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Featured! 8 Public Speaking Tips From The Best TEDx Speakers

I don’t know about you but I love quick and easy tips with links on the ones you want to explore further.

Jonathan Li, founder of Lifehack.org, has compiled a list of 8 Public Speaking Tips From The Best TEDx Speakers. Each tip is summarized in a simple quote from its TEDx talk, with links to the original videos. How great is that?

I might have a slight bias in favor of #6, but I think they’re all pretty terrific and I know you’ll have some major “a-ha moments” too.

Enjoy, and feel free to drop me a line and let me know your big take-away ideas (even if it’s not #6!) Love to know what speaks to you.

Happy Women’s Equality Day!

Happy Women’s Equality Day!

August 26, 2015, was Women’s Equality Day, and this year marks the 95th anniversary of that turning point in US history when women won the right to vote. Given the current buzz about upcoming elections, whether Donald Trump makes a good candidate or just good television, whether or not President Obama giving his “blessing” to Joe Biden (should he choose to run for the Democratic ticket) is the equivalent of giving his endorsement, and all the other noise in the field, it is critical to listen to what is being said, and just as importantly, take action, adding our own voices to the fray.

Women like Susan B. Anthony (with whom I proudly – if wholly coincidentally – share a birthday) are credited for spearheading the movement, fighting as suffragist and abolitionist throughout the latter half of the 1800s and into the 1900s for all people, regardless of gender or race, to have the right to vote and more.

When election season rolls around, there’s one election-oriented term that really bugs me: the concept of “women’s issues,” for the sole reason that, by implication, it means that there are issues that are decidedly NOT for women. It’s as if people think women are so myopic or self absorbed that they only care about issues that reflect their own bodies, salaries or children. I don’t know about you, but I care about what the stock market is doing; I care about immigration; I care about what we do with the military; I care about prison reform… Those are “women’s issues” because they’re my issues too. And for that matter, issues like women’s healthcare, early childhood education and pay equity won’t ever be successfully resolved until they are just as seriously viewed as “men’s issues.” The discussions need to be inclusive if they are going to be fruitful.

So it is up to each of us, male and female, to make our voices heard. To contact our local, state and national representatives and make sure that they understand our positions and do the job we elected them to do. If we don’t, then we have no one to blame but ourselves when they fail to represent our interests.

For those whose cynicism has taken over and who doubt whether their single vote would really make a difference, I offer this: the only guarantee you have for sure is that if you do not exercise your right to vote, then your vote certainly will not count. If you choose to silence yourself, to give up your power, I guarantee someone else will quickly volunteer to speak for you.

So let’s honor the years and the lives that were given in the fight to give us all this right to let our voices be heard and counted. Find your voice. Prepare to cast your vote. Happy Women’s Equality Day!

Today, April 16th, is World Voice Day!

Today, April 16th, is World Voice Day!

It’s an opportunity to celebrate the amazing instrument that connects us to virtually every other person on the planet (and no, I’m not talking about the Internet.)

The voice is one of those things we take for granted until it fails us, whether a case of laryngitis due to overuse/abuse, an illness, or anything else. Here are a few tips to take care of your voice so it can take care of you:

  1. Drink plenty of water! It’s important to keep hydrated. Caffeine and alcohol have the opposite effects and the voice can suffer so limit those options and stick with healthier options.
  2. Avoid dairy before a speaking eworldvoicedayngagement – including a simple phone call or meeting. Dairy (which I love) can cause excess mucous/phlegm, so unless you want to continually be clearing your throat, stay away from them too. Citrus can help counter those effects, so add a few drops of lemon juice to your water to give it a little zing.
  3. Breath support is key. Check your posture: are you a perpetual sloucher, whether standing or sitting? If so, you aren’t getting a full breath of air, which is the “fuel” for your voice. It has a negative effect on volume, clarity, endurance (you’ll run out of breath easily), and increases the likelihood of “vocal fry,” that annoying crackling sound that makes people sound indifferent or insecure. While men and women, old and young, commit this faux pas, women get the brunt of the bad “rap” for it, even influencing hiring decisions.
  4. Use a microphone when possible. Plenty of us decline to use a mic when it’s available, declaring, “oh, I have a big mouth, I don’t need it!” But more often than not, you’re wrong: acoustics of the room, audience members with undeclared hearing impairments, and our own unrecognized tendencies to trail off at the end of sentences, or speak loudly enough to be easily heard by ourselves but not by those toward the back of the room, are all landmines that sabotage our ability to be heard… or we try to compensate for all those things and PUSH our voices to be heard by everyone. But then you’re practically yelling, and without breathing from the diaphragm (see point 3 above) you’re just straining your vocal cords, and that causes the very problem we’re trying to avoid!

So remember these simple tips and practice them regularly to make sure your voice projects the best image of you!
To good vocal health and communication,
Laura