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“Toastmasters is only for amateurs!” Several years ago I attended a National Speakers Association (NSA) meeting and that was the response when someone mentioned Toastmasters. Truthfully, I feel both organizations have their share of amateurs and professionals with NSA having a higher percentage of professionals and Toastmasters having mostly amateurs. But as a Toastmasters graduate and someone that attended many NSA meetings (I’ve qualified for membership since 2007 but never joined), I can see the benefit in joining either or both groups.
I love going to free public speaking seminars: if the material isn’t good, I usually walk away with at least a good story. At one such event a few years ago, the leader let me deliver a five minute speech. His feedback was that my introduction had needed more oomph – he told me that I only had six seconds to capture the audience’s attention. I told him that advice was nonsense as people seated will take at times a few minutes to warm up to. I know it’s important to have a good opening to your speech and that’s a topic in itself. But this isn’t about speeches, it’s about writing and that’s a different beast.Share
If you’ve taken that first step towards becoming a professional speaker, then congratulations. It’s an exciting journey that can be both fun and frustrating, but in the end, you’ll find it worthwhile and rewarding. There’s nothing better than wowing audiences day after day. Of course, making the decision to become a professional speaker is the exciting part. But in addition to the fun stuff, there are a lot of business and administration tasks that need to be done.
Most people fail to do anything major because they see it as a big impossible task that needs to be tackled all at once. If you’re trying to climb a mountain, you can come up with dozens of excuses: you’re not feeling up to it, it’s not the right time to start your journey, you only have an hour and it takes days, etc…. I’m as guilty as anyone – I’ve got more unfinished projects than I care to admit. But these things can be all be tackled (even at once) if you have the desire and the focus. And I’ll show you how.Share
One of the coolest things about social media (and the internet in general) is how it gives everyone a chance to be seen and heard. Anyone can be a celebrity – and these days, it feels like practically everyone is ( which is why people in Hollywood one-up each other in stupidity to gain attention). YouTube alone has put Arnel Pineada in Journey and made Justin Bieber and Gangnam Style household names. But it also has exposed millions of people to thousands of other singers, bands, comedians and yes, even motivational speakers.
Last night was the Miss USA pageant. Normally, the big news would be that Connecticut’s Erin Brady won. However, the buzz is all about an answer from Miss Utah, Marissa Powell. No, this time it wasn’t something racist or bigoted or otherwise shocking. Instead, she got nervous, stumbled through her answer and used improper English.
If you’d like to see her answer, the video is below:
As if job interviews weren’t stressful enough, some employers are asking people that come in for job interviews to log in their email accounts or their Facebook (or other social media) accounts. Plenty has been written about why not to do this. My personal favorite is the knee-jerk reaction that typically comes from people that either run small companies or blog for a living: do you really want to work for a company that would make you do that?Share
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Please take a look at my latest e-book, "The Ultimate Guide to Effective Theme Meetings." This 62 page e-book contains tips as well as 10 ready to use theme meeting kits. Each kit contains everything from the invitation to planning the food & decor to enough table topics for up to 30 participants. And if you act fast, you can get it while it's still on sale.
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- Michelle on What I Hate About Toastmasters