How to bore others

How to bore others

I don’t have so much experience in being an interesting speaker, but I am a black-belt in making people bored.

In the same way that speaking well is a skill, making people bored is also a skill. Have you thought of how to get away from those pesky neighbours saying “hey”?

Or maybe those colleagues who want to chit-chat, taking away your most productive hours in the morning?

I tell you the worst location I’ve been in where this skill is tremendously useful.

When I’m on a plane.

Let say the flight is ten hours from Stockholm to Singapore, and within the first five minutes of starting the long journey, just after I finish putting my socks on, then my slippers, then tuck myself under a blanket, relaxed my shoulder with a quick massage, about to put on my eyepatch and pop the sleeping pills to settle into a good sleep. The woman sitting next to me touched my shoulder. She grins at me with a hint of restlessness, then she asks “So you’re going to Singapore?”

I said, “Aren’t we all?”

 Tell me if you’ve been in these tricky situations before.

To get you out, here are three prescriptions on how to bore others.

My first advice is to talk about yourself. A lot. After all, why hold back. Tell her your origin story. How you were born. Tell her how your mother had read you Wonder Woman and Batman stories when you were still in her tummy, and that your father played Mozart on a loop for the last 3 months of the pregnancy.

Tell her your priorities in life. How much you demand comfort and enjoyment above all else. Explain to her why your bed sheets need to be ironed / everyday otherwise you will have nightmares for weeks.

Tell her how your kids, your biggest pride and joy follow your teachings and double down / on the quest to be spoiled brats. Your daughter is the living embodiment of Kim Kardashian and your son is the next Donald Trump. The world has been so unfair to you, for the sake of justice, your family shouldn’t have to go through hard-life.

The thing is you are better than everyone else. Tell her how people complain all the time about their lives but it’s really nothing in comparison to how much abuse you’ve gone through in the airport. How the baggage checking never understands your plight for speed and that you’re allergic to having your iPad touched by dirty, coarse hands.

For the second advice, you should ensure that you have a smug face. Do everything necessary to appear disengaged. Look at NOT the woman’s face but the ceiling, or the person next to her instead. Talk without acknowledging she ever exists. She started this conversation after all. It wasn’t you who wanted this.

When she appears to want to butt in, don’t give her that pause. Keep talking. Pause is only for people who want to be understood.

You don’t want that.

If you’re telling a story, like when you met the queen, change to a posh accent. “Oh, my dear, the queen has invited the family to the royal high-tea. Indeed, it is so delightful. Now… off we go.”

My final advice is to ignore all feedback. Ignore that little voice in your head that says, “You’re being an ass”.

When the woman gives you a full-blown yawn, just pretend / that she hasn’t slept well last night. She got too excited for the chance / to meet someone like you.

After you’ve followed my advice for 10 minutes, there should be one sign of success. Get ready to get your phone out / and take a picture of what you’re about to achieve. I will give you a certificate as a public recognition. The woman should be, completely asleep.

If she’s still awake, switch to plan B.

Excuse yourself to get a cup of water, secretly pull out the sleeping pills you almost took before. Drop them into the cup. Go back to your seat.

Tell her, “Hey, I thought you must be exhausted after hearing all of that.”

Don’t forget to smile.

This post first appeared as a speech delivered in Toastmasters in October 2017.

How to appear more confident fast

This post is part of a series called “The Month of Free”. Join the waiting list to get invites to free accounts on Get Sandwich.

 

Confidence is essential, even though often you don’t have much control of how you feel inside when you have to speak. A calm appearance enhances credibility, and make people want to hear what you say, and what you will say next.

How confident you appear to others though, is something that is easier to control. If your hands are shaking because of nerves, putting them in your pocket is a beneficial action you can do to appear more confident.

But today what we would like to practise on how to speak slowly and deliberately. It’s based on an highly-recommended exercise by an Improv Theatre guru, Marian Rich.

The one tip to rule your Powerpoint

 

This post is part of a series called “The Month of Free”. Join the waiting list to get invites to free accounts on Get Sandwich.

 

Powerpoint is usually responsible for making a good speaking horribly. When you use Powerpoint as a place to think and write your talk, it’s not surprising to see that it often results in many slides filled with bullet points. After all, that’s your speech outline right there.

The one tip we will suggest will be to save that speech outline slides as a distribution only slides, and only to be given to people who can’t attend your talk. You should then create another slide deck that extends your speech outlines to slides that will support your presentations.

These slides will not be able to stand without you, but it’s ok. You are the star of your presentation.

 

Should you memorise your speech line-by-line?

This post is part of a series called “The Month of Free”. Join the waiting list to get invites to free accounts on Get Sandwich.

The act of rehearsing is different to the act of thinking. Whether you think while speaking or while writing, you can still choose the method on how you practice your speech.

Once you have written your talk, you have a choice of memorising your speech line-by-line or improvising on the outline.

Everyday structures for your workday

This post is part of a series called “The Month of Free”. Join the waiting list to get invites to free accounts on Get Sandwich.

 

 

Speaking on the spot is difficult. Some of the best speakers always have a structure in their head to get through challenging questions. Today, we will go through creating outlines for two of the most common speaking opportunities at work: speaking in status updates and in meetings where decisions get made.