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Linking in to online learning: 15 webinars on communication and leadership skills

As Madame President recently shared, did you know that as an employee of MD Anderson, we have access to the Linkedin Learning Library?

If you’re looking for where to begin, here are titles of 15 web-based courses with skills you can adopt today, helping you make the most of your Toastmasters experience. Use this list to get ideas for titles of interest, search for them on LinkedIn Learning and add them to your profile for viewing.

You’re sure to find many more as well that are novel and relevant, in the library of over 15,000 courses. What will you learn next?

Harnessing the Voice

The speaking voice deserves richness and fullness so that its power matches the power of our words, explains Harvard Kennedy School instructor Allison Shapira in the article, Breathing is the Key to Persuasive Public Speaking.

According to Toastmasters International’s report Your Speaking Voice: Tips for Adding Strength and Authority to Your Voice, “unless you’ve had voice lessons or athletic training, most likely your breathing is shallow, misdirected, and lacking in control.”

The report invites us to look at:
– What type of voice do we have: a whisper or a boom?
– Are we monotonous or melodious?
– What is our voice’s emotional color: a rain cloud or a rainbow?
– In our musical speaking voice do we agitate or orchestrate? “A good speaker may use as many as 25 different notes to convey variety and meaning.”

The report offers a method for relaxing the voice, promising a richer and more colorful voice with practice.

“Your goal should be vocal efficiency – the production
of maximum vocal output with minimum effort. An
efficient voice is smooth, versatile, and produced with
very little effort.”

Toastmasters International report, Your Speaking Voice

Shapira describes how much our breath affects how our voice sounds, not only revitalizing us to calm our nerves but also creating a resonant tone that communicates confidence.

Shapira uses the analogy of sashimi to recommend practicing using the breath to support our words. Take a full breath, and practice exhaling while speaking. “Over time, you can breathe quickly and discreetly between sentences,” adding strength to the voice.

sashimi

Video Public Speaking

When the video turns on, our setting, appearance, and delivery send a message. What are you aiming for?

You can read more about best practices in these areas on the Toastmasters International website, Hana He’s How to Appear Your Best While Delivering an Online Speech.

video chat

Delivery

– You are able to zoom in and out by moving yourself closer to or further away from the camera to dramatize your online speech.

– If you need to refer to any notes, you may place them near the camera instead of looking away from the screen for your notebook. For example, place Post-it Notes around your screen. This allows you to read from your notes without distracting the audience.

Spark Joy in Your Listeners by Decluttering Your Speech

There are few instances in life where being “overqualified” is a true problem, but overqualifying your writing or speech can actually lessen its impact, causing others to subconsciously or overtly question your credibility. Check out this great post from GrammarCheck.net which reviews 20 Clutter Words & Phrases we use too often:

How Being Uncomfortable Can Improve Your Speeches

Stories of discomfort can be
both relatable and endearing

In the first episode of their Pixar Storytelling Rules series, Bloop Animation discusses one of the more popular arc narratives — a character finding himself outside of his comfort zone — as exemplified by Woody of Toy Story 1 and Ratatouille, the murine protagonist from the film of the same name.

This type of story works well because — while we as people generally enjoy feeling comfortable, we can easily identify with what it feels like to find oneself thrust into a new and unfamiliar situation, often where the skills upon which we have come to rely are either less effective or stretched to their limits. Retelling personal stories of this nature can also provide an opportunity for self deprecation, a technique which exposes vulnerability and can help a speaker endear oneself to their audience. So next time you’re looking to include a narrative in your speech, look for opportunities to share your own less than comfortable experiences.

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