Friday, November 3, 2017

A blog hiatus

I'm taking the rest of the year off as far as blogging is concerned.

After I took a blog and social-media hiatus in June, using a small portion of it to build up my queue of posts, I wrote, "I liked this catch-up approach so much I may try it again later this year."

Well, later has rolled around, and I'm taking another hiatus from now until the end of the year. I'll be back for the year-end roundup of the blog's most popular posts in the last week of the year, but otherwise won't be publishing. I'll be using some of the time to build great content for you in 2018.

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

5 easy, everyday ways to gently promote yourself as a public speaker

You already know that I advocate making sure your speeches and presentations are published--not just for the record, although that's important, particularly for women speakers. But there's more you can do to gently promote yourself as a speaker and get your next speaking gig. Here are five easy, everyday ways to do that:
  1. Your email signature: Add a line to your email signature with a link to the program for your upcoming speech (or just completed one) and share some quick perspective. Invite people to come see you, or to watch the video.
  2. Your "out of the office" message: Away on a speaking gig? Add it to your out-of-office message to let colleagues and clients know the details, and encourage them to follow it on social media.
  3. Your LinkedIn posts: Had a great reception from your recent audience? Spoke at a major conference? That's a great short update to your LinkedIn profile. Don't forget that you can add videos of your talks, and your SlideShare slides to that profile, too.
  4. Your other social channels: You can start a conversation with your audience ahead of or after your speech, update those who missed you in action, or just note the occasion for the record. Add a particularly good quote from your text, or share that video (see below).
  5. Your friend with a smartphone: No matter when or where you are speaking, recruit a pal to record it on her smartphone. That video can help you learn from the talk, as well as get future gigs--if you post it. Remember that conference organizers look for video to confirm whether you are a good speaker. The production values don't need to be Hollywood-quality...but if you can get a professional video from the organizers, do.
(Creative Commons licensed photo by Dafne Cholet)

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

I read a lot about women and public speaking, and post my finds first on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook. But I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. Here's what I've been reading lately:
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Famous Speech Friday: Rep. Maxine Waters's "reclaiming my time"

In America, we started this year with a million women marching in Washington, DC, and yet more doing the same around the world. Now the same group behind the Women's March is convening a Women's Convention this weekend in Detroit, Michigan--and they're using a now-iconic line from U.S. Representative Maxine Waters as the theme, "Reclaiming my time."

The now-famous three-word phrase is part of the House of Representatives floor procedures, typically during a debate: "The gentleman who has yielded may at any time 'reclaim' his time and then the other Member must stop speaking and allow him to continue." But here, Waters was questioning a hearing witness, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, about why he had not responded to her and other members of Congress after a May 23 letter, and she didn't feel as if he was answering the question. Mnuchin objected, appealing to the committee chair, and noting that the chair had announced that Mnuchin, as a witness, was not to be interrupted.

"What he failed to tell you is that when you are on my time, I can reclaim it," Waters explained, and then asked again for the Treasury secretary to answer the question. Waters, who has served in Congress since 1991, used the rules to keep him from using up her time to speak with non-responsive answers. And as the secretary launched again into a long and not direct answer, Waters simply repeated, "Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time," over and over--the implication being, "You're wasting my allotted time to speak, and I'm not having it." And her question never was answered. It's a great example of a common Washington tactic of obfuscating your non-answer by wrapping it in a lot of solid-sounding other details to one side of the point...and Waters saw right through it.

In the Washington Post, Christine Emba noted, "In a year studded with absurd examples of men interrupting their female colleagues, a dignified woman’s firm insistence on being heard and getting straight to business was a welcome and empowering surprise." The phrase was seized upon by women tired of mansplaining and interruptions, and took social media and traditional media coverage by storm. What can you learn from this famous speech?

  • Know the rules and procedures: You don't have to be working by House rules or Robert's Rules of Order, but it's important to know, going into your public speaking gig, what's allowed and what isn't--from you and from your audience and other speakers. The only way to use the rules to your advantage is to know them.
  • Repeat as needed: Waters kept it simple. She explained the rules to the witness, politely, and asked the question again. When he started another non-answer, she just repeated the phrase that was short and official--uttering "reclaiming my time" has actual meaning for how much time she has left to speak.
  • Stand up for your time to speak: Whether you're on a panel or get interrupted while speaking in a meeting, this is a great phrase to add to your back-pocket arsenal. Whatever you do, don't let others derail the full amount of time you should be speaking.
Watch the video of the short exchange below.


Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

11 things you can do with a pause in your speech

I sometimes think the simple pause is among the most overlooked yet versatile tools in the public speaking arsenal. Short and silent, it's easy to overlook.

Pauses, if chosen and used wisely, can add much to your next speech, talk, or presentation. Here are 11 things you can do with a pause in your speech. How many have you tried?
  1. Recall what you want to say, without blurting out "I forgot..." and breaking your and the audience's concentration.
  2. Let us hear your lists and sentences. A brief one-beat pause every time your script has a comma between items in a list, and a two-beat pause when there's a hard stop to a sentence, will slow you down a little and let us hear what you are saying.
  3. Replace an um or a word you overuse. There is nothing wrong with the totally normal um, but if you are trying to avoid using it too frequently, try a pause and a mental, not verbal, um. Ditto any word your listeners have pointed out is overused in your presentations.
  4. Let your applause finish. If your talk is being recorded, this helps make sure your next line will be captured without claps drowning it out.
  5. Ditto the audience's laughs. If you've landed a successful bit of humor and you get laughs, a pause lets them finish before you launch into the next bit.
  6. Signal a switch in tone, topic, or direction. Pausing between two disparate parts of your talk can tell the audience something new is next.
  7. Conquer dry mouth by gently biting your tongue a time or two to produce saliva. Try it--it's a tip from operatic soprano Luciano Pavarotti, which I got from a makeup artist who heard him sharing it.
  8. Add emphasis. A pause before...during...or after something you wish to emphasize can be a powerful verbal tool in a talk. Try pauses at different intervals and plan them during your practice, not on the fly.
  9. Stop yourself from crying. Shut your mouth--so you don't take in too much air and prompt a sob--and breath through your nose, and wait. If your talk is on an emotional topic, the audience will understand the pause, and they'll be with you.
  10. Give the other person a break in the action (yours) so they can talk. If you rush to fill all available space--particularly in Q&A or in a conversation or negotiation--you'll never find out what the other person has to say. Pausing lets them get a word in edgewise. This is especially important in media interviews, but also when you are conversing with someone for whom your language is their second language--they need pauses to think and frame a response.
  11. Start a thoughtful response to a question. There's a three-part formula to answering questions: Pause. Answer. Stop. The pause allows you to hear the complete question, rather than make assumptions before the questioner is done speaking, and buys you time to formulate an answer.
(Creative Commons licensed photo by Dr. Case)

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

I read a lot about women and public speaking, and post my finds first on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook. But I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. Here's what I've been reading lately:
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, or follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.