In our Speech Class Refresher program class week, I taught a section on Vocal Skills. Due to time constraints, I omitted two sections on enunciation and pronunciation, that I have taught in previous offerings.
I first taught these topics to students and professional clients when I was at the University of Houston in 1976, working on my M.A. degree. So, they have a special place in instruction for me.
One of the most successful and impactful women in professional business is Jill Schiefelbein . She wrote the best-seller, Dynamic Communication (Entrepreneur, 2016). She is pictured with me below when we attended a meeting at Success North Dallas, where she presented the monthly program, as selected by its leader, Bill Wallace.
I thought you might be interested in what she says about these two topics. This is an excerpt from an article she wrote entitled “7 Delivery Skills for Public Speaking,” published in Entrepreneur.com on April 26, 2017. You can read the entire article by clicking HERE.
“How you articulate and pronounce words is important because people need to be able to understand you. But if you get a little nervous, you probably tend to speak faster and faster, until you’re not enunciating well and your clarity is going to suffer. Your audience won’t catch everything you’re saying and you’ll lack maximum effectiveness. Following are some ways to help with your enunciation and pronunciation.
“First, show your teeth! To get the sound out, the mouth needs to be open and the air pipes clear. So if you find yourself starting to speak too quickly, think about showing some of your teeth (in other words, open your mouth a little wider). If you’re not sure whether you do this, watch yourself speak in a mirror. Better yet, set up a camera and record yourself in conversation or during a video chat.
“The second tip has to do with pronunciation. In music class, I learned that the singers who have lyrics you can actually understand have something in common — they pronounce the consonants clearly, especially the final consonant of each word. Try it. Say “world” out loud without focusing on the final “d” in your pronunciation. Now say it while pronouncing the last “d” clearly. Practice this in your head (or even better, out loud) with other words. You’ll notice it makes a difference.”
Just like everything else that we taught in our recent program, you get better at a skill by practicing the skill. That is as true for enunciation and pronunciation, as it is for anything else about public speaking.
Only one book debuted on the Wall Street Journal business best-seller list this week (July 23-24, p. C14).
The book is entitled Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life (Atria Books, 2016). It entered the list at #7, and has been available since mid-April of this year.
The author is Adam Markel. He is the CEO of Peak Potentials. Over the years, he has trained thousands of people to find new jobs, careers, and directions. In addition to being an author, he is a keynote speaker, real estate developer, entrepreneur, and attorney. Having run his private law practice for more than 17 years, Adam underwent a career change by creating a successful commercial real estate investment firm, title insurance company, and social media start-up. You can read more about him by clicking HERE to find his website.
His website describes the book as follows:
“Adam reveals his top strategies and tools to creating a new path towards your ultimate happiness and fulfillment by finding your big ‘why’ for living. Adam shares powerful and life-changing exercises, declarations and challenges with you, as a way to help you start taking action, releasing negative beliefs and patterns and replacing them with powerful Intentions and daily rituals.”
Markel also publishes a downloadable Pivot Journal, to help you track your progress toward the reinvention of your career and life that you desire.
We have not yet determined if we will present this book at an upcoming First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. While it qualifies since it is on a national best-seller list, one factor will be whether it maintains its popularity, and appears on other lists. As I am writing this post, the book is at #157 on the Motivation and Self-Improvement business sub-category on Amazon.com.
So, stay tuned as we monitor its progress.
Here are the first few paragraphs from this article: Just Manic Enough — Seeking Perfect Entrepreneurs:
IMAGINE you are a venture capitalist. One day a man comes to you and says, “I want to build the game layer on top of the world.”
You don’t know what “the game layer” is, let alone whether it should be built atop the world. But he has a passionate speech about a business plan, conceived when he was a college freshman, that he says will change the planet — making it more entertaining, more engaging, and giving humans a new way to interact with businesses and one another.
If you give him $750,000, he says, you can have a stake in what he believes will be a $1-billion-a-year company.
Interested? Before you answer, consider that the man displays many of the symptoms of a person having what psychologists call a hypomanic episode. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual — the occupation’s bible of mental disorders — these symptoms include grandiosity, an elevated and expansive mood, racing thoughts and little need for sleep.
“Elevated” hardly describes this guy. To keep the pace of his thoughts and conversation at manageable levels, he runs on a track every morning until he literally collapses. He can work 96 hours in a row. He plans to live in his office, crashing in a sleeping bag. He describes anything that distracts him and his future colleagues, even for minutes, as “evil.”
He is 21 years old.
So, what do you give this guy — a big check or the phone number of a really good shrink? If he is Seth Priebatsch and you are Highland Capital Partners, a venture capital firm in Lexington, Mass., the answer is a big check.
But this thought exercise hints at a truth: a thin line separates the temperament of a promising entrepreneur from a person who could use, as they say in psychiatry, a little help. Academics and hiring consultants say that many successful entrepreneurs have qualities and quirks that, if poured into their psyches in greater ratios, would qualify as full-on mental illness.
Which is not to suggest that entrepreneurs like Seth Priebatsch (pronounced PREE-batch) are crazy. It would be more accurate to describe them as just crazy enough. (emphasis added)
“It’s about degrees,” says John D. Gartner, a psychologist and author of “The Hypomanic Edge.” “If you’re manic, you think you’re Jesus. If you’re hypomanic, you think you are God’s gift to technology investing.”
The attributes that make great entrepreneurs, the experts say, are common in certain manias, though in milder forms and harnessed in ways that are hugely productive. Instead of recklessness, the entrepreneur loves risk. Instead of delusions, the entrepreneur imagines a product that sounds so compelling that it inspires people to bet their careers, or a lot of money, on something that doesn’t exist and may never sell.
So venture capitalists spend a lot of time plumbing the psyches of the people in whom they might invest.
“Just crazy enough…” This may be the new necessary trait for the über-successful entrepreneur.
Read the rest of the article. Really interesting!
Cheryl offers: I love to read, always have; but that doesn’t necessarily always translate into making a living, which I must also accomplish. When I was a corporate soul living inside the Big Blue walls of IBM, I was always reading about what other companies were doing, trying, and accomplishing. I wanted to learn how to help my company be more competitive, innovative, and creative. Now that I am an entrepreneur, I’m learning how reading connects us in business conversation. Just last week I was on a call with a potential client. Someone we both knew insisted we meet, so we did over the phone. It wasn’t an easy event either: first we had a bad line connecting Texas and Amsterdam, then his computer crashed and he had to call me 3 times before we actually got to talk. After going through the normal introductions, we both admitted we weren’t quite sure where the next part of the conversation was going. And then it happened. As we started to discuss what we were currently doing, the connection was made like a lightening rod and the book title I mentioned, “Women Mean Business” was the electric current. From that conversation we moved into new exciting territory and tremendous opportunities emerged. It appeared to be just as Joseph Jaworski describes in his book, Synchronicity, when he wrote “Synchronicity is the seemingly accidental meeting of two unrelated causal chains in a coincidental event which appears both highly improbable and highly significant. The people who come to you are the very people you need in relation to your commitment.”
Cheryl offers: Our business, like so many others, has enjoyed the affects of the economy. You know I use the word “enjoyed” with a smile here. We recently decided to sit back and look at our business activity to see what we noticed. It was pretty apparent. We weren’t asking for enough business. Now this is embarrassing to admit, since we both spent a fair amount of our careers in sales. It occurs to me how easily it is to slip into what I might call “complacency habits”. A good economy helps you do that. We also reminded ourselves of the research in the book, “Women Don’t Ask” by Sarah Laschever and Linda Babcock. “Wanting things for oneself (like business deals if you are an entrepreneur) and doing whatever may be necessary to get those things-such as asking for them-often clashes with the social expectation that a woman will devote her attention to the needs of others and pay less attention to her own.” As a result of this well spent time in contemplation, we began to proactively ASK different questions. Amazingly, business is emerging from conversations almost every day. Thank goodness. Now I wonder, “What else have I become complacent about that the new economy might help me remember?”
Sara adds: Could be questions…could be courage. When I read what Cheryl offered, I thought of Richard Carson’s, “Taming Your Gremlins.” Carson helps explain the voice in my head. You know the one, the one that says, “You should be happy with what you have” or “Don’t ask for too much, you probably aren’t worth it.” For me, it that voice that what keeps me from asking for the business and following up aggressively. Carson explains, “Your gremlin is the narrator in your head…he uses some of your past experiences to hypnotize you into forming and living your life in accordance with self-limiting and sometimes frightening generalizations about you.” No wonder Carson calls it a gremlin! But there’s hope! The first step in stilling the voice is in becoming AWARE that it’s just a voice. Then bring in the courage. The voice would hold us back. Courage puts the voice in the background and action in the foreground. Wondering how to make that happen? Join us next week – we’ll talk about overcoming our own status quo!