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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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