Public Speaking Basics

 1. Know your audience. Who are you talking to? What do they need and want to know? What do they already know? 2. Accept that you’re nervous. It’s normal. Use pauses to calm and center yourself. Speak a little slower, and have notes in case you forget. 3. Use your voice to keep listeners engaged. You have a range…

Casual Negativity or Mindful Positivity

A student introduced me to a simple group game last Saturday. We passed slips of paper around in a circle; one was marked with an L, and the rest with Ws. In this game, players don’t know what’s on their card. After the cards have gone once around the circle, everyone flips over their card.…

Speakers Toolkit (emergency version)

Maybe you have to speak in a meeting, lead a workshop, or present to a crowd; whatever the reason, here are 7 lifesaving tips. There’s a longer version of this, called Speakers Toolkit: How to give great speeches & presentations; read it when you’ve got more time. For now, here’s what you need to know.…

Speakers Toolkit: How to give great speeches & presentations

Being nervous when you have to give a presentation is normal—even experienced speakers break a sweat. Two things will help calm those butterflies: Remembering that this is not about you. Your content is the star; you’re simply delivering it. Preparation, which boosts your confidence. The 9 Steps to Successful Speeches & Presentations will help you prepare and deliver…

Self-Control: The secret to successful speaking & listening

Technology allows us to communicate faster, more frequently, and to a wider audience. But who’s listening? The more we communicate, the harder it is to listen well—to focus on one person and their words. This is where self-control comes in—being able to pause yourself, and focus on the speaker and what they’re saying. Do You…

Adding Silence: How to improve workshops, speeches & conversations

Silence is like flipflops for the brain; it helps us slow down and relax. Consider these 5 reasons to include silence in your speeches and conversations: Silence draws attention. Pauses emphasize what you’ve just said or alerts the listener to what you’re about to say. Silence helps listeners digest. Listeners get a moment to fully digest what…

Teenagers: 15 Tips for Peaceful Communication

Sometimes it seems that all teens do is communicate—texting, instagramming, skyping. But when adults try to talk to teens, both sides often end up frustrated, annoyed or bewildered. How can we bridge this gap? First, Understand your Audience Consider what it is to be teenaged. Teens are in transition between childhood and adulthood. They look…

Personal, Active & Brief

We pay more attention when someone speaks directly to us. Salespeople know that, so do good writers, speakers, teachers and leaders. Write Like You Speak, and Speak Directly to Your Audience. Be personal—write or speak directly to your audience, readers, or participants. Although school trained us to be formal and impersonal, it’s better to use direct…

Layout Basics: Making your document attractive & usable

Effective layout and formatting make documents easier to scan, read and use. Effective document layout improves your reader’s first impression of the document, expectations, ability to quickly and easily find what they need; and their ability to use what they found. 7 Steps to Clear, Useful Documents Write and edit your content. Then review your document, looking…

Subject Lines: Explicit is good when you’re writing email

Clear, precise language in email subject lines increase the chance that people will read and respond to your message. Specific subject lines help readers understand: What you want If they can help you—was this sent to the right person; do they have an answer? What priority to give your message—how important and time-sensitive is this? How…

Empathy Self Test

Empathy: identifying with someone else’s feelings or emotions. Empathy is a cornerstone of excellent leadership, teaching and parenting. When we listen and speak with empathy, others feel heard and respected, relationships improve, and we positively influence others. Self-test: Do you speak and listen with empathy? When talking: Do your words add to your listener’s life—are you giving…

Conversation Skills: Are you sharing or monopolizing?

Sitting in a coffee shop listening to two women talk over each other, I am reminded of that apt analogy of two TVs, both turned on and facing each other. Lots of words but little communication. We’re all guilty sometimes of talking at rather than to our listener; of delivering monologues instead of mutually exploring…

Complaining: Committed vs Uncommitted

Committed complaining: have you heard of it? The idea is that we complain in two ways: committed or uncommitted to fixing the problem. Sometimes we’re just grousing: I’m cold, my office is cold, I hate working here, my boss is a nightmare… Uncommitted complaining begins and ends with the complaint. You don’t like something but…

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