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Ways to Improve Your Voice Projection

In the world of business and education it is quite a common practice to give a speech in front of colleagues or contemporaries. Either while climbing the business ladder or as part of the learning curve in these situations, giving a speech and expressing a point of view is a necessary part of life. To some it comes quite naturally and they enjoy the limelight, but to others being the focus of everyone’s attention is a living hell.

Effective communication during a speech can depend on quite a few factors, of course knowing your subject matter helps a great deal with confidence but knowing how to control your voice in these situations while maintaining good posture and body language can certainly set you ahead of the rest.

When speaking in public it is easy to feel like everyone is judging every word, but they are probably not. You have to remember the audience has probably heard people speaking in public a lot – you’re not doing anything out of the ordinary. Although some say you should imagine everyone is naked to overcome your fear, or might help to look at the back of the room, not at the faces looking at you this isn’t always a good practice and what works for one person might not for another.

Always try and sound up beat about what you are saying – don’t mumble or ramble. Be clear and positive, without using terms like “and erm” or “you know what I mean” and don’t apologize for what you’re saying.

If you have done your research, or perhaps you are talking about your own work then you can rehearse your presentation several times beforehand so you know what you’re going to say, how and when.

Speech giving techniques to remember.

1) Stand Tall
It is best for voice projection to stand up while speaking feet hip distance apart, with your weight equally distributed.try to avoid rocking, swaying, tapping, or pacing. Movements such as this distract listeners from your message and it is a sign of nervousness.
Stand tall and mighty as if you are in command now, excellent posture conveys confidence before a single word is spoken.

2) Project Your Voice
Fill the room with your voice project your voice by speaking from the diaphragm and not the throat. This ensures that your voice is on the low end of its natural range and is grounded. A grounded voice allows you to project without straining or becoming hoarse.
It is a good idea to speak quite loudly, in fact speak louder than you think you should. It’s nearly impossible to be too loud. A booming commanding voice is difficult to ignore and in the situation of listening in large groups or meeting it is all too easy for your audience to switch off after a while.

3) Smile
Show your teeth and let them know you are not afraid. Smiling not only makes your voice more pleasing to listen to, it also conveys confidence. Even if you are anxious and terrified of public speaking, no one will realize if you have a smile on your face. You will appear friendly, approachable, and composed.

4) And… Breath
Use… long… pauses. A lot of people turn sentences into run-ons and fill time with junk words, such as “um,” “ah,” “you know,” “kind of,” “like,” “so,” and “well.” These habits make speakers sound unprofessional. Its as if their brain cannot keep up with their mouth. If you suffer from this, you should start correcting yourself in all conversations and ask the help of friends, family members to point out when you slip up.

If you do lose your train of thought, don’t apologize, this will only draw attention to your mistake. A brief pause to find your place in your notes or taking a sip of water to regain composure can often just add more conviction to what your saying if you do it confidently. The Actor Christopher Walken is well known for his charismatic pauses while acting, he has turned it into an art form.

5) Focus your attention
Make lasting eye contact with an audience member for five to seven seconds-perhaps longer than you think you should. Then move on and hold your gaze on someone else in a different part of the room. Lingering eye contact builds rapport by giving audience members the feeling that they are engaged in an intimate one-on-one conversation.

Avoid scanning the audience without stopping to look directly at anyone and don’t make selective eye contact with the two or three people in the room who are paying close attention. Ignore the suggestion of looking at the back of the room rather than your audience to reduce nervousness; it might make it the easiest speech you ever delivered, but it also will make it the least engaging. Audiences want you to speak to them, not at them.

Remember these five tips for confidence and delivery. Master these and you’ll have the confidence to speak up and stand out in any situation.

Online Schooling Benefits

Online schooling can benefit anyone who wants to learn something new. By taking the initiative to join any type of class, you are engaging in something that puts your mind to good use. Increasing mind power also equals increasing your skill set, outlook upon related ideas, and many times, monetary gain. Who wouldn’t like to earn more money? By improving your education, you are now much more marketable with the skills you learn.

What types of classes are offered online? So many that there is not room here to write them all! You can take a variety of courses online to work towards a college degree, but that is also not necessary depending on your situation. Many people just looking to learn something new might take a business class for free on an open ware course list. Others may just want to learn how to speak a foreign language for an upcoming international vacation. Many professionals who have various credentials regularly take online classes just to continue their wealth of knowledge.

Look at your learning needs before deciding where to go to find your course. Review where you want to go, along with your previous educational background. If you get a handle on where you currently are, and where you would like to be, you can then chart a course of action. Find out what type of credential you need to have to reach your goal. Do you need a certificate or degree? Or do you just want to learn how to speak in public? Or be a better gardener? You need a formal school for the first, and maybe a community college for the second, while the third only requires you o do some internet searching.

Now that you know where you stand, where you want to go, and the format for your journey, begin researching the avenues to find the best choice for you!

What Is Business Knowledge Management?

If there is only one thing you take from this article let it be this: “the natural state of knowledge is decay.” After fifteen years of working information systems management and specializing in knowledge management I can think of no greater truth on the subject. No matter what your opinion is on my work or my advice, I hope that the one truth I can give you is that knowledge is forever in decay.

Knowledge management is the practice of cultivating, sustainable, reliable, accurate information for the purpose of decision making, prosperity and further cultivation.

Without proper cultivation of knowledge, knowledge is lost either by time, bias, or poor organization. The purpose of a knowledge manager is to cultivate knowledge within a confine safe nurtured ecology that prevents decay and encourages growth.

To paint a clear picture of how important knowledge management is to your business, allow me to write briefly about history. Man has been on this earth for about 20,000 years, give or take a few years based on lots of different scientific evidence…

Wait! Why don’t we know how long man has been on the Earth?

Because no one wrote it down. The knowledge of what man was doing for more than 3/4 of his existence is literally lost. There was no form of writing, no form of organization with meaning, there is some expression a pictures on walls, but that is nearly worthless without some key to indicate how to interpret the data.

Because of a lack of communication protocols and methods, our understanding of early man begins with great civilizations that not only developed means of recording data but the means of organizing and filtering that data into information that could be expressed and interrupted by others through systems of communication, such as hieroglyphs and alphabets.

One of the first great civilizations to take knowledge management seriously was Egypt. It is one of the most recognizable civilizations on earth spanning 3000 years; all of which were painstakingly recorded by scribes, an honorable profession during that time. We know from their records that they invented papyrus to record knowledge, invented an alphabet to record knowledge and created books to record knowledge, they even had a myth of a god who came to them taught them how to write for the purpose of documenting knowledge, Thoth.

The Egyptians were some of the first knowledge managers. Not only did they painstakingly record almost everything, they built entire languages, protocols, and display methods beyond their alphabet as standards for organizing their knowledge for proper deployment in the correct order, for the correct occasion, to the correct people with the correct biases in check for the audience and their comprehension.

You are probably wondering why I am talking about Egypt, thinking that I am reaching for the connection, or maybe not. Maybe you realize I am mentioning them because due to their diligence in knowledge management we know more about their history and culture than probably 80% of all other human cultures. Honestly, think about this for a moment: you probably know more about Egypt’s history and government than your own state’s history or government. Honestly, what do you know about the last CEO at your company, what were the achievements, what systems and process were put into place and where do you find how to do these processes?

Recently while sitting around in the open social area at my office I heard two people from another department debating the sudden technological advancement of mankind over the past fifty years. They were in agreement that there “had to be outside influences on man,” you know, aliens. They agreed on this alien influence idea, but could not agree on the history as to how aliens influenced humanities advancement. They used ancient Egypt’s advancement as their example of alien influence. You might be familiar with the notion that no cultures of man at that time could have built the pyramids. I couldn’t help myself, I had to interrupt, being that I actually find western alien mythos fascinating but I find the idea that aliens from Area 51 are the reason our culture has had recent advancements, “just like Egypt,” a fallacy.

“You’re wrong and I think it’s kinda insulting to humanity and to those who invented the technologies that you won’t credit them for their work” I told them.

Honestly, they got kind of annoyed, if not insulted, by my brash, tactless, remark and asked me to explain why I was so passionate about my statement.

“We have had sudden advancements in technology due to better communication and archiving of our knowledge. The thing that caused our sudden jump in technology for the last few years wasn’t aliens it was the telephone, followed by better travel technology, followed by the necessity of war technology advancement, followed by an enlarging geographic networking, followed by tele-broadcasting, followed by the internet; all of these advancement building on the last advancement is allowing humanity the ability to grow on the knowledge as a community.”

One of them got quiet, and the other started to ask over and over “well how do you explain… ” This is a form of linear extrapolation bias that I often find annoying and I answered each of his questions with, “Google it.”

The reason our society couldn’t explain how the ancient Egyptians built such marvels like the Pyramids isn’t because humans couldn’t build it, it was because without the knowledge documented somewhere in a place where we could find it or interpret it, it was lost. It does not mean aliens did it, it just means we have had to recreate the knowledge to understand it and unlike the Egyptians who had 1400 years dedicated to a culture development for the purpose of building such marvels and the knowledge foundations, such as recorded data and information of each attempt before to build up their technology, we only had the final product and a few hundred years of thinking about it at our leisure with our imaginations running wild.

If you are still in the dark about how Egyptians built the Pyramid and what meaning the Pyramid has, Google it! You might be surprised that there are some pretty definite answers that are recent and widely accepted. However the answers are so ordinary compared to aliens, they haven’t had a lot of fan-fare because they are not nearly as sensational as what shows like Ancient Aliens makes them out to be.

As our ability to record and share data at greater distances and faster speeds with better forms of exposition than just text has grown, we have advanced faster and faster with innovation based on recorded innovation. Technological advancement rests on layers of previous technological advancement.

This rapid growth of technology in great civilizations is due to trade of knowledge through various forms of communication and archiving. Great civilizations are remembered because we have data and information presented to us that they created through the practice of recording history.

Advancements in tech were written down by scribes and then became foundations. Inspired or societies within a culture that were in need researched their ideas and found the existing foundations which allowed them to make further progress than they would have if they had to spontaneous recreate the foundations on their own. Later their progress was added to the documentation and then became part foundations for the next, creating cycle of events that becomes exponential. Had there not been a person who documented, archived, and organized the findings so that the archive of its success, or failure, could be found and used as a basis for advancement the progress would have stalled, just as it did in the “dark ages.”

Phone networks, later fax, and now the internet are better methods of sharing data to allow humanity to work more and more as a community and less as individuals. New computer systems with near unlimited amounts of electromagnetic memory allow us to store more and more of what we know and share. Newer better methods of organizing, referencing, searching, storing and deploying the information we collect and share over these faster networks from these nearly unlimited silos of knowledge are what we should be attributing our advancement to.

A lot of data and information that is written gets lost; sometimes in plain view. There was once mountains of Egyptian text sitting around as unrefined data that we could never understand and it was not until the discovery of the Rosetta stone that we were able to understand the codecs and convert the data into information and re-record the translation tables into our own modern archival systems.

One of the key functions of knowledge management is recording how to understand your knowledge management system and the Rosetta stone is a perfect example of a culture that understood that. Knowledge is nothing but data and utterly useless if the key to unlocking the knowledge is hidden, lost or destroyed.

Take all of what I said into some perspective and look at your company and its needs. What do you really know about your company’s operations? If you work in sales, do you know how to do the day to day tasks of the fulfillment team? If you don’t do you know who does? If you don’t do you know who you can ask to find out? If you have only one fulfillment person and they leave, or die suddenly, how does someone take their place? If you lead the customer facing teams and your agents tell you that customers are complaining about an shipping issue, where do you find the process? If one of your agents finds a process how do you verify it, how do you share it? If your company shut down for a year and re-opened with you the CEO in charge with all new staff how long would it take to get started again, could you get started again?

We can almost completely recreate the day to day life of the average Egyptian during any of that civilizations ages because their culture support an ecology that constantly documented their needs, think about that while you ponder whether or not knowledge management is something you should invest in and take seriously for your company.

There are countless sites and books that will explain to you the process of the “knowledge spiral” or review the case studies of HP and BP. They will all teach you the practice of gathering and archiving, and all of them will help educate you on how to teach your business to learn a culture of valuing the knowledge that it collects. In an age where the products our companies sell are often combinations of other businesses physical products and systems, the modern business’s only real product is the service that it sells with the resale of these products, which should mean that the greatest value a business has is not the hardware that it shares with its competitors as a product but the knowledge of their resold products and the knowledge the obtain from their customer communications about their needs.

Knowledge is the modern business’s product and competitive edge, not their hardware.

Child Learning Game – Are Educational Games Online Any Good?

A lot of parents make the mistake that any educational games online are good for their children. However, most of these parents underestimate how much money children plow into internet websites, simply by virtue of browsing and clicking. With this in mind, you should be aware that many websites simply put any old game up in order to get people to click their ads.

However, there are many sites out there where you can find educational games online that are both good for your children, and do not lead them on to dangerous or pornographic websites. I advice you to use parental control software program. It gives you the ability to hold children accountable, and provide security measure to protect them. Young children are impressionable and by being able to see their activities online with PC Tattletale, it helps to know where to aim the conversations and activities.

Educational games online are generally limited by the fact that they must be web-browser based. This is not a problem for math games, word games, or basic activities, but if you want to get a fully-interactive and comprehensive educational game for your computer, you will probably have to walk into a software store. However, educational games online can be an excellent, cheap way of teaching your children important concepts and skills.

At Kidsgames.Org website you can find over 900 educational games online that are all good for developing various skills used in school. These educational games online are suitable for children up to age ten. If your child is over that age, try looking at Nobelprize.ORG website where you can find a few educational games online that are based around the work of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates.

As an elementary school teacher, and a member of the “old school”, I was a little skeptical when children started to play educational games online. Since then though I have realized that as long as the children are guided and watched over properly they can easily find educational games online all by themselves, or with a little nudging. Once you find a good selection of games it is easy to encourage the children to play these games and learn the skills they have to teach. Often these are math or language skills, but there are also social values and ethics embedded into educational games online as well.

Microsoft is on the verge of unleashing a new technology that will allow multiple children to play educational games online at the same time. By using multiple mouses which control multiple pointers, children will be able to work together in groups of up to five – all playing the same educational games online. This will allow greater classroom cooperation and improve group work.

More Minimum Wage Increases on the Horizon

2014 brings a new Congressional election season, and it appears the Federal Minimum Wage will be at the center of the political debate. Since the inception of the FSLA in 1938 under President Roosevelt, it has been debated whether the enforcement of a fair “living wage” should outweigh the negative effects such an enforcement might have on the economy. As the costs of living continue to change, Congress revises the FSLA to accommodate these changes.

The federal minimum wage has held at $7.25 per hour since 2009, when this section of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was last modified by Congress. However, there has been a lot of movement on Capitol Hill to increase that to $10.10 per hour in the coming year.

Political Posturing

President Obama recently defended his pitch for a higher minimum wage at a press conference by stating, “The [employees] spend a little more money, which means that suddenly, businesses have more customers, which means they make more profits, which means they can hire more workers.”

However, a recent survey of 1,213 employers and human resources professionals tells a different story.

  • 54% of employers who are paying the current minimum wage say they would reduce hiring
  • 65% say they would raise their prices on goods and services
  • 38% say they would likely lay off employees

Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last month stating that while increasing the minimum wage would boost the income of millions of workers, it would also mean the loss of approximately 500,000 workers by 2016.

Federal Contractors

While the merits of raising the minimum wage will be debated in Congress in the coming months, President Obama is pushing ahead with his agenda in an area in which he has a direct say – on federal contractors.

In February, Obama signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 per hour to the same $10.10 he is pushing nationwide. Federal contract workers make up an estimated 25% of the entire workforce in the United States – from Boeing to small manufacturers and service providers. As a result, White House officials are optimistic that such actions could spur states or even individual businesses to take the President’s lead to increase their employees’ wages.

And it appears their optimism is paying off – in the past 14 months, fourteen states have raised their own minimum wages. Additionally, dozens more have begun legislative debates on the matter. And activists in an additional eight states are pushing referendums that would increase wages for their lowest-paid workers.

Be sure to stay tuned as this hotly contested topic works its way through Capitol Hill.

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