Every single one of us was born with the ability to speak without words.
Body language is the primal foundation upon which our modern communication is founded. We can read an entire novel’s worth of non-verbal cues without ever hearing or seeing a word. And yet, in our modern day work we often struggle to communicate with one another.
The problem is that we get in our own way.
After completing school, I joined a charity program volunteering to teach English around the world. My assignment was at a Tibetan monastery in the north Indian mountains. …
Olivia Vella took the internet by storm at 13 with her poetry slam “Why Am I Not Good Enough?”
The poem digs deep into the same insecurities we all carried at that age — and still, carry. Fitting in, being liked, reaching a bar set by an unseen force and asking ourselves constantly why we can’t quite make it. But the power of Vella’s poem goes beyond tugging at our inner pubescent child.
She employs many of the effective tactics audiences connect with in spoken word performances. …
Choosing the right speaking style can be critical.
I learned this lesson the hard way. I was giving a workshop with a colleague, and I’d been warned in advance it was a tough crowd — half the room dropped out at the last second, and the other half was not enthused to be there. As I began to speak to the group I noticed people looked annoyed about attending the event, like they’d rather be working at their desk. So I thought maybe they needed more enthusiasm, more energy. The more I gave them the less I gained in return.
Life-changing conversations don’t always happen after a presentation — they happen in elevators, hallways, and break rooms.
Your greatest opportunity may not come when you have the room’s undivided attention. It may come in the form of passing a CEO in a hallway or approaching the new team manager while they’re getting coffee. Either way, you have to be prepared to make an impression without visual aids or a rehearsed speech.
But if this sounds terrifying, don’t panic — it’s easier than you think.
Just like great public speaking comes from a few basic tenets, strategic workplace conversation is wrapped…
Do you struggle to sleep when traveling? I fly overseas almost every week, including recent trips to South Korea, Tokyo, San Francisco, and New York City. I have to adapt to the new time zone and get a good night’s sleep in order to feel energized and ready to lead a large audience at a conference.
Having struggled to adapt in the past I’ve devised and tested a protocol that allows me to instantly overcome jet-lag and sleep well. On my recent trip to Seoul, I was able to sleep 7–8 hours per night, as well as resting well on…
I once attended a talk given by an aspiring public speaker, to a group of no more than fifteen people. She strolled in front of the room, while we were all in mid-conversation over a morning cup of tea, and began giving her speech. She didn’t say ‘Good morning’ or let us know the event was about to begin, she simply launched into it rather loudly in the hope of instantly hushing us all down with her talk.
It seemed as if she was acting out a conference stage presentation, or a rehearsed TED talk, with no regard for the…
Can you remember how awkward you sometimes felt in high school?
You may have been picked on for all sorts of reasons — looking different, working hard, expressing yourself. To avoid being teased, many of us fall into the trap of pretending not to care, of trying to look cool or casual just to fit in.
Unfortunately, this can build lifelong bad habits in the way we hold our bodies.
For me, I tried to hide my height. At school, many of my friends were shorter than me, so I would hunch and slump in my seat in order to…
I always felt uneasy about going to traditional networking events like breakfast meetings or after-work drinks. To me, they were often painful and seemed ingenuine, with lots of people approaching me with their card and a pitch about why I should buy from them or tell my clients about them. I’d leave these events feeling drained and frustrated.
Unsurprisingly, I’m not alone. Research shows us that networking can make people anxious, and one in four people don’t network at all. …
Everyone remembers the nervous uncertainty of waiting to be picked for a team at school. Standing against a wall, hoping you won’t be the last kid chosen, with the refrain “pick me, pick me” running through your head.
Then, finally, you’re chosen. But, after a brief sigh of relief, you realize it’s not the team you want to be on. The players don’t include you. They never give you the ball. They don’t acknowledge your efforts. But at least it’s better than not being picked, or is it?
The internet has truly changed the game when it comes to public speaking.
This new medium — full of TED talks, snappy messages and viral videos — has fundamentally shifted the style of speech that engages us most.
One person who encapsulates this new style right now is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“AOC,” as many affectionately call her, is an outspoken, mold-breaking U.S. Congresswoman (D-NY) who is gaining loyal supporters — especially young people, in large part thanks to her bold social media presence — by the masses.
She is one of many leading the charge for change in 2019. And most…