Umission: supporting you having a wonderful life

What an honor to have been selected as Umission’s Person of the Week.

Here’s to freedom,


Attention! Attention!

Getting and holding your audience’s attention is one important thing that makes your presentation a presentation (and not just another rehearsal).

Here’s a helpful clip on this subject. I wish I could find the name of the man who is speaking so that I can give him credit directly.

Doesn’t he come across in a natural, uncomplicated way? I like watching him and I like listening to him. I hope you do, too.

What are some ways you have garnered your audience’s attention — and held onto it?

Until next time,


Why the papers wouldn’t stick

This weekend I’m performing as Narrator for a collection of Australian folk tales to be performed by a group of children. To make the outside of my script look cheerful, I took a glue stick and attached several colorful pieces of artwork to the front and back of the paper folder holding my script. Throughout tonight’s dress rehearsal, the glued artwork kept falling off the cover. I’d had the foresight to take the little glue stick along to the theatre, just in case a touch-up was called for, so I’d slather on some more. Smart, huh? However, the same problem kept recurring.

Imagine my surprise to hear these words from my 8-year-old daughter after rehearsal: “Mom, I’ve been trying to tell you: that’s not a glue stick; it’s sunscreen.”

No matter how careful, diligent and thorough you are, if you’re not focussed on and present with your task in the moment, all your cleverness will be in vain. For a presentation, you might do great research, practice your talk over and over, and find the perfect suit to wear the day you present. But if you didn’t note the correct date and time, or weren’t paying attention when you were told who your audience would be, you might find yourself wondering why in the world no one showed up — or why the wrong people did.

Pay attention. One moment at a time.

Here’s to glue sticks!





[For reasons unknown to me, I cannot get the usual spacing between paragraphs in this post. I don't like the way this looks, but here's today's offering, anyhow.]

Is it a word: um? I’ve just visited Webster’s online dictionary and see this:

Definition of UM

—used to indicate hesitation <well, um, I don’t know>
“Um” is an interjection. It doesn’t tell us what, where or how something is, give a sense of action or purpose, nor does it offer clarity. It’s a filler, a place taker, and indicates that we’re lost, confused, puzzled and most likely uncomfortable. When you use “um” a lot, people lose interest. It’s a habit well dismissed.
A pause is more effective than mindlessly “um”-ing and will help you get back on track. Rather than fill the air with “um” (or “uh,” “welllllll,” “aaaaand,” “hmm,” or “y’know”), just be still. Be quiet a second. Breathe in. Pay attention to what you want to say. Then say it. Let the “um” go away. It’s not a helpful utterance.
Start to notice “um” in your conversations and presentations. Then, pause instead before you continue speaking. You’ll feel clearer, and your listeners will follow you much more easily. I think you’ll find that you communicate much better without “um.”
Isn’t that a happy thought?


What is involved in speaking spontaneously?

Here’s a little exercise. Choose one of the words below. Be quiet for a minute or so and ponder the word and what it makes you remember. Be still and open-minded, tuning in to hear a specific true story the word inspires. Do not jump in and start talking before you’ve quieted yourself. Set a timer for one minute; speak during that time. Get to the point. Stay on topic. Speak until the timer rings; when it does, finish your sentence and stop speaking.

bug          light          bowl        gum          card       string       rod          can         rip

wall          stand        log          wire          ramp      soap        book       edge       spot

Did the idea for a story came to you? Could you speak about it briefly but clearly? Did it surprise you that it was easy to do? Or were you stumped? Did you go blank? Did you try another word? Were you able to tell a story the second time?

Spontaneity is not impulsiveness. It calls for a quiet thought, a listening attitude, a receptivity to ideas and to your ability to express them clearly. It’s a good thing!

Until tomorrow,