tips

Don’t Be a Matt Foley Speaker

The late Chris Farley was an amazing actor and comedian. It’s a shame that he died so early and so young. One of his more famous roles (and one of my favorites) was Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. If you’ve never seen the skit on Saturday Night Live, here is a short clip.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_YK9wVK6IQ

The character is interesting because he’s the complete opposite of what most of us think of when we think of motivational speakers. He’s grossly overweight, sloppily dressed, rude to his audience and speaks in a condescending and angry tone. And of course, that’s the point of the character and why it’s funny. You might be surprised, but I’ve seen a number of supposed motivational speakers that fit into one or more of these categories. And in many cases, it lessens the effect of their message on the audience.

Using Profanity in a Speech

If you asked me five years ago who I thought the best motivational speaker out there was, I would have told you Tony Robbins. Yes, he’d frequently mispronounce words like “nuclear” (as nuke-you-lure) and “produce” (as per-deuce). But his material was so good that I, even as an active member of Toastmasters, would overlook something so minuscule because the rest of his delivery and his material were fantastic. However, if you listen to Tony Robbins today he has an edgier presentation style. He uses more slang and hip words. But what really surprised me is the amount of profanity he uses. We’re not talking just words like “hell” and “damn” – he’s dropping f-bombs left and right. And the part that bothers me about it is it seems like he goes out of his way to use them.

Now, before you think I’m one of those people that is easily offended by bad language, let me assure you that I’m not. I grew up in the 80’s & 90’s listening to the likes of Andrew Dice Clay and 2 Live Crew – a comedian and rap group both known for their over-the-top language. On top of that, I find movies like American Pie and those in that genre to be hilarious – in fact, my favorite character in the films is Steve Stiffler who uses the f-word almost as much as Tony Robbins.

To Do Lists Are Useless

To do lists really are useless. The remind me of the pile of junk mail on my desk – they keep growing and growing until I finally get frustrated and just wipe it out. Throughout the years I’ve experimented with various type of to do lists: paper based, electronic and I even created several types of my own. But I’ve found a tool that’s been around a lot longer that works much more effectively: the calendar.

A Toastmasters Primer

Okay, so you want to learn about Toastmasters but feel overwhelmed with all the information out there. Well, here’s a cheat sheet to help you learn what you need to know about this member-run organization.


History:

Clubs:

  • Clubs are local chapters of Toastmasters. Each club elects officers, sets dues and decides on meeting times and locations.
  • You can belong to as many clubs as you’d like to join.

How I Stopped Dying

I don’t usually put personal posts on this blog but given that I haven’t posted anything in a while, I figured it’s time to at least let you all know that I’m still alive. Like most people in the US (and especially in the Northeast where we literally have wicked weather), December is a busy time for me. On the personal side, I celebrate Christmas and several birthdays of close relatives and friends. And this year was especially hectic because I actually did some traveling – I spent ten days at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

How to Dress For a Toastmasters Meeting

I’m always getting asked questions about Toastmasters. Whether it’s someone attending one of my classes or watching me give a speech, when they hear that I help people with their public speaking skills, the topic of Toastmasters often comes up. While I recommend Toastmasters and the most common question I’m asked is which club to join, I was recently asked an interesting question: how should I dress when visiting a club?

Every club is different so it really does depend on the club. Community clubs meeting at night or on the weekends might be casual while corporate clubs might require more formal dress. So here are some tips:

Can Printed PowerPoint Slides Kill Your Presentation?

So you’re doing some training or a workshop and you’ve got your PowerPoint presentation perfected. Now the big question: do you print out the slides and give them to your audience? I’m often asked this in my speaking classes and by clients and my answer is typical: it depends. Sometimes it makes sense to provide them to the audience prior to the presentation while other times it’s better to not. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros: