Tuesday, July 22, 2008

alltop adds us to its speaking feed

Alltop, an aggregator site that promises "all the top" sites and articles on the Web, has added The Eloquent Woman to its regular feed of public speaking articles. Aside from our contributions, you'll find dozens of other sites with tips on everything from PowerPoint to whether to point while you speak. Enjoy this online resource--I'm delighted that this new blog is included!

can your kid's photo quell speaking fears?

I've heard executive women speakers say they sometimes fight their speaking fears by putting a child's drawing or a photo of their child on the lectern during a talk. Now there may be a scientific reason for speaking moms to tote that photo along. An article in today's New York Times reports on a study that suggests there's a positive neurological effect for moms who have their smiling child's photo in front of them. Here's the main finding noted by the Times:
Using a functional MRI scanner to watch the brain in action, researchers have demonstrated that a picture of her own smiling baby activates the critical reward-processing regions of the mother’s brain much more strongly than seeing a picture of an unknown baby with the same happy look.
The lead author of the paper noted: "This very common response mothers have to their own babies is biologically driven. These brain systems are programmed to give us this emotional high." You'll note that pictures of a crying baby had the same impact, a release of dopamine, for reasons that are still unclear, but we'd stick with a happy shot for best effect. (The original paper in the journal Pediatrics is here.) Do you post your child's photo in front of you when speaking? Let us know in the comments.