Thursday, April 30, 2015

Want to Become a Dynamic and Riveting Public Speaker? Then Watch this 11-second Clip of Someone Whose Public Speaking Skills are Matchless and Unrivalled!

Ted Cruz first entered my consciousness in late 2012, when he was elected a U.S. senator and almost immediately began grabbing the limelight in Washington D.C.  Ever since, I have been stupefied by his public speaking skills. There’s no question that he is one of the best public speakers in the land thanks to a combination of extraordinary articulation and superlative nonverbals, especially the way he uses his voice, hands, and torso. 

Note that I lavish the above praise on Sen. Cruz despite the gulf between his thinking and mine. I can bet that were he and I to meet over coffee at, say, a Starbucks, we wouldn’t even be able to agree on whether it is cloudy or sunny outside. 

Special comment regarding Cruz’s inspiring use of clenched hands in the clip below: As you enjoy the short video clip below, excerpted from his presidential campaign-launching speech at Liberty University last month, note that Cruz’s fists are vertical. Well, as I illustrated in a blog post last year, clenched hands in a horizontal position can be an equally effective gesture when you want to project leadership, determination, vigor, etc.

Good material for my seminars and one-on-one coaching on public speaking. 

© Copyright 2015  V. J. Singal

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Vocabulary Expansion Words: New Edition of “Words of the Month”

Have you looked at the latest edition of Words of the Month,” my free vocabulary enrichment feature, which has been online since mid-April? Here are the six featured words, all of which lie within the conversational vocabulary of America’s most articulate (as is the case with all of the words featured in my book, The Articulate Professional-3rdEdition”): 

1. dudgeon
2. eschew
3. realpolitik
4. taciturn
5. intransigent
6. pariah

Sunday, April 26, 2015

“Great Living Blizzard”; “Seismograph on Society”; “An Aladdin’s Cave of..”--Visual, Evocative Expression to Emphasize Something

Here are some recent examples of articulate people using a vivid, evocative expression while emphasizing something and thus making their assertion indelible--examples which, I hope, will inspire the rest of us into similarly imaginative use of the language, especially when we are trying to break through the clutter. 

  • Describing his “near religious experience” on a mountaintop in Central Mexico, National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore telling CBS “Sunday Morning,” “I arrived before dawn on a rented mule and there, standing silently in the mist, were ancient fir trees so laden with monarch butterflies that their bows literally bent under the weight. When the sun came up, millions of brilliant orange spots burst from the trees, rising and falling and swirling around me like a great living blizzard.”
  • As expected, the recent death of Noble Prize winning author Guenter Grass generated a torrent of tributes from prominent Germans. That nation’s president spoke about Grass having “moved, enthralled, and made the people of our country think with his literature and his art.” Another described him as “having held up a mirror to the Germans.” But the most memorable and evocative words were from the German Cultural Council which called him “more than a writer…a seismograph on society.”
  • Journalist Donatella Lorch, while explaining on NPR why Nepal’s two giant neighbors India and China are willing to spend billions of dollars to build dams in that tiny landlocked nation, saying: “Nepal is an Aladdin’s cave of water wealth for the entire South Asian region…It has massive glaciers. It has massive rivers…” 
© Copyright 2015  V. J. Singal

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The word “Automaticity” — Its Utterance by Guest on Yesterday’s “Morning Edition” Earns Special Mention by Program Host Steve Inskeep

Did you listen to NPR “Morning Edition” yesterday (Friday, April 3)? One of the segments featured Tony Blinken (Deputy Secretary of State, hence a top official in the State Dept.) who highlighted some of the critical aspects of the nuke accord that had been reached with Iran just a few hours earlier. 

In response to host Steve Inskeep’s question “If Iran violates the deal…would the sanctions automatically snap back,” Mr. Blinken said, “Yes, there is going to be automaticity in the so-called snapbackif Iran reneges on its commitments.”  
Well, use of the uncommon word automaticity (pronounced aw-tuh-muh-TIS-ih-tee) raised the eyebrows of not only yours truly (and, presumably, of at least tens of thousands of other listeners) but also of host Steve Inskeep who, at the end of the interview some 20 seconds later, commented “OK, Tony Blinken is Deputy Secretary of State and I think the first person ever to use the word automaticity on Morning Edition. Mr. Blinken, thanks very much...” [Click here for the transcript.] 

Some of the ways in which a single word can greatly impact a discussion or make one's point indelible: People with a strong command of the language and who speak with confidence will, often a time, really push the envelope in their choice of words, especially when they are trying to galvanize their audience. (This is a central aspect of my popular keynote "The Power of the Spoken Word.") Here are three quick examples of how a single word can help make one's point indelible, if not airborne:

  1. Using an ordinary word in a most extraordinary and imaginative way. (For instance, my post of Jan 16, 2013, which is about famous Spanish painter Joan Miro proclaiming that he is going to “assassinate painting.”) 
  2. Using an uncommon and high-caliber word but one that is sure to be understood by the audience because of the context or use of synonyms. (In the case of Tony Blinken’s utterance, it is obvious to listeners that automaticity is the noun from the word automatic which had been used by Inskeep just seconds earlier). And this is exactly what my book is about. Just click here and look at the "Workplace Examples" on the sample pages.
  3. Creating a word, often on the spot, that is (i) going to be readily understood by the audience, and (ii) likely to stir them, even fire their imagination. This immediately brings to mind a spectacular moment in a Sunday morning talk show during the 2012 presidential-debate-season when a guest used an extremely fresh and stirring adjective derived from the name of a famous movie character. It sure left the audience spellbound, so much so that the host interrupted the guest to comment on that particular word! Will feature that video clip in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!
Of course, these three examples are by no means a comprehensive list of how a single word can make a point indelible.
© Copyright 2015  V. J. Singal