Business writing stories from the coalface…women’s conferences

Business writing stories from the coalface...women's conferencesNot that many years ago I used to augment my writing with work as a conference (convention) producer. This was usually by default when I had already written the scripts but the actual producer failed to show up due to food poisoning / recreational drug use / a better offer, etc. [Read more…]

How men and women, er, define things differently

Despite the blurring of boundaries between and among genders in recent years, it’s still interesting to note how men and women can differ in the way they view and define things.

How men and women, er, define things differentlyFor example…

Thingy (thing-ee) n.

Female…… Any part under a car’s hood.
Male….. The strap fastener on a woman’s bra. [Read more…]

Writing about woman in mid-life – funny, but…

Writing about women in mid-life - funny, but...

Mid-life is when the growth of hair on our legs slows down. This gives us plenty of time to care for our newly acquired moustache.

Thanks to the unknown author of this chilling list of harsh realities that women experience when we hit mid-life…

Mid-life is when the growth of hair on our legs slows down. This gives us plenty of time to care for our newly acquired moustache.

In mid-life women no longer have upper arms: we have wing spans. We are no longer women in sleeveless shirts, we are flying squirrels in drag. [Read more…]

Why dogs are better than humans: a survey

Why dogs are better than men

dogs,humans,dogs are better than humans,women,men,humor,funny jokes,hilarious

Dogs are not afraid to look you in the eye

*Dogs do not think it’s “wet” to express their affection for you in public.
*Dogs don’t feel threatened by a woman who is intelligent, wears a trouser suit, earns more than they do or drives a fast car
*Dogs feel guilty when they’ve done something wrong.
*Dogs take the word “no” to mean “no,” not “perhaps” or “yes please” [Read more…]

An American’s guide to PC terminology

Due to the climate of political correctness now pervading America, Kentuckians, Tennesseans and West Virginians will no longer be referred to as “HILLBILLIES.”

You must now refer to them as APPALACHIAN-AMERICANS.

And furthermore…

HOW TO SPEAK ABOUT WOMEN AND BE POLITICALLY CORRECT:

1. She is not a “BABE” or a “CHICK” – She is a “BREASTED AMERICAN.”

2. She is not a “SCREAMER” or a “MOANER” – She is “VOCALLY APPRECIATIVE.”

3. She is not “EASY” – She is “HORIZONTALLY ACCESSIBLE.”

4. She is not a “DUMB BLONDE” – She is a “LIGHT-HAIRED DETOUR OFF THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY.”

5. She has not “BEEN AROUND” – She is a “PREVIOUSLY-ENJOYED COMPANION.”

6. She is not an “AIRHEAD” – She is “REALITY IMPAIRED.”

7. She does not get “DRUNK” or “TIPSY” – She gets “CHEMICALLY INCONVENIENCED.”

8. She does not have “BREAST IMPLANTS” – She is “MEDICALLY ENHANCED.”

9. She does not “NAG” you – She becomes “VERBALLY REPETITIVE.”

10. She is not a “TRAMP” – She is “SEXUALLY EXTROVERTED.”

11. She does not have “MAJOR LEAGUE HOOTERS” – She is “PECTORALLY SUPERIOR.”

12. She is not a “TWO-BIT HOOKER” – She is a “LOW COST PROVIDER.”

HOW TO SPEAK ABOUT MEN AND BE POLITICALLY CORRECT:

1. He does not have a “BEER GUT” – He has developed a “LIQUID GRAIN STORAGE FACILITY.”

2. He is not a “BAD DANCER” – He is “OVERLY CAUCASIAN.”

3. He does not “GET LOST ALL THE TIME” – He “INVESTIGATES ALTERNATIVE DESTINATIONS.”

4. He is not “BALDING” – He is in “FOLLICLE REGRESSION.”

5. He is not a “CRADLE ROBBER” – He prefers “GENERATIONAL DIFFERENTIAL RELATIONSHIPS.”

6. He does not get “FALLING-DOWN DRUNK” – He becomes “ACCIDENTALLY  HORIZONTAL.”

7. He does not act like a “TOTAL ASS” – He develops a case of “RECTAL-CRANIAL INVERSION.”

8. He is not a “MALE CHAUVINIST PIG” – He has “SWINE EMPATHY.”

9. He is not afraid of “COMMITMENT” – He is “RELATIONSHIP CHALLENGED.”

10. He is not “HORNY” – He is “SEXUALLY FOCUSED.”

11. It’s not his “CRACK” you see hanging out of his pants – It’s “REAR CLEAVAGE”

Make sure you take note of all those, ya hear?

Now, make sure your writing is PC…

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

photo credit: Criss.AC via photo pin cc
photo credit: Johannes Steidl via photo pin cc

How women can be better than men at public speaking

Only the most hard-nosed male chauvinist these days would have the b*lls to say women don’t make as effective public speakers as men do. However, with some creative thought, careful writing (or at least speech preparation) and some sneaky tips from a drama coach (see below), I believe women can be better than men.

Firstly, of course, you need to ensure you observe some basic tips on how to put your material together. This applies equally to everyone irrespective of gender, but it’s perhaps more important for women to focus on being natural and comfortable with what you’re saying.

Men often can cover up poor material and a bad script by waving their arms and making a lot of noise in front of an audience; women doing that just look like braying battle-axes. Sad and un-PC, but true.  So here’s how to get that all-important material right in the first place…

Basic spoken speech writing tips

  • To get a true idea of your own natural speech style, tape record yourself is if you were talking to a friend about the whole subject, then transcribe it
  • Write in the style of the transcribed text (or that feels comfortable for you to say) – not how some people think “public speaking” should be phrased
  • Even if you want to make a formal impression on the audience, avoid long words and clumsy phrases – especially unfamiliar ones you could trip over when your stage nerves are making you edgy
  • Don’t use language you wouldn’t say in “real life,” and especially not as crutches to prop up weak content
  • Always write shorter sentences than you do for text, vary the length of them, and never follow one longish sentence with another
  • When in doubt, read it aloud – if there’s anything awkward you’ll feel yourself tripping over it

OK: now for the presenting element

In my book, “Wedding Speeches For Women,” I was very lucky to get some advice from a top London drama coach/teacher who came up with some very useful tips about women in public speaking.  Here are a few short excerpts from that …

  • A woman’s voice tends to travel and project better than a man’s because it is lighter and higher. However, this can tend to give her less “authority” when speaking.
  • An untrained female speaker should concentrate on keeping her voice as low in pitch as possible (without sounding Margaret Thatcherish!) to avoid any shrillness.
  • When practising her speech, she should do breathing exercises (the breath is the “petrol”, so to speak, for the voice engine – most people breathe too shallowly), facial warm up exercises, vocal warm up exercises and practice speaking to the end of a room, to the end of the garden, speaking while the radio is playing – all of these can help to keep the volume up.
  • Also practise speaking slowly. Record yourself doing the speech – you will probably be speaking too fast. Go at half the speed that you think feels right – then halve it again – that will probably be about right for public speaking!
  • Practice status: say the speech with your toes turned inward, your shoulders hunched, looking down or flicking your eyes around, touching your face and hair frequently. Then drop all those behaviors. Say the speech standing straight, looking straight ahead and sweeping your eyes slowly around from one side to the other, keeping your hands and head straight and still.

And what about humor?

There’s nothing more excruciating than listening to either a man or a woman telling a joke in a speech when they don’t have the knack for delivering it, or if it is inappropriate for the audience and gets no more than a polite chuckle from the event organizer and embarrassed coughs from everyone else.

When I’m writing speeches for clients who are not natural comedians, I always advise them to avoid trying to be funny because it will fall flat. Far better to be interesting, engaging, sincere and if relevant, emotive.

Much as audiences enjoy a good joke, humor is not the be-all and end-all of successful public speaking. Humor is a condiment that can add spice to a speech or presentation; but just like any other condiment, it can ruin whatever it’s sprinkled on if it’s wrong for the job.

Women are more subtle at making people laugh

In the case of mixed audiences as you would get at a wedding, bar mitzvah or other social event, I have to say I can understand how some people, especially older ones, might be offended to hear a woman tell bawdy, blue jokes in a speech. In the case of a wedding that’s probably the domain of the best man if there is one – not because it’s a masculine privilege, but because it’s boring to all but the few drunken rugby types at the back of the room.

However in cases of business or other non-social speeches, anyone telling a bawdy joke risks dying a death. And for a woman, that risk is greater. Why?

In some ways I think women speakers have an easier job of making audiences laugh, because they can get a laugh on a much more subtle level than men can – especially from the other women in the audience. Women do not need four-letter words or side-slapping hysterics; with just a smile and a few choice words you can bring the house down.

What really makes a woman a better speaker than a man?

…a presentation that’s honest, natural, fascinating and delivered effectively. No, it’s not rocket science; you can do it. Lots of us do. And by sticking to realism, strict audience-focus, enthusiasm and (dare I say it as this word has become such a cliché) passion … you’ve got it. Your presentation hits more spots than that of any man!

Good luck … and if you want to discuss this more please comment here…

Public speaking help, whoever you are!

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“The English Language Joke book”…hundreds of laughs about this crazy language of ours

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