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Old 04-03-2012, 12:21 PM   #26
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read more books, get better vocabs, dont call them girls "bitchezz"
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:25 PM   #27
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I watch a lot of documentaries, listen podcasts and pretty much emulate and learn new vocab through them. Reading is very essential too.

To practice, try telling your friends about what you've learned, interesting anecdotes that would start a good conversation. Don't dumb it down or talk at their level.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:44 PM   #28
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All I have to say is, good for you for taking the initiative to better yourself. Especially for something many people may consider trivial, depending on their field of work/social circles.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:18 PM   #29
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Wow you're right our situation is very similar. Just like you I used to read a lot when I was a kid (Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew (yes I read Nancy Drew too ), Encyclopedia Brown, and other novels like The Golden Compass/Subtle Knife/Amber Spyglass to name a few). Ever since I started high school though, the only reading I've done consisted of forums or random news articles.
LoL, shit... maybe there's a correlation between reading Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew novels and the ability to speak publicly... because I also read a ton of them (yes, I also read Nancy Drew - the Super Mysteries were awesome ) back around Grade 7. I can't remember the last time I read a book "for fun" though. Probably haven't since early on in high school.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:58 PM   #30
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I have that fear too... When speaking to someone important like during a sales pitch / job interview / girl you wanna get, i'd get scared over whether or not i sound like a dumbass. Lack of vocabulary or usage of stupid words like "stuff". Always saying "um" or "uhh". I dont have a bad case of it like some other people do, but i'd like to completely get rid of it. I find a good way to handle this is before you blurt out your sentence, Taking a 1 second pause to collect your thoughts sounds a lot better than "ummmmmm"
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:09 PM   #31
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just kidding. i can relate to your post. interviews are high stress situations and theres nothing natural about speaking calm and collectively in those situations. practice makes perfect
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:17 PM   #32
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Admittedly, reading (as a hobby) is something I've neglected since elementary so I'm definitely gonna spend more time reading. I agree with what you said about RS not counting lol, though I admit I'm amazed at how well some people on here express themselves (Noir, El Bastardo for example) and often take pointers from their posts.
Reading is a good start, but take it one step further and read out loud. You can start by reading stories to children.


Reading out loud, exercises a different part of the brain. Start out with simple stories........ work on reading with expression.
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:10 PM   #33
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I would highly recommend the toastmasters program to overcome your fears in presentations/public speaking as well.

Also, have a good nights sleep and try not to drink any stimulants (i.e. caffeinated drinks) prior to the interview. Be sure that you've done your research on the company and the position that you are applying for. Linked-in is a very powerful tool for you to collect intel on basically anything. Network with alumni's of the organization... etc
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:10 PM   #34
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It doesn't really sound like you are nervous, it just sounds like you just need to organize your thoughts a little bit better.

In an interview setting, take a deep breath before answering the question, and follow the STAR format: Situation, task, action, result. Always start off and focus on setting up the situation or context first before jumping into your actions and the result. I always find that if your thoughts are organized, you will automatically appear to be well-spoken (regardless if you have an advanced vocabulary or not).

Before you talk to your boss or tell a story, try writing down the main points on a piece of paper first and number them in the order that tells the best story.

Hope it helps, and yes, always read/practice out loud!
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:31 PM   #35
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I sat in toast masters a couple of times as a guest, but never actually took the time to join. However, the last time I went there I was kind of turned off because some lady flooded the place with a bunch of her esl students. Not that there is anything wrong with being esl.

Joining toastmasters is still on my to do list of things I have yet to do.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:39 PM   #36
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I sat in toast masters a couple of times as a guest, but never actually took the time to join. However, the last time I went there I was kind of turned off because some lady flooded the place with a bunch of her esl students. Not that there is anything wrong with being esl.

Joining toastmasters is still on my to do list of things I have yet to do.
I asked my friend about this and he said this was his experience too.

I went to one Toastmasters meeting myself at SFU, and while it was pretty interesting and no ESL students, the setting felt too staged/artificial. Still kinda interested in it, though; my public speaking is not bad but could always be better.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:56 PM   #37
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RS Toastmasters group sign-up / meet?

I could really use some help with this too. I'm fairly good with writing but I could use improvement in spoken communication.
+1 would also like to join one with 'familiar' people. I once joined one as guest - went there alone and felt kinda awkward during break time and after the meeting
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:26 PM   #38
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You know when the cashier says how are you?
You reply "good"...then comes the awkward silent pause until your done.

That's what you gotta work on....haha..cause I suck at it.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:39 PM   #39
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The problem with these guys now is that its hard to find a good "club". Many toastmasters meetings are now filled with ESL students trying to practice their English. Make sure you find one that has predominantly native speakers (English was their first language, or they don't have any accents).

This has been a big complaint between me and my friends.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:41 PM   #40
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I asked my friend about this and he said this was his experience too.

I went to one Toastmasters meeting myself at SFU, and while it was pretty interesting and no ESL students, the setting felt too staged/artificial. Still kinda interested in it, though; my public speaking is not bad but could always be better.
+ 1 on the too staged thing.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:42 PM   #41
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Definitely give Toastmasters a try. Another tip would be to try your hand at improv classes. I know that's what helped me get past this, and I don't have this problem any more.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:44 PM   #42
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I watch a lot of documentaries, listen podcasts and pretty much emulate and learn new vocab through them. Reading is very essential too.

To practice, try telling your friends about what you've learned, interesting anecdotes that would start a good conversation. Don't dumb it down or talk at their level.
You also learn a lot by hanging out with great speakers or super articulate friends. If you hang out with geeks, chances are your social skills are not going to be that great. But hanging out with very outgoing, social people will help you become more sociable imho.

I have some friends in Sales (not like customer service sales). Like pitching sales ideas and making presentations in boardrooms to executives etc. They are great speakers and hanging out with them I picked up a few tricks here and there.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:07 PM   #43
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Practice.

Just youtube great speakers you want to mimic and just practice.

Whatever speech you're about to say - recite it 17 times. Know what you're saying by heart. So when you're giving a speech, it feels like a conversation, it flows freely and your audience is more engaged. Since you know your speech by heart, it is much easier to improvise if you have a great idea that pops up during your speech and you want to implement that idea as well.

If you're still young, get a part time sales job at the mall. Learn to sell. I know it helped me a lot. You practice it enough, you can recite anything at will.

Keep in mind, like any skill, it degrades if no practice is done.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:48 PM   #44
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One comment I consistently receive from Professors, I have an excellent vocabulary. I have never played silly computer games or memorized cue cards, I do not have much faith either would significantly improve ones speech patterns. You need to start reading daily, even just 20 minutes before bed each night would be of significant benefit, RS does not count. Read material written with the skill level you would like to achieve in writing or speaking, whether that simply be the financial pages or sharp editorials or prose shouldn't matter much. Words, and patterns they are used in, will enter your mental lexicon and slowly integrate into your verbal and written speech patterns.
Trust me on this one suggestion - go to Chapters, and buy a copy of The Economist. Read it, and have a dictionary by your side. If you don't have time, go to isohunt.com and download the audio edition, and play it on your ipod or in your car while driving. Not only will you learn a fuckload, your vocabulary will increase exponentially.

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Old 04-03-2012, 09:52 PM   #45
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I did toastmasters a few years back too but I have always been in similar shoes as the OP
I didn't enjoy toastmasters because (at least from my experience) it was mostly speech-giving which is great for presentations etc. but for day-to-day personal interactions I didn't find that it helped much.
I think in the last year or so I have improved a lot and actually interviewed yesterday for a job and felt great about it, whereas in previous years given the same questions I would have been way out of my comfort zone. For me the greatest learning experience was simply working at a job where you have to talk to many different people on a daily basis and where conversation is encouraged.

I hate to sound racist but surrounding myself with middle aged white people really helped, they seem to love fake and friendly conversation whereas before I had only been around asians/cbcs who are either too friendly/casual (to an awkward extend) or conceited. It helps a lot to be the one who is initiating conversation, like if you're just waiting for your drink at starbucks strike up a conversation about work, schooling, the weather (people seem to love talking about the weather here...) and news topics that aren't going to be too sensitive, but overall it really does help with the improv aspect of conversation.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:08 PM   #46
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I did toastmasters a few years back too but I have always been in similar shoes as the OP
I didn't enjoy toastmasters because (at least from my experience) it was mostly speech-giving which is great for presentations etc. but for day-to-day personal interactions I didn't find that it helped much.
I think in the last year or so I have improved a lot and actually interviewed yesterday for a job and felt great about it, whereas in previous years given the same questions I would have been way out of my comfort zone. For me the greatest learning experience was simply working at a job where you have to talk to many different people on a daily basis and where conversation is encouraged.

I hate to sound racist but surrounding myself with middle aged white people really helped, they seem to love fake and friendly conversation whereas before I had only been around asians/cbcs who are either too friendly/casual (to an awkward extend) or conceited. It helps a lot to be the one who is initiating conversation, like if you're just waiting for your drink at starbucks strike up a conversation about work, schooling, the weather (people seem to love talking about the weather here...) and news topics that aren't going to be too sensitive, but overall it really does help with the improv aspect of conversation.
this

talk to really white people.
having gone to ubc, i met a few and made friends with a few and im definitely more articulate than when i first came to university.

most asians/cbcs talk in a different manner

and i understand what u mean when ur sort of at a loss for words. picking up those connectors and multiple bullshit stock phrases u can cycle through really help
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:13 PM   #47
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Here's a thought with speaking on the spot..although it may not work for you. Go out on say the bus and start talking about a completely random embarrassing thing to a complete stranger. For example, talk about your recent trip to get a vasectomy and just make up a story.. That way when you get into a scenario when you are presented with a question or an opportunity to tell a story, it will be easier as you've done way more difficult and awkward things before.

Another would be to voice record yourself (say on your phone) making up a story or tell a stories to friends and practice speaking out loud.
..random food for thought
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:51 AM   #48
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Yeah, I have problems like this too.
And to top it off, I mumble quite a bit and my voice is on the lower side, so I can imagine people can't hear me well,
cause it just sounds like muffled bass.

And when I'm talking, sometimes I can't generate flow well.
In my thought train, there are multiple ways to say the same thing I want to say,
and then my mind tends to over complicate things and I stumble on the word choices when they come out of my mouth.

I also seem to have problems joking at work. (not sure if they are called banter jokes?)
People would walk by my desk and throw in a comment, and I would have to think fast
to say something quirky back, but I always draw blank. so I just laugh, "haha...." and kind of shrug it off.

Like an example, I could find the printer jammed, so I would try to fix it.
Then co-worker walks by and says, "heh, looks like you broke it again."
and I would just say, "no... just trying to fix it... ha ha ha... ?"

Wonder if it makes me seem boring or unfriendly. No one else seems to have problems joking back.
And as someone posted eariler, seems like the culture of white people are just more confident and well-spoken.
As I noticed it's more cacausian people that are doing this.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:03 AM   #49
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Yeah I'm just really bad when I get put on the spot. It takes me way too long to figure out how I'm going to say what I need to say and it comes out kinda jumbled up and disorganized. I'm an engineer and interact with people constantly, so it's particularly important that I get past this.

It's not nearly as bad when I'm relaxed and talking to people I'm familiar with. It's also a non-issue when I have access to a whiteboard and I'm so absorbed into what I'm explaining visually that I forget my anxiety. So I think a lot of the problem is with confidence.

Anyway I'm serious about signing up with a bunch of you for Toastmasters. There seems to be a huge number of them in Vancouver though, any suggestions?
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:15 AM   #50
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I also seem to have problems joking at work. (not sure if they are called banter jokes?)
People would walk by my desk and throw in a comment, and I would have to think fast
to say something quirky back, but I always draw blank. so I just laugh, "haha...." and kind of shrug it off.

Like an example, I could find the printer jammed, so I would try to fix it.
Then co-worker walks by and says, "heh, looks like you broke it again."
and I would just say, "no... just trying to fix it... ha ha ha... ?"

Wonder if it makes me seem boring or unfriendly. No one else seems to have problems joking back.
And as someone posted eariler, seems like the culture of white people are just more confident and well-spoken.
As I noticed it's more cacausian people that are doing this.
I have the same problem lol. I can be quite witty when I'm with my friends but I can't imagine being that comfortable and witty in the office without either sounding like an idiot or inadvertently misuse an expression. I know someone who said "pour salt on my injuries" instead of "wound" despite knowing the correct expression. Definitely a confidence thing...
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