from eating pie this past Thursday.  Wednesday, March 14th was Worldwide Pi Day.  And while we may celebrate this auspicious occasion by consuming our favorite home baked delights, this holiday has little to do with those edible creations.

In March of 2009, the House of Representatives designated March 14 (3/14) as worldwide “Pi Day” to encourage the study of Pi and highlight the importance of math and science education programs.

According to, “Pi (Greek letter “?”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.  Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern.”

While 3/14 is a fitting day to celebrate this mathematical wonder, coincidentally it also falls on the birthday of the great physicists, Albert Einstein, who was born in 1879.

If Pi (or pie) is not your thing – don’t worry.  According to, in March alone, there are plenty of other nationally recognized holidays that can tempt your taste buds.

For meat lovers we have National “Cold Cut Day on the 3rd and National Meatball Day on the 9th.  For our vegetarian friends, we have Spinach Day on the 26th and National Artichoke Day on the 16th.   For the snackers amongst us, enjoy Popcorn Lovers Day or National Potato Chip Day (also on March 14th) or my personal favorite, Cheese Doodle Day on March 5th.

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Real-World Know-It-Alls

March 8, 2013

Today’s Friday Fun Fact

We all have knowledge that has allowed us to excel in different areas of our life.  But as I had discussed in my Monday Morning Movie, sometimes this knowledge can be the very thing that gets in the way of our success.

But if managed properly, intelligence can be leverage to catapult some pretty astounding careers.  Here are some interesting facts regarding some well-known individuals who have IQs that exceed that of genius level.  According to Business Insider and Listverse:

  • Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, allegedly obtained a perfect 1600 on the pre-1995 SAT, surpassing Bill Gates by 10 points.  And he supposedly has an IQ of 160.
  • Actor, James Woods, who attended MIT on a full scholarship, achieved a perfect 800 on the verbal and 779 on the math portions of the pre-1995 SAT. He opted to leave MIT early to pursue his acting career.
  • Actress and model, Sharon Stone has been reported as having an IQ of 154. As an ironic side note, she described herself as “a nerdy, ugly duckling,” in her online biography at Penn State University Library.
  • Asia Carrerra, who has starred in over 250 hardcore adult movies, has an IQ of 156 and played piano at Carnegy Hall at age 13.
  • Director, Qunetin Tarantino has been tested as having a 160 IQ and actor Steve Martin, 142.
  • Jodie Foster graduated valedictorian of her high school and Magna Cum Laude from Yale.  She  reportedly boasts an impressive 132 IQ.
  • Lesser known, but not any less impressive, is 13 year old Jake Barnett.  At age 3 he visited a planetarium with his parents and responded correctly to a question about the gravitational pull of Mars upon its moons. He has a verified IQ of 170.
  • While never having obtained fame, one of the highest IQs ever recorded, was that of psychiatrist William James Sidis. He started his studies at Harvard University at the age of 11, and was fluent in more than 40 languages by the time he graduated. His IQ has been reported at the astounding level of 275.

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Innovation Costs on $0.50

March 4, 2012

I saw this sign while driving in Orlando.  It caught my attention.  As it turns out, there is very little innovation going on at Innovation Way.  Maybe they need to raise the toll.

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Kit Kat Video on Working Hard

April 12, 2011

I love this video. I was just in Mexico on vacation and I saw all of the vacationers working hard while the locals were enjoying the sea and sun. It made me think about this commercial for Kit Kat. Ah, so true…

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Funny Innovation Quotes (video)

July 14, 2010

A client of mine developed this video for a conference.  They showed it as people entered the room and got seated.  It contains some VERY funny quotes about innovation and change.  Be sure to watch in full screen, add your own music, and enjoy!

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L Vaughn Spencer

April 9, 2010

I have been ridiculously busy with the manuscript for the new book.  As a result, my blogging has slowed down.  So, for today’s entry, I want to share with you an interview between a good friend of mine and The Economist.  I’m sure you will agree that L-Vo, as he likes to be called, is brilliant.

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What Does This Say?

September 16, 2009

A friend of mine has a very cool T-shirt business.  To promote their products, they developed a set of interesting bumper stickers, including the one below.  I like the design because it involves emblems from playing cards, reminding me of my Personality Poker product.

So, what does this say?

To answer the question, you have to stand on your head and read the image.  Or maybe turn your computer screen upside down.  Or, easiest of all, visit their website.  The URL is the answer.

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Funny Pictures

December 8, 2008

During my travels, I took pictures of signs with my BlackBerry.  Some are funny.  Some are creative.  And some are just plain silly.  Regardless, all make me laugh.  Click on the thumbnail to see the full size picture.

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Making Your Products/Services Affordable and Accessible

November 25, 2008

One of my last blog entries discussed the need to create affordable and accessible solutions as a way of staying competitive. Given  globalization, cheap labor, and a damanged economy, this makes more sense than ever.

Here are three starter questions to ask to help you generate new ideas:

How can you productize a service? One way to make a service more affordable and accessible is to turn it into a physical or digital product; something that requires little or no human intervention. In my earlier entry, I talked about Cybersettle automating insurance claims processing. My Innovation Personality Poker enables people to recreate one of my most popular speeches/workshops. Self-assessment tools can reduce reliance on consultants. Remote diagnostic technologies can speed medical exams and pre-qualify patients before they come to the doctor. offers affordable legal advice for people who might otherwise not seek counsel. TurboTax simplifies tax filing. Experts convert their intellectual property into books, mp3s, DVDs, digitally delivered training (including eLearning) systems, or online databases. The possibilities are endless.

How can you offer a low-cost product/service? In an earlier blog entry, I quoted Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, who once said, “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away.” I love that.  Ask, “Why are people really using our products/services and what are the bare minimum ways of delivering the desired outcome?” $300 netbooks are stripped down computers because most people want to do word processing and surf the net. Tata is offering a $2,000 car in India (ok, maybe that is a bit too scaled down). Ernst & Young Consulting (now Cap Gemini) once offered a subscription service, Ernie, which provided small businesses with a low-cost alternative to high priced consulting. Dow Corning, the maker of silicone-based products, created Xiameter, an internet-based division that sells product only in bulk… with no call centers.  Which features, services, or qualities can be reduced in order to tap into a new market?

How can I make my product addictive? Drug dealers know that if you get someone hooked on your product, they will come back to buy more. This strategy can be useful for attracting – and retaining – customers. Last month I spoke with the CEOs of three software companies. The one strategy that was pertinent to all three was the development of a stripped down version of the software…and potentially offering it for free. The idea is to get the customer hooked and using the software on a regular basis. Then as the customer’s needs grow, they will need to upgrade (note: this is not the same thing as offering something free today and then charging in the future). I worked with a major computer manufacturer many years ago where this concept was applied. Their flagship computer was (let’s call it) the “F” series. But that was too expensive for most companies, so they introduced a much slower and less expensive computer – the “E” series. Interestingly, the two models were 100% identical except a computer chip was added to the “E” to slow it down. The company knew that many customers would eventually want an upgrade, and they simply pulled out the chip and charged an exorbitant fee.

All three of these strategies move your innovation to the left-hand part of the bell curve (above) rather than the right. All three can be used by any company to augment their existing products and services.  The point is to make your “core competency” available to a broader market – without negatively diverting energies.

I will be including more strategies in future blog entries.

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