Testing, 1-2-3


I aspire to be an exceptional public speaker.

I have many goals for 2013 but this is an area I have been working on for the past three years.  Presenting in front of an audience is an art and just like other things in life there is not an easily defined end goal.  There is no stamp of achievement to say “Hooray! You are now an excellent presenter.”  This is not Super Mario Bros, folks.  In that game, rescuing the Princess indicates that you won.  There’s no Olympic gold for public speaking.  Instead, you refine, revise, improvise and try again.

Exceptional speakers, a wise mentor once told me, do three things. They make you laugh, make you cry and make you think.  When I speak or write my truth I don’t do so with any scripted plan to hit all three things but if you tell your story in a way that is genuine, from the heart and shares a (previously hidden) piece of you, it will inevitably make the audience feel connected to you.

When I am around people who use words to inspire a vision of what could be I let those words sink in and use it as my own personal call to action.  In “The Exceptional Presenter: A Proven Formula to Open Up and Own the Room” (Koegel, 2007) says that the exceptional presenter is:

1) Organized

2) Passionate

3)Engaging

4)Natural

I would add that powerful connections occur when we are brave enough to offer a piece of ourselves and we allow others to learn from and with us.  When we commit to engaging with our audience and recognize that there is much wisdom and experience in the room regardless of who is at the podium, we all become invested.

I also aspire to be an exceptional presenter in the workplace.

As administrators we are often asked to create buy-in for new projects, to “sell” a new concept to our staffs and to build allies around particular causes.

We are charged with “rallying the troops” when needed, for inspiring students to create a path to their own success and for finding ways to motivate others despite budget cuts and hiring freezes.

Doing more with less isn’t always inspiring.  Financially challenging times like these require leaders who will not  perceive a lack of departmental funds as a roadblock to success.

My strategies for improving in this area will hopefully result in being a better advocate for staff and students.  When we speak with clarity and purpose not only are our words heard, but our presence is recognized and validated.

Joining Toastmasters, presenting 5-7 times per month and having my presentation style critiqued are all parts of my plan in 2013 to work on my skills and tighten up the areas where I lack clarity or tend to disengage.

The beauty of a new year is another opportunity to try new strategies to accomplish our goals.

Hey, if Mario could slay a dragon to save a Princess then this will be a piece of cake!

What is a goal that you are working on in 2013?  Share here!

Follow me on Twitter: @annmarieklotz

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About annmarieklotz

I write about all things education, personal & professional development and growth. Once is a question, twice is a discussion and three times is a blog post! Born and raised in Detroit Michigan but currently calling the Pacific Northwest home. I work at Oregon State University and belong to a fantastic community of higher ed professionals around the globe! Lover of theater and the arts. Live your best life!
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3 Responses to Testing, 1-2-3

  1. Amy Boyle says:

    Ann Marie, excellent goal! I have several friends who have experienced great success with Toastmasters! Scary beginnings, but exciting results! Go get ’em!

  2. Dave Bernhard says:

    “Doing more with less isn’t always inspiring.”…True. However, it almost always provides a widely-accepted catalyst for an examination of priorities (gasp!) with a side of refocusing. Which, of course, are two favorite dishes of a “change-maker”. 🙂 Have with your public speaking practice and I’m certain you will see success!

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