Gloria Lazar

Jan 092023
 

I’m delighted to announce that my speech coaching client, Hakki Akdeniz, has been named one of The Top 10 Most Popular TED Talks in 2022.

If you haven’t seen the inspiring story of Hakki’s  journey as a 21 year old penniless, homeless, Turkish immigrant in NYC to successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate for the homeless, I urge you to do so. Hakki’s presentation has succeeded in capturing the attention and admiration of more than 2 million viewers with his heartfelt presentation. 

It was my pleasure to work with Hakki, not a native English speaker, to shape his story and give him the tools to become such a highly effective speaker. 

While some people may seem to be born as great public speakers, most work hard and make use of resources like a speaking coach to become effective communicators.

Click here to watch Hakki’s TED talk:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7GEMjXjxqc

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Check back soon for more articles on public speaking, speech writing and communication skills.

 

Sep 302022
 

My coaching client Hakki Akdeniz, whose TED talk has been viewed more than 2 million times, has received a 2022 Carnegie Foundation Award for “Great Immigrants, Great Americans.”  

Recently I had the privilege of coaching Hakki for his TED talk in which he tells the inspiring story of his journey as a 21 year old penniless, homeless, Turkish immigrant in NYC to successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate for the homeless. Twenty years ago Hakki came to the United States speaking no English, $240 in his pocket and the promise of a job that never materialized. With courage and indominable drive, he has achieved the immigrant dream yet embraces the principle of “giving back.”

Click here to watch Hakki’s TED talk:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7GEMjXjxqc

Jul 272022
 

Recently I had the privilege of coaching Hakki Akdeniz for his TED talk in which he tells the inspiring story of his journey as a 21 year old penniless, homeless, Turkish immigrant in NYC to successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate for the homeless. Twenty years ago Hakki came to the United States speaking no English, $240 in his pocket and the promise of a job that never materialized. With courage and indominable drive, he has achieved the immigrant dream yet embraces the principle of “giving back.”

Click here to watch Hakki’s TED talk:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7GEMjXjxqc

May 312022
 

Why write my essay now?  It’s summer!

What rising high school senior hasn’t asked this question at the end of the highly pressured junior year?  Completing high level courses, perhaps AP or honors, taking ACT or SAT tests, visiting colleges… add in a sport or school play, community service:  this has been a busy year.

Can’t I take a break?

Of course, a breather is important and should be part of a college-bound student’s summer.  Spending some time with friends and enjoying a break from schoolwork are necessary to recharge a student’s batteries.

But targeting the brainstorming, organization and writing of the Comm App essay and the supplemental essays should be part of a rising senior’s summer activities, — even if it’s done under a beach umbrella with a cold soda.

As I mentioned in two previous articles (see below) the essay on the Common Application can make a critical difference in a student being admitted to college:  college admissions officers do read these essays.  This is an opportunity to stand out and become a singular individual, much more than grades, standardized test scores and extracurricular activities.  A student who reveals his/her thoughts, beliefs or personal history in an essay becomes more than the numbers on a transcript.

Crafting a personal essay in a thoughtful, creative way takes time:  time for reflection, brainstorming, writing and careful editing.  Trying to cram the Comm App essay and the supplemental essays into the fall of senior year will likely add pressure to a generally hectic time.

The age-old adage “the early bird gets the worm” really applies in this situation.  Completing the major essay and supplements during the summer frees up the fall for college visits, early admissions or rolling admissions — and can make the critical difference for a student finding a place in a college of his/her choice.

Write the essays this summer and increase your odds — maybe even win the jackpot!

Do College Admissions Officers Really Read the Common Application Essay?

Finding the “Authentic” Voice in a College Admissions Essay

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Check back soon for new articles on writing, speech coaching, executive function skills and speech pathology.

Mar 232022
 
  • James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars stutters?

Yes, you’re reading this correctly! This 91 year old award-winning actor is a lifelong stutterer.

According to The New York Times, the Shubert Organization will name the Cort Theater, a landmark 110-year-old house located on West 48th Street, after Jones, a two-time competitive Tony Award winner who, over six decades, has appeared in 21 Broadway shows. Jones received a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2017.

  • How can an actor who stutters perform on Broadway?

According to Jones, early in his career when he appeared in Sunrise at Campobello he had a line — ‘Mrs. Roosevelt, supper is served” — that he struggled to deliver because of a speech disorder. “I almost didn’t make it through because I’m a stutterer. But it became a lot of fun eventually.”

James Earl Jones joins a series of successful actors who have stuttered, including the glamorous icon, Marilyn Monroe, and recently Emily Blunt, who in an interview with Sandy Kenyon, the entertainment reporter on WABC-TV NY, Channel 7’s Eyewitness News, explained that she was advised to pursue drama as a way to treat her childhood stuttering disorder. At the time she was publicizing her movie A Quiet Place, (which has been followed by “A Quiet Place II”). Her performances in both films garnered her major awards nominations.

You can learn more about why acting helps stutterers speak fluently by watching my interview with Sandy Kenyon on Eyewitness News on my homepage http://lazarspeech.com/2018/06/08/interview/

You can read about stuttering and fluent speech in the articles on my website, including https://lazarspeech.com/2013/05/08/the-kings-speech/https://lazarspeech.com/2015/08/24/are-ums-and-ahs-a-form-of-stuttering/, and numerous others I’ve written. Just click the category on the Blog or Publications headers on my website homepage 

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Check back soon for more articles on stuttering, public speaking, executive function skills and speech-language pathology.

 

Aug 112021
 
  • Isn’t the essay on the Common Application just a formality?

  • Admissions officers can’t possibly read the essay on every application, can they?

The new “Test Optional” criteria recently enacted by many colleges, even the most selective, changes the factors in college admissions and places much greater emphasis on the Comm App Essay.

Many students and their parents believe the most important criteria for admission to college are grades and SAT or ACT test scores.  But with the “test optional” change instituted by many colleges as a result of the pandemic, the Comm App essay and supplemental essays, if any, carry even more importance than previously. 

The essay a student writes can grab the attention of a college admissions officer and make the critical difference in this new admissions environment.

I wrote an earlier article about capturing the authentic voice in a college admissions essay: Finding the”Authentic” Voice in a College Admissions Essay. In that article I quoted an external admissions reader for the University of California at Berkley who wrote about being told to find essays that “express a sense of self and character.”

When a selective college receives applications from many equally qualified students, what will tip the scale for admission?  If you come from a rural community in a less populated state, you may be more appealing to a college seeking geographical “diversity” in its student body. However, given several good students from a concentrated pool in the same geographical location, an admissions officer will try to find mature, committed students who can succeed in the college experience. 

Admissions officers do read the essay on each Common Application, as well as the supplemental essays their school may require, especially when a student has good grades.  

How else will they be able to make a decision between the many qualified students who apply to a select number of well-rated schools? The personal “voice” in the student’s application essay can be the tipping point for admission — as well as financial aid.  

The more similar a student’s profile as compared to others in the same geographical area, the more important the Common Application essay and supplements become in the selection process.

For students who may not have the best grades across all subjects or who choose not to submit SAT or ACT scores, the essays can become the critical factor to draw attention to their personal history, obstacles they may have faced in their lives, as well as their other talents.  

Convincing an admissions reader you can succeed at college and become an asset to their institution may hinge on the “authentic” essay you write.

Far from being a mere formality, a well-crafted, authentic essay can become the key to admission.

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Check back soon for more articles on writing, executive function skills, effective speaking and speech pathology.

 

Mar 262021
 
  • How important are presentation skills if I’m working on a remote platform like Zoom?

  • Other participants don’t expect a polished presentation on Zoom — or do they?

  • Can’t I just read my script on Zoom as if I were presenting in person?

Some of the concerns my clients have raised over the years have changed somewhat now that they’re using Zoom, but not as much as you might expect. For some individuals the discomfort — let’s be honest, the fear of public speaking — has lessened since they don’t have to present in front of a group gathered in a room. But for others, the computer screen has proven just as intimidating. In fact, the idea of many more attendees on a remote platform has become an even greater worry for some speakers.

Have the best practices for public speaking changed now that we are not physically present for presentations? Not at all. If anything, the stakes have been raised. The need to speak clearly, at a rate that allows for others to absorb the speaker’s message — simply translated, to speak slowly— using rhythm and melody for a natural voice and maintain eye contact are still critical elements for a great presentation.

How do you maintain eye contact if you’re looking into a computer screen? Quite simply by keeping your eyes focused on the computer’s camera: not off to the side or down at your notes. You still want to maintain “dialogue” even if you can’t see people in person — or you’re seeing little squares on the computer screen. In fact, there’s even more competition for your audience’s attention when they’re on Zoom —  dogs barking, children wandering into the room, phones ringing — all the distractions that wouldn’t exist in a conference room. So you have to be a polished speaker to keep their attention and deliver your message.

What about speaking from notes or reading a script? The same principles work: if you prefer speaking spontaneously — which doesn’t mean you make a presentation “without rehearsing” — you can certainly use your notes and look down or off to the side briefly to cue yourself. If a prepared text works better for you, it’s even more important on Zoom that you don’t keep your eyes glued to the paper.

My recommendation about reading from text is to minimize Zoom, center it at the top of your computer screen and open your document so your eyes are always facing forward. You can also download a teleprompter app and set the speed for a comfortable rate so you can read from the text. But this all takes practice. Finally, if you prefer to read from printed text, look up frequently and speak to your audience — just as you would if you were standing in front of them — or sitting at a conference table.

You’ll find many more helpful tips in past articles I’ve written: Capture Your Audience By Creating a Dialogue, The Two “P’s” for Effective Speaking, Capturing the Authentic Voice, and many others you can find on my Blog under the “Public Speaking” category.

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Check back soon for more articles on public speaking, communication, writing, speech pathology and  executive function skills.

Nov 102020
 

How to be safe and still receive services?

LazarSpeech transitioned to an entirely virtual platform on March 20, 2020. All sessions have been held on Zoom, occasionally on Skype or FaceTime if clients need a different online application. With a randomly generated meeting ID and embedded password, clients have a secure link — they simply click on the Zoom link they have received by email in advance.

Everyone remains safe and comfortable in their own homes.

How long Covid 19 will continue and we need to interact virtually is anyone’s guess, but for the time being, everyone can be safe and still have the services they need. 

LazarSpeech is accepting new clients for speech-language therapy, communications coaching, speechwriting and executive function skills development.

Email: info@lazarspeech.com/Phone: 914-631-5082

 

Jun 092020
 

We listen all the time: to the radio, television podcasts, especially to family and friends.

Isn’t listening the same for all these activities?

Listening to family, friends and business acquaintances is a very different process than listening to media sources. When we interact with others we establish a dialogue that is critical to a shared relationship. To make that interaction meaningful, we have to listen with more than our ears.

In a recent New York Times article, Pamela Soileau, a hospice nurse and chaplain is quoted as saying, “Words are important, but they are not everything. Sometimes it’s just your presence and your willingness to listen that speaks volumes.” 

You can read a past article on this website I wrote about listening with your eyes: how to connect with someone else besides using words. What You Mean Is In Your Eyes, Not Only In Your Words. The act of listening involves making an emotional contact with someone else, from the basic to the profound. We don’t always respond with words — sometimes words are not appropriate — but we need to interact so that a meaningful dialogue takes place.

Many times we’re unsure how to respond the “right” way to a friend or colleague who expresses a loss or bad news. What words do we use? Is there another way to convey our feelings? Yes, we can nod, sigh or show understanding through our eyes. During the pandemic, this face-to-face dialogue may have to depend on Zoom or another online platform.  If we can’t see each other, there are phone calls, a time-tested form of communication, where the most basic of words, ” yes, uh huh, I understand”  or an exhalation can fill the need for listening and responding.

The key to “listening well” is inviting someone to share their thoughts and giving them time to express themselves. It means making sure they know you are present, even if you have never experienced their situation. When you fully engage in listening, it’s likely the other person will be there for you at another time when you need an open ear.

Dialogue is listening and responding, giving and receiving.

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Check back for more articles on communication, speech pathology, writing and executive function skills.

Mar 272020
 

In these difficult times we can still use words to keep us together without touching

 

Words separate human beings from every other species. It’s a gift from nature we can use in these difficult times to gather and share information, comfort, reassure one another, and continue the social interactions so necessary for the mind and soul.

Reach out to your family members, friends, neighbors, congregants with calls, emails, online video chats and even letters — to their credit, postal workers and mail carriers are still working to keep our country running.

Let’s use our words to keep us strong and nourish each person’s spirit.

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Check back soon for more articles on communication, speech pathology, writing and execution function skills.