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Mar 03 2015

Vocal Impact Weekly Tip: Purpose and Repartée

Published by under Intention,Public Speaking there method to your madness?

Recently, a client asked me how to prepare to network at an upcoming conference that she will be attending. She is somewhat reserved and doesn’t enjoy small talk.  We discussed lots of the basics, but in the end, her strategy wasn’t clear until she understood her intention for talking to people she doesn’t know. And this helped her get a bit more comfortable with the situation.

Compare these two intentions:

My intention is to use small talk when I talk to people and collect business cards so that I can find more people for my network.


My intention is to talk with others in order to discover and explore whether or not there is a possibility of building a relationship that is mutually beneficial. When there is that possibility, I will collect business cards and follow up via email or phone.

True intention is an aim that guides action.  The second intention contains an aim with much more vision than the first, and creates a real purpose for talking to others along with an action plan.  Knowing your intention is the key to getting your communication right in specific situations.  Here are some more tips to make it easier and more productive to network:

1.     Be curious. Ask questions.  This helps you get to know others, and also take the heat off yourself.

2.     Prepare a good, short introductory story about yourself.  Distill it down to your name, what you do, the problem you are seeking to solve in your role, and what results/solutions you are seeing.

3.     Think of three topics you are ready to discuss with others, and practice aloud what you might say about them.

And if you find that you talk so much at conferences that you lose your voice, please see my post Help for tired voices. 

© Aliasching | Dreamstime.comConversation Photo

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Feb 25 2015

Vocal Impact Weekly Tip: What you have in common with Tina Fey

Published by under Public Speaking is the secret to great extemporaneous speaking?

People who are good at improvisational comedy have learned to adhere to 9 basic maxims. Three of these are:

  • Say Yes
  • Don’t prepare
  • Just show up

At first glance these titles may seem to reinforce that you don’t need to practice to be a good improviser, but, in fact, improvisers do exercises (theater games) around all of these maxims and practice over and over to be able to be clear and think on their feet so that they can do their work well and make improv appear easy. They do exercises to be aware of what they are and are not doing. Practicing makes them stronger. And it will do the same for you. Here are some examples of the benefits of practicing that also make you better at extemporaneous speaking:

  • By practicing to eliminate filler words from your talk, you have to pay more attention to how you say what you say. Doing that makes you more aware in general.
  • By practicing to bring in elements that engage others, you have to pay more attention to human connection and what makes others tick.  You’ll know better how to listen and interact with others on the fly.
  • And by practicing aloud what you are going to say in a presentation or conversation, you allow your brain to use the ear/brain feedback loop and do its job of helping you to build more logic or more persuasion or more motivation…whatever you set out to do so you can do it anywhere.

Here’s a great book on improv I recommend:  Improv Wisdom by Patricia Ryan Madsen

And for those of you who want to explore practicing further, here is a post that is just for you.   How to create a strong voice, Part 4: Practice

And another on that ear/voice connection: Can You Hear Me Now: The ear-voice connection. 


© Rugbyho | Dreamstime.comBusiness Woman Using A Megaphone Photo

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