You can learn a lot from a coach. And I’m not talking about life coaches or others that you pay to help you figure out what you really want in life, but the type that wear a whistle around their necks and make you push yourself to be the best athlete you can be. I recently listened to an old interview with legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, and was reminded of some of the things I learned as a student athlete.
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It’s no secret that most people associate some sort of discomfort with public speaking. In fact, many people flat out hate it. I believe part of the reason for this is that there’s a lot of advice on how to be a better speaker (and even how to get rich from public speaking) that is either only semi-accurate or in some cases, completely inaccurate. So when people follow it and it doesn’t work they get frustrated and think that there’s something wrong with them.
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I get a lot of people that come to me asking how they can best improve their presentation skills. Some of them have a strong fear of public speaking while others lack the fear but simply want to improve their speaking style. In both situations, the same basic rule applies – you can’t truly become a better speaker without getting up and speaking. But everyone is different and the truly best way for one person to improve their speaking skills may be different than someone else.
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I’m always getting asked questions about Toastmasters. Some are a little crazy – are there many single men in your club? Others are amusing – what does Toastmasters have to do with making toast? The most common question I’m asked is which club to join. However, I was recently asked an interesting question: how should I dress when visiting a club?
Every club is different, so it really depends on the club. Community clubs meeting at night or on the weekends might be casual, while corporate clubs might require a more formal dress. So here are some tips: Read more...(665 words, 4 images, estimated 2:40 mins reading time)
I had my first experience in training in 1996 when I was an instructor at what’s now Bentley University while earning my Masters’s Degree. In the brief training I had before getting unleashed upon five groups of mostly first-semester freshmen, something stuck out in my mind. The syllabus that I was to hand out to my students noted that the only dumb questions were the ones that were never asked. The point of it was that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask a question out of fear that you’ll look dumb. I get it — and even bought it, for a little bit. But then after fielding some of these questions, I realized that some questions were better off not being asked.
I was reminded of this recently when someone asked me the very question that is the title of this post. It was in response to my review of the book “How to Be a Gentleman.” At first, I thought it was a dumb question. Phrases like “being open-minded” popped into my head and I decided to be open-minded about the question and my answer. And guess what? It’s actually an interesting question that warrants a legitimate response. Read more...(404 words, 4 images, estimated 1:37 mins reading time)
When I tell people that one of the things I teach is public speaking, the first thing they typically ask is why. Most of the time, they really mean that they wonder why someone would get interested in that particular topic. So as I explain that I actually get a rush from doing something that most people avoid like the plague, the questions become more serious and I’m asked what interested me in public speaking to begin with and how I got to where I am today.
As a kid, I always enjoyed making people smile and I still feel the same way today. In fact, I’ll often go out of my way to get a laugh out of someone, even if I have to make myself look foolish in the process. When I was in my pre-teen years, I had dreamed of becoming an actor. I tried to convince my parents to move across the country to California so I could become one. That didn’t quite work out so I found other outlets for my creativity. In high school, it was sports. Read more...(1655 words, 4 images, estimated 6:37 mins reading time)
I love listening to country music and there’s a song by Brad Paisley called “Water” that’s getting a lot of airtime (you can watch the video for it at the bottom of this post). It’s a fun song about his love of water and it chronicles his water-related experiences from when he was a child up until his adult years. Now one would think a song like this would remind someone of summer vacations or spring break, but I’m reminded of a conversation that I witnessed during a management training course I took eight years ago. Read more...(557 words, 4 images, estimated 2:14 mins reading time)