Do these quick vocal workouts
Elocution. It’s commanding attention through the art of speaking. It’s the ability to make every person in a crowded room stop what they’re doing to listen to YOU. It’s also one of the many factors that contribute to your overall executive presence.
Here are a few quick daily exercises for gradually polishing your elocution and diction skills to a level deserving of royalty, or at least the fabulous actors who play royalty on TV.
Practice tongue twisters.
- Pick a tongue twister. (We love this one: Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.)
- Start by reciting it slowly.
- Memorize it.
- Practice reciting it a few times each day, building speed as your mouth muscles become more agile.
- Grab a book, or really, anything with text.
- Practice reading a few sentences aloud, while exaggerating each consonant sound.
- As you over-pronounce each consonant, you’ll likely feel a little contraction in your stomach, as though you’re doing abdominal crunches.
- Select a speech—ideally a historically significant one that is “young” enough to have a readily available audio recording.
- Listen to all or part of it.
- Mimic a section of the speech. Copy the speaker’s timing, pauses, inflections, and masterful modulation.
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Before you can organize your ideas into a picture-perfect process map, you’ll want to see how they relate to each other.
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Gimme a break
Taking breaks should be the easiest thing you could possibly do during a work day.
You feel a tension headache coming on. You’ll take a restorative break and return to work feeling better than ever. That’s how it works, right?
Breaks may sometimes fall short of your lofty expectations. You hope to return to work refreshed but end up wishing you didn’t have to return to work at all.
Start taking better breaks by understanding these common misconceptions.
Misconception: Every minute I spend on a break is a minute of lost productivity.
Reality: When you’re so fixated on getting something done that you put off going to the bathroom, for example, you may not be getting the thing done as well as you could be.
Taking a break allows you to actually think about the work, providing the breathing room you need to make decisions or come up with new ideas. Engagement increases. Mistakes go down.
Breaks also disrupt tedium. After a break, a suffocating task may feel a little more enjoyable.
Misconception: I just can’t swing it. People are not going to be happy if I’m away from my desk for long periods of time.
Reality: Breaks don’t have to be long to be beneficial, and you can also take beneficial breaks without even leaving your desk. Evidence suggests short breaks, even just to stretch right in your office for a few minutes, do wonders for resetting the brain.
Misconception: Breaks will interrupt my flow and make me lose track of what I was just doing.
Reality: Actually, breaks might help you achieve deeper insight about what you were just doing. While getting into a flow state feels great, the downside is getting caught up in work for the sake of staying in flow.
You might plow through an assignment only to realize, later on, that it’s not due for another two weeks and you actually have something more urgent due tomorrow.
Breaks give you a moment to reflect on the big picture and ensure you’re using active working time in the best ways.
Misconception: Breaks don’t work. I just scrolled cat videos for like ten minutes and it didn’t help at all.
Reality: Breaks in general are restorative, but some activities you might do during breaks can be more draining than enriching.
According to the experts at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, taking breaks to use social media, respond to emails, or just scroll the internet can overload your brain’s decision-making center. You end up feeling more tired, and more grumpy, than you were pre-break.
Restorative Break Ideas
Do any of these things for at least 5 minutes to get the most from every precious minute of your breaks.
- Call a friend or loved one to talk about something other than work.
- Listen to music.
- Do a quick household chore.
- Go sit outside.
- Take a walk.
- Think of a new goal you want to pursue.
- Do a quick workout.
- Daydream about anything.
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YOU DO YOU
Demystifying power dynamics
The hosts of NPR’s Invisibilia podcast interviewed Peter Belmi, a union organizer who helps people access and own their power at work.
After taking a disappointing class that made him feel left out of the “power game,” Belmi immersed himself in trying to demystify power dynamics, namely through research, which ultimately led to several important insights that may help you access feelings of power:
Believe in your power.
Changing your mindset around your power can be exactly what you need to bolster a sense of power. In Belmi’s experience, helping workers trust their own power led them to show up for meetings and events where they could further enhance their collective sense of power.
Know your worth.
Accepting that you have worth, and that it’s something to fight for and talk about, can be challenging for many people. However, once you accomplish this, everything else comes naturally because you know what you’re standing up for.
Lean on, and uplift, your community/network.
When you have community solidarity, a sense of power builds exponentially.
One of the world’s longest documented Zoom meetings lasted a mind-numbing 120 hours. (That project status meeting that always goes overtime doesn’t look so bad now, right?)
This unofficial record belongs to the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis, who completed their marathon Zoom in 2020.
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