Friday, June 12, 2009


Access Services hosted the “Public Speaking Workshop” on May 28 and 29, 2009. The workshop was presented by UCLA Extension and was attended by 20 representatives from public transit agencies, regional centers and non-profit organizations. Access Services staff Evie Palicz, Luis Garcia, Steve Chang, Geetu Banerjee, Jeff Mora and Charace Thompson also participated.

The two day workshop provided each participant with a solid foundation in public speaking. The course covered several aspects in improving presentation delivery such as connecting with an audience, responding to questions and interruptions, body language and the dynamics of voice and pacing. As part of class exercises, participants gave several presentations that were video-taped. Coaching was given in a supportive and positive environment.

Some feedback received from attendees:

“This class was the best public speaking training that I ever received. I'm definitely going to use the technical tools that we learned in the class for my future presentations.” Art Ida, Culver City

"Public speaking is one of the most feared things. As professionals we sometimes have to give reports and present information in front of an Executive Board, City Council Members and the General Public. The structure and methodology of delivering a precise message is the key. Through this course, I learnt several methods and exercise that will assist me in delivering an effective presentation. I feel more confident in giving presentations and thank you Access Services for facilitating this course!” Dietter Aragon, Foothill Transit

“This was an excellent workshop. The instructor kept us motivated and engaged.” Wayne Wassell, Metro

Saturday, June 6, 2009

For Teachers: Make a Plan, Then Improvise - On Purpose!

After teaching for 30 years, I know it works to have a lesson plan for where you're going. It doesn't work, however, to be too attached to how you get there. You have to stay open and improvise (when isn't it that way?).
I shared an extraordinary session with my "Public Speaking for Professionals" class at UCLA Extension a while back. There are nearly 30 enrolled and, at this particular session, only 3 were prepared. I fought a shotgun impulse to make the others wrong and remembered my objective of having them all know how to prepare, rehearse and deliver effective presentations. This particular night was vital to that process, so I sent the 3 prepared students into a second room to rehearse together while the remaining students stayed in our classroom putting the assignment together. One by one, as they completed this ground work, they joined the prepared group in the other room to rehearse. Meanwhile, I circulated, answering questions, coaching, managing both groups and the time. Eventually the majority of the students had trickled into the second room to rehearse. At this point, I put everyone to work in small groups with each other, integrating some new instructions from me, coaching each other and polishing up their presentations. As I continued to circulate, I could see, hear and feel that they were benefiting from all the coaching they were giving and receiving - they were in great shape and we were on track! This process took up almost all our time and only four speakers got to deliver their presentaitons to the whole class, with the remaining scheduled for the following week. But now they were all prepared and the challenge would be to keep it fresh. This evening has been experiential, exhilerating and fun. We arrived at our destination because we went with the flow and improvised - on purpose.

Beauty before me, Beauty behind me,
Beauty to the right of me, Beauty to the left of me,
Beauty above me, Beauty below me,
Beauty all around me... I am on the perfect path.

Know Yourself, Then Give it Away! Synchronicity, Story and Psychic Coaching

"If you have built castles in the air,
your work need not be lost;
that is where they should be.
Now put the foundations under them."
- Henry David Thoreau -
There are no accidents. Wherever you are can lead you to where you want to be. Recently I had an extraordinary psychic experience with a client.
This client is a lobbyist with a huge, well-known corporation. As we discussed his upcoming presentation and the effect he wanted to have on his audience, an image emerged in which he appeared to me as an early American scout, leading a group of settlers through the wilderness, clearing a path in the thick undergrowth and looking out for danger. As their lobbyist, he was clearly a path into the future for his company. This metaphor spoke to him and he loved it; it became the unifying idea for his presentation. He had been concerned that his audience would think he was expendable, but instead, they came up afterwards, congratulating him and expressing their appreciation.
This "psychic coaching" is really the sensory acuity that has resulted from my years of both working on myself and training and coaching students and clients. As I asked the lobbyist questions about his presentation and purpose, my mind connected the dots and the visual appeared. Then we did the work. Castles in the air and foundations on the ground came together.
Are you visualizing your intended outcomes and then taking the actions to get you there? And are you loving it? These are the 3 essential aspects of a result: a visual, the passion and action.