Tagged With public speaking

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Off-white humour blog McSweeney's has a guide to asking questions at public events, formatted by writer and teacher Meriah Crawford as a final exam. Questions include "How long should my questions be?" and "Is this a good opportunity to explain how the speaker is wrong?" and answers include "Sit your ass back down" and "It's ideal to tell a brief story about yourself first, so the whole audience understands how important you and/or your question are."

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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We've all received the conventional wisdom that filler words such as "um", "uh" and the especially dreaded "like" have no place in conversation. They make you sound dumb! They diminish your authority! But, according to a linguist, filler words serve an important function, and we shouldn't be so quick to try to banish them from conversation.

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We all listened to Oprah's acceptance speech for the Cecil B. de Mille Award? Yes? Good. Did you notice how even though she's Oprah, and could probably make us cry by reading a takeaway menu backward, she put a ton of work into her speech? And how through that work, she took a celebration of her accomplishments, respected that premise, but turned it into a rallying cry for the forces of good? Next time you speak in public, would you like to be a little more like Oprah?

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"Can everyone hear me OK without this?" say the worst public speakers when they step up to the stage. If three people in the front row say yes, off goes the microphone. And then anybody who is hard of hearing (or listening remotely, or sitting in the back of the room) can't hear you. Use the mic.

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Here’s the scene: A sea of roaming eyeballs and some powerful fluorescent lights, all focused on you. Does this freak you out? If you’ve ever struggled with public speaking, this incredible infographic runs you through the ways you can prevent public speaking anxiety and ensure you’re giving presentations the audience will remember.

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We all know that being seen as confident, but not cocky, at work can have a positive effect on our careers. From one-on-one meeting with your boss to giving a presentation to the whole team, your voice is one of the most important parts of project confidence. Here's how to adjust your voice so that how you say something has as much impact as what you say.

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I love explaining things to small groups of people and through writing on the web, but when it comes to speaking in front of large groups of people I turn into a bumbling mess. Public speaking is one of those acquired skills that I never quite got, but there's still time. This week Fast Company spoke to a few podcasters who have mastered the skill (and have shows places like NPR and WNYC to prove it) and came up with a list of tips that even people like me can use to improve. Here are a few big takeaways.

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I once showed up to a party alone, before any of my friends arrived. Instead of mingling, I hid in the bathroom to kill time and avoid talking to strangers. Embarrassing but true. For a shy person, social interaction can be a stomach-churning, anxiety-filled experience. It was for me, but I was able to get it under control with some work and become comfortable talking to strangers.

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Video: NPR's reporters don't all have perfect, radio-smooth voices, but they all sound natural and confident on air. In this video, vocal coach Jessica Hansen gives you three NPR-approved exercises to help you speak into a microphone while sounding more like yourself.

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At any reading, screening or panel, the audience Q&A carries the potential to beautifully cap off the event, or ruin it. For a few minutes, the whole room is captive to anyone who can hold a microphone and likes the sound of their voice. Not everyone deserves such power. Here's how to handle it appropriately.

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If you've never sung karaoke, it might seem like a nightmare. You're standing in front of a bunch of random people, singing all by yourself, and praying the monitor with the lyrics doesn't go out. But a lot of your fears are unfounded, and there are plenty of things you can do to ease yourself into the spotlight.

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Inspired gabblers can turn even the most uninteresting anecdote into a captivating tale, while less confident talkers can mutilate everything they say. Be you in search of small talk, or a way to impress at an interview, there are techniques that can help you craft more salient stories.

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Public speaking can be terrifying for some people but it's something that business owners often have to do in order to raise their company's profile. Even speaking at an intimate networking event can be daunting. One start-up founder recommends having a back-up personal story that you can rely on when you freeze up from stage fright.