Saturday, December 31, 2011

Public Speaking Tips: Power of the Pregnant Pause

The unusually illustrious Mark Twain was also an enormously successful public speaker. So, it’s worth our while to ponder his views on the pregnant pause--a vital ingredient of powerful public speaking.

In his biography of Mark Twain, author Ron Powers writes that Twain came to use the pause “almost as a thing of weighted substance, as a length of solid lead to place between his well-constructed words.” He then cites the following quote from Twain: "The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” (Emphasis within the quote by yours truly).

Hard to imagine a more instructive and weighty testimonial for the pregnant pause.

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal

The Freakish “Top-Of-The-Food-Chain” Prehistoric Creature Discovered Earlier this Month: An Image That Is Bound to Impact Science Fiction

Do you remember the headline-making discovery earlier this month (off the coast of Australia) of the fossilized eyes of something called "the anomalocaris" --a “freakish, nearly 3-foot long, prehistoric super-predator” that lived in the oceans some 500 million years ago and was at the top of the food chain? (I guess, with such a menacing anatomy, it had to be!) Well, the thing that strikes me most about this unsettlingly fearsome creature is its huge eyes—sticking out several inches from the sides of its head, at the end of “stalks.” See for your self by clicking here.

I bet the anomalocaris’s eyes will inspire generations of science fiction writers and artists when giving form to some of their alien creations.

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal

Friday, December 30, 2011

Visual, Evocative Words to Emphasize Something: Some Inspiring Examples From a Discussion on the Legendary John Brown

Just watched a month-old PBS interview with Tony Horwitz, author of a recent book (“Midnight Rising”) about the legendary John Brown’s famous raid seeking to end slavery. Extremely impressed--and stirred--by Mr. Horwitz’s extraordinary verbal expression. Here are some examples:

-- (pointing out that other abolitionists believed in “education and moral uplift” as the way to defeat slavery): “Brown derided this as milk-and-water abolitionism, weak and ineffectual”

-- “he had this charisma, this moral magnetism that got people to give money and guns to his cause”

-- “this rough-hewn frontier warrior had an intoxicating effect on genteel parlor radicals of the North”

-- (question: “was he crazy, was he a madman?”) “He was certainly obsessive, he had this ‘Ahab quality’ about him…also very grandiose in his dreams.”

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Female Attire: For “Low Contrast” Women, A Contrasting Color Is A Must!

Just as is the case with low-contrast men, the face of a low-contrast woman (i.e. a light skinned blonde) will be overwhelmed if she were to wear a high contrast attire (such as a black dress with a prominent white border). The observer’s gaze will be constantly pulled down by the thus lowered center of gravity.

On the flip side, a low contrast woman should assiduously avoid wearing a dress that is almost identical in color to her face and hair because it will make her look flat and boring. Wearing a color that provides a nice contrast to her skin tones will sharply enhance the light-skinned woman’s presence and bolster her personality.

The three video clips below, featuring Consuelo Mack (whom I strongly admire because of the great public service she is providing through her “Wealthtrack” television program on PBS) illustrate my point. Clearly, Ms. Mack looks much sharper--has a far more robust appearance--in clips 2 and 3 than in clip 1 which presents an image that is almost monochromatic from top to bottom.

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

“The Blue Marble”: Quintessential Example of an Image That Changed the World

Today’s edition of Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac” reminded us of that beautiful image of planet earth captured by Apollo astronauts—the one that has since been dubbed “The Blue Marble”—and how it helped spawn the environmental movement.

More later.

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal