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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Finding The Words

Ever been called upon to make a statement, a speech, a eulogy, a toast, and found yourself at a loss for words? It is said that Americans fear public speaking more than anything else. I find that hard to believe: as Jerry Seinfeld once quipped, most people would rather be at their own funerals than giving the eulogies? However, I accept that public speaking causes tremendous anxiety and nervousness. We've all sat through lectures and speeches that were maddeningly dull, awkward or inept. No one wants to be that unappealing speaker, so we agonize over finding the right thing to say in the right way. The next time you're in that situation, let the library be of service.

We have dozens of books, CDs and videos on the topic - you can see a complete list here. Whether you need help with a persuasive business presentation, a thoughtful toast for your best friend's wedding or conquering your stage fright, expert advice is waiting on our shelves.

There are other helpful resources for speech-making besides "how to" guides. Perhaps you'd like the perfect quotation for a starter or to wrap up your remarks. How about over 300 books of quotations for inspiration? Whether your tastes run toward Bruce Lee, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martha Stewart or Albert Einstein, we have that quote to make your speech or presentation memorable.

Many times, what you need to really make your point are cold, hard facts. That's where our Reference department can come in handy. You don't want to get caught with Wikipedia as your only source! Our list of research databases, available 24/7 with your DPPL card, gives you one-click access to encyclopedias, magazine, journal and newspaper articles and other specialized sources for statistics and facts. Can't find what you need online? Talk to our Reference staff and they'll scour our Reference books and other sources to track down the facts you need.

I happen to enjoy public speaking. I've been performing as a professional musician for about 30 years and speaking to an audience seems downright easy compared to singing! I lecture and give workshops to patrons here at the library as well as other library professionals and I constantly turn to library resources for inspiration and fresh material. Put the library to work for you next time you're asked to "say a few words" or need to make that once-in-a-lifetime business presentation or a speech to honor a special person in your life. I promise we won't let you down.

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