“In presentations or speeches less really is more”
― Stephen Keague, The Little Red Handbook of Public Speaking and Presenting
Everyone likes to sound as though they know what they’re talking about. Well, almost everyone, that is. I shy away from that sort of thing, because once people think you know something, they start asking you all kinds of annoying questions in an attempt to trip you up and embarrass you in front of your friends. My approach is to plead complete ignorance, to claim no knowledge whatsoever about anything. The drawback there, of course, is that when you admit to having large gaps in your understanding, an enlightened person always appears, uninvited and as if by magic, intent on educating you – and making a public show of it at the same time, mostly to embarrass you in front of your friends.
One way the informed people promote their own image is by imparting some secret morsel of insight, a little-known fact that demonstrates their status as inner-circle experts.
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Share one of these jokes with your fellow toastmasters…
A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!”
“It will pass,” the teacher said matter-of-factly.
A week later, the student came back to his teacher. “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It’s just wonderful!”
“It will pass,” the teacher replied matter-of-factly.
A local priest and a pastor were fishing on the side of the road. They thoughtfully made a sign saying, “The end is near! Turn yourself around now before it’s too late!” and showed it to each passing car.
One driver who drove by didn’t appreciate the sign and shouted at them, “Leave us alone, you religious nuts!”
All of a sudden they heard a big splash, looked at…
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From TED.com, “Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
“Amy Cuddy is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, where she studies how nonverbal behavior and how snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom.
Her research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions.”
Photo via Flickr user Queen’s University
For most people, public speaking lies in the intersection of something that is important, scary, and difficult to practice. What Toastmasters does is allow one to practice in a safe environment, thereby allowing one to become a more effective, dynamic speaker. If your goals require the help of other people to accomplish, or if you have some ideas that are worth sharing, it is a worthy investment, and one of the best values per dollar of training budget I’ve seen. Aside from the practice speaking, it also provides good practice listening, which is probably more important than being heard if you want to build collaboration. The higher up in an organization you get, the more important communication becomes, and the less important the original skill becomes. Moving from a factory worker to a foreman still requires the skills of the factory worker, but they are compounded by the needs to…
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