VIDEO: SpeakingTall Does DIY Crafts

So, I know this has nothing to do with speaking, but I thought I would share a quick video I made this weekend. We recently purchased a t.v. stand and I needed to spruce it up with a bit of life. Enjoy!

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How to Tell Someone to Sit Down and Shut Up

I need your help on this one. Recently, I booked a presenter for a symposium. This individual was one of several speakers. After sending several emails prior to the session, we were both under the understanding (or, so I thought) that his presentation would be 15 minutes of speaking with an additional 10 minutes of Q&A.

Perfect!  You can’t get any better than a quick and to the point presentation!

Until….(I’m sure you know the rest.) On the day of his presentation he talked for a grand total of 45minutes and then proceeded into Q&A.  Much of the presentation was off topic and he invited another speaker to say a few words. On top of that, there was a video. The audience seemed into the presentation –but it truly cut into the time of the entire symposium.

In my mind, I envisioned myself jumping up out of my seat yelling “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP ALREADY.” But, I kindly sat there for most of the presentation.

When he was about to begin the Q&A, I had had enough – I spoke up and asked for us to move the Q&A to the end of the entire session.

Now, in Toastmasters, everyone is under the understanding that you have a time limit that must be met. If you go over, you will see a blaring red signal to tell you to stop.  But, that works for Toastmasters – what about business meetings, conferences, symposiums – when you’re outside of Toastmasters?

Here are some ways I thought I can avoid a runaway talker:

** Politely ask to move the Q&A to the end

** Start clapping & yell well done (Is this rude? Ha.)

** Honestly, I can’t think of anything else!  Help me, please! 🙂

What are some helpful ideas that you have found to get folks to shut up and sit down once they have talked past their time? (I might need to implement some of them!)

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Speak Like an Oscar Winner: Two Public Speaking Tips to Practice Spontaneity

I found the Academy Awards to be a bit……..well, boring (and apparently, those checking their cell phones did, too). But, of course I soldiered through it so that I could write a post for my wonderful readers.  You’re welcome.

In a short post, I wanted to share with you a few public speaking tips I’ve been wanting to improve on and that were exemplified during the Oscars: A- The Call Back (which I learned from Craig Valentine) & B- Don’t be Afraid to Mess it Up

Octavia Spencer – Craig Valentine’s The Call Back

The first sentence out of Octavia’s mouth was to thank the Academy for sitting her next to someone so hot!

To spice up your presentation, be like Octavia and “call back”  to something that happened prior to your presentation that the entire audience can relate to – make a humorous comment about the food, the commute, the presentation before yours. Something that will engage your audience and that is specific to that moment.

This is also a helpful tip for those who have trouble communicating in social settings. Instead of continuously wracking your brain to find something to talk about or settling once again to talk about yourself, find something in your immediate environment to have a conversation about. Is the wine from Argentina?  Talk about your recent trip to Buenos Aires. Notice that someone is wearing a crocheted scarf. Talk about your love of crocheting.

Billy Crystal – Don’t be Afraid to Mess Up

When I mess up during a presentation, my first reaction is to apologize. Something like, “Umm..Sorry I’m such a fool. I forgot what I was about to say.”

I loved how Billy Crystal made a mistake with one of his lines and instead of mumbling or apologizing he turned the moment into a joke and started over. He used that moment to do a very humorous rewind, by talking backwards, walking backwards, and returning to the start of his line. To be a professional does not mean that you are perfect. A professional means that you can make a mistake, not let it derail you, but you keep it moving.

Both The Call Back and Not Being Afraid to Mess Up means practicing and using Spontaneity!

Oh, congrats to the lovely Meryl Streep for the best actress award for the Iron Lady (although, I was pulling for Viola Davis ;).

Did you watch the Oscars? What are some speaking tips you learned? 

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Take Charge of your Technology: 9 Tips to Help Avoid a Disaster

I just recently did a presentation that went totally wrong. So, wrong, that I scrapped the entire thing and just went Old School – without the PowerPoint.  I just relied on my good ‘ol voice and charming style. 😉

Technology is supposed to make your life easier. But, if you’ve dealt with technology for any longer than a week, you will know that sometimes technology isn’t your best friend – and it can turn your otherwise wonderful presentation into a disaster. Your fast Internet connection may not be available. The bulb of your projector may blow. The scenarios are endless. Here are some tips to make sure you stay one step ahead of these technology disasters:

  1. Have a wireless Internet card available.
  2. Bring a cable adapter/dongle (yes, that’s a real term).
  3. Have PowerPoint printouts in case your projector blows or laptop refuses to cooperate.
  4. Bring your presentation on USB in case you have to use another laptop.
  5. Know your presentation room – try to visit your speaking area at least 24 hours in advance.
  6. Get the names and contact numbers of the AV department.
  7. Enlist a pal to help you set up.
  8. Arrive early!!  You don’t want to feel rushed and panicked when you have to prepare for your setup.
  9. Fall back on the Old School – the voice is a powerful thing!

What was your worst technology disaster?  What tips did you learn from it?

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Speak Like Adele: 2 Public Speaking Tips from a Soulful Singer


The Grammy’s were all about Adele last night. So, I thought I’d jump on the Adele train, too. Truthfully, I’ve been on the Adele train for a long time now ever since I heard her soulful voice a few years ago (and I’m about to rock her CD on my long commute to work this morning).

I know she isn’t a public speaker, but I was truly inspired by her unpretentious, fun, and humble acceptance speeches (and performance) so much that I thought I would write a post about it.

#1 Substance over Style: When Adele performed, there were no pyrotechnics, no annoying flashing lights, no dramatic stage props. Only pure talent. Her voice captured the audience and showed us how amazing she is.

When giving presentations, many people use visuals such as PowerPoint to cover their failing content. The visuals become their “pyrotechnics”. Recently, I did a speech that could have done without PowerPoint. My visuals didn’t really add to the content. Instead, they were used as more like an after thought. Try to wow folks with your speaking talent and use the visuals as a compliment instead of a replacement of the content.

#2 Be Yourself: When accepting her awards, it seemed as though this was how Adele would be if you had met her in person. She seemed unfazed by her Hollywood status, and just gave us herself. (Now, she was chomping on some gum during her speeches. I definitely wouldn’t advocate for that during your presentation, but it was another example of her not fitting the Hollywood mold.) My favorite was when she accepted the Album of the Year award and exclaimed, “Oh, I’ve got a bit of snot!” as she tearfully thanked everyone.

I have enjoyed the best presentations from those people who did not try to emulate others. Those who found their own style and voice. It’s a good idea to use some techniques of others, but at the end of the day bring your authentic self to your presentations.

Who else did you enjoy at the Grammy’s?

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What are You Really Afraid of?

Fear. Since I am speaking more often – for work and with Toastmasters – I have noticed I see less fear when standing in front of a crowd of people (especially after having completed my 10th speech).  But still, that little annoying pest still creeps up.

What do I fear the most?

#1) What people think about me. I worry about this ALL the time. Do they think I’m dumb? Do I sound like a three year old? Are my lips too chapped? My hair not done properly? Do they like me? Does this dress make my butt look too big?  Seriously, many of these types of questions pop into my head. When I’m speaking, I tend to focus on these questions more than the actual presentation itself!

#2) Will this impact my life.

How I am slowly getting over the fears:

A. Practice, Practice, and more Practice – and I’m not just talking about standing in the bathroom mirror practice. I’m talking about putting yourself out there and speaking in front of folks (whether that is a speech or just asking a question in a crowd). The more you practice, the more you realize that no one is going to throw a rotten tomato at your head.

B. Chasing my fears to the end of the world. For example, say I worry about losing my job because I made a teeny tiny mistake. I’ll make up the worst-case scenario: If I lose my job, I’ll have to be a stay-at-home-girlfriend (again!). If the boyfriend chooses to dump me, I will be alone and broke. I will have to go begging for money. My parents will allow me to move in with them (which would be nice), but will make me rake leaves, shovel snow, and do chores (again!). Then ______ fill in the blank. I let my imagination run wild. Then I think to myself:  It can’t possibly be that bad! The worst-case scenario helps me put things into perspective (and makes me grateful for the life I do have!).

What are some speaking fears that you have?  And, what ways are you getting over those fears?

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Video: You’re Looking at a Brand Spanking New Competent Communicator!

I just completed my 10th Toastmasters speech and earned my CC designation! Woohoo. Go Me! A year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined being as confident as I am now in public speaking (although, I do realize I still have room for improvement).

The speech is titled Stuck in Traffic — inspired by my terribly long commute. I feel accomplished and working towards that Hold my Head Up High Because I Know I’m Awesome Speaker!


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