Sunday, August 20, 2017

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

Have you checked out the latest edition (July/ August 2017) of Words of the Month,” my free vocabulary enrichment feature, which has been online since early August? 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. indecorous
2. platitudinous
3. palpable
4. calcified
5. fusillade
6. encomium

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

High-Impact Public Speaking: a 30-Second Clip Displaying Stunning Vocal Variety by the Great Christopher Plummer

[Rewritten September 13, 2017]
The video clip below is from “The Exception,” a recent movie set in 1940 and centered on the last German Kaiser (Wilhelm II, played by actor extraordinaire Christopher Plummer) who, at the time, was living in exile in Holland.  

Background: For much of the 30-second clip, you see the Plummer character in a rage--he is fulminating because, moments earlier, a young guest at the dinner table had (naively) spoken about the privations suffered by his family in the aftermath of Germany’s defeat in WWI. To the Kaiser, the lament is a personal affront and hence the tantrum. [The opening words in the clip: “And this is my thanks? Nobody cares! My navy betrayed army fell apart...”] 

Discussion of Plummer’s exemplary display of vocal variety, which is a key ingredient of highly effective public speaking: Beginning at the nine-second mark, we hear the Kaiser blame (General) Ludendorff, (Naval Minister) Tirpitz, and one other former official for his nation’s defeat, followed by “They stabbed me in the back. They lost me the war.” Then comes one of the most exceptional demonstrations of vocal variety I’ve ever seen: To give strong emphasis to his concluding words “They lost me my country,” Plummer takes a long, pregnant pause before uttering them in a dramatically lower voice volume and pitch. Public speaking at its absolute finest! 

BTW, just last week, one of my clients (an executive VP at a large healthcare firm here in Houston) was inspired by this very clip to inject some extraordinary--and extremely effective--vocal variety during the conclusion of a pep talk to her employees.

© Copyright 2017  V. J. Singal


Neil Gorsuch Sure Doesn’t Know How to Pick a Necktie; If You Have a Low-Contrast Face, Like His, You Can do Much Better!

Neil Gorsuch, the newest addition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s lofty bench of nine justices, is undoubtedly one of the finest and most competent jurists in the land. But with respect to attire--specifically, in the matter of picking a necktie for, say, special occasions--I’m afraid this judge extraordinaire doesn’t seem to have a clue.

[Yes, some aspects of Neil Gorsuch’s ideology are antithetical to mine. Yet, I must admit, I was extremely impressed by the gravitas he displayed during his Senate confirmation hearings this past March.]

Discussion of the clip below, which is from early February when, following his nomination by President Trump, Gorsuch began calling on prominent U.S. senators, as do all Supreme Court nominees prior to their confirmation hearings. The moment you launch the video clip--I’m afraid it’s only three seconds long--your eyes will be captured by Gorsuch’s extremely high contrast tie. Of course, you will then look at his face but only momentarily because the low center of gravity of his overall attire (thanks to that attention grabbing neckwear) will force down your gaze and keep it there.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts on men’s attire, you’ll see my point. If not, and for tips on how someone who, like Gorsuch, has a low contrast visage can sharply enhance their appearance and add a glow to their face, start with the November 27, 2011, post and then look at some of the more recent ones bearing the label “men’s attire.” You’ll find the ones featuring Sen. Bob Corker to be particularly useful.

A request to any reader who has a hotline to Justice Gorsuch: Please convey the following offer to the illustrious judge: “Even though I do not share some of your extremely conservative ideology, I’ll be thrilled to give you a free coaching session on how to sharpen your appearance. The only cost to you: the roundtrip fare from Houston to Washington D.C.”

© Copyright 2017  V. J. Singal