Toastcaster Communication Leadership Learning Lab
Toastcaster 135: A Quest to Learn Arabic while Abroad during Lockdown – Kevin Achtzener

Toastcaster 135: A Quest to Learn Arabic while Abroad during Lockdown – Kevin Achtzener

May 31, 2020

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[26:06] Learning a new language while abroad particularly during these unprecedented times can be a challenge yet rewarding.  But our eight-time guest, Kevin Achtzener, who is currently overseas with his family in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was certainly up for the quest.

In this light-hearted episode, Kevin humbly shares how he was first inspired to learn Spanish the traditional way many years ago and some of the things he learned what not to do as he set upon a quest to learn Arabic – a much more challenging task.

Kevin also shares a number of techniques he’s been using like a language exchange as well as some of his valuable resources including: Anki– a Flashcard app, 50Languages– 100 Free Audio lessons; LingQ– which helps you learn a language from content you love and his go to book: Arabic Script Hacking by Judith Meyer, which helped him to learn to read signs.

Editors Note: Once you have a good working knowledge of a language, there are also many bilingual Toastmasters clubs around the world one can also check out.

Toastcaster 134: Lessons Learned from a Journey of Over 12 Million Steps - Greg Gazin

Toastcaster 134: Lessons Learned from a Journey of Over 12 Million Steps - Greg Gazin

May 19, 2020

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[11:39] For a dedicated athlete or fit individual, walking a minimum of 10k steps a day for almost three years might seem like nothing. For me, a few decades older with ancient injuries walking roughly seven to eight kilometres a day that seems more like a pipe dream.

Amazingly, I did it. I never thought I could.  In this episode, I share a little about my journey and how beyond the usual benefits of exercise the experience was transformational; I learned new things - many about myself.

The text version of this podcast is entitled “What I learned from a Journey of over 11 million steps.”  There’s also an earlier related article, “One step at a time: a simple solution to a better life.”  The companion podcast is Toastcaster Episode: 90.

Articles can be found at Troy Media.com

Note: The photo shows me as I reached the 1000-day milestone. As I recorded this podcast 70 days later I had reached 12.3 million steps.  Sadly as I publish this podcast my journey has come to an end as a time slot has come up for my long awaited and overdue hernia operation.  But I will start again and learn many new things.

  

Toastcaster 133: Working Remotely in Unprecedented Times -  Chandrashekar LSP, Zoho Corp

Toastcaster 133: Working Remotely in Unprecedented Times - Chandrashekar LSP, Zoho Corp

April 30, 2020

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[22:06] Many businesses are finding themselves in an emergency state and are desperately looking to ensure smooth continuity. 

In this episode, Greg speaks with Chandrashekar LSP, Head Evangelist for the Zoho Corporation in Canada.

Chandrashekar shares his observations on this new unprecedented business landscape and gives us an insight on what people and businesses can do and tools they can use to shift from typical office environments to the new reality without recreating the wheel

Working from home for over 15 years, he also offers his personal take on this subject as he currently has three kids under five years of age at home 24/7 and with his teams in India, and clients, partners, analysts and media in North America and around the world.

You’ll hear about Zoho’s Cloud-based business services for all departments in an organization including their new Remotely bundle consisting of 11 of their 45  applications in four categories, including: Internal/External Communications, Project Management, Remote Assistance and a collaborative Office Suite, which Zoho is offering at no charge for a limited time through their Small Business Emergency Assistance Subscription Program to help businesses get through the pandemic. (zoho.com/remotely)

Chandrashekar LSP is based in Montreal and has been with Zoho Corporation, a 24-year old privately held company for almost two decades. He can be reached at: lsp@zohocorp.com

Toastcaster 132: How Isolation in Space Translates to Life on Earth Today – Dr. Shawna Pandya

Toastcaster 132: How Isolation in Space Translates to Life on Earth Today – Dr. Shawna Pandya

April 18, 2020

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[22:28] In this episode, Greg speaks with Dr. Shawna Pandya whose three page bio and credentials list includes: physician, scientist-astronaut candidate, teacher and martial artist with degrees in medicine, neuroscience, space studies and more.

Dr. Pandya shares with us a little about her journey and about her self-proclaimed Batman/ Bruce Wayne persona while opening up on how she’s been able to live out her childhood dreams.

She also shares about how her training prep for space travel has helped her prepare not only to deal with life in a COVID-19 world but also gives us lessons in leadership, communication, teamwork and critical decision-making in a high-risk, high-reward situation that can be applied to anyone, anywhere in our world.

This includes her very timely insight on how isolation in space can help us better learn about isolation we’re currently experiencing on Earth.

Dr. Shawna Pandya lives in Edmonton, Canada and can be reached at ShawnaPandya.com, or on Twitter & Instagram @ShawnaPandya – when she’s not training in zero-gravity.

Toastcaster 131: Keeping Mentally & Physically Stimulated During Quarantine – Lisa Wentz

Toastcaster 131: Keeping Mentally & Physically Stimulated During Quarantine – Lisa Wentz

March 28, 2020

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[29:31] Keeping the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading has just about put the entire planet into lockdown mode. In this episode, Greg speaks with Lisa Wentz about her short article on LinkedIn about keeping mentally and physically stimulated and engaged and not feeling frozen during this unprecedented quarantine. 

Lisa shares with us her recent journey of self-isolation.  She explains how news overload and too much of the wrong kind of mental stimulation can affect people physically and how we can combat that and ensure we continue to pursue things that are relevant and important to us. Wentz explains how mental stimulation means different things to different people and how we need to find the time to reach out to others, not just those we know. You’ll also discover why getting through these times is not just about balance but about choices we make. You’ll even hear her interesting observations about changes in people like celebrity Stephen Colbert, who was forced to self-isolate, and more.

Lisa Wentz is from San Francisco, California and has an extensive background in psychology, professional acting training and live performance. Wentz is also featured in Episode 118 - Grace Under Pressure - A Masterclass in Public Speaking.

She can be reached at LisaWentz.com. 

Toastcaster 130: Fear: Demystifying the Inner Demon – Donald Lee

Toastcaster 130: Fear: Demystifying the Inner Demon – Donald Lee

February 29, 2020

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[24:42] Although Fear is commonly associated with public speaking, it’s ubiquitous;  we find it in many areas of our lives and it can be debilitating.

In this episode, Host Greg Gazin speaks with Donald Lee who shares his insights on the origins of our fear; its physiological effects and how we can use our minds to counteract the natural effects of those fears. You’ll also learn why the opposite of fear, is love.

Donald Lee is from Peace River, Canada. Now in his 3rd career as a spiritual author and speaker, he’s also been a musician, teacher, band director, athlete, and economist who has over 60 years of dealing with fear across many disciplines. He’s also returned to Toastmasters after a 20-year hiatus. having competed in the 1995 World Championship of Public Speaking. He is one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming District 42 Conference in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Lee’s 1st book, published December 2019 is: The Band Director’s Lessons About Life: Volume 1 – 50 Parables on Life’s Performance Cycle - modern-day parables, with stories inspired by his teaching experience.

Lee can be reached at ComingHomeSpirit.com. There, listeners can also sign up for a free copy of Lee’s mini e-book containing five of the 50 parables.

Toastcaster 129: Philanthropy at -30 Degrees - Dan Johnstone, a.k.a Can Man Dan

Toastcaster 129: Philanthropy at -30 Degrees - Dan Johnstone, a.k.a Can Man Dan

January 31, 2020

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[24:28] It’s amazing what a difference one man can make in the world. In this episode Greg speaks with Dan Johnstone, a.k.a Can Man Dan. Dan shares with us a little about his humble journey about how growing up in a less fortunate environment motivated him at a young age to begin a lifelong journey of helping others in need and make a difference in their lives.

He shares some of the tasks, activity and projects he’s taken on, including camping out in a truck for 4-5 days at a time 24/7 in sub-zero, -30 degree Celsius weather to collect much needed food of the Edmonton Food Bank.  Dan shares an encouraging message that anyone in the world no matter the age or economic status can also do the same if they take a first step. His actions and leadership in this area are living proof of that.

Dan Johnstone is an award-winning activist, philanthropist, community organizer, and motivational speaker. Alongside his newly created non-profit organization, the Can Man Dan Foundation, Dan works hands-on to alleviate poverty, assist vulnerable populations, and strengthen communities in Alberta, Canada. At 32, Dan has already raised millions in resources for people in need while bringing awareness to today’s most relevant issues.

Dan lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and can be reached at CanManDan.Org  or on his website DanJohnstone.Com.

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Can Man Dan at Safeway - Southgate Centre

Toastcaster 128: The Rx for Leadership – Daniel Rex, CEO Toastmasters Intl.

Toastcaster 128: The Rx for Leadership – Daniel Rex, CEO Toastmasters Intl.

December 31, 2019

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[20:39] In a rare live interview opportunity, host Greg Gazin speaks with Daniel Rex, CEO, Toastmasters International during a Fall visit to District 99, Edmonton, Canada. In this episode, Dan talks about why he visited our fair city from Denver, CO and a special connection Dan has to our own Peter Kossowan, a.k.a. Mr. Toastmaster. 

We also learn a little more about Dan, what he likes to do, interesting things you may not know about him, how he discovered Toastmasters and how he’s evolved since joining the organization over 25 years ago.

As the CEO to one of the world’s largest not-for-profit communication and leadership organizations with 358K+ members worldwide, Dan shares some of his valuable leadership wisdom we can learn from. These include his thoughts on change, being a catalyst for change as well as his take on authentic leadership, and more.

Please enjoy this informative yet fun interview with Dan as a perfect close for this year and this decade.

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Toastcaster 127: Caregiving - The Ultimate Leadership Role - Rick Lauber

Toastcaster 127: Caregiving - The Ultimate Leadership Role - Rick Lauber

December 15, 2019

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[19:56] When we think of caregiving, leadership is not usually the first word to come to mind. But when you research what this often unexpected responsibility requires, you’ll see how it extends beyond a typical leadership role; often done over and beyond one’s day job and usually has emotions attached to it. 

In this episode Greg speaks with Rick Lauber, Author and former co-caregiver for both his aging parents. Rick shares a little of his journey and offers an honest insight as to what’s involved in really being a caregiver, what skills are needed and how it parallels with that of an organizational leader. 

Rick shares about how this decade long experience had impacted him as well as some of what he learnt about leadership and about himself as well as what strengths he never knew he had and those skills he needed to learn along the way.

The experience lead Rick to publish two best-selling guide books  Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians and The Successful Caregiver’s Guide which we also hear a little about. Rick is from Edmonton, Canada and can be reached at RickLauber.com.

Rick also appears in Toastcaster episode #69 and is a former Toastmaster. 

 

Toastcaster 126: Amazon Fire HD 10: Big Screen on a Small Budget

Toastcaster 126: Amazon Fire HD 10: Big Screen on a Small Budget

November 30, 2019

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[11:03] On Black Friday our minds seem to wander towards the subject of shopping and for many us, it’s the time to think about getting new gadgets for work, home or when we’re out on the road. In this episode Greg takes a look at the all-new for 2019 Amazon Fire HD 10 which he recently had the opportunity of reviewing.

You’ll hear his thoughts on the new model, some of the features, what it can be used for and how it compares to other tablets. It’s a follow up podcast for his upcoming article of the same name, which can be found at GadgetGuy.ca on Dec 1st.

Toastcaster 125: Square Wireless Payment System Helps Improve Your Cashflow

Toastcaster 125: Square Wireless Payment System Helps Improve Your Cashflow

October 31, 2019

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Every leader knows that cashflow is king. Very few use cheques or even carry cash these days. Enter Square a low cost secure mobile payment system. It’s an easy way for you to collect payments for products or services that’s also easy and convenient for your customers allowing them to pay by credit card, debit and other pay systems.

In this episode your host Greg Gazin has a quick look at three different options offered by Square, what they do, what they cost including their latest all-in-one Square Terminal.

The podcast is based on Greg’s two previously published articles: With Square, you too can accept wireless debit and credit card payments (Gadgetguy.ca) and It’s Hip to be Square published by Troy Media.

Toastcaster 124: Consequential Communication in Turbulent Times –  Diana Peterson-More

Toastcaster 124: Consequential Communication in Turbulent Times – Diana Peterson-More

October 19, 2019

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[29:57] In this episode, Greg speaks with Diana Peterson-More about her new book: Consequential Communication in Turbulent Times: A Practical Guide to Leadership. Peterson-More draws from her experience as a labor lawyer, HR executive and organizational development consultant to show individuals and business leaders the way to clear, concise, and intentional communication--vital to successful human interaction in today’s fast-paced, volatile (and #MeToo) world. 

A short read, this book has a unique format, for example, incorporating step-by-step how-to lists for each chapter, a number of case studies, analyzing what went wrong and food for thought through “What-if“ scenarios, often circling back to previous case studies as new concepts are learned.

The book is based on real stories and practical advice, some of which Diana shares with us during our conversation including using “I” statements and the Platinum Rule and more.

Diana Peterson-More is from Pasadena, California and can be reached through her website or at diana@dianapetersonmore.com. 

Toastcaster 123: Free $10K/Month Google Ad Grant for Non-Profits - David Ries

Toastcaster 123: Free $10K/Month Google Ad Grant for Non-Profits - David Ries

September 30, 2019

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[31:35] Yes, your non-profit organization may be eligible for a Google Ad Grant giving you $10K per month in free Google Ad Words Advertising and it's not fake news.  In this episode, Greg speaks with David Ries, a Certified Google Ad Grant Professional who’ll give us an insight on this great opportunity for qualified non-profits and share how getting one is not as difficult as you think.

David will explain what the grant is all about, how to find out if you qualify and some of the things you need to do and have in order for your application to be successful. He’ll also demystify some of the misinformation about the grant. 

David also offers a good primer on Google Ads to maximize a Google Word Ad campaign. He’ll share some tips on using keywords to drive searches to your landing page or website -  information that’s relevant to anyone who may consider using Google ads. He also gives us a real world example of a client with a successful Google ad campaign and some of the ways they used keywords to zero in on their right target market.

David Ries, a Business Development Representative at ConnectAd, assists with the assessment and strategy process for nonprofits to get started with the Google Ad Grant opportunity. His background in exclusively the startup & nonprofit sector allows him to understand how to add value to nonprofits and increase their digital presence.

David lives in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and can be reached at david@connectad.ca. 

For more info, check out G Suite and Google Grants for Nonprofits

Toastcaster 122: Setting a Guinness World Record – It Takes True Leadership

Toastcaster 122: Setting a Guinness World Record – It Takes True Leadership

September 17, 2019

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[28:55] Great leaders are passionate.  Amongst other things, they’re also motivating, inspiring, innovative and committed to what they do. Our guests today have these attributes and more but you won’t find them in big towers, behind oak desks, but rather find them listed in the Guinness World Records 2020  book or associated with the organization.

In this episode, you’ll hear stories of true leadership. You’ll hear about the unusual way the idea for a Guinness Record came about and how these talented individuals faced with a challenge, persevered and overcame adversity while describing how they accomplished their incredible feats. You’ll also learn what motivates them; what they learned about themselves and how it can apply to all of us. You’ll also find out what it’s like to be a Guinness adjudicator, the skills it requires and a few tips on vying for a Guinness World Record.

Reverend Kevin Fast from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada is best described as a modern day Popeye. He holds an impressive 31 Guinness World Records including the Heaviest aircraft pulled and most people supported on the shoulders.  (Left)

Brittany Walsh, a.k.a  AcroBritt from Portland, Oregon, U.S.A is a dancer, a gymnast, former circus performer and world record holder in acrobatic archery. She’s featured in the latest edition for the Farthest arrow shot using feet.  She’s been on The Late Show with David Letterman and has her own wax statue at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (top right)

Spencer Cammarano, from New York, U.S.A has not broken any records, but has the most challenging (yet enjoyable) task of being an Official Guinness Adjudicator. Without her, official records cannot be recorded. (Centre)

The theme for this year’s 65th Edition, is Power Your Curiosity. You can find out more and get your copy at GuinnessWorldRecords.com. There’s also a Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition 2020 as well.

 

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Toastcaster 121: Building Future Seniors: Taking Ownership of our Aging Society - Angela Ostafichuk

Toastcaster 121: Building Future Seniors: Taking Ownership of our Aging Society - Angela Ostafichuk

August 31, 2019

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[28:19] It’s no secret we have a rapidly aging population. Many seniors today were never properly prepared for their golden years; We don’t know how to age properly and kids today have no idea what it’s like to be a senior. Those are the strong opinions of Angela Ostafichuk, our guest on today’s episode.

Angela is an educator, consultant, curriculum developer, writer, photographer, world traveler and Toastmaster. Based in Edmonton, Canada, she’s spear-heading  and working in tandem on two projects: Future Seniors and Smart Strong Seniors. Together they are designed to not only inform and educate those who are already seniors to live better, but also to help society, regardless as to what generation they belong to embrace pro aging.

Today Angela will share some of her insights on the topic. This include highlights of her Pecha Kucha presentation Future Seniors, where she shares what we can do to take ownership for ourselves and others in an aging society. She’ll talk about getting Involved, Resources, Equality, Asking (the right questions) and Design, summed up by her acronym iREAD.

Angela Ostafichuk can be reached at SmartStrongSenior@gmail.com or TheFutureSenior@gmail.com. You can also check out her Pecha Kucha Edmonton presentation.

 

 

Toastcaster 120 - Can I Use That Picture? —   Samantha Lile

Toastcaster 120 - Can I Use That Picture? — Samantha Lile

July 26, 2019

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[22:35] People use images in their Powerpoint presentations, blogs and there’s no end to photos posted and shared on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. But just because you find them on the web, are you sure you have the right to use them?  In this episode, Greg speaks with Samantha Lile who wrote an article with adapted flowchart for ViseMe.co entitled, Can I Use That Image? 

Samantha talks about her article and shares some things people need to be aware of and things to consider before using, posting or sharing a photo - primarily from a U.S. perspective with Greg offering up additional Canadian insight. However, it offers some some food for thought for people all around the world as many similar rules exist in other countries.

You’ll hear about terms like Copyright, Creative Commons, Public Domain and Fair Use and some of the step involved in determining if an image falls into those categories and what to do. She also shares some of her favourite sources for free images including: Pixabay, Pexels and UnSplash.

Samantha Lile is an independent journalist, editor, blogger and content manager from Ozark, Mo. U.S.A, whose work can be found on sites such as: The Huffington Post, Thrive Global and Buzzfeed. Her original article and the companion flowchart can be found at Visme.co. You can reach Samantha via SamanthaLile.Carbonmade.com.

In case you're wondering, Samantha’s photo is used with her permission. : )

Toastcaster 119 - Point-and-Shoot Cameras Still Relevant in our Professional & Personal Lives

Toastcaster 119 - Point-and-Shoot Cameras Still Relevant in our Professional & Personal Lives

June 30, 2019

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[12:22] Our smartphones have become the default goto gadget for pictures and videos as the ability to take photos have become an invaluable tool in both our personal and professional lives. 

In this episode Greg looks at why one should consider taking along a point and shoot digital camera on their next trip, to their next conference or anywhere one would need to take pictures or shoot video and the advantages to do so. We also see how far they’ve come. 

Greg offers a glimpse at the newer FujiFilm FinePix XP140 point and shoot as one example. Some of its incredible features include wireless photo transfer and even smile detection. It’s also waterproof, rustproof, shockproof, freezeproof and amazingly inexpensive.

You can find a modified print version of this article at Active-Life.ca.

Toastcaster 118 - Grace Under Pressure - A Masterclass in Public Speaking - Lisa Wentz

Toastcaster 118 - Grace Under Pressure - A Masterclass in Public Speaking - Lisa Wentz

May 31, 2019

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[31:42] In this Episode, Greg speaks with Lisa Wentz about her new book, Grace Under Pressure - A Masterclass in Public Speaking from LID Publishing. It’s part of Lisa speaking and coaching program she’s releasing to the public for the first time. It’s cleverly broken into 3 sections: What’s holding us back, Vocal Training and Delivery and contains many topics you won’t see in most books on Public Speaking including 35 in-depth exercises.

Lisa will offer some valuable advice including dealing with your inner critic before, during and after your speech as well as a few stories from her book and how some of the exercises work.

Lisa Wentz has an extensive background in psychology, professional acting training and live performance. She has a Master’s Degree in Voice and Speech studies from the UK and is the founder of the San Francisco Voice Centre and has since coached public speaking clients from 37 countries. She can be reached at LisaWentz.com. You can find her book on Amazon

Toastcaster 117 – Memory & Visualization Techniques for Better Recall & Learning – Kevin Achtzener

Toastcaster 117 – Memory & Visualization Techniques for Better Recall & Learning – Kevin Achtzener

May 17, 2019

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[25:00] In this episode Greg speaks with regular guest Kevin Achtzener in his 7th appearance on ToastCaster, as a follow up to Episode #97, “Memory Techniques to Remember Just About Anything.”

Today Kevin talks about how his techniques have evolved and shares with us a new concept he’s learned about memory and how he’s been able to not only memorize key facts for his University Classes, but also how he processes and synthesizes the information he’s learning.

Kevin reminds us that memory is not just about remembering or encoding, but also about being able to recall the information. He shares examples how he remembers things by visualization, creating images of phrases in his mind like avatars, placing then recalling them using the memories of his childhood home as a backdrop or storage grid.

Kevin also introduces the audience to the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a process that helps people learn and how this model fit into the big picture. Ideas and methods you’ll hear in the podcast not only apply to courses, but also for preparing and delivering speeches, presentations reports and anything you really need to learn.

Kevin Achtzener specializes in Mind Mapping, memory techniques, productivity and learning. He can be reached at VisualProductivity.net.

Toastcaster 116 Maximizing Learning & Engagement When Facilitating Webinars – Tali Bar-Or

Toastcaster 116 Maximizing Learning & Engagement When Facilitating Webinars – Tali Bar-Or

April 30, 2019

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[31:41] It’s not uncommon for training to be delivered on-line. But with multitasking at an all-time high and attention spans at an all-time low, how do you ensure your participants remain engaged and involved and get the most from your webinar training? In this episode, Greg speaks with Tali Bar-Or, a 20-year veteran in training and facilitation including training facilitators remotely for content delivery.

Tali will share tips, tricks and best practices she uses to succeed to keeping her webinar attendees engaged and involved while maximizing their learning. You’ll hear how she visualizes her audience, acknowledging how people listen differently and selectively. She offers 2 strategies she learned to bring people back to focus including two words to alert wandering minds plus four key triggers designed to indicate to the participants what’s coming next.

You’ll also discover how to plan ahead to deal with distractions and disruptions and how to create an environment where they don’t happen. You’ll learn about techniques for pausing and why it’s important to turn the spotlight on to your participants.

You’ll also hear about her effective opening and closing protocols for her sessions, potential pitfalls and mistakes she’s learned along the way, and more.

Most of Tali’s golden nuggets can also be applied to any live training session or facilitation.

Tali Bar-Or is from Burlington, Ontario, Canada. She is the Lead Facilitator for Crestcom Canada and Lead Global Facilitator for Colorado-based Crestcom International, which provides Professional Leadership and Sales training in 60+ countries and 22+ languages.  Tali can be reached on LinkedIn or at TaliBarOr@Crestcom.ca.

(NOTE: This episode is a great tie-in to Episode 113: Tips for Virtual Stage and Presenting On-Line.)