#elbowgate and the pantomime of politics

I’m coming to the #elbowgate party a bit late. All the same, it’s too glittery a rhetoric issue for me to ignore. If you haven’t heard of Elbowgate, here is a brief summary: While votes were being gathered in the Canadian House of Commons on a contentious bill, a brouhaha was created when Prime Minister…

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Junk Food for the Content Monster

  If you are trying to get yourself out there and get noticed, you need to give people something to see. It doesn’t matter if the thing you craft is code, art, words, or something else. People need to see what you are doing if they are going to respond. This is especially true if…

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Do you know how to be charismatic?

  The word charismatic gets thrown about quite a bit.  I’ve heard people call someone “charismatic” when I would have labelled that same individual “bombastic a**hole.”  I’ve also encountered people I would label as highly charismatic that others describe as inaccessible or aloof. The last year has been an interesting study in political charisma, with Justin…

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What’s the difference? Toastmasters vs. Speech Coaching

  What’s the difference between Toastmasters and a public speaking coach? Good question. Finding the right type of learning method and environment is important if you want to make headway with your speaking, and it’s confusing to sift through the different options. Full disclosure: I’m a public speaking coach and trainer (in case that wasn’t…

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Why speakers need to train like athletes

I like to think that working out and public speaking go hand in hand. They are both tiring, they both demand a lot of effort, and speakers definitely benefit from being in good shape. Think about it: after you give a presentation, do you feel as fresh as a daisy or are you tired out? Do…

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Value Judgements

  Among our many hang-ups with public speaking is that we make value judgments about the feelings and energy we experience when we give or think about giving a speech. When we think of speaking, many of us assign words like ‘bad’, ‘scared’, ‘crappy’, or ‘terrible’ to ourselves as individuals instead of to the negative…

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What’s the worst that could happen?

Have you heard the advice that you should only picture a positive outcome for your talk? That you should only visualize a successful speech in which everything goes according to plan, you breeze through your material, and the audience is lavish in their praise and applause? I have. I’ve heard this bit of advice come…

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How to present when you are as sick as a dog

  This is a photo of me MCing the Edmonton Event Awards on February 25th. This picture tells both a truth and a lie. The truth is that grin and overall impression of enjoyment. I had a great time MCing the event! I love MCing, and this was a particularly fun night. The audience was…

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If you use these words when you speak…stop!

Many people have a funny habit of apologizing and downplaying their thoughts and opinions the moment they begin to voice them.  I first noticed this trend a few years ago while sitting in a meeting, and I have become acutely aware of it ever since.  It is highly likely that you do this without even…

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Are you listening?

Want to speak? Be prepared to listen. Really skilled communicators, really dynamic and engaging speakers  actively and intimately listen to and observe their audience.  By giving his audience his full attention, a speaker is able to figure out what the audience needs to perceive, needs to feel, needs to hear in order to adopt the…

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