Podium helps Toastmasters celebrate anniversary

Congratulations to the members of the Sears-Halifax Toastmasters’ Club, who celebrated their 55th anniversary at the weekend. Podium’s Neil Everton was honoured to be keynote speaker, talking about how the TalkitOut™ Technique creates better speakers. He talked about the importance of speaking the script out loud, before you write it out. Here’s part of his …

Read morePodium helps Toastmasters celebrate anniversary

Politicians failing the ‘what’s in it for me?’ test

Politicians have been criss-crossing Canada in a national election campaign. But according to one university student, they’re missing a big point. When asked for his opinion on radio, the student replied all the leaders ever talk about is themselves. Their campaigns were the ‘I’m-better-than-the other-guy’ variety. The student’s basic complaint was they never answer the …

Read morePoliticians failing the ‘what’s in it for me?’ test

Harper’s weird but effective debate strategy

The English language election debate was televised last night in Canada. Four political leaders debated the issues of the day but one dominated, because of his body language. Conservative leader Stephen Harper stuck to conventional political debate wisdom – speak to your audience not your opponents. Each time he was challenged or asked a question, …

Read moreHarper’s weird but effective debate strategy

Assert your way to success and health

assertive or aggressive

Time to ‘fess up. Are you assertive? Or are you aggressive? Some people think they are acting assertively when they are really being aggressive. And some people think if they assert themselves others will interpret their behaviour as aggression. There’s a world of difference between assertive and aggressive, so let’s start with a definition. Assertive …

Read moreAssert your way to success and health

Oscar speeches: the best and the worst

Last night’s Oscar awards gave us a chance to examine contrasting styles of acceptance speeches.

If you make any sort of presentation or speech as part of your job, there are lessons for you from last night’s show.

Colin Firth

Two of the best speeches were from Colin Firth (best actor, The King’s Speech) and Tom Hooper (director, The King’s Speech). Firth had a simple opening (“I think my career just peaked”) and maintained a gently self-deprecating style through his speech. He warned the audience “I’m afraid I have to warn you that I’m experiencing stirrings somewhere in the upper abdominals which are threatening to form themselves into dance moves,” and ended with “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some impulses I have to attend to backstage.”

Read moreOscar speeches: the best and the worst

Hook your audience with your first words

hook your audience with your opening words

When I spoke at the Rotary Club of Halifax, Harbourside, a man asked if the ‘old rule’ about public speaking was still valid. He was referring to the “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them,” structure. I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth repeating. …

Read moreHook your audience with your first words

Don’t be a cultural colonialist

make an effort to understand diversity

Years ago when I taught English as a Second Language, I touched a Thai student’s head. He was deeply offended. Another of my students, a wealthy Iranian teenager, would constantly snap his fingers at me when he wanted my attention. This time I was offended. How we move, act and gesture is very important as we …

Read moreDon’t be a cultural colonialist

Are your questions getting the best answers?

the simpler the questions, the better the answers

I keep six honest serving-men, (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When, And How and Where and Who. – Rudyard Kipling I’ve been asking questions professionally all my life. For newspapers, radio stations and for BBC Television News. When I stopped running round the world as a television …

Read moreAre your questions getting the best answers?