Friday, August 28, 2009

Talk Your Way to Success

The really great thing about teaching at a university is meeting a new class for the first time. My Principles of Public Speaking course at Weber State University (Ogden, Utah) attracts clear-eyed, hard-charging young adults who are not afraid to dive into a pool of skills that will prepare them to talk their way to success—success in business, education, health care, technology, law enforcement, government, community service, and yes, success in their personal lives. What could be more exciting?

Our first task in talking our way to success is the realization that ideas are everything. We are all drawn to people with ideas. We might call them idea makers. Actually, there are few new ideas, but bright people find an infinite variety of ways to express and apply ideas to awaken their listeners and make the world better. They become our thought leaders.

Talking our way to success includes three basic skills, (1) presenting ideas clearly, (2) providing support that carries ideas into a listener's heart, mind, and confidence, and (3) drawing powerful conclusions that make a listener want to act on our ideas.

Sounds simple, right? It is . But, talking our way to success will demand our best efforts. Let's go.

Learning Activity

Get a little notebook that you can use as a public speaking journal. Make a list of the great ideas that shape and guide your life at present. You may have heard these from your parents, a teacher, a friend, someone else. They are ideas you think about often. Examples from students in our present public speaking course include:

"Go big or go home."

"If you see someone without a smile, give her one of yours."

"You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take."

"Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

And my favorite for families potty-training little guys: "If your barrel is short, stand closer to the target."

Add to your list as you think of other important ideas.

© Frank Richardson, 2009.


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