Monthly Archive for December, 2007

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if simply making a New Year’s resolution guaranteed success?

Lose weight. Pay off debt. Quit smoking.

Easy, right? No, not really.

Most resolutions fail because they are wishes, not goals. Often, the best way to achieve a long-term goal is to focus on the supporting habits. For example:

ResolutionSupporting Habits
Lose weightimprove nutrition, drink water, exercise regularly, get consistent sleep
Pay off debtuse cash instead of credit, supplement your income, “pay yourself first”
Quit smokinguse “the patch”, chew gum, reduce stress, find a buddy

By focusing on the supporting habits (and keeping the end goal in mind, of course), we put ourselves in an excellent position to succeed. The same strategy applies to all other New Year’s resolutions, including another popular one: becoming a better public speaker.

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Earlier this month, I was the master of ceremonies for a corporate holiday party. Rather than randomly selecting tables to take their turn at the buffet, I asked for twelve volunteers (maximum one per table). Each of them sang one of the Twelve Days (a version customized for the company), and thus earned their table an early visit to the buffet. It worked out even better than I had hoped.

Inspired by the success of that activity, I offer you the Twelve Days of Public Speaking Christmas.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the presentation gave to me:

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J.A. Gamache demonstrates how to complement strong writing with powerful body language in a speech titled “Being a Mr. G.” that took first place in the 2007 Region VI Toastmasters speech contest.

This video critique analyzes many noteworthy elements of the presentation, including:

  • a memorable speech opening and closing which feature the same prop;
  • the callback technique for repetitive humor;
  • emotionally charged writing; and
  • a series of wonderfully choreographed gestures.

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