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Saturday 22 September, 2018

POWERtalk Pollokshields.

POWERtalk Pollokshields met on Wednesday 19th September 22018 in Hutchesons' Grammar School.   This is a new venue and seems to be working well.

The Theme for the evening was "The Good Old Days"

The meeting 
was opened by our President, scilla who welcomed three guests, Ayliffe, Barbara and Doreen.
The Chairman for the evening was Iris, who gave the Inspiration and also handed our the topics.
Various members accepted topics on the theme of the evening including Louise.

This was followed by an interesting education session by Grace.
Following the tea interval a speech was given by Carole and our President Scilla read us a chapter of her book "For my Grandchildren's Grandchildren".
This was followed by a brief Business meeting to discuss various letters.
The timing was by Roz, the General Evaluation by Liz and Roz gave an entertaining closing thought and Vote of Thanks.
It was the general feeling of the meeting that "The Good Old Days"  were not so good as nowadays.

Date of next meeting:   3rd October, 2018
in Hutchesons' Grammar School.

The Theme :  A Life on the Ocean Wave - this is to be a Lifeboat Competition.

Saturday 1 September, 2018

Rovers Training Weekend

The Rovers Club is meeting in  Carlisle for our annual training weekend.  Members met last night for a meal. Proceedings started this morning with the business meeting.  This was followed by the speech contest  and pictured are (L to R): Yvonne (Speech Contest Chairman), Colin (Contestant). Laurence (Contest Winner with the Tibbie Brown quaich) and Evelyn (Contestant).

Activities continued in the afternoon with a talk by Nancy on her early years on Lewis, a quiz on Etymology led by Diana and a workshop on accents led by Evelyn. As always it was very enjoyable and we learnt a lot.

A more formal dinner will take place tonight and there will be further workshops tomorrow morning before we wind up the weekend and head for home.

Friday 6 July, 2018


Last night members of Pollokshields Club went out to celebrate Carole winning the Region Speech Contest and Anita winning the Writing Contest - Fiction.


Monday 18 June, 2018

Great Britain Region Speech Contest.

Great Britain Region met at the Holiday Inn, Lancaster on Saturday 16th June, 2018.

The Speech Contest was chaired by President Nancy  and the winner was Carole from Pollokshields Club.

 Contestants and President Nancy with the cup.

Following the Speech Contest the winners of the Writing Contest were announced by Colin
 The winner for the non fiction was Evelyn from Rovers 
The Fiction Winner was Anita from Pollokshields.  Anita was, unfortunately there so Roz, President of Pollokshields accepted the trophy.

The Winner of the Poetry went to Olga from the Netherlands.

There was a short business meeting when the new Constitution was discussed.   It had been decided that President Nancy would stay in place until September.
The Financial Year end has been changed to 31st March with the accounts discussed at the AGM.

Members enjoyed the opportunity to meet up with members from other clubs  and all enjoyed the meeting.

Tuesday 1 May, 2018

Pollokshields Club, Monday 30th April, 2018

The meeting was opened by our President Roz who welcomed members and two guests, Barbara and Natalie,  to the meeting.  She then introduced Carole as the Programme Chair.

Carole gave an appropriate Opening Thought and asked members of the group to answer various topics appropriate to the theme of the evening "Travelling Hopefully"   Topics were given by Roz, Ruth, Brendan, Iris and Liz.

The education session was given by Ruth.   This was an innovative session on Security which was most interesting and thought provoking.
As it was our President, Roz's Birthday at the Tea Interval a cake was produced - with a candle - and there was a rendition of "Happy Birthday".

 Following the Tea interval, members were entertained by Roz and Grace who both gave speeches to the Theme "Travelling Hopefully."

 Mini Evaluations were given by Liz.

The Club Business session was held with the discussion on the way forward agreed to be delayed and that this would be discussed at a separate meeting.
The Club outing on 14th May was discussed and it was agreed that the members would visit the Charles Rennie Macintoch house at the Huntarian Museum in the morning followed by a lunch.

The General Evaluation of the meeting was by Iris.

Finally the club held the Annual General Meeting and a new Board was appointed for the 2018-19 session..   Scilla as President, Carole as Treasurer and Liz as Secretary.   It was agreed that Roz would act as Delegate to Council.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Scilla and everyone agreed that it has been a most enjoyable evening.

The next meeting of Pollokshield Club will be in September.  Good wishes are sent to Carole and Iris who represent Council at the Region Meeting in June in Lancaster.

Friday 9 March, 2018

Pollokshields Club - Speech Contest 5th March, 2018.

On Monday 18th March the club held the Annual Speech Contest.   Everyone was delighted that "the Beast from the East" was finally over and that everyone could manage to get out to the club.   However, due to the weather conditions this meant that visitors were unable to attend.
                                      Contestants anxiously awaiting the start of the contest.

It was an excellent contest with the following subjects etc.

Brendan, (subject) ambush, (title) Ambush and Confrontation.  (purpose) to Entertain.

Grace (subject) Time waits for no man, (title) Time and Tide wait for no-one.  (purpose) to Entertain.

Anita. (subject) Travelling Light. (Title) Cataleya (purpose) To Entertain.

Carole (subject) Surprise (Title) Lost in Translation (purpose) To Entertain.

Iris (subject) Nature (title) The Birds and Bees. (purpose) To Entertain

Roz. (Subject) The time of your life.  (Title) The Best is yet to come.   (purpose) Current Events.

The contest ran smoothly and everyone was well entertained.

The Tellers/timers Ruth and Louise working hard with the five minute light  on.

Finally we had the result 
Joint Winners, Carole and Iris.
The Joint winners are joined with second place Grace.

The winners go on to the Council Speech Contest and hopefully to the Region Final in June.

The next meeting of Pollokshields Club is on10th March, 2018 and the Theme is "Hare Raising Stuff".    Friends and guests are welcome.

Tuesday 20 February, 2018


Pollokshields Club held an Open Night on 19th February, 2018 in Pollokshields Burgh Halls.  Members from Stirling Club and Friends were welcomed.
President Roz Welcomed members and friends.
 First on the Agenda was a Guest Speaker, Patricia Irwin from Renfrewshire Sound who gave an interesting talk on the worthwhile work of Renfrewshire Sound.

Following a delicious supper everyone was entertained by a quiz which was run by Hendry.

There was much hilarity but eventually a winning table was found.  The winning table received a cup and all the others mugs.  Everyone went home with a great "goody bag".
Following the Quiz Hendry ran an entertaining version "Just a Minute" with Carole and Brendan as the worthy winners.

The next Meeting of Pollokshields Club is on  5th March and will take the form of the Annual Speech Contest.  Everyone is welcome.

Tuesday 23 January, 2018

POLLOKSHIELDS CLUB - 22nd January 2018..

Pollokshields Club met in the Burgh Halls on 22nd January.

Theme:   Difficult People.

President Roz Keenan opened the meeting and welcomed our guest May-belle she then handed over to the Chairman for the Evening - Louise.  Topics - all on Difficult People were given to Iris,  Roz, Scilla and Liz.

The Education Session was given by Brendan 
Brendan is a talented artist and illustrated various Difficult situations with paintings.

Following the tea break there was a short Business Meeting to discuss various matters.

The members were entertained to two excellent speeches by Grace and Anita.

The Evaluation of the meeting was given by Iris.

Closing thought and Vote of Thanks was given by Anita.

The next meeting will be held on 5th February 2018 with the Theme of "Out the Window".

Future Dates:    19th February - Open Evening with guest speaker etc.  All Welcome.
                           5th March - Speech Contest.   All Welcome.

Wednesday 18 October, 2017

POWERtalk Pollokshields, 16th October, 2017 - Ghosties and Ghoulies.

Theme of the evening:   Ghosties and Ghoulies.

President Roz opened the meeting and welcomed a visitor, Barbara.

                                           The Chairman for the evening was Brendan.
 An entertaining and original education feature was given by Iris on the theme of Ghosties and ghoulies.   She gave us an idiot's guide to Ghosties and Ghoulies - a four step guide which taught us how to identify the problem and then gave us various ways of dealing with the unwanted hauntings.
                        The first speaker for the evening was Scilla who gave us all a very
                              inspiring and thought provoking speech on the theme.

The second speaker was Liz who gave us a speech to entertain based on current events relevant to the theme of the evening.

There were discussions on the European Conference 2018, the future of our organisation and an extra meeting was arranged to discuss this.   The other matter under discussion was the Interclub on November 6th, 2017.

The meeting concluded with a General Evaluation and Vote of Thanks from Grace.

The next meeting of POWERtalk Pollokshields is on Monday 6th November 2017 at 7.30 in the Pollokshields Burgh Halls and this is an Interclub.  All welcome.

Wednesday 4 October, 2017

Pollokshields Club - Autumn Leaves

The Meeting of 2nd October, 2017 of Pollokshields Club was opened by  President Roz.
The Theme of the evening was Autumn Leaves…

The Chairman for the evening was Iris who gave us a most interesting explanation of the seasons.
She then conducted the Topics session and topics were given by Carol, Liz, Scilla and Grace.
The education session was led by Carole who made this in the form of a Game - Room 101 where groups of members had to persuade her what to assign to Room 101.    The Winners were, Brendan, Louise and Grace.    So Christmas Crackers have now been assigned to Room 101.  This was an interesting, fun and very worthwhile session.

Following the tea interval, the speeches were by Brendan and Roz who both gave us two entertaining speeches suitable for the theme of the evening.

Timekeeping was by Grace and the General Evaluation was by Louise.

Wednesday 6 September, 2017

Pollokshields Club - Change is in the Air

The first meeting of Pollokshields club took place on Monday 4th September, in Pollokshields Burgh Hall, Glasgow.

Members were welcomed by our President Roz  who gave us the Theme of the Evening "Change is in the air".

Anita was the Chairman for the evening and led the topics which everyone took part.

Liz led a session on "Just a Minute" and this was a  very lively session with a draw between the two teams at the end.

Following the tea break we had two excellent speeches from Carol and Grace which were evaluated by Scilla, the timer was Louise and the General Evaluation was by Brendan.

The next meeting takes place on 18th September at 7.30pm in The Pollokshields Burgh Hall where all guests would be warmly welcomed.

Sunday 27 May, 2012

Reading Aloud

If ever you are asked to read aloud there are three things you have to do:

  1. Read the words
  2. Read the punctuation
  3. Read between the lines.
It may seem obvious to say that you have to read the words but is that what the audience is hearing? Don't whisper, don't gabble. You may feel that your objective is just to get through it as quickly as possible but no, your objective is to communicate with the audience. There is such a thing as speaking too slowly so don't over compensate – just try to speak at a reasonable pace.

The words only tell us what to say, the punctuation tells us how to say it.  There should be a slight pause at the end of a sentence or when you encounter a comma. You might use a longer pause when you encounter a semicolon, colon or dash. If nothing else, pauses give you a chance to take a breath.

When you encounter quotation marks your tone of voice should indicate the change from narrative to quotation.

In normal speech we tend to use an upward inflection at the end of a sentence when we ask a question. So if you encounter a question mark you should inflect your voice in the same way (note: in some dialects of English an upward inflection is part of normal speech).

An exclamation mark is the most obvious indicator that emphasis should be applied but if you read between the lines and try to imagine how it should be said. Which parts should be louder or softer? How can your tone of voice replicate the tone of the piece you are reading?

When reading poetry you have to capture the rhythm of the poem but prose can have rhythms as well. Modulate your voice and avoid monotone. Your audience will appreciate it.

Tuesday 13 March, 2012

Presentations: Best Practice

Last night I was at a meeting of a professional body. The speaker gave a presentation using an overhead projector linked to a PC.

The speaker was clearly confident in giving presentations to his peer group. The overheads were mainly black text on white. He proceeded at a rapid pace. One overhead might have a heading and a line of text, the next another point under the same heading.

Half way through the presentation he said "You don't need to take notes, the slides will be available on the website".

At one point he looked at the screen and said "I didn't mean to concentrate so much on ***".

After the meeting, I heard a few people say "A lot of that went straight over my head".

What do you think the speaker could have done to improve the presentation?

Tuesday 6 September, 2011

Speech Construction

  1. Before you start on any speech, presentation etc., ask yourself some questions:
    1. Why… have you decided to do this? (For fun, to raise money, to help a friend, a professional obligation etc?)
    2. Who… are you speaking to? What age, sex, profession etc? How many people will be there? What are the common links amongst them, and between them and you?
    3. What… are you aiming to do? Persuade / entertain / impress / inspire…etc?
    4. Where… are you speaking? How big? What are the facilities – lighting, sound system, data projector etc? Do they work? Can you check them out personally? Do you need special advice about it (eg are you on TV or radio)?
    5. When… are you speaking (eg at 10am or after dinner) and how will that affect your audience? How long have you to prepare for this? How long do they want you to talk?
    6. How… are you doing it? A speech / presentation / discussion / debate…etc?
  2. Material
    1. If you have choice of subject, think of what you might talk about.
    2. Collect your ideas on the subject(s) – lists or mind maps or pictures – whatever works for you. Don't exclude humour. (If you don't know about mind mapping, look into it, it works).
    3. Research – books and publications, internet, newspapers, talk to other people; expand your ideas.
    4. Decide what material you want to use – but throw away nothing in case you change your mind.
    5. Think about/draft a possible order for your material - a logical progression for the beginning to the end.

  3. Introduction
    A speech will usually have a beginning, a middle and an end. But before you begin to speak you should be introduced to the group. Write your own introduction, ask the person introducing you to use it.
    Write it to enhance your speech and support what you are trying to achieve. So it might explain your qualifications to speak on the subject; make you sound like a person the group can identify with; raise questions you will be addressing in your talk etc.
  4. Beginning
    1. If you start with something like ‘Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen’,  it gives people time to tune into your voice and it gives you time to get to grips with the microphone / acoustics (if you haven’t has a practice run).
    2. The beginning is important, try to make it make it clear, relevant and attention grabbing.
    3. How much of your time will you give to your beginning?
  5. Middle
    1. There is a balance to a well constructed speech. 3 or 5 main points seem to give it. Decide what they will be and put the rest aside – but throw away nothing in case you change your mind.
    2. Consider how to link your main points – a speech should flow, not jump, from one idea to another.
    3. How much time is available for each point?
  6. End
    1. The end should (rather like the beginning) be clear, relevant and memorable. Sometimes switching your planned end and beginning works well.
    2. Make the end clear to the audience – beware of letting them think that you have ended when you have more to say.
    3. How much time will you give to your ending?
  7. Review and refine what you have drafted, until you are happy with it.
    1. Stand up in your biggest space and read it out loud, listen to it. Maybe record yourself.
    2. Are you comfortable with it? Do you believe it will achieve your purpose?
    3. Does it sound right spoken out loud? (e.g. isn’t or is not; we or you; short words or long?)
    4. Is the timing going to plan?
    5. Is there a place for more topical references or humour? (Keep listening to the news).
    6. Take any help or advice going.
    7. Be ruthless in getting rid of what isn’t working for you, even if you love it.
  8. And some final preparations.
    1. Are you using notes? (Why would you not?)
    2. Print or write them on – cards? top part of A4 paper? Practise to find what suits you.
    3. Ensure that you can read notes in bad light and number them in case you drop them.
    4. Give someone a 2nd set, in case you forget or lose them.
    5. If you are using IT equipment / pen drives / autocue etc, try to have spares and a run through before the meeting starts.
    6. Decide an appropriate outfit for the event – have it clean and ready.
    7. Have clear directions to where you are going and plan the journey – recce it in advance?
    8. Arrange for feedback on how your speech goes from someone you trust; learn from it.
    9. Whatever goes wrong – keep smiling. Audiences are both forgiving and slow to recognise mistakes!
Ruth Maltman, DC, FITC,
POWERtalk Pollokshields

Friday 1 July, 2011

A Simple Guide to Newsletters in Word


Online, On Paper or Both?

Are people going to be reading your newsletter on a computer screen?  If so any web addresses should be hyperlinks i.e. the reader should be able to click on a link to be taken to the web address. If it is to be printed you may want the number of pages to be a multiple of four especially if it is to be professionally printed. One sheet of A3 can accommodate four A4 pages (this is the advantage of the ISO system of paper sizes over the ANSI standard used in North America).

Tick TOC

If you want to use a table of contents insert a TOC field. It will make life much easier for you. Why? because the table of contents is updated Automatically. By default the TOC entries will be based on the heading styles so make sure that you use the correct heading rather than arbitrarily changing the size and weight of the font to match a heading. The page number will be a hyperlink to the item and you can add the \h option to make the entire entry a hyperlink (this is the default in newer versions of Word).

As an alternative to mapping the TOC to headings you can set the \f option to use TC fields.  This means that you insert a TC field before any item that you wish to appear in the table of contents.

Add Your Own Style

You may wish to add a style for a particular purpose for example a byline style might use right-justified paragraphs and bold text to display the author of an item.


Columns can complicate the layout of your newsletter but you may prefer this style of presentation. Use section breaks to separate collimated parts of the newsletter from non-collimated parts.

At the Drop of a Cap

If you leaf through a magazine you will notice that the first paragraph of an article and possibly some of the other paragraphs start with a large capital letter. This is a dropped capital or "drop cap". In word you can format the first letter of a paragraph as a drop cap. Do not use it on every paragraph and especially avoid it on short paragraphs. You might want to use drop caps as a way to break an article into sections.

Pull Quote

That eye-catching quote in your magazine highlighted in large print is known as a pull quote. You can add a pull quote in Word by inserting a text box and choosing a large font style. Format the text box to allow text to flow around it.

Format Painter

If you incorporate a submitted article into a newsletter you can use the format painter to copy the paragraph style from elsewhere in the document. The format painter is a brush found on the home ribbon or standard toolbar.  Select a piece of formatted text and then click on format painter. Select the text to be formatted and when you release the mouse button the format is applied. If you want to apply the format to several places you can use a double click to activate the format painter. It then stays active until you press the escape key.

An alternative to format painter is to use Ctrl-Shift-C to copy the formatting and Ctrl-Shift-V to paste formatting to other places.

Take care with formatting paragraphs containing hyperlinks. The hyperlinks will still be active but will have the appearance of the surrounding text.

Compatibility Issues

Somebody’s just got a brand new shiny computer and suddenly you cannot swap files. What’s wrong? The chances are that the recipient is using an earlier version of Word. If you are the sender you can fix the problem by ensuring that you send files in Word 97-2003 document format (Instead of “Save” choose “Save As” from the file tab and find said format in the pull-down list for “Save as type”). If you are the recipient of a “docx” file and your version of Word can only load “doc” files, do not despair; you can download a compatibility pack from


Insert your picture and experiment with the different formatting options until you are satisfied that it is presented the way you want it.

The Devil

… is in the detail so they say and the detail will depend on the version of Word you are using. Use what I have said above in conjunction with the help system to add a little sparkle to your newsletters.

Saturday 21 May, 2011

Persuasive Speaking Part 3 - Charm and Hex Words

To understand persuasive speaking you have to understand the power of words. If an advertisement for a food product claims it is “full of natural goodness” they are trying to make you believe the product is wholesome. The phrase is meaningless but it circumvents laws against making demonstrably false claims.

Words can have emotional resonance that strikes deeper than rational argument. When a tabloid journalist talks about “Frankenstein food” he or she is trying to stir up revulsion at the idea of “tampering with nature”.

Words like pure, natural and hygienic are what I call charm words. Words like artificial, synthetic and “germy” are what I call hex words. The former have a positive connotation, the latter a negative one.

A vitamin made by artificial means is no different to the same vitamin from a natural source. Is it meaningful to describe a soap dispenser as “germy” if it harbours a few hundred bacteria? If it harboured a few thousand the advertisers might have a point.

In a TV studio discussion programme they were talking about whether obese pregnant women should be given a drug hitherto given to diabetics (including pregnant diabetic women) in order to prevent the foetus from receiving too much insulin. One of the panel said that if she were pregnant she would want to make sure that anything she took was “pure”. Pure what? Pure poison?

When I hear words like “chemical” being used a hex word I take it with a pinch of sodium chloride (that’s a chemical commonly known as salt by the way). If you want to avoid chemicals, avoid the sugar and spice and go for the healthy protein of the rats and snails.

To recap, in Part 2 I explained that an Adult-Adult transaction at a social level can also be an Adult-Child transaction at a psychological level. As a persuasive tactic you can appeal to the Child in us through charm words, words that make us feel safe and comfortable or you can use hex words to frighten the Child (scary monsters – hide behind the sofa).

In debating think about the use of words and the resonances that certain words have. Don’t forget about humour. sometimes the charm words that work best tickle the Child.

Friday 20 May, 2011

Persuasive Speaking Part 2 - Transactional Analysis

In his book, Games People Play, Dr. Eric Berne described ego states as being “a system of feelings accompanied by a related set of behaviour patterns”. He tells us that ego states are categorised as exteropsychic, neopsychic or archaeopsychic. The first resemble ego states of parental figures; the second are autonomously directed towards the objective appraisal of reality and the third are ego states that remain from early childhood.

The expression of the three kinds of ego state may be referred to colloquially as the Parent, Adult and Child respectively.

Berne defines a transaction as a unit of social intercourse. Parents indulge in gossip. Adults solve problems together. Children or Parent and Child play together. These are known as Complementary Transactions. However a Crossed Transaction occurs when one party addresses the other as Adult-to-Adult and the other party responds as Child-to-Parent or Parent-to-Child.

What does any of this have to do with persuasive speaking? In Part 1 I talked about Aristotle’s three types of persuasion. Ethos (moral character of the speaker) is an appeal to the Parent, Logos (reasoned argument) is an appeal to the Adult and Pathos (an emotional appeal) is an appeal to the Child.

Berne points out that transactions involving the activity of two ego states simultaneously (Ulterior Transactions) are the basis of games (games are complex social behaviours with their own rules not necessarily games in the literal sense). He cites the following example:

Salesman: ‘This one is better, but you can’t afford it.’
Housewife: ‘That’s the one I’ll take.’

On a social level the transaction is Adult-Adult but on a psychological level the salesman’s Adult is addressing the Housewife’s Child. Notice that there are two sets of Complementary Transactions here. Berne states that “the first rule of communication is that communication will proceed smoothly as long as transactions are complementary; and its corollary is that as long as transactions are complementary, communication can, in principle, proceed indefinitely.”

Perhaps now you can see why the emotional appeal is particularly powerful. In Part 3 I’ll examine the use of language in persuasion and how we are easily persuaded using words with a positive connotation (charm words) or those with a negative connotation (hex words).

Thursday 19 May, 2011

Persuasive Speaking Part 1 - Aristotle's Rhetoric

The Greek Philosopher Aristotle defined rhetoric as “the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion”. Aristotle’s Rhetoric was a very influential work in the development of the art and now, millennia after it was written, it is still regarded as an important work in the academic study of rhetoric.

Aristotle identified three types of persuasion that a speaker can use:-
  • Ethos: Persuasion based on the moral character of the speaker,
  • Logos: Persuasion based on logical argument,
  • Pathos: Persuasion based on emotional appeal.
By far the most powerful persuader is pathos. If you want to win people over trying to appeal to reason can be difficult as can relying on your reputation – would I lie to you? Emotion will trump these almost every time.

Friday 18 March, 2011

POWERtalk on You Tube

A video presentation from members of Trends Club, Austria on how POWERtalk can change your life. If you didn’t think that public speaking could be fun the enthusiasm of these ladies might just change your mind!

For clubs in Great Britain see the panel on the right – Where Are We?

Saturday 25 September, 2010

How to Create an Impromptu Presentation

According to Mark Twain it usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. Most of us however when called on at short notice to give a brief presentation in a meeting (for example) probably don’t even have the luxury of 5 minutes preparation time – let alone 3 weeks! So how can you still deliver a reasonably successful presentation if you’ve got about ZERO Preparation time?

Presentation Structure is the Key

In a situation like this, you need to have some form of standard structures in your head that you can call upon at very short notice.

One example structure that you can use quickly (if it’s relevant) is:-

  1. What’s the issue
  2. How is it affecting things?
  3. And what is being done about it?
Using the Power of Three – so 3 main points and then if needed break down each of the points into 3.

Chronological Structures

Another structure you can use for impromptu presentations is:-

  1. Past
  2. Present
  3. Future
 Another similar structure is based on:-
  1. What was it like before?
  2. What was the event?
  3. What’s the result now?
 The Three 'W's Structure
  1. What?
  2. Which?
  3. Who?
e.g.  Buying a car: What sort should I buy? Which brand should I purchase? From Whom should I buy it?

More Conventional Structure 
  • Introduction
  • Main Body
    • Point 1 – with 3 sub points in support
    • Point 2 –  with 3 sub points in support
    • Point 3 – with 3 sub points in support
  • Conclusion and call to action if relevant
As with most things the more you practise something the better you can become at it. And impromptu speaking is no exception!

Give yourself some topics to speak on and then allow 2-3 minutes of preparation for each one. Then try presenting on each of about 5 minutes. Learn as you go get someone to watch you and give you feedback on how it went. Try it in your POWERtalk club!

Not a member yet?  See the links to clubs in the right-hand panel or ask about starting a club in your area.

Stella Sneddon

Thursday 23 September, 2010

Why bother with Accreditation?

Accreditation assignments are tailored to individual needs within a recognised, optional, multi-level format, which offers a flexible and self-paced program. From the simplest of beginnings of a one-minute ‘speech’, to the complexity of leading two-hour workshops at International Conventions, the Accreditation Program provides a disciplined and graduated personal growth path.
  • We all need a yardstick to measure our progress - whether it was the baby steps at School, culminating in achieving your school leaving qualifications, moving onto University and obtaining a degree - these are life skill assessments of our ability. We are a top quality training organisation based on assisting our members to achieve professional status in their chosen field and as such our Accreditation programme assists them to assess just how far and well they have progressed.
  • You receive a written evaluation for every assignment – very useful to measure your achievements.
  • Being on the Accreditation Programme gives you the incentive to undertake assignments you would not normally do – such as Workshops at Council and Region or even perhaps at International.
  • You receive encouragement at all levels from the Accreditation Team.
  • Clubs which have many members on the Programme find that their club programmes are more interesting as members ask for assignments to complete the different levels.
  • You receive a qualification Starting with EC(Efficient Communicator), PC(Proficient Communicator), SC(Skilled Communicator), AC(Accomplished Communicator), and DC(Distinguished Communicator) and your employer will be advised of your success (if wished)
  • The Latimer Trophy is awarded to the person who has the most signatures in their book in the year in Great Britain Region.

Monday 6 September, 2010

Self-Accreditation Through Origami

In preparation for the POWERtalk International Training Weekend in Kobe, why not brush up on your origami skills with this simple self-accrediting model? You can obtain origami paper from any good arts and crafts shop

 Start with your piece of paper colour side up. Fold the top edge to the bottom edge, make a firm crease with your thumbnail then unfold.  Fold the right-hand edge to the left hand edge and again make a firm crease and then unfold. A fold with the colour on the inside is known as a valley fold.

Turn the paper over and fold in half across each diagonal, crease firmly and unfold. A fold with the colour on the outside is known as a mountain fold.

Holding the paper at the marked points on the left and right fold into the creases to bring those to points down to meet the marked centre point.

Flatten the model. This is called the water-bomb base but we are not going to make a water bomb!

Fold the top triangle into the centre and unfold. Using this crease, open out the triangle and flatten. This is known as the squash fold.

Repeat the previous step on all four of the flaps of the water bomb base. The model will now look like this.

On the uppermost diamond, fold the outside corners into the centre line, crease well then open.

Fold the whole model in half and unfold.

Using the creases made in the previous two steps, lift the bottom point of the model (the uppermost layer only) up to the top point, bringing in the sides of the model at the same time, as shown. This is known as the petal fold.

Repeat the previous three steps (petal fold) on each of the remaining three sides.

Now fold down each of these triangles halfway, on all four sides.

If you have followed the instructions, award yourself a star.

Thursday 2 September, 2010

Notes on Debating - Rovers

Basic Set up

Chairman, Chair, Moderator, Speaker

Proposers, Government

Opposition, Opposers
Right of the chair –
those for the motion:

Proposers, Government

They speak first
(and traditionally also last)

Proposers define what the motion means
Left of the chair –
those against the motion:

Opposition, Opposers

They speak alternately with proposers

(But always check the local set up and rules, inc. timings)

A motion is always a positive statement… this house is / will / would / likes / wants / believes / can…

E.g. this house would fight for King & Country; believes in God; wants cannabis legalised; values higher education.

Discussion and Challenge (again always check the local set up, customs and rules)

  1. Usually only address (talk to or through) the chair – never directly to another speaker
  2. Point of information – providing information to or challenging the person speaking e.g. Madam Moderator, is the lady aware of the survey in today’s Times…; Mr Speaker, I have already explained this point… Can also be used humorously e.g. Mr Chairman, I cannot believe that the gentleman is over 21!
  3. Point of order – providing information to or asking for guidance or intervention from the chair e.g. Mr Speaker, can I remind you that we need to leave the hall by 10pm? Madam Chairman, it is surely not acceptable for the gentleman to use that kind of language here! Can also be used humorously but with care, not always appreciated e.g. Mr Chairman, Surely the lady is too young to have that drink brought to her!

Team work
  1. If you’re debating competitively, check the rules for what you are (each) meant to do and what the judges mark you by. Generally the expectation will be as 2 – 5 below:
  2. The first speaker for the motion is expected to ‘define’ it – to say how it is being interpreted, what it means.
  3. All speakers are expected to be able to refer to previous arguments already used on both sides and it helps to refer to what your team mates will say later (‘My colleague Jenny will develop this…’)
  4. All speakers are expected to take and deal with some points of information, and to give points of information.
  5. The final speaker is expected to summarise the arguments. It can pay to have your most confident speaker in this position.
  6. There is great value in joint preparation and anticipation of the other side’s arguments.
  7. Consider your team’s appearance – all jackets / all shirts / all jumpers?
  8. Don’t get waylaid by complex points of information – practise cutting someone off / dismissing the point.
  9. It’s meant to be fun for participants and audience – enjoy it, laugh at it.

Ruth Maltman DC FITC

Friday 11 June, 2010

Ten Tips on using Notes.

  1. Writing out the whole speech will give you too many notes to handle. Use key points for each paragraph or point.
  2. Large notes, if held in the hand, will detract from the presentation. Use palm-sized cards as a prompt or reminder.
  3. Print or type speech in large letters on while, unlined cards. Everything on the cards should be readable at arm's length.
  4. Use card rather than paper as it is easier to handle and will not curl if placed on a lectern.
  5. Use wide margins so you can find your place easily as you scan down the card.
  6. Underline words and phrases you want to emphasise.
  7. Mark reminders of pauses or phrasing in a bold, different colour.
  8. Mark some of the cards for possible elimination in case your speech has to be shortened.
  9. Number the cards in the top right hand corner. If you do have the misfortune to drop them they can easily be re-ordered.
  10. As you finish with a card put it to one side. If it is placed at the back of the pile you may accidentally put it in the wrong place and thereby repeat your material or get lost.

Tuesday 1 June, 2010


1. Check that

  • The microphone and other electrical equipment is working
  • water is available for the speaker
  • the lectern is the right height for the speaker
  • You have enough background information.

2. Make the Speaker Welcome

  • Meet the Speaker at the entrance.
  • Ask if there is anything he/he requires.
  • Show the speaker to his/her seat.

3. Preparation.

  • Prepare your introduction and thanks beforehand.
  • Write key words on a cue card.

4. Avoid.

  • Cliches
  • Repeating yourself - remember to use your notes.

5. Use this Formula.

  • Why this subject?
  • Why this subject subject for this audience?
  • Why this subject for this audience at this time?

6. Don't

  • Exaggerate the speaker's qualifications
  • Read a lengthy curriculum vitae or biography
  • Say how wonderful the speech will be
  • Steal the spotlight

7. Do

  • Speak to the audience not the speaker
  • Be brief - never longer than two minutes
  • Be genuine and sincere
  • Smile and relax

8. Facilitating questions

  • listen carefully to the question
  • Repeat it clearly for the benefit of both speaker and the audience
  • Unobtrusively guide speaker to audience members signalling to ask a question.

9. Thanking the Speaker

  • Say what you enjoyed about the presentation
  • Don't simply repeat the main points of the presentation
  • Speak to the speaker and the audience.

10. Most Importantly

  • Be sincere
  • Be brief
  • Be seated!

Wednesday 19 May, 2010

Ten Tips on Mentoring

  1. Mentoring is a relationship that enhances the development of individuals by the passing on of knowledge, skills and values.
  2. This relationship is a creative bond between a mentor (teacher) and a mentee (learner) which is to the benefit of both.
  3. From a mentor, a mentee receives input about organisational culture, coaching and counselling, skills development, motivation and continuous feedback, thus becoming a useful member of an organisation much more quickly.
  4. The mentor benefits by the development of interpersonal and leadership skills, and accomplishments in his/her mentee's success.
  5. A mentoring programme should have the visible support of those at the head of an organisation, and it should form part of the culture of that organisation.
  6. The ideal ratio is one mentor to one mentee.
  7. Mentors should volunteer their services. The relationship should be one of choice, and should be committed to in writing.
  8. The best mentors are experienced empathetic persons with a willingness to share, the capability of building trust, and with good listening skills.
  9. Specific time periods should be set aside for mentoring. Opportunity should be given to the mentee for questions and feedback.
  10. It is recommended that the mentee maintains a close relationship with the mentor, takes ownership of his/her own development and actively seeks new challenges.

Monday 10 May, 2010

Ten Top Tips Effective Delegation.

1. Choose the Right Person.

You should consider the needs of the assignment and your knowledge of the person's skills, abilities, interests and motivations i.e. you need to be confident that the person to whom you are delegating will be able to achieve the required results.

2. Give Compliments.

Say why you feel they are the right person for the job.

3. Define the Results You Expect.

The focus needs to be on the GOAL rather than on the tasks performed in order to achieve the required results.

4. Emphasize the Purpose of Achieving the Objectives.

The importance to the organisation and personal benefit of achieving the objective or failing to do so, needs to be emphasized.

5. Ensure There are Adequate Resources

for the devised plan of action which ensures adherence to specified times.

6. Introduce Control Systems.

These need to be developed and introduced so that deviation from progress can be monitored and corrected.

7. Establish a Measurement of Success.

This is necessary to determine whether a satisfactory or outstanding result has been achieved. You want the best.

8. Offer Support

Get agreement and ensure that rules, regulations, limitations and policies regarding the area in which they are to work are understood. Back them all the way.

9. Delegate the Responsibility.

But allow a margin for minor mistakes in judgement.

10. Empower with Sufficient Authority.

For achieving results and reduce your authority. Then you will get the best performance.

Tuesday 30 March, 2010



On Saturday 27th May the Region Board met in the Premier Inn Carlisle South. This was the fourth meeting of the Board and was, as usual conducted in a warm, friendly and happy way with the members in agreement about most things and sparking ideas off each other. The next meeting will take place just before Conference in the Premier Inn, Newcastle City Centre.

Saturday 6 March, 2010



1. Concentrate on your opening sentence.

This is where you will grab the attention of the reader.

2 Write as if to a friend

A story has to read easily and should sound great when read aloud.

3. Use simple sentences

Readers do not read more than 25 words before they are distracted. Use

no more than 15-20 words per sentence.

4. Alternate long sentences.

Use sentences of 4-5 words or evens single word it creates an impact and makes

reading easier.

5. Make paragraphs of 3-4 sentences.

Small paragraphs will entice the reader to go on. and on. and on.

6. Look at the verbs you use.

Are they strong or weak? Compare 'he has yelled at the top of his voice'

with 'he called out'

7. Use the 4 W's

What, Where, Why and When. There is a 5th W - Whether. Decide whether

you should use the word EDIT.

8. Believe in your Characters.

If you don't how can your reader? Your story should have one main character

and no more than one or two secondary characters. Only mention characteristics

or outward appearance if it adds to the story.

9. Check the rules.

If you are entering a contest check the rules. You don't want to be rejected for an

incorrect format or for using too many words.

10. One idea - one story.

When you have finished use your red pencil and edit again. Sometimes it helps

to put the story aside for a time and then look at it with fresh eyes.

Thursday 25 February, 2010


  1. 10% of our waking time is spent in communication and 45% of that time is spent listening but we only retain 25% of what we hear.
  2. Active listening is about listening for the purpose of understanding and interpreting the message the speaker is trying to convey.
  3. Concentrate carefully - don't get distracted.
  4. Listen for the explicit date (what is said) as well as the implicit data (what is not said)
  5. Refrain from immediate evaluation - attempt to see the other person's point of view.
  6. Check that you are really listening to the other person - not just waiting your turn to speak.
  7. Listen for the main ideas. Acknowledge what you have just heard and give an appropriate response.
  8. If you do not understand, don't be afraid to ask for clarification.
  9. Read and listen to difficult materials just for the exercise. Jot down the main points you have noted and then check to see how you did.
  10. For a day, keep a record of the time you spent listening. Consider the specific differences improved listening could have made.

Thursday 14 January, 2010

Google Calendar Gadget

Dear Google,

Please fix the Google Calendar Gadget for Websites.  The POWERtalk websites in Great Britain Region had nice little mini-calendars with a list of events below. Now the Google Calendar Gadget does not work so I have had to resort to using the embedded calendar instead.

I can still display the calendar on my iGoogle homepage but we want the world to be able to see it.  It was by far the best of the Gooogle Gadgets. 

Note to Rovers: please see what it says at the foot of the calendar!


POWERtalk Great Britain Region Web Editor

Monday 11 January, 2010

Mentoring - a Learning Partnership

If you have had a good experience of being mentored, or of acting as a mentor, you may recognise the definition of mentoring as a learning partnership. This idea of ‘partnership’ is what distinguishes mentoring from straightforward ‘coaching’ or ‘teaching’.

Who Needs a Mentor?
Anyone facing a new challenge could find it helpful to have a mentor. So, the answer to the question of who needs a mentor is: we all do at some stage in our careers.

Choosing a Mentor
It’s best if the initiative in seeking a mentor is taken by the person wishing to be mentored (the ‘mentee’). Mentoring isn’t something that can successfully be imposed on mentees.

The following checklist will help you choose a mentor:

  • I know what I want from a mentoring partner.
  • I have identified potential mentoring partners.
  • I know why I want this person as a mentor.
  • I have ideas about how it might operate.
  • I have a list of concerns for discussion.
  • You should have worked through these points before choosing a possible mentor.

The Mentor
The mentor’s role is to listen, provide constructive feedback and help their mentee consider options.

They may refer their mentee to other resources as well as facilitate decision-making or share their own experiences. They provide guidance, not direction; and do not solve problems, but act as a collaborator in the problem-solving process.

Primary responsibilities of a mentor include:

  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Being accessible
  • Promoting decision making
  • Helping achieve the goals of the mentee
  • Ensuring a professional relationship
  • Acting as a role model
  • Knowing when to end the relationship

More Information for POWERtalk International Members
You will find a Guide to Mentoring in the members’ resource centre of the international website under ‘PREM’. There is also a workshop in ‘Education Features’, which can be used to promote the adoption of mentoring at every level.

Keys to Success
Any promotion of mentoring will only succeed if:

  • Potential mentors are identified who have an excellent track record in skills such as leadership, delegation, management, communication and motivation.
  • These potential mentors can be paired successfully with mentees in a true learning partnership.

Saturday 9 January, 2010



Prior to the meeting ensure a comprehensive agenda has been prepared and distributed to all members. Ensure that you have all relevant documents to hand in the same order as the agenda.

It is the chair’s responsibility to regulate the meeting and to ensure that a quorum is present before business commences.

Stick to the Agenda.

Only one person should speak at a time. Should discussions “on the side” become apparent, call for order.

Do not permit speakers to stray from the topic under discussion.

Do not hesitate to seek expert advice when necessary. It is in order to suspend the matter under debate until such advice has been received.

From time to time during a prolonged discussion summarize the main points. This helps those present to follow the argument.

It is sometimes advisable to set a time limit on debate. Such a proposal must be approved by the assembly. A time limit may be placed on each speaker and no speaker may speak twice to the same motion until all who wish to speak have had the opportunity to do so.

Be sure to remain neutral.

When it is necessary to take a vote, repeat the motion immediately before the voting takes place. The most common method of voting is by a show of hands. Remember to ask for votes in favour and for any against. When announcing the result, again repeat the motion so that all present are clear on the decision which has been taken.

Thursday 7 January, 2010

Book Reviews in Club Programmes

(Club Programming)

Has your club every thought of having Book Reviews for a club programme?
Many members of POWERtalk are avid readers (when they have time) and have widely varied tastes in books. There are many advantages to having this sort of evening including making you much more aware while reading a book you intend to review and enjoying hearing other people’s views of something you have read your self or even finding out about one or more books that you would enjoy

Another interesting idea would be to ask members to review specific books – perhaps something that they would not normally read

Wednesday 6 January, 2010

Accreditation: The What, Why, Who and Where to get you started



Accreditation is a way of recognising achievement and guaranteeing quality. In POWERtalk we all do assignments that we are proud of but we soon forget how well we did. If you have all of your assignments accredited as well as evaluated you will have a record of those you did well. Accreditation is not just a tick box exercise. To be accredited for an assignment you must do it to a minimum standard which is where the guaranteeing the quality comes in.

If you wish your employer will be informed when you complete each level.


Because it gives you a goal and a record of all the assignments we complete, together with a written evaluation for future use. It is a measure of your improvement.


Can I find out more about this?
Go on line to the International web page at
Click on Resource centre for Accreditation (don’t forget to click go)
to read about
The Accreditation Journey
Accreditation Basics Master Manual UK Section 8
Lists of Accomplished Communicators and Distinguished Communicators

After that go to Master Manual for the Accreditation Programme

Master Manual - Section 3.1 Project Basics level 1
Effective Communicator (EC) Level One l
Master Manual - Section 3.2 Project Basics level 2
Proficient Communicator (PC) Level Two
Master Manual - Section 3.3 Project Basics level 3
Skilled Communicator (SC) Level Three
Master Manual - Section 3.4 Project Basics level 4
Accomplished Communicator (AC) Level Four;
Master Manual – Section 3.5 Project Basics level 5 Distinguished Communicator (DC) Level Five
Master Manual - Section 3.6.1 Appendices for Effective Communicator
Master Manual - Section 3.6.2 Appendices for Proficient Communicator
Master Manual - Section 3.6.3 Appendices for Skilled Communicator


At any time – print off levels 1 and 2 (or more if you are really keen) and inform your Accreditation Chairman of the Club that you are on the programme and wish to be evaluated. Levels 1 and 2 can be completed all at Club level.


All members can participate in the programme and it has been found that clubs where many members are taking part discover a new enthusiasm in the club with members eager to complete assignments.


Wednesday 6 January, 2010

More about blogging : Is it already an outdated means of communicating'?

There are so many new means of communicating on internet -- UTube, My Space, Twitter, Facebook -- as the one celebrates its first birthday, the next is born overnight -- yet blogging is one that seems to remain and to persevere through it all and to hold its own. I see every major newspaper starting up more and more blogs as their resident or invited correspondents air their views, start up debates and comment on current issues, more and more academics and intelligentsia turn to blogging to argue topical issues, every organization or business enterprise realize that this is by far the easiest, the most economical and the most effective way to advertise, inform and communicate their interests; -- and when more inane and seemingly senseless forms of one-liner self-indulgent and nonsensical kind of communication forms pop up -- such as Twitter and even Facebook, and blogging remains the only such format where longer and meaningful debaters and columnists can express their views. I wondered about this remark -- and so went to look at what I wrote about blogging before. The following is from one of my posts about blogging -- read and let me know what you think -- do you agree with the comment that "blogging as very 'last season' and a fairly tiresome means of communicating" I look forward to hearing from you!

I recently wrote about literary awards for bloggers and how blogging has started to emerge as a recognised form of published literature.

The latest news is that Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, One Tiny Apartment Kitchen has been named the winner of the inaugural Blooker Prize, beating the major British contender on the shortlist, Belle de Jour, a prostitute's memoirs.

It seems that the majority of internet users out there are still pretty much in the dark as to what exactly a blog and blogging is.
As it concerns internet issues, I thought the internet encyclopaedia was the correct source for a definition -- Wikipedia says:
A blog (or weblog) is a website in which items are posted and displayed with the newest at the top. Like other media, blogs often focus on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news. Some blogs function as online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Since its appearance in 1995, blogging has emerged as a popular means of communication, affecting public opinion and mass media around the world.

So where did this blogging revolution start?
Andrew Sullivan says: "Weblogs Are To Words What Napster Was To Music".

In the beginning - say 1994 - the phenomenon now called blogging was little more than the sometimes nutty, sometimes inspired writing of online diaries. Most of the writers called themselves diarists, journalists, journallers, or journalers. A few called themselves escribitionists. These days, there are tech blogs and sex blogs and drug blogs and onanistic teenage blogs. But there are also news blogs and commentary blogs, sites packed with links and quips and ideas and arguments that only months ago were the near-monopoly of established news outlets.

Poised between media, blogs can be as nuanced and well-sourced as traditional journalism, but they have the immediacy of talk radio. Amid it all, this much is clear: The phenomenon is real. Blogging is changing the media world and could, I think, foment a revolution in how journalism functions in our culture.

First off, blogs are personal. Almost all of them are imbued with the temper of their writer. This personal touch is much more in tune with our current sensibility than were the opinionated magazines and newspapers of old.

The second thing blogs do is - to invoke Marx - seize the means of production. It's hard to underestimate what a massively important medium this has become. For as long as journalism has existed, writers of whatever kind have had one route to readers: They needed an editor and a publisher. Even in the most benign scenario, this process subtly distorts journalism. You find yourself almost unconsciously writing to please a handful of people - the editors looking for a certain kind of story, the publishers seeking to push a particular venture, or the advertisers who influence the editors and owners. Blogging simply bypasses this ancient ritual.

Think about it for a minute. Why not build an online presence with your daily musings and then sell your first book through print-on-demand technology direct from your Web site? Why should established writers go to newspapers and magazines to get an essay published, when they can simply write it themselves, convert it into a .pdf file, and charge a few bucks per download? Just as magazine and newspaper editors are slinking off into the sunset, so too might all the agents and editors and publishers in the book market.

The original weblogs were link-driven sites. Each was a mixture in unique proportions of links, commentary, and personal thoughts and essays. Many current weblogs follow this original style. Such links are nearly always accompanied by the editor's commentary. An editor with some expertise in a field might demonstrate the accuracy or inaccuracy of a highlighted article or certain facts therein; provide additional facts he feels are pertinent to the issue at hand; or simply add an opinion or differing viewpoint from the one in the piece he has linked. Typically this commentary is characterized by an irreverent, sometimes sarcastic tone. More skilful editors manage to convey all of these things in the sentence or two with which they introduce the link . Indeed, the format of the typical weblog, providing only a very short space in which to write an entry, encourages pithiness on the part of the writer; longer commentary is often given its own space as a separate essay.

These weblogs provide a valuable filtering function for their readers. The web has been, in effect, pre-surfed for them. Out of the myriad web pages slung through cyberspace, weblog editors pick out the most mind-boggling, the most stupid, the most compelling.

By highlighting articles that may easily be passed over by the typical web user too busy to do more than scan corporate news sites, by searching out articles from lesser-known sources, and by providing additional facts, alternative views, and thoughtful commentary, weblog editors participate in the dissemination and interpretation of the news that is fed to us every day. Their sarcasm and fearless commentary reminds us to question the vested interests of our sources of information and the expertise of individual reporters as they file news stories about subjects they may not fully understand.

Towards 2004, the role of blogs became increasingly mainstream, as political consultants, news services and candidates began using them as tools for outreach and opinion forming. Even politicians not actively campaigning began to blog to bond with constituents. Some blogs were an important source of news during the December 2004 Tsunami such as Medicins Sans Frontieres, which used SMS text messaging to report from affected areas in Sri Lanka and Southern India.

Blogs have been seen as archives of human thought. They can provide useful insights to aid in dealing with humanity's psychological problems (such as depression and addiction). And they can also be used to solve crimes. (In 2005, Simon Ng posted a blog entry which identified his murderer.)

Blogs have also had an influence on minority languages, bringing together scattered speakers and learners; this is particularly so with Scottish Gaelic blogs, whose creators can be found as far away from traditional Gaelic areas as Kazakhstan and Alaska. Blogs are also used regularly by other minority language activists. Minority language publishing (which may lack economic feasibility) can find its audience through inexpensive blogging.

Around the beginning of 2005, amateur blogging took off in a big way. Terms such as 'Alternative media' began to be used for blogging in the mainstream media. Well-informed bloggers soon shot into prominence by sheer ingenuity and clarity of their content. And in the United Kingdom for instance, The Guardian newspaper launched a redesign in September 2005, which included a daily digest of blogs on page two.

These days, most blogs are often updated several times a day, and have become instead a record of the blogger's thoughts: something noticed on the way to work, notes about the weekend, a quick reflection on some subject or another. It is also quite fascinating to see new bloggers position themselves in the weblog community, referencing and reacting to those blogs they read most, their sidebar an affirmation of the tribe to which they wish to belong.

More than that, blogging itself places no restrictions on the form of content being posted. Its web interface, accessible from any browser, consists of an empty form box into which the blogger can type...anything: a passing thought, an extended essay, political or social commentary, a subject he or she wishes to debate, a cause to promote, a childhood recollection, a place where the blogger can give much added information which would be of interest to a potential customer, but which would not be suitable for the business website. The Spectator's blog Coffeehouse, and Got2begreen, a conservation blog are two examples.

Sunday 3 January, 2010

Train of Thought

Thomas Nugent / CC BY-SA 2.0
How do you maintain the train of thought when making a speech? How do you stay on track and avoid being derailed or crashing into the buffers?

The carriages of that train are the separate thoughts from which it is constructed.  You are most likely to lose track when going from one thought to the next.  So it is important to consider how the carriages (thoughts) are linked together.

Write out your speech in paragraphs, each paragraph representing a particular thought.  Make sure that you can move easily from one to the next, like a passenger moving through a train to find the buffet car.

In POWERtalk a contest speech lasts five to eight minutes with a light signal that goes on at five minutes and off at six. Thus you aim to speak for about seven minutes.

Make sure you know where you expect the signals to come in the speech and remember that on the night you may have to shunt a carriage or two into a siding. So make sure that your speech contains a couple of unimportant paragraphs that you can drop to adjust your timing.

Monday 7 December, 2009

Listening skills : A few pointers from our Master Manual

Effective listeners actively process what they are hearing

Remember: Time is on your side! Thoughts move about four times as fast as speech. With practice, while you are listening you will also be able to think about what you are hearing, really understand it, and give feedback to the speaker.

Exercise: Form groups and find out what different people do to become better listeners and which factors help them.

Exercise: Assign readings from a variety of literature (fiction and non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, novels, guide books, etc.) and follow up with a comprehension test – ask pertinent questions about each reading’s content. After each reading,analyze where members listen best and where they fail to listen effectively and discuss the possible reasons why this happens.

Exercise: Program three or four prepared research speeches (i.e. speeches in which the facts are important) and have a verbal Spot Listening Check after each speech.

Exercise: Do the same with other types of speeches. Then discuss which speeches – the research speeches, the humorous, the serious, the anecdotal, etc., are easier to listen to effectively and why.
Listening involves hearing, sensing, interpretation, evaluation and response.
We hear only what we want to hear and remember only part of what we have heard. Good listening can improve both the content and the quality of what we hear and remember.

A good leader is always a good listener. A good listener may be or may not be a leader - but a good listener is usually popular, which is an important step in becoming a leader. People like to be someone who listens well. We can improve our listening habits. It will take concentration and hard work, as our listening habits are the results of years of often unconscious behaviour. But it can be done, and today is a good day to start!

From: The POWERtalk Master Manual
Section 5.1 PowerTalk One
Results 61-70

Friday 4 December, 2009

Check out the Word for the Day - and communicate better!

Have you had a moment to look at the Word for the Day section in the side bar? Every day there is a word from the Oxford English Dictionary with a definition, origin and history as well as the implementation of the word, including quotes. You won't ever have to look for ideas for your Lexicology- or Grammarian's slot on the programme or for interesting words with which to spice up your presentations!

For example, today's interesting word is "skank". Did you know this word? You may have heard the word used by the teenagers waiting at the bus stop -- referring to someone they do not approve of as a 'skank', or 'skanking off' on their parents, and then you may have wondered where this word came from and what it means. (Probably this usage comes from the definition of 'skank. skanked', meaning, swindle or cheat. What do you think?) I most certainly did not know its 'real' meaning -- but I know it now -- thanks to our very own "Word for the Day"!

skank, v
orig. Caribbean.
1. trans. To throw (a person) over one's shoulder. rare.

1971 Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) 14 Jan. 6/5 When they beat me and cut me up he..hold me from behind and I tried to skank him (throw him over my shoulder).

2. intr. To perform a freestyle dance to reggae music (cf. SKANKING n.); (hence) to perform or play reggae music. Also (colloq.): to sashay, strut.

1973 Weekly Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) 24 Jan. 13 The dancer, according to his mood, can rock slowly to the bass, or go all out and skank to the drums. 1987 Observer (London Suppl.) 20 Sept. 38/1 In London, you can..skank along Railton Road in Brixton until you come to The Legend, a bar built to celebrate the memory of Bob Marley. 1995 Wired Aug. 150/2 Under Cover has a talented DJ/singer skanking in a pleasing dance-hall style. 1998 C. CHANNER Waiting in Vain (1999) xix. 344 Behind her, beneath the thatch-roofed pavilions, the guests were skanking to old rock-steady choons and slamming dominoes on plastic tables and telling duppy stories.

3. trans. and occas. intr. To con, swindle, or cheat (a person).

1981 West indian World 31 July 4/1 Apparently Jaybird..a try skank him out of his hard earned bread. 1989 Independent 22 Mar. 19/7 Some of the younger girls on the Line try skanking{em}taking the money up front and then jumping out of the car. 1994 Sunday Times 16 Oct. (Style section) 26 You always buy from people you know, otherwise you get skanked and find you've spent, say, £50 on half an ounce of hash and they've given you less.

Friday 4 December, 2009

The Quote of the day!

"When one teaches, two learn."
-- Robert Half

Remind yourself just how true this is : Go to the International website, log in, click on Resources and type in Educational features. You will be astounded at how many features there are available to members -- interesting, informative, excellent quality educational features -- so much to learn, so much to teach - and so much with which to enrich and enhance your life and those around you! Enjoy!

Wednesday 2 December, 2009

Programme Tip for December

Are you struggling to get visitors to come back to your club meetings?
Are you finding it difficult to get new members to join?
Are you having to say goodbye to members?

No More! Logic tells you that if your club programme is interesting and stimulating and fun, you will not loose members, and you will attract new members!

Start thinking bigger. Start being bold and adventurous. Start breaking the old programming mould and shaping a fresh new one!

The December issue of the From the Boardroom, reminds members how to keep members happy and keep guests impressed! Offering inspiring, stimulating Programs is the way to keep members and guests coming back for more. The POWERtalk Website Resource Centre ► Education Features ► Club Assignments is the location where you find the Power Programmes Manual as well as dozens of other exciting programming ideas that offer quality training and coaching.

Power Programs is a manual full of ideas for programs from Art Appreciation, Using the Microphone to Understanding Customs and Cultures Around the World.

Clubs are asked to be responsible for providing programs that offer members a challenge to grow; keep them coming back for more; and for guests an incentive to join our organization.
Power Programs will help you to provide outstanding programs.

Another source of excellent programming material are the the two-hour POWERtalk short course modules. These are a great source of information when planning regular club programs. They are also excellent programs as last minute emergency fill in or as a regularly scheduled event. It gives each member the opportunity to practice the POWERtalk lessons, provides instant evaluation as the program progresses and helps each member gain confidence in their speaking abilities.
Look in the Master Manual at the POWERtalk short course section; at the end of each chapter is a list of suggested programming ideas and how to apply them to your club programming. The suggested Accreditation level applications are also listed.

The possibilities are endless --- no more excuse ever for boring and dull club programmes! A well planned innovative programme that stimulates, informs, challenges and entertains is a powerful vehicle towards packed club meetings!

Wednesday 25 November, 2009

TEN TIPS on Controlling Nervousness

Know your subject matter...
and your notes.

Assess your audience... to gauge their needs and expectations.

Familiarise yourself...with the venue, equipment and acoustics.

Be ready to be called. Walk with confidence to the lectern, and place your notes securely.

Be still. Maintain your concentration. Take a deep breath and exhale - it relaxes the throat and face.

Look at the audience. Befriend them. Smile or gesture to command attention.

Build platform presence. Speak in a self-assured, enthusiastic manner to convince your audience that they need to hear your message. Be yourself.

Give your complete attention... to each sentence you speak.

Pause between thoughts.

In conclusion... smile, gather your notes, and exit with grace.

Monday 23 November, 2009

How to be a hit on television!

Anita Cox recently presented an excellent workshop at her club, POWERtalk Pollokshields on the secrets of a successful television presentation. She generously shared her material with us:

Having worked in television for over 30 years, what is normal to me
is far from that to others. TV studios can be daunting alien places, especially if you are asked to appear on a programme, so I hope that these notes will be of help you should you ever be invited to appear on television.

Imagine you have been asked to appear on a programme to give a talk about a subject that you are knowledgeable about. You may initially be approached by a Researcher for the programme who has been charged with getting the right people to make up the programme, which could be a totally new programme or an insert into an existing one.
You may have been asked generally whether you would be prepared to give a talk and your availability. In the excitement of the invitation you may not have asked very much about what is expected of you. However, you will need to know a few specifics initially to give you the best information for your preparation.

First of all you should establish whether your talk will be filmed (ie by a small camera crew in a location which could either be in your home or somewhere other than a studio) or either recorded or performed live in the studio.

It is worth asking what programme it is for and what context your talk will be used in and most importantly you must establish what the running time of the actual piece is required to be. You may be expected to talk on your subject to an interviewer after you have given your talk so it is best to be prepared – just in case.

Timing on television programming is usually very specific, it is not just rounded up in minutes but is counted down to seconds, so it is important to establish at the outset how long your piece should run. Be as professional as you can be, nobody, certainly not you, will want to fluff your lines and have to ask if it can be repeated. Even if it is not a live transmission, prepare as though it will be.
When you have that information, prepare your talk carefully and then time and practice it. We all know from our own experiences that what seems to flow beautifully in the written word may, when spoken, become stilted and awkward. You should read your piece out loud, refine it and rewrite until it flows trippingly off the tongue and also runs to time! So you now have your ‘script’.

I would suggest that you now think about what to wear. Less is more on television and black, stark white and red are colours that can cause problems with cameras.
Black can be very harsh (and if you are filmed against a black background– which is basically a black curtain- you could almost disappear!), white can flare under the lights and red can bleed, so think carefully about what to wear and have someone take pictures of you in the outfit you are considering wearing. It may help to show you what looks best. Stripes can also moiré (or strobe) so it is best to avoid stripey shirts for men and woman. Large patterns and geometric designs may detract the viewer from your talk so try to look smart but appropriate to the programme and your own personal tastes.

Crisp fabrics such as taffeta and jangly jewellery can play havoc with radio microphones so avoid these. There is nothing worse than microphones than screech and crackle. If you do wear crisp fabrics or bracelets, large earrings or chunky necklaces etc and you move while talking, it will sound awful as the mic will pick up the rustles and jingle jangles and will magnify them.

If possible try and establish what background you will be sitting in front of. As I have said earlier it may be a cyc (cyclorama) which is usually white or black curtaining. The white cyc can be coloured by lighting on the day. You may however be in a set with quite specific colours and if that is the case think about your colours , after all you don’t want to fade into the background or clash violently with it! If you can’t establish what the set will be then it may be better to take a couple of tops of different colours – just in case, better to be safe than sorry.

Double check before you are about to start or go into the studio that your hair is combed, and clothing is sitting correctly. For men if you are wearing a tie, please check that the knot is in the right position and it is lying correctly. A lot of men have said that they went on a programme with a crooked tie because nobody at the studio had told them. Of course this provides a distraction for the viewer and will detract from the impact of your talk so do check.

On the day, if you are to attend the studio then get there in plenty of time and make sure that you have your notes prepared in an discreet but organised way with pages or cards numbered! You may be sitting at a desk so you need these not to be too noticeable. Cream paper as opposed to stark white is probably best.

You may be shown into a ‘Green Room’. This is effectively a waiting room for the show. The Researcher, stage manager or runner (junior) will take you there and ensure that you are taken to the studio when it is time for your piece.

Television studios have changed dramatically over the last few years and often they are very small and cramped places. There may be three or more large cameras on pedestals set up and you may be surprised at what looks big on screen at home, may be a tiny corner of a studio in real life.

If your piece is to be recorded you will probably be in a more relaxed studio atmosphere than in a live programme.
If you are to appear in a live programme there will be a lot of activity happening around you which could be distracting. Stay focussed!

You will probably speak into just one camera and you will be told which one. However, other cameras may be moving around getting into position for the next item and a floor manager may be indicating to presenters how long before the camera is on them or they have to wind up their piece. The Director, PA, Vision Mixer, Sound and Lighting Directors sit in a control room which is not on view from the studio. The presenter and floor manager and cameramen all have headphones or earpieces allowing them to hear the directions from the Control Room. Sometimes the presenter has an earpiece. This would certainly be the case in a newsroom environment.
So the crew on the studio floor will be concentrating on their own particular jobs and you should stay focussed on yours.

Remember your audience is the television camera. Play to it but don’t overemphasise your gestures, they should be smaller than usual. Don’t let your eyes wander especially when things are happening in other parts of the studio, you will look like you are about to take flight!

It is a new experience for you so enjoy it – you may be invited back.