Tuesday, September 17, 2013

From Toastmasters to TEDx: 5 Frank Public Speaking Tips

Speaking at TEDxCoMo last spring.
TL;DR - I used to be a pretty awful speaker, now I'm a pretty awesome speaker. If you want some tips, including how much crap I had to do to earn Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) designation, read on for 5 Tips on Being a Better Speaker. Biggest tip: just concentrate on your first line. The rest will come. Note: I'll use the words "talk" and "speech" interchangeably.

TIP 1: Admit you can be a better speaker

Senior year of high school, all of us in Honors English had to write and deliver a 5 minute graduation speech, with the one being deemed "the best" to be given at the ceremony. I delivered my 5 minute (as written) speech in 38 seconds.

That's not a typo: 38 seconds people.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

620 Project: 2012 Edition

Last year for my birthday, I asked friends and family: "Instead of sending me presents or cards, please take the money you'd spend on those things and donate instead to the 620 Project. My goal is to raise $620 by 6/20 (my birthday)."

I'm happy to report we exceeded that goal, raising $670! My employer also matched the fundrasing, so I think the final ballpark amount Team Rubicon received was $1,200. And it's all thanks to you!

So we're doing it again for 2012. Same goal: $620. All I'm asking for this year, though, is $1 from you. Just a dollar. More than the cost of a piece of gum, but way less than that Venti Mocha Decaf Light Cappucino 2 pumps soy you ordered this morning at Starbucks.

Donate today!

Read more about Team Rubicon and the original 620 Project.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Going Back to the Island: Maui 2012

Okay, Lost hasn't been on the air for over 2 years. Like it or hate it, it was one of the more well-written dramas of late. Mind you, not near Sorkin's West Wing greatness, or Whedon's Buffy gravitas -- but I still admire the showrunners and writers who locked ABC into committing to a series end date so they could plan the ending and the journey there.

How does that fit into this post? The title is a reference to a line by Jack, who toward the tail end of the series exclaims, "We have to back, Kate!" The show shot most of its exterior scenes on the North Shore of Oahu, the stand in for the fictional island their plane crashed on.

Two years ago I vacationed on the North Shore (my pics) and had a blast. Last week, thanks to a trip I won from San Diego Magazine, I headed to another Hawaiian island, Maui, for a nice, relaxing, post-tax season trip to paradise. Here's the photo essay:

The view of Maui on the approach to the airport. Yes, before they
asked us to turn off all portable electronic devices.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jon Stewart Tribute to Bruce Springsteen at Kennedy Center Honors

Born and raised in New Jersey, I often take a lot of grief on behalf of my home state. Sure, I could go on and on about all the wonderful inventions and people who hail from the Garden State and defend it, but in the end I'm unapologetic.

The great thing is, there are moments where I can just sit back and let others do the talking for me. Here's Jon Stewart explaining it so perfectly, so succinctly, during his tribute to Bruce Springsteen at the Kennedy Center Honors.*

"I am not a music critic. Nor historian, nor archivist. I cannot tell you where Bruce Springsteen falls in the pantheon of the American songbook. I cannot illuminate the context of his work, or its roots in the folk and oral history traditions of our great nation.

But I am from New Jersey.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Up Close and Personal for Dalai Lama Visit to San Diego

Earlier this year San Diego was abuzz at the announcement that the Dalai Lama would be making 3 springtime appearances in America's Finest City. Each of the 3 major universities in town (University of San Diego, UC San Diego and San Diego State) would play host to his holiness. I quickly set a calendar reminder to buy tickets, then promptly forgot to do so because, well, it was the middle of tax season.

Bummed I couldn't get to see him, but figured that something would happen and I'd get to see him. Luck prevailed, and a few days before his San Diego Stage visit, I got a call from a dear friend who had an extra ticket. I said "yes" before the full sentence was even out of his mouth!

Woot! Floor tix. Row 2, section AAA, which I figured would be pretty far
back in the arena. (That's how the numbering works at concerts I've been to.

Wrong! Turns out section AAA is the first section, and row 2 is
actually, literally the 2 row from the stage. Here's my view before
they opened the doors to the general public.

Hearing His Holiness speak live was humbling. And a little stressful, oddly enough. There's so much evil in the world, yet he takes it in stride. Made me wonder what more I can do in service to making things better. Yes, I volunteer for causes and donate my time, but it made me think if there's a call to serve I'm missing on a different scale.

The most unexpected part was how much he giggles and laughs. I guess I expected this serious talk -- and don't get me wrong, there was a lot of meat to his words -- but his gentle, humorous demeanor was such an unexpected delighter!

Bonus picture

As social media manager for TEDxSanDiego, one of the things I like to do is highlight what's going on around San Diego. I thought it was awesome that the Dalai Lama wore visors of the university he was speaking at. So I took at pic of it from the livestream and tweeted from the TEDxSanDiego Twitter account:

"So cute! The Dalai Lama is wearing a UCSD ball cap at his talk. (We say "cute" with the utmost reverence.)"

Imagine my glee when it was printed in the San Diego Union-Tribune's Dalai Lama wrap up the next day! And yes, it's not lost on this former journalist that I'm overly excited that new media is being highlighted in a traditional media outlet.