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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eliminate "Um" "Ya know" "Like" - Opening Keynote

Patrica Kitchen, writing in Newsday reported years back that some celebrities over-use filler language such as "likes," "umms," "ya knows," "I means." Britney Spears, was caught uttering 73 "likes" and "ya knows" in a five-minute video interview.

Eminem and Michelle Wie, "used 15 'ya knows' and 'I means' in a one-minute interview. "
"A certain number of fillers are normal, but when speakers flip into overuse, they can come across as unfocused and unprepared," says Judy Cavallo, a speech-language pathologist and director of New York Speech Solutions, which evaluates and treats speech disorders. Her first step is to heighten awareness among clients, who are "usually shocked" when she plays back tape recordings of them speaking.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

How We Remember - Opening Keynote

A falsehood that's been circulating for years holds that 55% of what we learn is through what we see and hear; 38% of learning is through what we see, and only 7% is through what we hear.  

These figures come from a study commissioned by a company that sells visual aids worldwide.  For thousands of years, people passed information to each other by sitting around the campfire and grunting, and later sitting on porches and telling stories. Stories can be more powerful than any visual aid.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tongue Twisters Tests - Opening Keynote

Tongue twisters have their place in the life of career professionals and all others who stand up before a group and “say a few words.” The more adept we become at diction, enunciation, and articulation, the better we can be for our audiences.

Here are two tongue twisters that I created, by accident – I tripped over each of them on the first encounter:
                * enriched white rice
                * fried white rice

Here are twelve other tongue twisters that I collected from the internet. Many of can be said easily enough the first time, but the second time... well you try them:

    * Frogfeet, flippers, and swimfins
    * Green glass globes glow greenly
    * Red Buick or blue Buick
    * He threw three free throws

    * Iranian uranium
    * Three short sword sheaths
    * Freshly-fried flying fish
    * Unique New York

    * Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager
    * The epitome of femininity
    * A skunk sat on a stump
    * Green Greek grapes

When you master these, don't be surprised if your elocution skills in general improve, it's a natural outcome of the exercises you have undertaken.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The How of Wow - Opening Keynote

Observations from The How of Wow by Tony Carlson:

* According to Carlson only 1 in 500 speeches is good enough to be remembered. To be among those remembered, Carlson says you need to give audiences insight, enlightenment, meaning, stimulation, wit, and entertainment.

* Few speakers ever rehearse enough. Every extra moment you have ought to go into rehearsing.

* Your opening line can be a shocker that lets the audience know you mean business. Don't be afraid to say something that people already suspect, but no one will say except for you.

* Show your vulnerability early in the speech.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ethical Speakers - Opening Keynote

Log onto any major search engine on the Internet, type in the word "speaker," and you'll get hundreds of hits. It's not difficult to identify speakers on all topics, from all geographic locations, of either gender, in all shapes and sizes, and at varying prices.

Of the 11,500+ speakers in the profession today, how many have a well-developed, written ethics policy and operating procedures that succinctly define their working relationship with bureaus? The answer: less than one in ten.

A Working Model
Here are two of 19 provisions, drawn from my own Code of Ethics and Operating Procedures:

1. We will not take on any speaking engagement if we have any doubt that Jeff Davidson is less than the best speaker that the client could retain for the engagement. When we say yes to a lead that you provide, you can be assured that Jeff is qualified and capable, and intends to give a presentation that exceeds the client's specific needs.

2. Our fees are consistent with what you would pay if you booked Jeff directly. We never raise client fees for bureau-generated engagements.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Exhausted Audience Members - Opening Keynote

Three years ago and still a ranking issue: "For years, sleep researchers have been preaching the dangers of lost sleep: People who are fatigued can't pay attention to routine tasks, have trouble learning and are prone to a laundry list of health problems, from depression to high blood pressure," said Kathleen Facklemann in USA Today

"New research suggests an added risk to losing sleep day after day: Humans and animals that have chronic sleep deprivation might reach a point at which the very ability to catch up on lost sleep is damaged, according to Fred Turek a sleep researcher at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois."

The upshot for speakers and meeting planners: more than half of what your audiences require from a presentation is high energy.

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Sunday, June 08, 2014

It's Results that Count - Opening Keynote

On April 26, 1961, Roger Maris of the New York Yankees began his run at Babe Ruth's single-season home run record with the first of 61 home runs. Maris connected in the 5th inning against Detroit right-hander Paul Foytack. What makes this fact particularly significant is that the Yankees had already played 20 games in the 1961 season. So, it's not how you begin a venture, it's how you end.

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