Archive for August, 2011

Public Speaking … ‘Dummies’ Guide

Posted on August 24, 2011. Filed under: From Russia with Love, Guide Posts, Personalities |

Public Speaking gives you the gift of the undivided attention of guys stupid enough to want to listen to you. So you had better give them all you got.

First thing is that only a dumb speaker would need distractions. So how has this here wizard ruled, in a recent post, that  a pretty girl on the stage is a big help! The guy probably does not know that –

 “There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip. Nay, her foot speaks.”

The aim of any speaker worth the name has to be, to always but always, hold undivided and rivetted attention of his/her audience. There is your voice, your language, your thought and manner to help you do it.

Know this then that Julius Gaius Caesar  –

“ –  was an exceptionally zealous student with a marvelous elegance of language. His force, his penetration, his energy make it abundantly clear that he was as forceful in his speech as in his conduct of war.”

This Post seeks to cover this grand subject under Seven heads.

Smarty Pants speaking in public

First. Preparation.  

Blessed with modest mental acumen, persons like me need to thoroughly prepare what ever they have to speak. Rehearse and Rehearse.  The ‘Masters’ even visit the site and see the stage to help get a feel of things.

Even the Churchills and Mark Twains minutely prepared and practiced their so called ‘extempore’ utterances!

One can never have enough of preparation or under rate its importance. Yet the Lincolns of the world just scrawlled a few points on a piece of paper as they drove to the venue. Then go on to deliver an address relevant for the ages!

But we are just not in that league!

Second. Style

Styles range from the conversational to the vehement. History records instances of near gibberish pronounced with passion and power and eternal truths uttered with disarming humility.

If you are any good you have to have your own personal style. Should you be a virtuoso, you may even have different styles for different occasions and different audiences. You yourself have to decide what suits you best. Here are three extreme examples –

A. This guy faces the audience with a tranquil mien and a beaming aspect.. In the measured cadence of his voice, there is intense feeling but no declamation, no passionate, no superficial or feigned emotion. It is simply colloquy – a gentleman conversing.

B. This chap ranges from one side of the hall to the other barking out short staccato sentences as the thought breaks upon his mind. He looks much like a caged animal, glaring and growling, as he moves to and fro with his hands behind his back.

C. This speaker is the intense sort. He speaks little but when he does, the silence that creeps over the hall is painful in its intensity.  He is not eloquent much less an orator but as he hisses out his sentences of concentrated passion and scorn, he gives a sense of demonic self control and illimitable strength.

Third.  The Start or Exordium

The aim is to establish a ‘connect’ with the audience. Crass humor and jokes are in poor taste. Here are some actual day to day examples –

A. Am a bit diffident. Because it is a bright cheery morning and for you to be sitting cooped up in a hall, having to listen to some foreigner, can hardly be anyone’s idea of a happy morning. Secondly the subject is one with which you are pretty familiar and I am going to have one hell of a time trying to make it interesting.

B. Being the last speaker is tough! By now most  everyone has had enough of   listening and is about ready to go home. Secondly there is the fact that most of the stuff has already been covered and one has to come up with something totally new.

C. No man thinks more highly than I of the motives and abilities of the worthies who have just spoken. But different men see the same subject in different light. So it should not be thought disrespectful if I speak my feelings freely and openly.

Fourth. Voice

Somebody observed that there is no surer index of character than the human voice. And the Hollywood Classic, ‘Singing in the Rain’ depicts the finis of the silent era heroine whose repellent voice bars her when talking movies arrive.

Know that your voice is the reflection of the real you. It is the single most important tool of your emotions. What really counts is not what is said but the way in which it is uttered – in the vital energy that propels its utterance, in the fires burning in the tones of the voice and in the vigor of the mind.

Know that the voice is the most but worst used of all your faculties. So why not obtain power through this most but rather badly used capability? Here  are three tips –

A. To reach the mind of your audience you must put feeling in your voice. Once you are able to do that, then half the battle is won. A thought feelingly spoken with heart and mind behind it, is soon absorbed. It is earnestness in saying a thing.

B. Once you learn to put feeling in your voice, you must master the art of intermittent stress. Meaning that you have to stress what ever you say. Do it with intermittent stress on selected words. This will make your speech flexible and attractive. You will be able to reach the hearts and minds of your hearers.

C. Now this here thing is for giving power to your voice. Adopt this practice and you will obtain something much more than the metallic voice. For this you must practice and learn to say the consonants with the firmest possible contact between the two parts of the mouth. Needs practice but there is nothing grander for giving punch and power to your words.

Fifth. You have to take your audience along as you speak

Eye contact is one thing. Studying the audience moment by moment and ensuring that they are coming along with you is quite another.

There is a law that states that what so ever a speaker sees clearly in his or her mind, the same is photographed on the tones of the speaker’s voice. It is then emphatically conveyed to the minds of those listening to you.

Do this by ensuring that what you are saying is pictured in your own mind. Then the tones of your voice will automatically convey the same mental picture to the minds of those listening to you. They will thus the more easily follow you. And you will hold their attention.

Should you seem to be losing your audience, you need to pause,  remain calm and then bring on intensity.  You have to bring nervous and vocal undulations as you speak. Then the intermittent stress will bring back your audience to you.

One needs to practice speaking with undulations as well as using intermittent stress. Then there is the hammering of the consonants, ie speaking them with the firmest possible contact beween the two parts of the mouth.

Finally, always but always conserve the energies of your body. For this you must make no unintended movement, great or small, unless the idea warrants it. This prevents leakage of power.

Remember that greater the feeling, less should the body express it. The resultant accumulation of power will help you to remain master of your audience.

Sixth. Closing

The closing is as important as the starting.  Light humor, self deprecation, relevance to current stuff always helps empathy. Some speakers recap what they have said. Others request Qs from the audience.

SeventhThe Acid Test

The acid test of how you have spoken is how you yourself feel after your effort. The more powerfully or effectively you speak, the more empowered, invigorated you feel – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Top to toe you will feel energized. Conversely – aimless, drifting, listless, boring performances will leave you drained and feeling exhausted. So, do whatever needed to get that charged up afterwards feeling.

To close, this is how a salty old Sergeant practised this entire art –

 “I first tells them what I is gonna tell them. Then I tells them what I is telling them. Then I tells them what I told them. If the dumb blokes don’t get it, I repeats the whole process. By Jove, if they still don’t get it, then God alone save them from me!”

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On Starting Your Venture …

Posted on August 16, 2011. Filed under: Business, Personal Stuff |

At this stage in life it is fascinating to come across bright and talented yet unhappy, dissatisfied young men and women. Most are unhappy where they are regardless how well they maybe doing financially and materially. Some want to change professions while others are passionate about doing their own thing.

Some have listened and made a go of it. Happy at their success and achievement, here are the Five things guaranteed to take you places. The self styled Guru’s may mock but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

First  – Confidence and Courage

Whether you want to change your profession or start doing your own stuff, the first thing that is needed is a whole lot of confidence bonded with stark stubborn raw courage.

This is the one thing that will help you pass times when you fail, feel rock bottom hopeless and miserable. Such times may last days, weeks, months and they occur ever so often too. Such periods always seem pathetically long and unending. You will feel lonely and terribly alone.

What matters and is needed is confidence in yourself and what you are doing. The steely resolve within is the only thing that can pull you through. People, even the nearest and dearest will laugh, mock, deride. There will be many a, “I  told you so”.

It is human nature. The world enjoys the frustrations and travails of those in the pit.

Deep down you need to analyze the bad decisions. This could be on a daily basis specially before retiring. Always but always you and you alone have to know where you are at the moment and in which direction you are headed.

The beauty is that many a time you may have to move in reverse gear. But you must always be in the know of just about everything gong on. They say knowledge is power. It helps build confidence too.

Second – Knowing your Stuff

What ever your dream, you have to know and learn all of its nitty gritty. This applies to the big Picture as well as the detail; the macro as well as the minutiae.  You gotta know stuff which is not known to even the experts.

If you do not know this then you have no biz being here and had better go back to where you came from.

Always start with the basics. You need to make the others in the field look stupid. This is the one thing that will take you places.

Third – Doing Stuff and Moving. Moving, moving all the time

Once you have rock hard confidence meshed with the secret nitty gritty of your field, then its time to be doing things instead of sitting on your behind dreaming. Remember movement is life; stillness is death.

Move, move and keep doing stuff here there and just about everywhere. There is just no time for play and you can not afford the pleasure of sitting back and enjoying the scenery. Otherwise mighty unpleasant things will most certainly happen.

You gotta keep the positives or what is needed, happening every day, every minute, all the time – 24×7 .

Fourth – Have Fun

Now whether you are making ground or are mired every once in a while you need to look from the outside and have a good laugh at your antics. This will help you know that though you maybe making a monkey out of yourself yet you are enjoying the roller coaster.

You will learn not to take anything too seriously. Somebody wrote that when Thomas Edison’s work shop went up in flames, he called just about every one to come enjoy the once in a lifetime bonfire!

Every once in a while laugh at your self and try see the ludicrous in the serious.

Fifth –  Bigheartedness and Generosity

Small hearted folk seldom achieve much. Good to be generous to those helping you and even those fighting you. Nothing to lose.

Being big will help you laugh at yourself and give confidence every which way. And help make good friends too.

Good Luck, God Bless.  Enjoy Life in Every which Way. 

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Modern Day Desiderata …

Posted on August 12, 2011. Filed under: Guide Posts, Searching for Success |

 For Centuries, Desiderata which was found several Centuries back in an Old Church has stood unrivalled. But here is Regina Brett of the ‘Plain Dealer’, Cleveland, Ohio, who recently turned 91 and whose oft repeated column could possibly rival it.  Here are her maxims.

 Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good. When in doubt, just take the next small step. And take a deep breath – it calms the mind.

When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take NO for an answer.

Believe in miracles. Over prepare, then go with the flow. The best is yet to come.

No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it.

Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Forgive everyone everything. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. What other people think of you is none of your business.

Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone. And it’s OK to let your children see you cry.

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else. Your children get only one childhood.

All that truly matters in the end is that you loved. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. And occasionally, just yield.

Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks. Frame every so-called disaster with these words – ‘In five years, will this matter?’ Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

However good or bad a situation is, it will change. It’s OK to get angry with God – HE can take it. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile. Whatever doesn’t kill you, really does make you stronger.

Be eccentric. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

The most important sex organ is the brain. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

Pay off your credit cards every month. And save for retirement – starting with your first pay check.

Always choose life. It isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

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