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Category Archives: Public Speaking

One teacher’s bonus: Watching students grow

As any teacher will tell you, the big ‘bonus’ we get at the end of the school year doesn’t involve zeros after a decimal point. Instead it is seeing the outcome of the work put in – watching students move up.

This was evident last evening, as I wrapped up the communication class, COM 225, which I taught at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. It was their final exam, one part of which was a prepared speech. Watching them put into practice material they learned over five months was the exclamation point at the end of a long chapter. The kicker, if you will. Their speeches were top-notch. Their confidence -and use of techniques learned –on full display.

Before they left, I recommended they sometime watch Randy Pausch’s ‘Last Lecture.’ Why? Because it is both an artifact or Public Speaking that embodies everything found in the text books, plus one of the most motivational messages students could take away on their journey.

 

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Explaining the ‘Valley of Death’ on the Hill, Robert gets applause

My friend Dr. Robert Selliah took his message to Capitol Hill in February, to talk of drug discovery – pediatric drugs, that is.

I’ve followed Robert’s work for some years now and often tell him what’s impressive is his knack of explaining biotech complexities in such as way that a lay person gets it. In my Public Speaking class, when I deal with a Manuscript Speech, I address how important it is to not let jargon and the ‘Haigspeak‘ creep in.

Here Robert deals with the thicket of drug discovery by light-heartedly cautioning the audience that some technical language was coming.¬† And he even threw in an analogy, comparing the ‘linear process’ of molecular discovery to making a movie.¬†Nice touch!

Capitol Hill is stocked with technocrats, who probably know how to tune out speeches. I’m sure Robert kept them awake, tuned to his ‘movie’!

 

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in Communications, Public Speaking

 

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PR Stunt or Learning Moment? When protesters take over class

Student protests happen everywhere, not only during times of turmoil. When I was in Uni, students took over parts of the campus ‘kidnapped a Dean (!) and held him for a few hours. At another time some stormed the campus police station. Most student protests happen in public spaces, with rhetoric aimed at public figures – or at least those people in power.

So what do you make of a situation when a classroom (in Reed College in Portland, Oregon) was turned into a protest space? Is the audience just students like themselves, sounding off their different perspectives? Watch this and think again.

  • Is it possible that the demonstration was set up (this doesn’t seem a spontaneous turnout) to create ‘media’ and not just to hijack the space?
  • Was the debate that took place toward the end, unintended?
  • Was it an appropriate way to address sensitive issues around a Humanities 101 class?

What’s your take?

For some background, read the piece in The Atlantic in November last year.

 

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Speech infected by low-hanging fruit? Run it up the flagpole!

This is something my students in Communications will find relevant.

It’s a hilarious case of what happens when you get infected by buzzwords and cliches. Gerard Braud, a well-known media trainer and business communications speaker I follow, gives us his take on how not to discombobulate your mesage when giving a speech.

(Public Service Announcement from the Center for buzzword disease control: Never use words such as ‘discombobulate!)

 

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