“Words of Wisdom Wednesday”: Speaking Advice from Mark Twain

nervous liars


“There are two kinds of speakers; those who are nervous and those who are liars.” – Mark Twain

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6 Tips for Password Safety on the Internet

Everybody is online today. And I don’t just mean that we’re all currently surfing the internet (though that is also true). What I mean is that we all have profiles on a number of different site and that we’re all plugged in, ALL OF THE TIME.

So how can you stay safe while you’re on the internet? Well the first step is to make sure that your passwords are strong and secure. Consider this story (by Sharon McGinley from Tennessee), that I read on the Reader’s Digest website:

While he was visiting, my father asked for the password to our Wi-Fi. “It’s taped under the modem,” 
I told him. After three failed attempts to log on, he asked, “Am I spelling this right? T-A-P-E-D-U-N-D-E-R-T-H-E-M-O-D-E-M?”

Check out some of these ideas when you’re creating your passwords.

#1) Don’t Just Use One Password

In the video below, Grant Thompson suggests that you make at least three passwords: one for your bank, one for your friends (social media), and one for your e-mail. I fully agree. Only having one password for all of your online profiles

#2) Create Passwords That Are Hard For Others To Guess

Don’t just use your pet’s name or your children’s birthdays. If someone is digging into your life so that they can learn more about you, steal your identity, or steal money from you – there is a good chance that they will know the names of all of your pets and know a few things about your kids. Instead, try to use anagrams and other codes.

#3) Include Numbers, Capital Letters, And Symbols


Make sure to include a couple numbers, at least one capital letter and some symbols. Using this adds more variables to various password configurations, which will make it harder to guess your password.

#4) Make It At Least 8 Characters Long

The shorter your password, the easier it is to guess what your password is. It’s as simple as that. As of right now the best number of letters is at least eight.

#5) Careful What You Click On

Be careful of what you click on. There are a lot of phishing going on, on the internet. For example, when you’re on a website that you visit regularly and an ad pops-up asking for your password, don’t just click on it. Make sure that the website in the address bar is correct.

#6) YouTube Suggestions

Check out this great video on creating strong passwords.

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Facing the Fear of Public Speaking With Improv From Second City

Heaven High!

On this fabulous Friday I wanted to share a video with you. I recently saw this ABC News clip on public speaking, on YouTube. I found it both helpful and entertaining. Check it out and have an equally fabulous weekend.

More ABC News Videos | ABC World News

If you want a little extra aid in creating a great persona and personality for public speaking, check out Thom’s book, Acting for Real, FOR FREE!


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Why Storytellers Are The Best Public Speakers

Heaven High and Happy Hump Day!

Okay, so the title of this post is a bit of an over-generalization. There are many parts of a great speech and many ways to magically create public speaking skills where there were none before. Not all storytellers have those skills (expertise, charisma, timing, study skills, etc.) In fact I know a lot of writers and storytellers who hate being up in front of people – just as much as you do.


But do you know what they are skilled in, that comes in handy when it comes to public speaking? Telling stories. Telling stories that they are passionate about. These stories are their babies and they nurture them as such. That is the same way you should be treating your speeches.

Go up to a storyteller and ask him or her to tell you about one of their favorite stories that they had created. Not only will they be able to tell you all about it – in excruciating detail, if you let them – they will also tell you background info on all of the characters. Make believe characters.


Because they are passionate about their stories.


Not only that, their stories have three, very important details which make them more memorable: a beginning, middle, and an end. If you want to make your speech more memorable for your audience and easier to remember yourself, make sure that your speech has all three aspects.

We don’t all have the luxury of speaking about exciting topics. For most of us, business meeting topics and proposals can be a little dry. However, spicing it up a little and adding elements that you are passionate about will keep your audience from thinking that the topic is boring.

One way of making it more exciting is by adding some personal narratives. You can add stories that happened to you (first person) or add anecdotes about other people. The point in doing this is to make the material relatable.

For more tips on how to be successful in your life, get a FREE COPY of Thom’s book, Acting for Real, by clicking on the big, beautiful, green button below.

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5 Ways to Gain Success in 2015 Using the Power of Words

Today I had the pleasure of talking with Thom about New Year’s resolutions. We also talked about the power of words, which is why I absolutely loved his idea: writing a letter for yourself to open in 2016. I’ve recently toyed with the idea of creating a “Happiness Jar” and this would be a fantastic addition to it.

What is a “Happiness Jar”?

Happy Jar
Image by: Peg Fitzpatrick

Well, it is a jar filled with notes written by you. You can write notes about various things:
– Good things that have happened to you
– Things you are grateful for

You can even put mementos of events (like ticket stubs and receipts).

Since talking with Thom, I’ve concluded that the first thing I want to put in the jar is a letter that I will write to myself, describing my hopes, goals, and resolutions for 2015. I already have a list of resolutions that I have tacked up in my office and around my house. However, this letter could prove to be an encouraging way to get myself motivated for next year as well!

If you need a little push to get you started, check out some of these topics to write about in your letter to yourself:

#1) What hopes do you have for this year?


Write down your resolutions, goals, and what you want out of this year of your life. Remember that you have many years in the future and – while I always love the thought of thinking big – you should pick general goals that you can break down into short-term goals that you can fulfill throughout the next 12 months.

#2) What fears do you want to overcome?

Fears tell us a lot about ourselves. For example, I’ve always had a fear of being alone and that speaks to my childhood years. Think about your fears and which fear(s) you would like to overcome this year. Also consider putting down various steps that you can take to overcome them.

#3) ”Commit to the vision, but be flexible to the form.”


I got this quote from an article on the Tiny Buddha website called, “Writing letters to your future self.”

The concept behind this quote is fantastic: commit to your goal or resolution, however be flexible about how you get there and what form it comes in. If you ultimately want to be “successful at work”, you’ll have to take various routes to get there and remember that success comes in an innumerable forms.

#4) Write an encouraging mantra for yourself.

I am currently re-reading a book called, “The Productive Writer” which suggests that you focus on one word for your goal. The author’s example was, “Author-ity” (a pun that was quite appropriate since the book is focused on writing goals). Come up with a word for yourself.

#5) Thank Yourself for a Great Year


Gratitude is something that everyone must continue to practice. While you’re at it, don’t forget to thank yourself for all of the steps that you have/will take toward your own self-improvement.

While you’re at it, why not take the first step by grabbing a copy of Thom’s book, Acting for Real, FOR FREE! Just click on that beautiful, green button below to get started.


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On New Year’s Resolutions and S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Heaven High and Happy Friday!

How has your 2015 been so far?

Today I wanted to talk about New Year’s resolutions because there’s nothing that I love more than a healthy and achievable goal. 2015 has already started but that doesn’t mean that it is too late to start or modify the goals that you have for this year.

The term “New Year’s resolution” has a bad connotation associated with it. Mainly people use it as a term which is interchangeable with “goals that I won’t be able to achieve.” Well, here’s where we will make a difference. No more unachievable goals!

#1) Career

Goals that have to do with your professional life or your career can seem the most ambitious. These goals will often have the words “promotion”, “money”, and “owner”. However, the most thoughtful, impactful – and also difficult – goals involve the word “happy”.

Being happy at work is one of the most powerful tools you can have and will get you where you need to be. Once you find your passion at your job/career, you will find the drive that will get you that promotion and/or raise.

#2) Personal Life


When it comes to matters of the heart, it is often said that things should be left up to fate. While I believe that you can’t force love, I also believe these truths:

1. You have to work at a relationship and nourish it in order for it to thrive.
2. You can’t love someone else if you can’t love yourself first.
3. Personal growth is the best way to keep a relationship from getting boring.

If you want to fall in love, become a better partner, and/or save your relationship, remember to keep these truths in your mind at all times.

#3) Health

The more common resolutions are health-related. There are achievement style resolutions (“To be able to run a 7 minute mile”) and more general resolutions (“Look good naked”, “Stop getting yelled at by my physicians”). When it comes to health-related resolutions, the biggest motivator is to make a goal that is measurable. Actively watching your progress is incredibly empowering.

#4) S.M.A.R.T. Goals


The single, most important tip that I can give you about creating goals and resolutions is to create SMART Goals:

S. Specific (Come up with goals that are specific so that you can create equally as specific game plans)

M. Measurable (Be able to collect data in order to measure how well you are doing)

A. Achievable (Choose goals that you will be able to control or are within your circle of influence)

R. Relevant (Make sure that this goal is relevant to your life and passions)

T. Time Bound/Sensitive (Come up with short term goals that can be completed within four months in order to achieve your resolution

If you need a little extra motivation to get started, why not pick up a FREE COPY of Thom’s book, Acting for Real?

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3 Reasons Passion is Important in Public Speaking

Heaven High and Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!

Some of you may already be in 2015. However, here on the West Coast of the US, we are still riding the tailcoat of 2014.

Today I wanted to talk about passion and why it is important in public speaking. Why is it important to feel strongly about your topic? Why does that make a difference if you have social anxiety or if you don’t like speaking in front of people?

#1) Engage Your Audience

When you are passionate about your topic, it shows – intentional or not. Passion is like the flu – it is contagious. Funneling your passion through your speech will transfer that passion into your audience and listeners too.

#2) It is Authentic and Charismatic


If you’re looking to be more authentic and charismatic when you give speeches, being passionate about what you will be talking about is the first step (and one of the most important steps). When you feel strongly about a topic your true self will show through your nervousness.

For people who have social anxiety or are afraid of speaking in public, being authentic when they have to give speeches is one of the biggest worries. They will often be stiff and look uncomfortable on stage or in front of people. Your passion will get you through that.

#3) Sincerity Shows Through Non-Verbals

Being sincere while you are passing along information is an important factor in winning over your audience. If they sense insincerity, you will automatically lose them. When you feel passionate about the topic, your sincerity will show through your voice and your non-verbal communication – which is an important part of communication.

If you want to know more tips on ways to improve your public speaking and your life, why not grab Thom’s book, Acting for Real – FOR FREE!

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Toastmasters’ Top Five Tips for Public Speaking

Presenting material and information in front of people can be an incredibly nerve-wracking thing to do. If you need a little help, check out this informative video from Toastmasters:

I hope that you get a lot out of the video. Remember:

  1. Know your message and speech (research and practice)
  2. Know your audience and space
  3. Never apologize
  4. Imagine yourself giving a great speech
  5. Focus on your message, not yourself

Need more help? Why not get a FREE copy of my book, Acting for Real? It’s free, fun, informative, and can get you where you need to go.


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3 Ways To Incorporate Gratitude In Your Life

Heaven High, everyone! How was your Christmas or Hanukah? For those of you who celebrate Kwanzaa, I would like to wish you a happy first day of Kwanzaa!

I would also like to take this time to talk about gratitude. Thom shared a great story about oxytocin and generosity on Wednesday. I believe that generosity and gratitude go hand-in-hand. Let’s talk about how gratitude can help improve your life and how you can “use it” proactively.

#1) Natural and Healthy De-Stressor

How do you normally feel when you thank someone for something or show gratitude in a different way? If you’ve never really thought about it before, now is an excellent time to test it out. Write thank you cards to those who sent or gave you Christmas presents. Send thank you text messages with little notes on how you plan on using your presents.

After you go through that exercise, make a note on how you feel. For most people, showing gratitude is cathartic and a natural de-stressor. Showing gratitude and performing random acts of kindness are my stress-relief activities of choice. They both:

– Feel good,
– Make the world around me a better place,
– Make people smile (including myself),
– Help to strengthen my values, and
– Are things that I wish to pass along to the next generation.

#2) Boosts Your Immune System


How can being grateful boost your immune system? Well, grateful people are more optimistic, which is said to cause a positive effect on your immune function. In one study, researchers compared the immune systems of students and found that optimistic students had higher numbers of the blood cells that protect their immune systems.

#3) Puts Things in Perspective

By counting your blessings instead of your burdens, gestures like being grateful can really help you put everything in perspective.

One way to take advantage of this phenomenon is by keeping a gratitude journal. I suggest picking up a small notebook that you can keep in a pocket or purse. Each day make sure to write down at least three things that you are thankful for. Try not to repeat items (at least not in a one month span of time).

Don’t forget the small things either. Write down the small things that you are grateful for and break down the bigger items. Instead of saying, “I am grateful for having my significant other in my life,” write down why you are grateful for him or her:

“I am grateful that my fiancé made a pot of coffee for me before he left for work this morning.”
“I am grateful that my fiancé and I have the same taste in movies.”
“I am grateful that my fiancé and I don’t have to do anything elaborate or expensive to enjoy time together.”

After you’re done listing things down in your book, don’t forget to voice them as well. Tell your significant other why you love him and what you are grateful for.


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WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/women/features/gratitute-health-boost
Greater Good: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/expandinggratitude
Happier Human: http://happierhuman.com/the-science-of-gratitude/

Generosity at Christmas Time

Heaven High!

Thom here, and today I wanted to share a story with you. With tomorrow being Christmas, I thought that I would share a story about something that happened to my wife (Nancy) and I last Friday.

Nancy and I were invited to see a big band show with another couple. They were going to play Christmas songs at a great little Madrid theater in The Valley. We figured that we would all have dinner first so we went at about six (a couple hours before the other couple). Since we were so early, we decided to check out a little bookstore down the street from the restaurant. It was a quaint, little used bookstore.


I got the Public Speakers Treasure Chest and another book and Nancy got a Shakespearean book. As we stood in the check-out line, we noticed a thin teenager paying for two books. She was counting the money on the counter (all in one dollar bills) but she must have come up short because she looked up from her change and said, “Would you hold these for me and I’ll bring you all of the money on Monday?”

The owner seemed friendly enough so I signed to him, “Just put it on my bill.” So he tells her, you’ve got a Secret Santa. Don’t worry about the rest, he’ll just pay for the rest of the bill.” She turned around, looking for her Secret Santa and finally met me eye-to-eye and said, “Thank you very much.”

I told her to have a Merry Christmas to keep learning. This small gesture flooded me with emotions. Doing something for someone and expecting nothing in return, AKA generosity floods our brain with oxytocin which is a chemical that makes us feel good. You get oxytocin from hugging, shaking hands, smiling, and doing nice things. Whenever you witness a good deed, you get that feeling of happiness – oxytocin gets released.


Athletes access endorphins which mask pain. For example, marathon runners hit the wall and then endorphins kick in to mask that pain. While endorphins may be helpful, I prefer the naturally occurring happiness in oxytocin and generosity.

Anyway, back to the story. My two books didn’t cost much but Nancy’s book was about $35. When we got up to the register the owner said, “What you did was really nice and now I feel bad because I should have done that. So I’m going to give you this book for $20 instead of $35.”

Generosity is doing something for someone and expecting nothing in return. It’s designed to make you feel good. You are paying for that feeling by giving something or sharing something and expecting nothing in return. Keep this in mind this holiday season.

Have a very Merry Christmas and B BOP!


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