Monday, November 24, 2008

Time to Toast - Holiday Tip #2

Inevitably at some point during a holiday celebration there’s a moment
when someone decides to offer a toast. To recall the good moments of the year ending or express hopes for the year to come. To thank someone for
great work, good spirit, or just wish everyone happy holidays.

When it’s your turn to offer a toast remember:
Keep it short
Think about what you plan to say
Lift your glass as you speak
Do not tap the glass with your knife or fork to get everyone’s attention, just stand up and hold your glass up
You do not need to clink glasses after the toast, simply take a sip

And if the toast is to honor you:
Don’t lift your class until the toast ends
Don’t drink (drinking to honor yourself isn’t a great idea)
Acknowledge the toast by lifting your glass and offering a few words of thanks

Small note: For those whose only liquid with a meal is a glass of water, you
can still participate in toasting. It’s the thought that’s important, not what’s
in your glass.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama Everywhere

Paris in mid-November was filled with images of our US President elect. Every kiosk seemed to overflow with magazines that had cover photos of Obama individually and others including his family.

The election was a topic of conversation everyone I saw including fashion designer Anne Willi ( when I stopped by her store. Was I happy, she asked. A friend and fashion historians wanted discuss the implications of the election and stated how pleased he was with the results. The staff at my hotel congratulated me as if his election was my success.

Neither the full magazine racks nor the conversations with friends were unexpected. What did surprise me was how our US election had made its way to the awareness of so many people. The
moment that made it clear to me was at the beginning of a tour of Chateau de Breteuil ( when the owner welcomed us and in pointing out the young woman who could
help us with a special program, introduced her as “Obama’s younger sister”. (And there was a resemblance). There was much laughter, smiles all around at the little joke. But for me, it was a moment to realize how many people, in so many places were touched by our election, who feel in some way that this incoming president represents hope and possibility not only for the US but for the world, for their world. We hope it’s true.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Don't Fear That Big Presentation

We build our connections with others by communicating in a variety of ways. E-mail, voice mail, actual conversations by phone or in person and in business through presentations long and short, formal and informal. For most of us each presentation comes with a moment or two of anxiety, even panic. But there is help. Simple weekly emails that can change your presentations and reduce your level of anxiety.

These concise, clever and useful e-mails come from Deborah Shames and David Booth who are the team that is Eloqui, ( a Presentation and Communication Training firm. Their workshops and coaching programs are beyond good. They are magical, guiding both experienced and novice presenters as they strive to create engaging, memorable and revenue generating, presentations.

But you can learn from Deborah and David simply by signing up for the Eloqui Tip of the Week. Every Sunday you’ll receive tips related to presentations, vocabulary, and clever quotes that you can use. Just email Deborah Shames ( and ask to be added to their subscriber list. Here’s a recent example of what you’ll receive:

Fear Not: Fear engenders constriction. Blood is shunted to our core organs as we brace to fight or flee. Fear affects the voice and overall behavior, forcing you into a defensive posture and disposition. Although fear is an effective survival mechanism, it doesn’t make us any smarter or more effective, because it also affects synaptic response. Whether it’s anxiety over a presentation or the current economic turmoil, move beyond the voice of fear and examine your core strengths. Celebrate your wins, the goodwill you’ve created, and strategize for the future. You will have the strength to conquer fear and be a force for positive change.

Intrepid (in-TREP-id) adjective. Resolutely fearless; dauntless.

Use in a sentence: Roald Amundsen, the intrepid Arctic explorer, overcame epic obstacles of horrible weather, perilous topography and uncharted wilderness to discover the South Pole in 1912.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear. -
Mark Twain, writer (1835-1910)