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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Introduce effectively for impact

Deadpool opening

How does every James Bond movie start?

Right in the middle of the action, right? Bullets are flying, he’s parachuting into a moving convertible, etc.If you saw a recent movie

If you saw a recent superhero movie called Deadpool, it exemplifies this action movie start perfectly. I’ve never followed comic books too much, so I didn’t know this guy’s backstory, and I didn’t need to. The movie just grabbed my attention right off the bat, and then spent three-fourths of the movie giving me the backstory on how we got to that scene.

Too many speakers waste valuable minutes getting ready to speak. Forget that. Continue reading “Introduce effectively for impact”

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Taco lessons for life

Life lesson #223

I had a similar conversation on separate occasions with two of my kids following some unwise choice both had made. It went something like this:

“There are three kinds of people in the world. There are people who learn the easy way. There are people who learn the hard way. And there are people who just don’t freaking learn. [I confess the original language was harsher—but it was a really unwise choice he or she had made more than once.] You’ve already shown that you are not the first kind. It remains to be seen which of the other two you are.”

Continue reading “Taco lessons for life”

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How pelicans got their beaks

Pelican

You can’t force creativity, but you can remove the roadblocks.

At the risk of sounding like an old fart (because, after all, I am one): I believe I have noticed a decrease in the ability of incoming students to think outside the pigeon hole. I don’t think students are any less intelligent, but I do think it is one of the unintended side effects of “No Child Left Untested” foisted on the American public in a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to improve public education.

I don’t want to trot down that side path right now. Regardless of the cause, I am sure I see students struggling to think creatively. You might struggle as well.

Continue reading “How pelicans got their beaks”

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If you want it to live, embody it

seed_start

Everyone has ideas. But like most everything else, ideas cannot live without flesh.

Continue reading “If you want it to live, embody it”

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End of your rope?

End of rope

This is not a post about religion, but it is a post inspired by religion, I suppose. Continue reading “End of your rope?”

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The power of objects to evoke

kid-balloon

As I write this, I am in my disabled daughter’s bedroom looking at some of the balloons that float over her bed. She has no volitional control over her body–can’t sit up, can’t roll over, can’t communicate. She has never even been able to do something like blink once for yes and twice for no. We see evidence that she hears and understands what goes on around her, though–for instance, now that she is 13, if I come in and say something like, “How’s Daddy’s baby today?” she will roll her eyes like any 13-year-old would. Since she has no volitional control, it suggests to me that eye-rolling is simply a teen-aged reflex.

She follows things with her eyes, and that’s one reason for the balloons. They can float in her field of vision and provide some entertainment and diversion for what must be a very isolated experience, even though they are starting to lose their helium and dangle just above her headboard now.

As I watch those balloons, I am suddenly transported to a Nash automobile in 1959.

Continue reading “The power of objects to evoke”

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List your way to creativity

Every day

James Altucher has really had an impact in the last few years with his books, his blogs, his videos, etc. His core ideas are contained in Choose Yourself. I want to encourage you particularly to apply one of them he advocates for exercising your “idea muscle” that I have started calling the Ten List.

The Ten List is part of his four-part system he calls The Daily Practice–or, actually, a technique that addresses the Mental part of the four. So it’s not particularly about speaking or writing, but I have found it to be really useful for both.

Continue reading “List your way to creativity”

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What’s your base?

egg-450

Is there something in you that you keep coming back to? What does that tell you about yourself?

I haven’t written anything here for awhile. In fact, I haven’t written much of anything at all for awhile. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been creating–I have been experimenting quite a bit with Facebook Live and other video. I’ve been getting my creative muscles flexed–but I still come back to writing and speaking over and over again. It’s just who I am.

Continue reading “What’s your base?”

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Use a free, easy tool to improve your speaking

Coffee with Donn logo

I have started a Facebook video series to share speaking tips (and some writing tips, but focused on “out loud”). I’m going to try to do this twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) to see how it goes. After we get going, I’ll broadcast live so people can interact during the broadcast, but the recording will remain available.

You don’t have to have a Facebook account to see it. But if you have one, “like” the page while you are there to make it easy to see more content as it comes out.

You can see the first Coffee with Donn video here.

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