The texture of words

Chilean Fox Terrier
What is that magic air mover?
Words carry more than information. The words you choose change the texture, the flavor of the information. They change the way readers view the world.

For instance, my public speaking students frequently choose “Legalization of Marijuana” as a topic. (The fact that they have been choosing this topic for over 30 years says something about our nation, but that’s for another article.) The audience of college students has probably heard this discussed dozens of times in various settings. So I suggest instead they discuss “Relegalization of Marijuana.” That often makes audiences cock their heads, the way a dog looks at a ceiling fan. That recasting of the topic can completely change the way the speaker approaches the topic and the way the audience hears it. Continue reading “The texture of words”

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Medium roundup for April 6

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I got behind on posting updates here, but I’ve been getting a lot of writing done on Medium. (Follow me there.) As my own writing evolves, I continue to focus on effective communication, but I’m also branching out into other areas of interest. This blog is, therefore, more and more focusing on my work as a writer in general. Accordingly, I will start including here links to things other than just communication-related posts, but I will use subheads to help you find the things you are most interested in.

Continue reading “Medium roundup for April 6”

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Roundup of Medium articles continued

Last week I posted all the Medium articles I have posted touching on communication from January and February. If you missed my reasons for doing so, you might like to know.

Today I’m getting everything caught up—all the articles so far in March. I will then start sharing a roundup post each Friday, so the email list remains the best way to keep up with such posts.

I write on life management topics as well, so if you would like to see everything I write, follow me on Medium or look on Patreon for access to everything, including material that otherwise would only be available to Medium members (although you could just join Medium).

That catches up through Friday, March 16, 2018. I have others in the queue right now, though, so be sure to watch your email and this blog for updates, or follow on Medium or Patreon.

As always, I hope to help you increase your impact and influence!

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Roundup of Medium articles

Here is the index post of Medium articles I’ve posted through February—or at least the ones connected to effective communication. I’ll catch up on March a little later. If you would like to see all of my Medium articles, you can find them here.

That catches up all of January and February. I’ll catch up March before Friday.

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Speaking Impact: Changing because life changed

time-for-a-change

Long-time readers (and there are several of you out there—thank you!) know that I have gone through periods of not posting much. You might think that I’ve just gone through one of those and that it’s related to the loss of my son, which is the last thing I wrote about here.

You would be partly right.

On the other hand, you would be very wrong, and I need to update you, therefore. Continue reading “Speaking Impact: Changing because life changed”

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What I learned when my son died

barry obit

I have learned some hard lessons recently. I wrote this last week:

It seems so wrong to be sitting here in his hospital room, him over there so quiet, because he passed away this morning — my beloved 32-year-old son. Continue reading “What I learned when my son died”

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Possible podcast interest?

I’m thinking about starting a new podcast focused around “Life Switchers”—people who have made a major change in their lives such as going from being a corporate drone to a business owner, or from a high-level executive to a school teacher. I’m not sure of the frequency right now. It could be once a month or once a week. I think episodes would probably run about 20 minutes in length. Would you be interested in hearing interviews with such folks? I already have one episode recorded and a few more lined up.

I would appreciate your input with the poll below. If, for some reason, it doesn’t show up because of your browser settings, you can go to the poll here.

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Harness nerves and speak with confidence

confidence

Quora didn’t like this answer about speaking with confidence, for some reason, so I’ll share it with the world this way. I think it’s helpful, and I’d like to put it where it can do some good.

The original question was “Tomorrow I have a presentation and I don’t know how to start it. I feel afraid in front of people. What can I do?”

Here is my answer (and I can’t see a thing wrong with it, but it got “moderated”). It has only been edited to use more active voice. (I would have edited it more there, but I didn’t get the chance.) Continue reading “Harness nerves and speak with confidence”

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Respecting your inner writer and editor

editing

As an old newspaper reporter, I can tell you firsthand how it interferes with the writing process when the editor stands over your shoulder. Yet, most of us do this to ourselves every time we try to write.

Writing and editing are two different functions. You will do a better job with less stress if you will separate them. When you write, write. Don’t worry about punctuation, editing, spelling, etc. You can clean that up later.

If you think you don’t have time to do that, let me tell you: you don’t have time to not do it. It actually takes less time to separate writing and editing.

Since we are concerned with helping you speak more effectively and avoid writing it out word for word in the first place (because you’ll then sound like you’re reading, even when you’re not), it’s even more important to find another way to prepare for your speech—and this is it.
Continue reading “Respecting your inner writer and editor”

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Make a note to yourself: use a grocery list

lists

I could have sworn I have written about this before, but I can’t find it at the moment. Maybe I didn’t. That’s what all speakers worry about, I think: am I going to forget what I want to say? I had better leave myself a note.

When I teach beginning speakers about speaking notes, I teach principles, but I don’t insist on a particular way of doing them. Different people need to do notes differently. The answer to the question, “What kind of notes should I use as a speaker?” is “Whatever works for you.”

But there are some general principles of speaker notes. Here’s my take on the subject. Continue reading “Make a note to yourself: use a grocery list”

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