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Archive for 2013

I’m So Glad You Asked – Handling the Questions from Your Audience

By Kelly Vandever

“Are you the same Kelly Vandever who does stand up comedy?”

It was my first day, my first session teaching public speaking at Kennesaw State University.

The question came from one of the students who had googled my name while I was introducing myself.

(For those who are wondering, yes, there does exist a video online of a stand up act that I performed at the Punch Line comedy club.  You can watch it here …

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Book Review – “Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery” by Garr Reynolds

Book Review – Presentation Zen:  Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds
You had me at Guy Kawasaki’s foreword.    

As I soaked up the pages of Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen, I said to my husband, “Oh my gosh, this book is AWESOME!”

I usually don’t get giddy about a book.  I was giggling as I said those words to the hubby.


That was 4 years ago and since then, I’ve used Garr Reynold’s approach to creating presentation slides and haven’t looked back.

Reynolds …

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Book Review – “Confessions of a Public Speaker” by Scott Berkun

Confessions of a Public Speaker
by Scott Berkun

Confession #1 – I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It made me laugh out loud and I love anyone or anything that can make me laugh out loud!  It would probably be faster to count the pages where I didn’t underline, circle or highlight at least one sentence than it would be to count those pages where I did.  I put asterisks next to websites, studies and books that Berkun references that I intend to read.  I wrote the word “quote” in …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 5

“You know, I’ve shared that article about stories you sent me with other prosecutors in my office.”

It was an attorney friend of mine telling me this.  He’s a deputy chief assistant district attorney here in Georgia.  Here is the article he was referring to this article I found on the power of storytelling.

“I don’t understand why people can’t see the stories.  They’re right there in the reports!”

Regardless of the type of organization, most companies have some sort of reports …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 4

I spent six years in the world of recruiting and learned behavioral interviewing questions back then.  The idea behind behavioral interviewing is that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, so ask the interviewee to tell you about their past experience related to important aspects of the job you’re interviewing them for.

Behavior based interview questions start with phrases like…

Tell me about a time when…

Can you give me a specific example of how you…

Describe a problem you’ve encountered with…

I know …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 3

When I first entered the world of professional speaking, I was taught by some wise mentors to interview a sample of future audience members.  Later I learned of other professional speakers who send out surveys to collect information about their audiences rather than conduct interviews.

I stuck with what I learned first, the person-to-person interviews, probably because I learned it first.

Then, I was doing interviews – for a magazine article not a speech – and wanted to interviewed two subject matter experts (SMEs).  I …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 2

The Catalyst Story

In the last post, we talked about the Business Story Producer which is a method to get people to start sharing business stories.  As part of the steps, you, as the person facilitating the group, should tell a Catalyst Story to activate the business story sharing.


Rather than mechanically running through the steps, let’s start with a Catalyst Story, then break down what makes for a good Catalyst Story.


My first professional experience was as an ensign in the Navy.  For those …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 1

Lately I’ve become obsessed with drawing stories out of other people’s lives.  Specifically, I want to help draw business stories out of organizational leaders and subject matter experts so they can use them in presentations and for training others.

I haven’t really found much written on the topic of pulling business stories out of other people – if you know of some good resources, please add descriptions or links to them in the comments below.

In an effort to see what people were doing, I approached a few colleagues I …

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The Dirty Little Secret – Beta Blockers and the Fear of Public Speaking

The woman before me was a competent, intelligent, and normally confident person.  But the thought of public speaking, particularly to a group of executives in her company, drove her to take drastic measures.
1 – She hired me to coach her
2 – She spoke to her best friend who happened to be a physician about prescribing a med to decrease her anxiety
She shared with me what her doctor said — beta blockers are the dirty little secret that no one talks about.
Beta Blockers – Last …

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