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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
Everyone has ideas. But like most everything else, ideas cannot live without flesh.
Continue reading “If you want it to live, embody it”
This is not a post about religion, but it is a post inspired by religion, I suppose. Continue reading “End of your rope?”
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”