How to Stop a Cold | Elemental


via How to Stop a Cold | Elemental

Random phrases of the day


  1. Elephant in the RoomMeaning: Ignoring a large, obvious problem or failing to address an issue that stands out in a major way.
  2. Goody Two-ShoesMeaning: A smugly virtuous person.
  3. Keep Your Shirt OnMeaning: Keeping calm. Usually said by someone who is trying to avoid making others upset.
  4. Everything But The Kitchen SinkMeaning: Including nearly everything possible.
  5. All Greek To MeMeaning: When something is incomprehensible due to complexity; unintelligble.

Speeches – The Writing Center


via Speeches – The Writing Center

What this handout is about

This handout will help you create an effective speech by establishing the purpose of your speech and making it easily understandable. It will also help you to analyze your audience and keep the audience interested.

What’s different about a speech?

Writing for public speaking isn’t so different from other types of writing. You want to engage your audience’s attention, convey your ideas in a logical manner and use reliable evidence to support your point. But the conditions for public speaking favor some writing qualities over others. When you write a speech, your audience is made up of listeners. They have only one chance to comprehend the information as you read it, so your speech must be well-organized and easily understood. In addition, the content of the speech and your delivery must fit the audience.

What’s your purpose?

People have gathered to hear you speak on a specific issue, and they expect to get something out of it immediately. And you, the speaker, hope to have an immediate effect on your audience. The purpose of your speech is to get the response you want. Most speeches invite audiences to react in one of three ways: feeling, thinking, or acting. For example, eulogies encourage emotional response from the audience; college lectures stimulate listeners to think about a topic from a different perspective; protest speeches in the Pit recommend actions the audience can take.

As you establish your purpose, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want the audience to learn or do?
  • If you are making an argument, why do you want them to agree with you?
  • If they already agree with you, why are you giving the speech?
  • How can your audience benefit from what you have to say?

Audience analysis

If your purpose is to get a certain response from your audience, you must consider who they are (or who you’re pretending they are). If you can identify ways to connect with your listeners, you can make your speech interesting and useful.

As you think of ways to appeal to your audience, ask yourself:

  • What do they have in common? Age? Interests? Ethnicity? Gender?
  • Do they know as much about your topic as you, or will you be introducing them to new ideas?
  • Why are these people listening to you? What are they looking for?
  • What level of detail will be effective for them?
  • What tone will be most effective in conveying your mesage?
  • What might offend or alienate them?

For more help, see our handout on audience.

Creating an effective introduction

Get their attention, otherwise known as “The Hook”

Think about how you can relate to these listeners and get them to relate to you or your topic. Appealing to your audience on a personal level captures their attention and concern, increasing the chances of a successful speech. Speakers often begin with anecdotes to hook their audience’s attention. Other methods include presenting shocking statistics, asking direct questions of the audience, or enlisting audience participation.

Establish context and/or motive

Explain why your topic is important. Consider your purpose and how you came to speak to this audience. You may also want to connect the material to related or larger issues as well, especially those that may be important to your audience.

Get to the point

Tell your listeners your thesis right away and explain how you will support it. Don’t spend as much time developing your introductory paragraph and leading up to the thesis statement as you would in a research paper for a course. Moving from the intro into the body of the speech quickly will help keep your audience interested. You may be tempted to create suspense by keeping the audience guessing about your thesis until the end, then springing the implications of your discussion on them. But if you do so, they will most likely become bored or confused.

For more help, see our handout on introductions.

Making your speech easy to understand

Repeat crucial points and buzzwords

Especially in longer speeches, it’s a good idea to keep reminding your audience of the main points you’ve made. For example, you could link an earlier main point or key term as you transition into or wrap up a new point. You could also address the relationship between earlier points and new points through discussion within a body paragraph. Using buzzwords or key terms throughout your paper is also a good idea. If your thesis says you’re going to expose unethical behavior of medical insurance companies, make sure the use of “ethics” recurs instead of switching to “immoral” or simply “wrong.” Repetition of key terms makes it easier for your audience to take in and connect information.

Incorporate previews and summaries into the speech

For example:

    • “I’m here today to talk to you about three issues that threaten our educational system: First, … Second, … Third,”
    • or
    “I’ve talked to you today about such and such.”

These kinds of verbal cues permit the people in the audience to put together the pieces of your speech without thinking too hard, so they can spend more time paying attention to its content.

Use especially strong transitions

This will help your listeners see how new information relates to what they’ve heard so far. If you set up a counterargument in one paragraph so you can demolish it in the next, begin the demolition by saying something like,

    “But this argument makes no sense when you consider that . . . .”

If you’re providing additional information to support your main point, you could say,

    “Another fact that supports my main point is . . . .”

Helping your audience listen

Rely on shorter, simpler sentence structures

Don’t get too complicated when you’re asking an audience to remember everything you say. Avoid using too many subordinate clauses, and place subjects and verbs close together.

Too complicated:

    The product, which was invented in 1908 by Orville Z. McGillicuddy in Des Moines, Iowa, and which was on store shelves approximately one year later, still sells well.

Easier to understand:

    Orville Z. McGillicuddy invented the product in 1908 and introduced it into stores shortly afterward. Almost a century later, the product still sells well.

Limit pronoun use

Listeners may have a hard time remembering or figuring out what “it,” “they,” or “this” refers to. Be specific by using a key noun instead of unclear pronouns.

Pronoun problem:

    The U.S. government has failed to protect us from the scourge of so-called reality television, which exploits sex, violence, and petty conflict, and calls it human nature. This cannot continue.

Why the last sentence is unclear:
“This” what? The government’s failure? Reality TV? Human nature?

More specific:

    The U.S. government has failed to protect us from the scourge of so-called reality television, which exploits sex, violence, and petty conflict, and calls it human nature. This failure cannot continue.

Keeping audience interest

Incorporate the rhetorical strategies of ethos, pathos, and logos

When arguing a point, using ethos, pathos, and logos can help convince your audience to believe you and make your argument stronger. Ethos refers to an appeal to your audience by establishing your authenticity and trustworthiness as a speaker. If you employ pathos, you appeal to your audience’s emotions. Using logos includes the support of hard facts, statistics, and logical argumentation. The most effective speeches usually present a combination these rhetorical strategies.

Use statistics and quotations sparingly

Include only the most striking factual material to support your perspective, things that would likely stick in the listeners’ minds long after you’ve finished speaking. Otherwise, you run the risk of overwhelming your listeners with too much information.

Watch your tone

Be careful not to talk over the heads of your audience. On the other hand, don’t be condescending either. And as for grabbing their attention, yelling, cursing, using inappropriate humor, or brandishing a potentially offensive prop (say, autopsy photos) will only make the audience tune you out.

Creating an effective conclusion

Restate your main points, but don’t repeat them

For example:

    • “I asked earlier why we should care about the rain forest. Now I hope it’s clear that . . .”
    “Remember how Mrs. Smith couldn’t afford her prescriptions? Under our plan, . . .”

Call to action

Speeches often close with an appeal to the audience to take action based on their new knowledge or understanding. If you do this, be sure the action you recommend is specific and realistic. For example, although your audience may not be able to affect foreign policy directly, they can vote or work for candidates whose foreign policy views they support. Relating the purpose of your speech to their lives not only creates a connection with your audience, but also reiterates the importance of your topic to them in particular or “the bigger picture.”

Practicing for effective presentation

Once you’ve completed a draft, read your speech to a friend or in front of a mirror. When you’ve finished reading, ask the following questions:

  • Which pieces of information are clearest?
  • Where did I connect with the audience?
  • Where might listeners lose the thread of my argument or description?
  • Where might listeners become bored?
  • Where did I have trouble speaking clearly and/or emphatically?
  • Did I stay within my time limit?

Other resources

  • Toastmasters International is a nonprofit group that provides communication and leadership training.
  • Allyn & Bacon Publishing’s Essence of Public Speaking Series is an extensive treatment of speech writing and delivery, including books on using humor, motivating your audience, word choice and presentation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Boone, Louis E., David L. Kurtz, and Judy R. Block. Contemporary Business Communication. Prentice-Hall, 1997.

Ehrlich, Henry. Writing Effective Speeches. Marlowe, 1994.

Lamb, Sandra. How to Write It: A Complete Guide to Everything You’ll Ever Write. 10-Speed Press, 1998.


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 License.
You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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The next pandemic is inevitable. Are we prepared? – Big Think


via The next pandemic is inevitable. Are we prepared? – Big Think

RRY BRILLIANT: It’s not a question of if we will have a pandemic, it’s a question of when. The odds that something like that happens increases to the extent that we are not prepared that we do not increase our ability to find every case as soon as it jumps from an animal to a human, that we are not able to respond quickly by whatever means we have at the time. We won’t have a vaccine or an antiviral on the first few days of a pandemic, so what we have to respond with is good public health. We have to be able to do isolation, social distancing, containment, messaging, all of those things. It is unlikely that that first case is going to take place in New York City or Chicago. It is likely that it will take place in a poor country at the periphery of the country far away from the capital.

That’s what happened with Ebola, a perfect storm. The first cases took place at the border of three post conflict impoverished countries that didn’t have a very good public health infrastructure. And they started asking WHO to send in teams and to send in resources it was right around the time of the World Health Assembly, which takes place in May. And the World Health Assembly had said to the WHO management that they had to find a way to cut their budget. And unfortunately the budget part that they cut was pandemic prevention, infectious disease control and immediate response to outbreaks. The net of that, the sad net of that is that it was six months before there was the declaration of an infectious disease of global significance, which is WHO’s way of saying this is all in let’s send everybody do everything we can do. We were on a trajectory to reach hundreds of thousands of cases. And CDC actually estimated that we were on a trajectory to reach over one million cases. Had not Obama and the U.S. jumped in with even military resources and sending them food – I mean Médecins Sans Frontières were heroes.

But I think here’s the lesson for us right now in the United States is we have an administration that wants to cut the size of government and freeze hiring and not hire new people. We have to staff up for pandemic prevention. It is a low probability but a highly consequential event. These are the worst things to deal with.

I was at an event called the Renaissance Weekend a couple of years ago and we had just made a movie called Contagion. And I wanted to make a movie that really looked like what a real pandemic would look like and that’s what Contagion was, the science was impeccable. So I showed this movie at the Renaissance Weekend and one of the most conservative Republicans in the country, part of a think tank that everybody knows, he spoke after me and he said, “I saw Contagion, I saw the movie. I realize now what a pandemic is like. I understand that government has got to be ready. So I’ve been telling people in the tea party, ‘Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut the budget, cut everything. Cut cut, cut. Don’t leave anything uncut.’ And then I saw Contagion. And now I say something similar, I say, ‘Cut, cut, cut. Cut everything except pandemic preparedness.'” There are a number of things which are highly consequential and very difficult to plan for and understand and we only can do that with government and with international agencies. The private sector, corporations and foundations can’t do it.

  • There is no way to completely stop a pandemic from coming, says former United Nations medical officer and a key player in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) smallpox eradication program in South Asia, Larry Brilliant. Being prepared and having a good public health infrastructure are necessary to reduce impact.
  • Pandemics like ebola are more likely to start at the edges of poor countries, away from the main hub and away from major cities, but without isolation and containment protocols they can and will grow.
  • According to Brilliant, budget cuts and poor decision making by government in the past has crippled pandemic prevention efforts in time of crisis. That’s something that we can not let happen again.

Best Newsletters


This is the Brain Pickings midweek pick-me-up: Once a week, I plunge into my 13-year archive and choose something worth resurfacing and resavoring as timeless nourishment for heart, mind, and spirit. (If you don’t yet subscribe to the standard Sunday newsletter of new pieces published each week, you can sign up here — it’s free.) If you missed last week’s edition — Nabokov’s breathtaking love letters to his wife — you can catch up right here. And if you find any solace, joy, and value in my labor of love, please consider supporting it with a donation – over these thirteen years, I have spent tens of thousands of hours and tremendous resources on Brain Pickings, and every little bit of support helps keep it – keep me – going. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

FROM THE ARCHIVE | The Measure of a Life Well Lived: Henry Miller on Growing Old, the Perils of Success, and the Secret of Remaining Young at Heart

henrymiller_onturningeighty1.jpg?zoom=2&w=680“On how one orients himself to the moment,” 48-year-old Henry Miller (December 26, 1891–June 7, 1980) wrote in reflecting on the art of living in 1939, “depends the failure or fruitfulness of it.” Over the course of his long life, Miller sought ceaselessly to orient himself toward maximal fruitfulness, from his creative discipline to his philosophical reflections to his exuberant irreverence.

More than three decades later, shortly after his eightieth birthday, Miller wrote a beautiful essay on the subject of aging and the key to living a full life. It was published in 1972 in an ultra-limited-edition chapbook titled On Turning Eighty (public library), alongside two other essays. Only 200 copies were printed, numbered and signed by the author.

henrymiller1.jpg?zoom=2&w=680

Miller begins by considering the true measure of youthfulness:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngIf at eighty you’re not a cripple or an invalid, if you have your health, if you still enjoy a good walk, a good meal (with all the trimmings), if you can sleep without first taking a pill, if birds and flowers, mountains and sea still inspire you, you are a most fortunate individual and you should get down on your knees morning and night and thank the good Lord for his savin’ and keepin’ power. If you are young in years but already weary in spirit, already on the way to becoming an automaton, it may do you good to say to your boss — under your breath, of course — “Fuck you, Jack! You don’t own me!” … If you can fall in love again and again, if you can forgive your parents for the crime of bringing you into the world, if you are content to get nowhere, just take each day as it comes, if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical, man you’ve got it half licked.

He later adds:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI have very few friends or acquaintances my own age or near it. Though I am usually ill at ease in the company of elderly people I have the greatest respect and admiration for two very old men who seem to remain eternally young and creative. I mean [the Catalan cellist and conductor] Pablo Casals and Pablo Picasso, both over ninety now. Such youthful nonagenarians put the young to shame. Those who are truly decrepit, living corpses, so to speak, are the middle-aged, middleclass men and women who are stuck in their comfortable grooves and imagine that the status quo will last forever or else are so frightened it won’t that they have retreated into their mental bomb shelters to wait it out.

Miller considers the downside of success — not the private kind, per Thoreau’s timeless definition, but the public kind, rooted in the false deity of prestige:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngIf you have had a successful career, as presumably I have had, the late years may not be the happiest time of your life. (Unless you’ve learned to swallow your own shit.) Success, from the worldly standpoint, is like the plague for a writer who still has something to say. Now, when he should be enjoying a little leisure, he finds himself more occupied than ever. Now he is the victim of his fans and well wishers, of all those who desire to exploit his name. Now it is a different kind of struggle that one has to wage. The problem now is how to keep free, how to do only what one wants to do.

He goes on to reflect on how success affects people’s quintessence:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngOne thing seems more and more evident to me now — people’s basic character does not change over the years… Far from improving them, success usually accentuates their faults or short-comings. The brilliant guys at school often turn out to be not so brilliant once they are out in the world. If you disliked or despised certain lads in your class you will dislike them even more when they become financiers, statesmen or five star generals. Life forces us to learn a few lessons, but not necessarily to grow.

Somewhat ironically, Anaïs Nin — Miller’s onetime lover and lifelong friend — once argued beautifully for the exact opposite, the notion that our personalities are fundamentally fluid and ever-growing, something that psychologists have since corroborated.

Miller returns to youth and the young as a kind of rearview mirror for one’s own journey:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngYou observe your children or your children’s children, making the same absurd mistakes, heart-rending mistakes often, which you made at their age. And there is nothing you can say or do to prevent it. It’s by observing the young, indeed, that you eventually understand the sort of idiot you yourself were once upon a time — and perhaps still are.

Like George Eliot, who so poignantly observed the trajectory of happiness over the course of human life, Miller extols the essential psychoemotional supremacy of old age:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngAt eighty I believe I am a far more cheerful person than I was at twenty or thirty. I most definitely would not want to be a teenager again. Youth may be glorious, but it is also painful to endure…

I was cursed or blessed with a prolonged adolescence; I arrived at some seeming maturity when I was past thirty. It was only in my forties that I really began to feel young. By then I was ready for it. (Picasso once said: “One starts to get young at the age of sixty, and then it’s too late.”) By this time I had lost many illusions, but fortunately not my enthusiasm, nor the joy of living, nor my unquenchable curiosity.

thisishenry2.jpg?zoom=2&w=680

And therein lies Miller’s spiritual center — the life-force that stoked his ageless inner engine:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngPerhaps it is curiosity — about anything and everything — that made me the writer I am. It has never left me…

With this attribute goes another which I prize above everything else, and that is the sense of wonder. No matter how restricted my world may become I cannot imagine it leaving me void of wonder. In a sense I suppose it might be called my religion. I do not ask how it came about, this creation in which we swim, but only to enjoy and appreciate it.

Two years later, Miller would come to articulate this with even more exquisite clarity in contemplating the meaning of life, but here he contradicts Henry James’s assertion that seriousness preserves one’s youth and turns to his other saving grace — the capacity for light-heartedness as an antidote to life’s often stifling solemnity:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngPerhaps the most comforting thing about growing old gracefully is the increasing ability not to take things too seriously. One of the big differences between a genuine sage and a preacher is gaiety. When the sage laughs it is a belly laugh; when the preacher laughs, which is all too seldom, it is on the wrong side of the face.

Equally important, Miller argues, is countering the human compulsion for self-righteousness. In a sentiment Malcolm Gladwell would come to complement nearly half a century later in advocating for the importance of changing one’s mind regularly, Miller writes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngWith advancing age my ideals, which I usually deny possessing, have definitely altered. My ideal is to be free of ideals, free of principles, free of isms and ideologies. I want to take to the ocean of life like a fish takes to the sea…

I no longer try to convert people to my view of things, nor to heal them. Neither do I feel superior because they appear to be lacking in intelligence.

Miller goes on to consider the brute ways in which we often behave out of self-righteousness and deformed idealism:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngOne can fight evil but against stupidity one is helpless… I have accepted the fact, hard as it may be, that human beings are inclined to behave in ways that would make animals blush. The ironic, the tragic thing is that we often behave in ignoble fashion from what we consider the highest motives. The animal makes no excuse for killing his prey; the human animal, on the other hand, can invoke God’s blessing when massacring his fellow men. He forgets that God is not on his side but at his side.

But despite observing these lamentable human tendencies, Miller remains an optimist at heart. He concludes by returning to the vital merriment at the root of his life-force:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngMy motto has always been: “Always merry and bright.” Perhaps that is why I never tire of quoting Rabelais: “For all your ills I give you laughter.” As I look back on my life, which has been full of tragic moments, I see it more as a comedy than a tragedy. One of those comedies in which while laughing your guts out you feel your inner heart breaking. What better comedy could there be? The man who takes himself seriously is doomed…

There is nothing wrong with life itself. It is the ocean in which we swim and we either adapt to it or sink to the bottom. But it is in our power as human beings not to pollute the waters of life, not to destroy the spirit which animates us.

The most difficult thing for a creative individual is to refrain from the effort to make the world to his liking and to accept his fellow man for what he is, whether good, bad or indifferent.

henrymiller_onturningeighty2.jpg?zoom=2&w=680

The entire On Turning Eighty chapbook, which includes two other essays, is a sublime read. Complement it with Miller on writingaltruismthe meaning of lifewhat creative death means, and his 11 commandments of writing.

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RELATED READING:

How to Grow Old: Bertrand Russell on What Makes a Fulfilling Life

* * *

Grace Paley on the Art of Growing Older

* * *

Toni Morrison on How to Be Your Own Story and Reap the Rewards of True Adulthood in a Culture That Fetishizes Youth

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4th path


I am happy to dedicate my 4th Path Completion Proficiency Certificate to two Gentlemen Toastmasters. DTM Askander Mirza My first Toastmaster mentor and Prakash Tamhankar my first Speech Evaluator and a constant motivation over past 16-17 months of Toastmasters Journey. Without your inspirational words and support I would not have achieved 4 Pathways Proficiency. . Thank you Sirs. Your Kind Blessings and motivation are most appreciated. Without you showing me the intricacies of the Pathways in particular and Toastmasters in General – I would not have achieved this 4th Path,. I am a Learner for life and more than Leadership roles – sharing knowledge ( to empty the cup and refill with new knowledge) and share with needy (as. fellow toastmaster or Mentor) is my quest. I wish God keeps me helping in this mission. My kind regards to you as my first Toastmaster mentor and First Evaluator respectively.

Today’s Random Impromptu Speech topic


  • Handle With Care  An unexpected journey of something fragile.
  • The Dictionary Open up a dictionary to a random page and point to a word. Write a paragraph with that word as the main theme.
  • Beautiful Sunset Something magical happens as the sun disappears over the horizon.
  • Coffee or Tea A dialog about the merits of coffee versus tea.
  • Status Update Where are you along your current journey?

Random Weird Words


  1. zalambdodont having molar teeth with V-shaped ridges
  2. zapateado Latin-American dance with rhythmic tapping of the feet
  3. zanella. mixed twilled umbrella fabric
  4. zoogyroscope device for depicting the movement of animals through rotating images
  5. zonary of or like a zone; arranged in zones

Random Phrases for the day


  1. Quality Time Meaning: Spending time with another to strengthen the relationship.
  2. Lickety Split Meaning: To go at a quick pace; no delaying!
  3. It’s Not Brain Surgery Meaning: A task that’s easy to accomplish, a thing lacking complexity.
  4. I Smell a Rat Meaning: A feeling that something is not quite right, or awry.
  5. My Cup of Tea Meaning: Someone or something that one finds to be agreeable or delightful

WORD OF THE DAY


WORD OF THE DAY
Limpid
LIM-pid
Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Latin, early 17th century
1

(of a liquid) free of anything that darkens; completely clear.

2

(of a person’s eyes) unclouded; clear.

Examples of Limpid in a sentence

“The pictures showing limpid pools and endless rows of lounge chairs made her want to book a vacation immediately.”

“She knew her son was over his bout of flu when she saw his limpid eyes.”

Random Acts of Kindness


  1. Go to a tourist spot and offer couples/families to take their pictures with their camera
  2. Throw away your trash – and someone else’s – after a movie, picnic or visit to a park
  3. Pay a compliment at least once a day
  4. Give someone the benefit of the doubt
  5. Give a Random Stranger a gift from their Amazon Wish List