UPMs: The Filler Word Debate

Twice last week I encountered speakers with a high number of UPMs: Uhms Per Minute.

I was willing to forgive one of them.  His UPMs were around 16. I wasn’t so easy on the other guy.  His UPMs were around 12, but they were more disruptive.

I’m not sure why.  Let me blog out loud.

The guy with the higher UPM rate was older, and the Chairman of a company.  He spoke with quiet confidence at a thoughtful pace, taking his ...

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Effective Communication: The unexpected gets attention

Look at this ad from Microsoft.  It appeared in a newspaper exactly as it looks, I have not done anything to it.

At first glance, it looks like a mistake.  It doesn’t belong in a newspaper or a magazine.  It’s imperfect and unfinished.  It even says, “Draft,” in red at the top.

I read it because I was curious.  I thought I might read something secret and personal.  And for a while, I believed that I was.

Then I just sat back in ...

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Pascal’s Wager and Public Speaking

Blaise Pascal was a 17th century French mathematical genius who spelled out the laws of probability more clearly than anyone before him.  This was a watershed moment, because for the first time humanity had a systematic way of thinking about the future.

Pascal was both a gambler and a religious zealot.  He wanted to know if God really exists, which is knowledge not easily acquired.  So the next question was, “Should I act as if God exists, or should I act ...

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Pascal’s Wager and Public Speaking

Blaise Pascal was a 17th century French mathematical genius who spelled out the laws of probability more clearly than anyone before him.  This was a watershed moment, because for the first time humanity had a systematic way of thinking about the future.

Pascal was both a gambler and a religious zealot.  He wanted to know if God really exists, which is knowledge not easily acquired.  So the next question was, “Should I act as if God exists, or should I act ...

More →
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Public Speaking and the Importance of Character: A Life’s Lesson

On June 20th in the Wall Street Journal, in response to the media coverage of Tim Russert’s untimely death, Peggy Noonan wrote in her Declarations column, “When somebody dies we tell his story and try to define and isolate what was special about it–what it was he brought to the party, how he enhanced life by showing up. In this way we educate ourselves about what really matters.”

“In a way, the world is a great liar. ...

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Persuasive Speaking: Language and Experience

In a political revolution, insurgents quickly target the media outlets. Their reasoning? He who controls the language controls the thinking.

Now comes another study to suggest that insurgents may have it right. In this experiment, one group of volunteers was shown a shade of yellow on a strip of white paper for a few seconds. The group was then shown another strip of paper with several shades of yellow (including the first) and asked to identify the original color. In this ...

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