Milo's periodic journal of
learning, life-tips, and laughter

Networking/Socializing Tip

Do you find yourself wondering how to keep conversations going in networking or social settings?  Getting the other person to talk often feels less awkward than doing the talking. 

In a business setting, I like the question, "So what brings you here today?" rather than "So what do you do?"  It's a bit warmer.  In a social setting, I'll often start with, "So how do you know [the host]?"  Note that these are what are called open questions, ones that require more than a 1-5 word answer from the other person.  Since your question required them to speak more, they won't feel awkward about whether they are over-speaking.

As you talk to the person, find questions that start with "how", "what", and "why" which often lead to stories instead of "who", "when", and "where" which are very finite.  Get them talking about themselves and when they ask you similar questions, it'll feel more comfortable taking your share of the time.

Public Speaking Tip of the Day

Prone to dry mouth on stage?  Even if you're not, it's wise to keep those vocal chords lubricated with room temp or almost hot water - not to mention that you want to keep yourself hydrated.  The moment you hear that scratchy, dry sound in your voice, it makes you feel like you sound less professional which can add to your nerves.

So what do they put out at every conference for us all?  Ice water!  The worst possible option for a speaker!  Even the bottled water next to the bartender is often swimming in an ice bucket.  Yet, dousing your vocal chords with ice water before speaking makes as much sense as taking a really cold shower right before going for a run.  On the flip side, the hot water for the tea is often scalding and I don't want to wait that out or risk burning myself.

My tricks include:

  • Asking the bartender if anyone could get me a
    non-chilled bottle, since I'll be speaking
  • Filling my bottle or mug 1/3 with cold and 2/3 with the boiling to average it out
  • Looking in the hallway for a water fountain

So now that you have the goods, what's the best way to drink while you're in the middle of speaking?  Next issue!

One of the many tips in "Public Speaking: Get A's, Not Zzzzzz's!"

Or my Amazon #2 BestSeller for the next generation:

Storytellers night in San Diego

The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering has added a special storytellers night (a la TED talks) this Saturday March 12 at 7pm.  Unlike the pricey TED talks, this event is just $10 if you'd be interested.

I was asked to be one of five 10 minute storytellers that evening.  I thanked them for the honor but pointed out that science was one of my weakest topics -- I dropped it after biology in 9th grade.  They said that they liked my style and if I even had a story that was tangentially related to science, they'd take me.  And I do.  It's a time of a big-ol'-FAIL in my life that was related to my ignorance on the subject.  In fact, it's a chapter in my book "The Worst Days Make The BEST Stories!

For more info, visit:

Fun free novel from Jennifer Coburn

Jennifer Coburn has been my friend and confidant for over 20 years and her bestselling novels are great fun. You can't go wrong with a free download, so check out one of her classic comedy-of-errors on your Kindle this week from Wed to Sunday at

Why a giveaway?  Guess she hopes you'll enjoy this one enough to want to purchase "Tales from the Crib" or "The Wife of Reilly" afterward!

Synopsis:  When a nice girl is having no luck meeting men, she takes coaching from a bad-boy type on how to win over a guy.  The results? Find out by enjoying your free copy of Reinventing Mona.  Fuller description at the link above.


Today's Humor

"It usually takes more than three weeks to
prepare a good impromptu speech."

        ~Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

(Note: Dead on true!  People are often shocked how much preparation and planning my presentations include considering my 20+ years of improvising.  The answer is simple:  They're completely different animals.  I can and have improvised a speech, but when it's avoidable, my audience deserves better!)

Today's Featured Podcast from FSA

From the vault of my podcast interviews, this great one:

"The Art/Skill of Negotiating
(and what we can learn about it from sports!)"
with Mimi Donaldson -- 2014-Mar-20


Negotiating.  Does the word make your heart sink a little?  Does the notion of used cars and awkward interactions come to mind?  Well, not if you're Mimi Donaldson.  Mimi ( has taught the art and skill of negotiation to groups ranging from Fortune 500 companies to women's social groups. 

And speaking of women, Mimi has a thing or two to tell them about what they're not getting right when they're playing with the boys.  In fact, Mimi thinks women could benefit from wrapping their heads around sports to improve their ability to playing in the big leagues of business.

And finally, a welcome... the new members of the eZine list from last week's Dolphin Orthodontics conference.  What a great conference and a new record audience size for me...700 people joining me in the improv fun!

But you guys were so warm and playful that I was more comfortable with you than I have been with many smaller groups. The time FLEW by!

See?  Told you the newsletters would be light and helpful!

If I can be of service to you, just use the button here to reach my site and drop me a line!   -- Milo


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Copyright 2016, Milo Shapiro.

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