Archive for the ‘public speaking’ Category


Appearances Are Important

June 29, 2008

On Thursday evening, I had the opportunity to hear the Rev. Jesse Jackson speak at the home of Dan Edelman.

What’s wrong with this picture? Yes, I know it’s a little blurry. I took it extremely quickly. Look to the right side of the photo. Someone in the audience is texting while Rev. Jackson was speaking, or at least he gave the appearance of texting. His head remained down with thumbs on the keyboard for at least a minute. Yikes.

Note to self: If I have the urge to send a message to someone, step to the back and do it surreptitiously, rather than remaining in the front row. Or, simply wait until the speaker has finished.



Quotations about Public Speaking

January 9, 2008

As I was preparing for my Spring semester Principles of Public Speaking course at Georgia Southern University, I went through my quotations files to see what I had on the topic. Here are a few of my favorite quotations on public speaking.

  • “There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience” — Alexander Gregg
  • “You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” — John Ford
  • “There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars. ” – Mark Twain
  • “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” — Jerry Seinfeld
  • “Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to carry on with dignity in spite of it.” – Scott Turow
  • “Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” – D.H. Lawrence

Top Topics for 2008

December 18, 2007

For the coming year, I will continue working as an organizational development consultant with several corporations and nonprofit groups in the Southeast. Many of the topics could be shared in a focused lunch & learn format or expanded to a half- or full-day interactive session with my clients. Below, you will find a listing of topics that you’ll read more about in my Listening Matters blog as the year progresses.

Communication Matters

  • Training with Style: Train the Trainer
  • Facilitation with Finesse: Presentations, Meetings & More
  • Avoid Click-Thud Effect: Energize Your PowerPoint Presentations
  • Dynamic Presentations
  • Listening: The Hidden Competency
  • More than Gestures: Nonverbal Communication
  • Customer-Focused Writing
  • E-ffective & E-fficient E-mail Writing

Diversity Matters

  • Diversity in Action
  • Clowning Around with Diversity
  • Listening to Diversity
  • Lucy & Ricky Meet Will & Grace: Intergenerational Differences in the Workplace
  • Beyond Do’s & Taboos: Intercultural Etiquette
  • Cultural Awareness: Our Changing Demographics
  • The Platinum Rule
  • Survive & Thrive as e a Peacock in the Land of Penguins

Leadership Matters

  • Peer Today, Boss Tomorrow: Managing Your Transition into Leadership
  • The Human Side of Change
  • Managing Meetings That Matter
  • Priority Management
  • Beyond Choosing the Right Fork: Mealtime Etiquette
  • Interviewing Skills: From Both Sides of the Table

For Interns or New College Grads

  • Brand U: Making Your Best First Impression in the Workplace
  • Blogs, Facebook & MySpace, Oh My!
  • Career Development: Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills
  • Mealtime Etiquette


10 Ways Educators Can Listen Better to Their Students

December 7, 2007

This week, my semester ended at Georgia Southern University. And as I do with the end of almost everything that I’m involved in, I like to take some time to analyze my successes and also determine what I might want to do differently the next time. One thing I plan to focus on for spring semester is listening better to my students. Oh, sure, like most people, I think I’m a pretty good listener. And I also know that this is something that I can improve upon. I remembered reading a list that a former board member at the International Listening Association wrote about listening to his students. Daryl Vander Kooi shared with me 10 ways that teachers can listen better to their students. Let’s see what he had to say:

  1. WAIT. Wait-time is important for students to analyze, to evaluate potential response, and to formulate that response. If you want to listen, wait. If you really want to listen, wait even longer; try to wait at least five seconds after a student finishes talking before responding.
  2. SIT. Place yourself in the physical position that encourages the student; sit at his/her level. This is important not only for teachers of young students, but also those who teach high school and college.
  3. TALK OFTEN. In order for students to recognize that you are indeed interested in what they say, talk with them frequently, and not only about school-related information.
  4. ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS. Many discussions with students can lead to important information about them, but those discussions need questions that promote discussion, not end it.
  5. REMEMBER JANIE . . Remember the student and the student’s background so that you can listen for more than the surface comment and immediate answer.
  6. REMEMBER JOHNNIE CAN’T READ. The point is that, if the student is unable to communicate well in reading and writing, you might have to listen more carefully—go beyond the stumbling style and disheveled syntax.
  7. PUSH FOR CLARITY. Good speech style encourages good listening. Help your students improve style including clarity by paraphrasing and restating. You can help his/her future listeners.
  8. LISTENING IS MORE THAN HEARING. It includes seeing and reading. Many assume that listening is the mental parallel to the physical activity of hearing, but all listeners should continually remind themselves that they should see the speaker’s actions and other movement; they should see the facial expressions; they should see the visual aid. Listen beyond simply hearing.
  9. REMEMBER GEOGRAPHY. Just as the teacher should remember geography when teaching geography—know the content area; so too remember also the content area, the context, when listening to students. However, also recognize that students are likely to shift the content or topic without announcement. Catch the shift and remember the prior information about that topic. This is especially important when working with students with ADHD or similar disabilities.
  10. WATCH FOR BEEN THERE; DONE THAT. It’s easy to think that this issue has been discussed many times before; but remember that those were different times and different students. Your present student probably wasn’t there and didn’t do that.

— Daryl Vander Kooi, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus, Dordt College