Slow posting to follow

Just a heads-up, dear readers. I have a challenging two or three weeks coming up as we close out a semester, so I am anticipating the pattern of this week to continue–that is, not a lot of posting. Stay tuned–it will pick back up as soon as we get another batch of newly inspired students on their way to their next challenge.

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Only as Good as the Material: How to Write a Great Speech

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The following is a guest post from Katheryn Rivas.

The human psyche is a place of many quirks, idiosyncrasies, and phobias.  But of all the fears that loom in our collective minds, the fear of speaking in public remains the most terrifying to the average American, and is considered worse even than death by most.

Volumes upon volumes could and have been written about this peculiar fear, but what is often overlooked in these studies and inspirational tomes is the content of a speech and how it relates to the confidence one feels while delivering it.

It is true that a dull or timid performance of a speech can diminish its power, a bad speech spoken badly is even worse.  Examples of this abound, especially in popular media.  Consider a movie you expected to be excellent, given the actors and directors starring in it, but turned out to be trite, melodramatic, and cliché, even despite good performances. Even the most talented actors can only do so much with a poorly written script.

And the same holds true for a speech.  You might not be a brilliant orator, but if you craft an excellent speech, your audience will be much more likely to forgive your delivery, and will admire your rhetorical skills all the same. Continue reading “Only as Good as the Material: How to Write a Great Speech”

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Be skeptical of your own thinking

Blood sucker
Budding politician?

You don’t have to know a lot about history to know that people used to think illness could be caused by too much blood, and so the way to cure illness was to bleed the patient. I heard that George Washington died as a result of being bled to treat pneumonia (turns out it was actually “acute epiglottitis“). We just shake our heads and sigh at the ignorance.

You may not realize that the idea of “having too much blood” made perfect sense, supported by evidence and observation. Continue reading “Be skeptical of your own thinking”

photo by: Sarah G...
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Why do it out loud?

The following is adapted from a piece I originally wrote a decade ago, but it certainly still applies today.

Not long ago I heard a student give a speech that I know would have killed her had she been forced to sit in a classroom and listen to a professor lecture that way. She stood still as a statue, holding her notes in front of her, and read most if not all of the speech in a flat, sing-songy tone, the kind that movies use to stereotype boring speakers and teachers.

If you read a written “speech” out loud to the audience, why are you bothering to speak to them?

Wouldn’t it be simpler, easier, less nerve-wracking, and more time-efficient to just photocopy your manuscript? Continue reading “Why do it out loud?”

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Update: Speaking Expert Teleseminar helps–but grab it now!

Experts only by kevin dooley, on Flickr (Creative Commons licensed)

Let me tell you right now that I am an affiliate for the Speaking Expert Teleseminar. But let me also tell you that I paid for it up front because I recognized five out of the seven experts and knew their work to be well worth the price, and I wanted to ensure I got access to every bit of their expertise. Continue reading “Update: Speaking Expert Teleseminar helps–but grab it now!”

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