Archive for July 2005

Darren LaCroix

Darren LaCroix is the Toastmasters International 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking. Last night he gave a free presentation here in Vegas called “Learning From a Dead Frog,” which I attended eagerly along with about 150 others. During his presentation Darren dissected his 7-minute championship speech (titled “Ouch!”) and explained how he developed, rehearsed, and…

Who Do You Want to Be When You Die?

“How shall we live?” is a challenging question. But an interesting variation is to ask: What kind of person do you want to be when you die? When I think about the kind of person I want to be when I die, the question that is most pressing to me is this: Did I do…

Unraveling the Mortality Conundrum

Having lived in California for most of my life, I’ve been through several earthquakes. The two strongest ones I recall were the 1989 Loma Prieta quake (7.0) and the 1994 Northridge quake (6.7). During the Loma Prieta quake (near San Francisco) on Oct 17, 1989, I was on the top floor of an 8-story building…

Overcoming Negative Emotions and Boosting Motivation

A negative emotional state can really ruin your day. Prolonged stress, depression, or anger are clearly not conducive to high levels of performance. And the worst part is that these emotional states tend to be self-perpetuating. Working while overly stressed can lead to even more stress. Depression and worry can cause you to avoid taking…

Keep Comments on Topic

Since this blog has been receiving a healthy volume of comments lately, I’ll take a moment to clarify my policy on comments, partly to create a post that I can send people to as a reference when needed. Comments on this blog are moderated, meaning that when you post a comment, it goes into a…

Digital Voice Recorder

I recently bought an Olympus WS-100 digital voice recorder. This particular recorder was recommended by a contributor to SpeakerNet News. I like the Olympus WS-100 for several reasons: It uses flash memory, so I don’t have to fuss with microcassettes or mini-CDs. It only weights a couple ounces and is about the size of two…

Eliminating Verbal Pauses

One of the communication skills Toastmasters teaches is to eliminate verbal pauses when speaking, whether giving a speech, talking on the phone, or having a face-to-face conversation. Verbal pauses are when you say um, ah, uh, you know, etc. While your brain is searching for the next words to say, your mouth keeps on going…

Failing With Toastmasters

John Richardson of Success Begins Today made an excellent observation about how the “You Have the Right to Be Wrong” concept applies to Toastmasters. I was at a Toastmasters meeting on Monday, and since we had five guests that evening, we all did a round of introductions. One of our members introduced himself by saying…

You Have the Right to Be Wrong

“You have the right to be wrong” was a common expression of an old high school history teacher of mine. Some students hated this teacher because they thought he was lazy and a bit sadistic. He never lectured, nor did he ever seem to have a lesson plan prepared. He’d just sit back in his…

What’s the Deal With Fluoride?

Like many Americans my age, I grew up with a positive association to fluoride. Toothpaste commercials told me that fluoride helped prevent tooth decay and that I should brush my teeth with fluoride toothpaste, so I used it every day. The dentist gave me fluoride treatments for my teeth. Fluoride was also added to municipal…