Loss Art of Elocution–Learn the 5 Critical Elements to Make better Audience Connections

Learning to be comfortable with strangers and friends alike means understanding and using the basics of effective communications. To differentiate yourself it is important for you to understand and practice elocution techniques which now are called body language or non-verbal communications. Unfortunately and over time elocution techniques which are more that good non-verbals are not being taught to most public speakers.

el•o•cu•tion

Pronunciation: (el”u-kyOO‘shun), [key]
n.
1. a person’s manner of speaking or reading aloud in public: The actor’s elocution is faultless.
2. the study and practice of oral delivery, including the control of both voice and gesture

Natural Expression of Thought by Speech and Gesture.

Natural tones are the tones of truth and honesty, of good sense and good taste. It is with them only that the understanding is successfully addressed; with them only that we can arouse and keep awake the intelligence of the listener, which is the object we always have in view, whether we speak our own language or that of another.

Critical Elements of elocution

  1. Attitude
  2. Speech Patterns
  3. Posture
  4. Hand Gestures
  5. Eyes Focus and Contact

Attitude or Mental Schema/Set

  • You are among friends who want you to succeed.
  • You are prepared.
  • You have covered every base.
  • You will survive.
  • It cannot be as bad as you expect!

Speech Patterns

 Use up and down inflection and eliminate sing song and monotone

Pick words you can pronounce—use common language to connect with audience

Punctuation is there for a purpose—pause

Raise your tone slightly

 Natural Posture

Stand up straight –right foot forward; feet 12 inches apart

Stand on your own two feet

Choose your space—and build a triangle for movement

Take a deep breath

Relax and use 10 second relaxation technique

Hand Gestures

An extension of posture and eye contact

Adds emphasis

Must not be distracting—be natural

To use gestures you cannot have other things in your hands

Practice, practice and practice

Rules to Present By–

Find a friendly face or someone to whom you just talked too before the meeting

  • Use the one person one idea method for connecting. Eye contact needs to be about 3 seconds per person, then move on to someone else
  • Create a positive and supportive connection by smiling
  • Build rapport and reinforce openness and flexibility during the speech
  • Practice the Rule of Five:Don’t take yourself so seriously.
  • Eliminate fill speech. Just pause and take a deep breath before speaking.

Learning Breakthrough: Focus on Growth Mindset to Reach your Full Potential

Daily Quote: “Becoming is better than being… never stop growing and believing in your potential to become a fully functioning person.”” Carl Rogers

Back in 1973 almost 41 years to the date, I made a critical decision that changed my professional life. I decided that I loved to teach and facilitate other people’s growth and development and that being an Administrator in Higher Education was to reactive and mundane for my liking. When you have a potential mindset, you can better understand that many things in live remain fixed until we see them with the new eyes of positive change and personal growth. For example, IQ, EQ, and other skills like presentations, listening and leadership can be developed. When we learn to focus on improvement and the processes of self-development instead of being concerned about whether we are talented in some activity or do we have the talent to perform. When people work hard to bring about their best through deliberative practice, effort and hard work we see improvement toward their goal to what ever it is. All of sudden they become better or seem to smarter at the activity they are trying to perfect. Based on years of research by Stanford University’s Dr. Dweck, Lisa Blackwell Ph.D., and their colleagues, we know that students who learn this mindset show greater motivation in school, better grades, and higher test scores.
What does research say about the relationship between growth mindset and fixed mindset on performance? Your belief (self-efficacy) in your self and the possibilities and potential for change have a high positive relationship to improved performance.
Mindsets Predict Motivation and Achievement
In one study, Blackwell and her colleagues “ followed hundreds of students making the transition to 7th grade. They found that students with a growth mindset were more motivated to learn and exert effort, and outperformed those with a fixed mindset in math—a gap that continued to increase over the two-year period. Those with the two mindsets had entered 7th grade with similar past achievement, but because of their different mindsets their math grades pulled apart during this challenging time. (Blackwell, L.S., Trzesniewski, K.H., & Dweck, C.S. (2007). In another study, also with adolescents, Blackwell and her colleagues divided students into two groups for a workshop on the brain and study skills. Half of them, the control group, were taught about the stages of memory; the other half received training in the growth and potential mindset (how the brain grows with learning to make you smarter) and how to apply this idea to their academic schoolwork”.
Summary: the growth mindset group outperformed the control group by a level of three times better and their practice, effort and engagement was significantly higher than the fixed mindset group. Even after training was over the growth potential-mindset group showed a clear improvement in their grades.
Bottom line is that the potential and belief mindset increased achievement scores, effort expended on improvement (increased practice time), as well as greater resilience to snap-back after failures and setbacks and overall increased life satisfaction scores.
Research shows that the Brain is Malleable

Cognitive psychology and neuroscience research supports the hypothesis that positive change on mental set from fixed to a growth mindset is possible because the brain is malleable and demonstrates plasticity.
For example, neuroscientists tracked students during their teenage years. For many students, they found substantial changes in performance on verbal and non-verbal IQ tests. Using neuro-imaging, they found corresponding changes in the density of neurons in the relevant brain areas for these students. In other words, an increase in neuronal connections in the brain accompanied an increase in IQ-test performance, while a decrease in neuronal connections in the brain accompanied a decrease in IQ-test performance. If you want to learn more about this breakthrough research and how to apply the findings with your kids checkout Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking software product and book Mindset: The New Psychologyof Success.

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge: Coping with Life Difficulties and Losses

A Self-Coaching “Smart-Step” approach to Coping with anxiety and difficult times

Daily Quote: ” When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.–Viktor Frankl 

Through out life we will encounter good and bad times. With the rapid pace of living  we all experience change as a way of life. Some of us learn to roll with the punches and find ways to get through our daily ups and downs. Others get “stuck” and have a difficult time functioning at an acceptable level. And still others find themselves anxious or increasingly depressed over a problem, concern, or worry for a long time. So we all react differently to change and try to find individual ways to cope. In my experience with clients, I have found some ways that are more effective than others to cope and push try to relief. Below I will provide two Self-Coaching tools that provide a practical framework and a mental set for dealing with these personal obstacles to live a life of constructive action. I suggest you write them down in your personal journal or on a 3x 5 index card so that when you find yourself on the edge or overwhelmed with worry and  insecure thinking, you read these tips to get you through the difficult situations you find yourself in. If necessary, read them over and over again, mantra like.

1.) I will let life be what it is. I won’t “make stuff up” too upset my balance and positive outlook. Sure there are obstacles and inconveniences but no awfulness and shoulds’ in life. Try using positive self-talk like the following: This too shall pass…it could have been much worst…this is inconvenient and unexpected so consciously  STOP. Take a deep BREATH. SMILE and Move ON. 
Sometimes, when the phone rings and the voice or message at the other end knocks you for a loop, you may feel shock, out of control or overwhelmed with what life has just delivered you. And yet you need to keep going on because sometimes there are no solutions or answers to life’s difficulties. Rather than reading these events as “awful” and “unsolvable”, a more constructive approach to terrible news is to notice and accept how you are feeling, if sad, be sad; if you start to cry just cry; if angry; be angry and then redirect your attention to something more useful. For example, find a tissue to wipe your tears, if you are standing sit-down, go for a long slow walk etc. Redirection physically can be a powerful constructive act.  Just remember this event as just a moment in life–not good or bad, just life.  Mentally reject the inner voice that tells you this is awful and you can’ go on. Don’t fight the fear or focus on it;  just notice it and accept it. Acknowledge these events are real, unwanted and  inconvenient obstacles that just need to be handled the best way you know how. With heighten emotions and unclear thinking about loss and fear driven thinking your insecurity and confusion will rise and you may find yourself slowed downed–but this is event is not the end of life or awful! What feels to be hopeless and overwhelming is only an emotional flooding created by this unexpected circumstance. Keep in mind your tool to STOP. Breath. Smile. Keep Moving and trust yourself to handle this situation.

2. Not every problem has a solution, and sometimes you have to just keep going and accept that maybe or maybe not an answer or understanding will appear. 
In time, some problems can be solved or understood. On the other hand, some problems will never be solved and you need to learn to live with this uncertainty and ambiguity of not knowing. Unfortunately, this is not easy to do, but begins with clear and positive thinking (3-1 rule of positivity) not with doubts, fears and negative thoughts. It is your irrational demand for answers and certainty in dealing with life’s problems and ambiguities that generate irrational thoughts, fretting behavior and other unhealthy symptoms such as nervousness, losing control, anxiety and feeling sick.

As you practice these new mental sets,  it helps to remind yourself of the countless problems and worries that have come and gone in your life. How many problems have you solved? One thousand? Ten thousand? or Hundred thousand? Many times you have faced problems and figured-out, how to survive these difficulties  by re-framing, re-strategizing, or over just letting time take its course. Right? Trust yourself and be more gentle and self compassionate because life difficulties eventually become part of your biography and you move on. Remember you have more fuel in the tank than you think you do.

Poem: On Being Courageous

Courage To BEby MW Hardwick

To say and act on what you believe.

To stand up for what is right, 

To face difficulties with calmness, openness and flexibility.

To stand your ground when fairness and morality are shelved.

To be accountable and to hold others accountable,
To share ideas, information and resources,
To use caring confrontation when conflict arises
To partner to find solutions

To never stop listening with empathy.

To confront fear, pain and injustice

To take-on reasonable risks

To accept life’s uncertainty

And find the courage to face difficulties,

To act right in the face of opposition and intimidation

To never stop learning. Never stop learning.

To keep your dreams alive by speaking your truth…

Truth…Truth…Truth…

Daily Quote and Reflection: Want more Positive Energy practice Renewal and Recovery

Daily Quote: “The richest, happiest, and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal”–Dr. James Loehr and Schwarz, The Power of Full Engagement

Reflection:  Dr. Loehr and Scwartz quote reminded me of some of the posts I have written on the power of self-renewal and recovery. It is my opinion that the ideas of engagement, renewal and recovery are all linked to the level of our happiness. So I recommend now an then to take the time to do a personal audit of how you are spending your time and how do these daily activities impact your energy and vitality for living a more productive and higher quality of life.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Identify the best thing you have done for yourself in the last month. It could be as simple as waking-up earlier on Monday – Friday and spending the first 30 min. exercising, eating a great breakfast with the kids and 30 min. of mindfulness or meditating before reporting in for work. If you have difficulty identifying something , then it is even more important for you to STOP and take a look at how you are using your time.

Try this exercise identify how you use your time. We all have only 168 hours per week. This week keep track of how many hours are spent in these life activity categories:

Work ____, Family _______, Exercise______, School or Community Volunteering ________,Sleeping______

Fun and Recreation_________ ( Chatting with Friends, Reading for Pleasure, Music, Reading writing poetry etc_____

Spiritual, Religious ____________ Learning new skills_________Other_________. Total 168.

Reflective questions:

How do you feel about your allotment of time overall– 1 very satisfied to 10 unsatisfied/need changes.

Are there any key activities that are left out of your time allotment review?

What are the changes you are committed to make?

What kind of support will you need to make these changes?

How would the changes improve your quality of life?

When are you going to start making these changes?

Self-Mastery and Skill Development Using the Plus 1 Mastery Process for Change

The Plus 1 Mastery Process for Personal Change

Here is the learning process: Tell me… show me… let me practice… coach me.

In attempting to change behavior it is important to look at an “old true and tried” principle of learning called the law of frequency. The law of frequency suggests that the more a person practices the correct and desired behavior, the higher the probability there is to use the desired behavior.  This principle is often called “drill and practice”. Most coaches and movie directors use this technique to encourage their players or actors to practice under many different situations until they get it right and the behavior feels natural.  Remember, practice makes permanent only, perfect practice makes perfect.

The key building block in using the law of frequency in training is to create what we call the PlusOne Mastery Learning Sequence:

  • The sequence starts by learning and understanding the specific skill you are trying to change one step at a time while adding each new step to the preceding learned steps until all steps are mastered.
  • The “chucking principle” is a key component of the Mastery Learning sequence. This principle suggests that a complex skill can be learned most efficiently when the skill is broken down into small parts.  Each part is mastered separately and then the parts are practiced together adding one “chunk” at a time until all of the chunks are integrated and the complex skill is mastered
  • Once learned the skill set is enhanced by putting in-place a continuous improvement process which involves a feedback loop on where you are now by examining what you are doing well and what improvements you need to stay at the mastery level.
  • Learning and using this simple and straight forward “Plus 1 Mastery” process will improve your self-awareness of effective behavioral patterns and can help identify areas for improvement so that you can overcome and transcend present limits of leadership styles into a strength based approach for continuous professional development.