On my bookshelf

  • "The Breathing Book" by Donna Farhi
  • "Confessions of a Public Speaker" by Scott Berkun
  • "My Freshman Year" by Rebekah Nathan
  • "Power Presentation" by Patsy Rodenburg

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Keeping Busy

After sixteen years in Canada I'm still not totally accustomed to Thanksgiving falling in mid-October: of being able to eat piping hot Turkey in the warm fall sun.  Yet, I love the break to reconnect with family.  This Thanksgiving we got together with all the cousins, roasted marshmellows, explored treehouses and took long naps.  In between, I found myself, yet again, trying to describe to my extended family what it is that I do.  Well, here's an example of some of the day to day work that happens to come up.

Practicing voice overs is actually a great way to think about your speech.  What are the visuals you are trying to create with your voice?  How does the voice convey these different feelings?  The trick with this one was that I had to do it in about twenty minutes having never seen the text before.  The thoughts in here come pretty quickly so it was tricky to match sense with meaning and clarity..



How can it have been 52 weeks already?  It doesn't feel like it, but it must have been a year ago now that I signed up for Craig Valentine's "Speaking Tip a Week" series.  Every week he has sent a podcast revealing incredibly helpful strategies for creating an effective presentation. 

Now I would be lying if I said that I listened to all 52 podcasts or that I have practiced each technique.  It has been a huge treat, however, to start out each Monday with a steaming cup of hot Market Spice tea (direct from the damp and pungent tea shop that always takes on a little bit of a fishy smell in Seattle's Pike Place Market) and the sound of Craig's warm and thoughtful voice.  I think I've already admitted that some public speakers with their overly prepared, trite and condescending tone can send me into a tizzy and leave me questioning why I am not spending more time on the stage.  Craig, on the other hand, though definitely rehearsed, has the gift of being confident, energetic and commanding and  yet at the same time comes across as humble and likeable.  Post number 52 gives direct and concrete tips on  how to do this that we could all benefit from.

I encourage everyone to sign up for this service or if not to find a way to dedicate a little time each day for whatever practice you would like to develop.  I joined an amazing writing group in early March.  One day a week is all I can eek out between work, children, family, cleaning, etc. but I am already deeply impressed by the two full journals I have completed.  One hot summer night just a few months ago we even concluded our first set of classes with a reading.  This had been a little closet dream of my for probably thirty years and all it took was a few months and an amazingly supportive teacher and group to make it happen.  Malcolm Gladwell in "Outliers" contends that to become truly proficient at something  you need to have invested 10,000 hours.  I think it's important to not undervalue the benefit of 100 or even 30 hours.  The trick is starting and sticking to it.  Thank you Craig for giving me a tool that helped me invest fairly consistently over the past year.