How I followed the Tampon Guy…

By Laura Bergells on

At the start of a corporate training session, our leader initiated an icebreaker. Nobody in the room knew each other, so the leader asked us to get up and “share something about yourself that no one would know from reading your resume.” Most people I know hate icebreaker games like these. Me? I’m a good …

Overcoming the Gross Out Factor

By Laura Bergells on

“I really hate public speaking,” said a student who stood up in front of class to deliver her first oral report. That’s not the most impressive opening line, but I hear it from a new student at least once per semester. And most of the time, the statement isn’t even true. Often, students who claim …

Freak out

What’s the exact opposite of what you’re saying?

By Laura Bergells on

When you edit a business presentation that offers a numbered list or step-by-step instructions, here’s a fun way to make your content more satisfying. In your head, ask yourself, “what might the exact opposite of that action be?” “Communicate with employees” might become “Leave employees in the dark.” “Follow the company policy manual” can be …

talk like a robot

Talk like a human, not like a robot

By Laura Bergells on

This morning, a company rep told me, “”Customer satisfaction is our number one priority.” I laughed, because no human being actually talks like that, right? Clearly, he was badly coached. Stilted words guaranteed a clumsy delivery. This turned into an awkward, laugh-out-loud moment. Later this afternoon, I worked with another service. “Customer service is our …

What’s next in online education?

By Laura Bergells on

Earlier this year, I wrote and performed Public Speaking Fundamentals for the Lynda.com Online Training Library. I wrote the scripts from April through June, and then flew out to California to shoot the series in July. The course went live on August 31. Go check it out — beyond my course, Lynda.com provides a massive library of …