Being a Gifted Speaker

I found my way to Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog this morning and found it to be very interesting. I’m going a bit off topic, but we all want to empower and motivate audiences when we present (especially when we present about new technology).

The Blue Skunk post begins with a great reference from “Being a Gifted Speaker Isn’t a Gift” by Frances Cole Jones (ChangeThis Newsletter)

The primary concern of most public speakers is, “what am I going to say?” But how you say what you’re going to say, and what your body is doing while you are saying it, are just as important.

If you’re doubtful, consider the following statistic. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, did a study stating that there are three elements to any face-to-face communication: words, tone of voice and body language, and we are influenced by these things as follows:

  • 7% of our influence comes from the words we say
  • 38% from our tonal quality while saying it
  • 55% by what our body is doing while we’re saying it

Doug wrote a very interesting post about conference sessions and what makes a good speaker.

…my observation is that the reason face to face time is so powerful is simply that passion is easier to convey. A really good concurrent session does not need a smooth delivery, great PowerPoint slides or even radically new information. But it MUST have excitement and enthusiasm. The presenter has to convince me that she/he truly has something important to say. If that happens, I am engaged and learning. And inspiring such passion is awfully hard to do in impersonal media.

Maya Angelou once observed:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The “feeling” bit comes through when human beings interact in person. Somehow electonics drain it away.

In summary:

  • We need to take advantage of face time at meetings
  • Build relationships so we can keep in touch electronically in between those meetings
  • Only speak at conferences if we are passionate and have something worthwhile to share with others
  • Focus on key messages when presenting (science meetings can get way to technical)

I’m learning this on my journey.

“Don’t ask what the world needs.

Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.

Because what the world needs is

people who have come alive.”

~Howard Thurman

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Using Skype for Recording Interviews

As a begin to launch two podcast series, I want to see what my options are for interviewing people. I’m learning more about Skype and found this very helpful slidecast.

Writing for Your Audience is the Right Thing to Do.

Another article from copyblogger reminded me of how to use the web to get my information to the public.

In the past, I would always hear about using plenty of key words within your site codes so the search engines will have many ways to find you and bring people to you. The article, called Keyword Research: It’s Not What You Think, in copyblogger gave me a bit more insight.

The article suggested that you need to read (and read and read) what is popular on the web. In our case, we would read all of the environmental health information that our target audience reads. First, it is very important to understand what words grab their attention. Also, what kind of articles are attractive to them and what ways do they get their information. This sounds like a lot of time, but studying your audience puts you in their world and in the long run you will have a much more effective outreach program.

I also found interesting the tools to see what phrases people are using to search for environmental health information.

Keyword research tools like Wordze, Keyword Discovery, and Wordtracker estimate the number of times people search for different phrases. For instance, according to Wordze, approximately 11,222 people search for the term “blogging” each month.

It is a bit of a game, and I love games. It seems like if we combined “environmental health” and “blogging”, we would reach more people. You can also gauge the popularity of a topic relative to other topics. This may give us a better idea of what information the “web” community needs in relation to environmental health.

In relation to using a blog for outreach:

  • Businesses with blogs want to make money. We would want to use a blog to build partnerships, create community, and reach target audiences that go beyond borders. Doing this effectively will lead to successful grant proposals and publications. Most importantly, we will have a greater impact and be sustainable with our community education efforts.
  • Knowing what our target audiences read and using familiar and popular phrases will help us find a niche and social network. We can reach more people, and we can post topics that people want to read about. In relation to Center research, we can examine what about the research will be important and valuable to our target audiences. Can we find a niche that others are not covering on the web?
  • We can connect with community organizations and potential partnerships. Most community groups are using the web and social networks to reach audiences.

Copyblogger suggests that before starting a blog, you carefully decide on a niche and angle.

Ok, so we did all this and people are coming to our blog. We can see the interest by the statistics showing us the number of hits, how they find the site, the links they click, and perhaps comments from the public on the posts. But are we doing effective outreach and education? How do we measure effectiveness? Those are questions for continued discussion.

Start with RSS

If this Web 2.0 stuff is all new to you, understanding RSS feeds is a great place to start.  And it is time to get started, right? Trust me.

RSS feeds allow you to get new information, news,  and blog posts efficiently without searching the web. This is the RSS icon RSS Feed . For this site, find the icon on the bottom of the page. It has the magical power of subscribing you to this blog. You will get my posts automatically without having to check and see if I put something new here. It makes me happy to know that I’m not wasting anyone’s time. : )

Now watch a simple video from Common Craft that makes RSS = a Really Simple Solution.  Then try out Google Reader and you will be hooked.

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