Give Yourself a Hand

Originally published in Toastmasters Magazine, September 2013 By Matt Abrahams “What do I do with my hands?” This is the question I am most often asked by my students at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. I jokingly respond that the only time we’re not sure where to put our hands is when we’re giving a presentation or when we’re on a first date. More seriously, the simple answer is: Put your hands where they will help you connect to your audience and avoid making you appear distracted or nervous. Yet effective gesturing is far more complex and nuanced. In …

Dorothy Sarnoff

Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience is finished listening.

Dealing with Speaking Disasters

Originally published in Toastmasters Magazine, September 2013 By Charles Dickson, Ph.D.  few years ago, I attended an interdenominational religious service in St. Petersburg, Florida. The speaker was a nationally known clergyman who had just finished making the point that it was good for people of different religions to get together, since they don’t always agree with each other. He had barely completed this statement when a woman in the crowd jumped up, made some disparaging remarks about his talk and promptly walked out. The audience gasped in shock. But the mood was soon overcome by laughter when the speaker, Dr. …

Say It with a Song

Originally published in Toastmasters Magazine, September 2013 By Thomas Hopkins As Toastmasters, we are constantly on the lookout for new speech ideas. Songs can be an excellent source of material for speeches because of their storytelling nature, short duration and infectious melodies. Because of these properties, almost any song can be used to create or enhance a speech in interesting ways. The short duration of a song cries out for a speech to convey the details of the song’s story. I once wrote a speech based on the song “Saint John” by Cold War Kids. The song tells the story …

D.H. Lawrence

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.

Tips for Starting a New Job

Originally published in Toastmasters Magazine, August 2013 By Eugene Yiga Starting a new job can be tough. In addition to navigating relationships and expectations, you have to figure out the little quirks of that office copier. But with these five simple ideas, you can achieve success: Define your role. If you didn’t do so during your interview or when finalizing your contract, now is the time to meet with your boss and define your role. Ask what the company’s top priorities are and what is expected of you. Then ask to have regular feedback sessions to evaluate your progress based …

The Importance of Enthusiasm

Originally published in Toastmasters Magazine, August 2013 By Colleen Plimpton The ability to communicate delight and confidence in one’s chosen topic is a hidden key to successful speaking. Of course, a Toastmaster must always pay attention to organization, vocal range, extraneous filler words and a host of other items, but if a speaker doesn’t project pizzazz and show devotion to her topic, the speech may still fall flat on its well-prepared face. Here are four helpful strategies to help you project enthusiasm: Let your body reflect your words. If you say “lean,” then sway to one side. Smile, not only at your audience but …

Epictetus

We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.