A Lesson from the Champions

August 25, 2018 was a historic day for Toastmasters International! For the past 80 years, Toastmasters has held the annual International Speech Contest which culminates in the World Championship of Public of Speaking. For the first time in the organization’s 94-year history, three women emerged as the cream of the crop, finishing in the top…

The POWER of PERSPECTIVE

 Stories have the power to move people in many ways. That emotional connection can be increased exponentially when you have clearly defined characters, who provide their own perspective of what’s happening in your story. They may not be the MAIN character, but they can play a significant role in unleashing the power of the…

Don’t Tell us…TAKE us

For more than 25 years, I’ve enjoyed telling stories, but all my life I’ve enjoyed hearing them, from many people all over the world. Stories give us the glorious opportunity to connect with people of different cultures and backgrounds, and also to expose them them to both the differences and the similarities of our life…

Whose Story Is It?

Some years ago, I received a disturbing private message from a fellow speaker ‘Sam’, in another country. They were attending a weekend seminar by a very prominent, highly paid professional speaker, but they admitted that they were inclined to leave immediately. When I asked “Why?” they said, “I can’t believe this person just told Val’s…

THE UTMOST FOR THE HIGHEST

Each year, during the week before Easter, thousands of high school athletes compete in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships (better known as Champs) in my hometown of Kingston, Jamaica. ‘Champs’ is the biggest track and field event involving high school students anywhere in the world, and the event…

The Fear of Success?

Several years ago, to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, I wanted to do something different for my wife Andrea. So instead of leaning on the good folks at Hallmark…which many men do…I decided to MAKE her a greeting card. Now this was 15 years ago, before the days of ‘saying it on Facebook.’ With great…

What’s in a Word?

Recently, after speaking at a high school, I met with students and faculty to talk about conflict resolution. One young man suggested a debate, and the administrator IMMEDIATELY responded. “No! No debates; we can arrange a DISCUSSION.” He made me think about the impact of our word selection…in presentations, and conversations. As a professional communicator…