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 Post subject: Trolling 101
Post #1 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:03 pm 
Judan

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I'm not great at communicating. My boss at work says so, too. So I joined the toastmasters program through my work. There are a few different meeting formats. One is impromptu speaking, where you are required to speak for a couple of minutes about a topic you haven't prepared for. Another is the prepared speech format, where you prepare a speech, and then present it to the club.

I'm not great at either format, because like I said, my communication skills are not great. Nonetheless, like anything else, I think I need to practice to improve. So, I joined the club.

Today's speech was my second speech. For the first one, I wrote about my background - my time abroad in Japan, how I met my wife, my kids, and things like that. I decided to try a different topic today. Here's the transcript of my speech. I memorized it, so there might have been some variation. But it's the general gist of what I wrote.

Speech wrote:
You know who he is. You’ve met him before. Maybe it was from an online forum. Or maybe you were having an intelligent debate on Facebook. You express your opinions, your friends express theirs. The discussion is engaging, yet interesting at the same time. Then BAM! Out of nowhere, suddenly he’s flaming your mom, and telling you how global warming has contributed to bigotry in America.
Having no apparent rhyme or reason, this guy out of nowhere derails your threads, leaves provocative messages, and by and large raises your blood pressure. From the outside, it looks like he’s innocently contributing the conversation. But really, he just wants to make you angry and provoke chaos. That’s right. I’m talking about the INTERNET TROLL.

On February 10th, 1979, two students at Duke University connected to the University of North Carolina using Bourne shell scripts, leading to the creation of Usenet, a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. Legend has it that on February 11th that year, the first Internet troll was born.

Internet trolls come in all shapes and sizes. But they have one thing in common: cheap entertainment at the expense of provoking innocent people. Yes, I know. It’s something you’ve been wanting to do.
Your dreams. Your goals. Your ambitions. Really, what good would they be if they didn’t get you banned from your favorite IRC channel???
Maybe you didn’t have the courage before. Or maybe you didn’t know how to start. Maybe you always thought you’d get around to being an Internet troll, but never had the time.
Well, today is your lucky day. I’m here to teach you a few simple techniques that you can use to start your quest toward irritating strangers that you don’t even know!

Without further ado, let’s begin.

Step #1: Find your prey.
The first step toward being a successful troll is to find a target. Internet discussion forums, message boards, and Facebook are all great resources. Sites that have a lot of traffic are nice – you’re likely to attract a lot of attention from provocative posts.
The best sites allow for anonymous accounts. That way, it’s harder for the local law enforcement authorities to locate your whereabouts.
Once you have an account setup, you’re ready to move on to…

Step #2: Finding a provocative topic.
This step is very important. They key to a provocative topic is to know your audience. You want to incite emotion from people on the topics they care about the most.
Let’s consider some examples. Starting a flame war on whether “0.99999 = 1” on a cooking forum? No (hands)
“Windows Phone vs. iPhone” on Microsoft’s Windows Phone Users Yammer group? Perfect (hands).
It doesn’t have to be a topic that you care about. In fact, it’s better if it’s not. What’s important is that the audience cares – they’re the ones you’re trying to stir up.

Step #3: Be Intentionally Ambiguous
A good troll knows that you can never be wrong, if your audience doesn’t understand what you are trying to say. Short posts that are easy to understand are a no-no. Long Internet rants that leave the reader confused, yet disagreeable, emotional, or otherwise angry, are ideal.

For example, instead of saying that you’re for or against child vaccinations, it’s much better to post a long rant about the incompetency of doctors. Whether the reader is in favor of vaccinations or not, they are likely to disagree with you. It’s even better if they’re doctors themselves. Don’t forget to use bad grammar, and an aggressive rhetoric.

Finally, Step #4 is to, Never Give Up! If you’ve found a provocative topic, there are bound to be users that can’t help but try to prove you wrong. Their arguments are probably logical and convincing. But don’t be persuaded. As a troll, you can argue *outside* the realm of logic. In fact, use logical fallacies to your advantage.

If someone is trying to persuade you that vegetarianism is healthy, try pointing out that meat is healthier than laundry detergent.
If someone argues for separation of church and state, point out that people have morals.
In trolling situations, the straw man argument is very useful: argue against points that they’re not even making.
And remember, if all else fails, it’s always helpful to make multiple accounts. Having an army of similarly minded trolls can only add to the fun.

Well, that about sums it up. With these easy techniques, you’re on your way becoming a true internet troll. It’s a tough skill to learn, but once you’ve got it, it can be very rewarding.
Godspeed as we troll one another on the interwebz.



The speech is intended to be 5-7 minutes. It took me around 7 minutes.

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 Post subject: Re: Trolling 101
Post #2 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:57 pm 
Judan

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If you don't mind a few comments. :)

First, repetition is not only OK in a talk, it can be a very good thing. (The same is not necessarily so for a written piece.)

For instance, you could well say, "I'm talking about the INTERNET TROLL," at the end of the first paragraph. You can say it at the end of the second paragraph, too. :) However, I would not recommend that, for a reason I will mention later.

You give four steps for trolling. That's a short list. There is no reason not to start that section of your speech by listing all four steps. In fact, it would be good to do so, as it would help orient your listeners. Furthermore, it would not be a bad idea to list them again at the start of your conclusion. "Tell'em what you've said," is one of the proverbs of public speaking.

Now, I would not recommend repeating the statement, "I'm talking about the INTERNET TROLL," because it is not the topic of your talk. How to troll is. Unfortunately, we do not find that out until almost halfway through your talk. Let us know earlier, perhaps by truncating your introduction.

I also had the feeling that your conclusion was too brief, even a bit dismissive of your own idea. I would have liked it if you had kept up the joke for a while longer, as though you were giving a pep talk, a sales talk, or a sermonette.

Anyway, congratulations on your talk. I am sure that people enjoyed it. I did. :)

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Post #3 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:17 pm 
Judan

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Bill Spight wrote:
If you don't mind a few comments. :)


I don't mind. I'm used to it by now. :-)

Bill Spight wrote:
First, repetition is not only OK in a talk, it can be a very good thing. (The same is not necessarily so for a written piece.)

For instance, you could well say, "I'm talking about the INTERNET TROLL," at the end of the first paragraph. You can say it at the end of the second paragraph, too. :) However, I would not recommend that, for a reason I will mention later.

You give four steps for trolling. That's a short list. There is no reason not to start that section of your speech by listing all four steps. In fact, it would be good to do so, as it would help orient your listeners. Furthermore, it would not be a bad idea to list them again at the start of your conclusion. "Tell'em what you've said," is one of the proverbs of public speaking.

Now, I would not recommend repeating the statement, "I'm talking about the INTERNET TROLL," because it is not the topic of your talk. How to troll is. Unfortunately, we do not find that out until almost halfway through your talk. Let us know earlier, perhaps by truncating your introduction.

I also had the feeling that your conclusion was too brief, even a bit dismissive of your own idea. I would have liked it if you had kept up the joke for a while longer, as though you were giving a pep talk, a sales talk, or a sermonette.

Anyway, congratulations on your talk. I am sure that people enjoyed it. I did. :)


Thanks for the tips. I have to say that it's all new to me, because I know nothing about public speaking really, except for the practice I've gotten from just trying it at the meetings... So your advice is very valuable, since I have no other medium (except maybe to look up tips online). Good point about repeating things. I never considered it at all. I was mainly just trying to make jokes.

I *did* feel that the conclusion was lacking before I gave the speech, but at that point, it was already past midnight last night, and I still had to memorize it.

Next time (which should be in a few weeks), I'll give it a bit more prep time, and I'll try out some of your ideas. I'll have to think of a new topic, though. I suppose I could start brainstorming about that, now.

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 Post subject: Re: Trolling 101
Post #4 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:29 pm 
Oza

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One small tip, if you're going to do a list like that you should usually add some hook back to what you previously talked about to keep it fresh in people's minds. It's part of the repetition Bill talked about. You can make it seem kind of organic by going from "Now we're on Facebook," "Now we're on Facebook ready to comment on the IFLS page about whether proof by induction is enough" or whatever. Make it so you're building a story (I hate this phrase) rather than giving people four guidelines to how to troll. It's easier to follow and listen to. Other than that, I'd trim the introduction, it's got little to do with what you're talking about and expand the middle and (slightly) the end. Depending on setting you can end up giving very different speeches. One style of speaking and approach won't do every event.


Do try and do the improptu format too, it's a lot of fun once you get into it. I ended up giving my wedding speech improptu. Remember, no fear! :D


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Post #5 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:33 pm 
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Kirby wrote:
I was mainly just trying to make jokes.


Better one well developed and foreshadowed joke than four rapid fire ones unless the four are directly building on each other. Also, telling jokes in a speech is hard to pull off well, don't be discouraged if it fails occasionally. :)


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Post #6 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:47 pm 
Judan

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Boidhre wrote:

Do try and do the improptu format too, it's a lot of fun once you get into it. I ended up giving my wedding speech improptu. Remember, no fear! :D


Any tips for the impromptu format?

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Post #7 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:02 pm 
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Kirby wrote:
Boidhre wrote:

Do try and do the improptu format too, it's a lot of fun once you get into it. I ended up giving my wedding speech improptu. Remember, no fear! :D


Any tips for the impromptu format?


Give speeches to yourself in an empty room at home (warn the wife first :P). Pick a random topic, think of an angle you think you can work with, talk about it for five minutes. Or as best you can. Mainly focus on having a natural flow to what you're saying and getting used to speaking "off script." Mainly remember to avoid long sentences, they'll trip you and your listeners up. Practice varying volume, pace and inflection to accent what you're saying.

99% of impromptu speaking is confidence. Barring topics you know nothing about, almost anyone can speak for five minutes on a subject, mostly they trip up because of anxiety or they just think they can't do it. Most of it is learning how to sound interesting (i.e. not speaking in a monotone, not speaking too fast or too slow, not mumbling or speaking in too thick an accent). For example the speed I used to give speeches at sounds a lot slower than my normal talking speed and is "projected" further than my usual speaking voice, in real life I speak rapidly and fairly quietly and drive my foreign friends mad. ;)

It's just practice really to get to a decent standard. You just need to get used to speaking like that for five minutes, the content part is the easy bit.


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Post #8 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:07 pm 
Judan
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Hi Kirby,

Excellent new endeavor. Good luck with it. Enjoy it. Very nice.
Kirby wrote:
Any tips for the impromptu format?
Hmm, where have I heard that before... over and over again... ?
Oh, yes -- "How do I improve at fighting (in Go, at least) ?" :)

Kirby, have you taken any (beginner) (theater) performance class ?
Or, improv class ? :mrgreen:


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Post #9 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:11 pm 
Judan

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EdLee wrote:
Hi Kirby,

Excellent new endeavor. Good luck with it. Enjoy it. Very nice.
Kirby wrote:
Any tips for the impromptu format?
Hmm, where have I heard that before... over and over again... ?
Oh, yes -- "How do I improve at fighting (in Go, at least) ?" :)

Kirby, have you taken any (beginner) (theater) performance class ?
Or, improv class ? :mrgreen:


No, I haven't. Like I said, I suck at communication. That's why my manager recommended it, I think.

Toastmasters, as I have experienced it so far, gives me chances to practice these things, but as far as I know, there is no teacher.

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Post #10 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:14 pm 
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Kirby wrote:
No, I haven't. Like I said, I suck at communication. That's why my manager recommended it, I think.

Toastmasters, as I have experienced it so far, gives me chances to practice these things, but as far as I know, there is no teacher.


What do you mean by "suck at communication?"


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Post #11 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:35 pm 
Judan

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Kirby wrote:
I *did* feel that the conclusion was lacking before I gave the speech, but at that point, it was already past midnight last night, and I still had to memorize it.

Next time (which should be in a few weeks), I'll give it a bit more prep time, and I'll try out some of your ideas. I'll have to think of a new topic, though. I suppose I could start brainstorming about that, now.


May I suggest saving the middle for last in planning your speech? My first band director used to tell us that we needed a strong start and a strong finish, the middle not so much. Also, the start and finish are what people tend to remember. So give them something worth remembering. :)

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Post #12 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:44 pm 
Judan

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Boidhre wrote:
Kirby wrote:
No, I haven't. Like I said, I suck at communication. That's why my manager recommended it, I think.

Toastmasters, as I have experienced it so far, gives me chances to practice these things, but as far as I know, there is no teacher.


What do you mean by "suck at communication?"


Well, first I mean that I have little experience in verbal communication, so my thoughts tend to get jumbled. I suspect that the reason I'm in this club now is because of the one-on-one meetings I've been having with my manager. I want to express things to him, but I sometimes don't direct communication to my audience.

For example, I'll start talking about some minute programming detail of something I saw in the debugger, giving no context into what I'm explaining.

As a result, the conversation usually ends in confusion.

I think I need to learn to cater what I'm saying to my audience, and give them context to what the heck I'm talking about. I don't do that sometimes, and just start off in the context I'm at.

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Post #13 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:22 pm 
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Hi Kirby,

Practice definitely helps. A lot. If you can find a good teacher/mentor --
you mention currently you don't have one -- that's even better.

In many cases, for the person teaching, teaching is learning.
If you routinely meet beginners (in Go, or other fields)
and you help them, it can help with your communication skills.

If you have never watched any Feynman lectures or interviews,
you may enjoy them.

You may also enjoy watching from some of the top pros --
for example, Charlie Rose, Letterman (especially if you compare
their interview skills over the span of 10, 20 years...
you can see how they continue to improve and evolve. )

If you're lucky enough to have friends who are "naturally"
eloquent, great communicators, hang out with them more.
Steal their tesujis. :)

Much like we can learn so much both from pro games
and our own games, it's the same in other fields:
{ study from the masters, practice, review } -- rinse & repeat. :)

I know I'm preaching to the choir, so, sorry,
but it's all in the basics. An introductory theater performance class,
with a good teacher and fellow classmates, can be wonderful.
Diction. Body language. Verbal language. Projection.
Confidence (already mentioned in this thread). Spontaneity. Flow.
Clarity. Eliminate all excess baggage or bad habits.(1)
Know yourself; know your audience/opponent...(2)
There's so much good stuff in Go. :)

(1) The Elements of Style (1959).
(2) The Art of War ( ~500 BCE).
Comedian (2002).
Darrell Hammond's book (2011).


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Post #14 Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:01 am 
Oza

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Kirby wrote:
Well, first I mean that I have little experience in verbal communication, so my thoughts tend to get jumbled. I suspect that the reason I'm in this club now is because of the one-on-one meetings I've been having with my manager. I want to express things to him, but I sometimes don't direct communication to my audience.

For example, I'll start talking about some minute programming detail of something I saw in the debugger, giving no context into what I'm explaining.

As a result, the conversation usually ends in confusion.

I think I need to learn to cater what I'm saying to my audience, and give them context to what the heck I'm talking about. I don't do that sometimes, and just start off in the context I'm at.


In speeches and person communication you take a moment to try and pitch an idea at the right level for the audience or person you're talking to. Too simple for them and you'll insult or bore them, too high a level and you lose them or they think you're trying to confuse them. Then you need to give them a context but how much context is needed will vary from person to person. Mainly, it's easy to fall into the trap of explaining something like you were explaining it to yourself. Both in terms of skill and prior knowledge of what's been happening. It can also be a lot harder to explain something to someone who isn't also a specialist because you need to be able to understand it at both levels. This is why many strong players suck at teaching go or why many good coders are the last people you'd get to introduce someone to coding. ;)

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Post #15 Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:31 am 
Judan

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Never mind. ;)

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Post #16 Posted: Thu May 07, 2015 7:59 pm 
Judan

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Well, I was asked to do another speech for Toastmaster's. I don't mind doing it, but this week is kind of busy. I have three AYD games, have a project for work due by the end of the week, and also some bugs to fix at work.

So again, I couldn't give it a lot of prep time. Since I have to memorize the speech, and I wasn't starting until the day before, I thought it would be good to discuss a topic I know about - this time, Go.

I looked at the tips from this thread on my last speech. The most notable advice I took from that was to write the intro and conclusion first. I worked on the middle after that.

Mostly, I tried to compare go to things the audience could relate to, as they are not go players.

Here it is:
The clock is ticking... Tic... Toc... Tic... Toc... You've got to think fast! There are only 10 seconds left... 9... 8... 7...
Should you go for the kill? If it works, you're sure to win. But if not... definite defeat. Maybe trying to kill him is too risky. What about playing it out until the end? Maybe he has a few tricks up his sleeve. Can you afford to play it safe? Tic... Toc... Tic... Toc... It's now or never. You've got to make up your mind. You've got to make your move.
These were the thoughts that rushed through my mind last Sunday, during one of the games I played at the Spring Go Tournament at the Go Center in downtown Seattle.
You're may be asking yourself, "Go? What is that?"
The short answer is, "Go is a board game - kind of like chess". But it's much deeper than that - at over 3000 years old, it's the oldest game in the world with the same original rules. Millions of people play it every day, study it, and many devote their entire lives to it.
The game is not so popular in America - many have never heard of it. But in Asia, thousands of kids, starting from before they can even read, study the game for 10 or more hours a day, in hopes to one day become one of the few... One of the elite... professional players.
Young kids skip high school, or even middle school, so they have a better chance of getting strong at the game.
What is it about this mysterious game? Why have these people sacrificed their lives, all for a board game?
Some say it's the simplicity. Just black and white stones, going on the board - one after another. Tic... Toc... Tic... Toc... Yet from this simple origin, a perfect model to simulate the world is born. Go is an elegant game. Because it has very few rules, there is an astonishing depth of complexity in its strategy. You can learn the game in 5 minutes. But you can improve at it for a lifetime.
Go is like a martial art, but for your mind. You may be familiar with the belt system used in sports like Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, and the like. As you learn the sport, you start by earning colored belts - kyu ranks, if you will. And when you've become a master, you earn your first dan black belt, followed by second dan, and up and up and up. The same system is used in go.
A little known fact is that the dan-ranking system was initially created for go by Dosaku in the 1600s. While a sport like Karate can help you to improve your fighting skills, Go challenges you to improve your mind.
Go is about balance - a skill often needed in life. If you're too aggressive, you'll collapse. If you're too passive, you'll be overcome. If you over-stretch yourself, you'll be too weak. If you under-stretch yourself, you won't have enough points.
Go is about efficiency. As in life, every move that you play matters. If you don't make the best of each turn... Each opportunity... That you're given, you'll lose out. But for me, go is about learning about myself. When I review what I've played, I can see my weaknesses. I can see how to improve. I can see how I can be a better person.
Was I too anxious? Was I impatient? Was I careless? Was I lazy? Go is a fair game - not one of chance. So what I see on the board is objective. It's true. It's me.
I've been playing go for about 10 years. And I've never gotten bored. It's one of my passions. It's something I study. It's something I travel the country for. Sometimes I ask myself why I've kept at it for so long? Why didn't I get bored?
After all, some people say that it's just a game.
Socrates once said, the "Unexamined life is not worth living". It's not just better to examine your life - if you don't, it's *not worth living*.
For me, go is a way to examine my life.
It teaches me about myself - my weaknesses - my bad habits. It's a means of continuous self-improvement. Day after day, month after month, and year after year. Tic... Toc... Tic... Toc... Always aiming to be just a little stronger. Always aiming to improve myself just a little bit more.
A reporter once asked legendary professional player Cho Chikun, "Why go? Why spend such effort on a game, when you could enjoy so many other things in life? Why do you work so hard?"
His reply?
"Yes, that's right. Go is just a game.
Even so, it's go."
I play because it's my go.
Because it's my work.
Because it's the world I've been given."
Come see me around noon tomorrow at the Commons for Asian Heritage Month. I'll be giving a demo of the rules. I hope to see you all there.


One thing I wish I would have improved on would have been to have more repetition - and maybe a more direct point.

Oh, and more preparation would have been nice. Next speech, for sure, I'll spend at least a couple of days on it!

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Post #17 Posted: Thu May 07, 2015 8:46 pm 
Judan

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Very nice speech. Bravo! :D

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Post #18 Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 1:27 pm 
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Kirby wrote:
No, I haven't. Like I said, I suck at communication. That's why my manager recommended it, I think.


Hi Kirby,

Reply to cheer you up.
My first advice to you would be to not accept your manager's advice.
No one, especially your manager, should talk down to you, ever.
Do not accept that, and please do not speak of yourself in terms of "suck at communication".

Anyone can say to anyone that he/she is not good at communication: it is a gratuite statement. Ask him/her to clarify and have him/her make it a constructive point: what communication, when was it not good, which aspects can/should be better, in what situation was it not good, which persons and/or media were involved, etc.

Building selfconfidence, needed for public speaking, comes from within.
Although I applaude your effort to become better (in anything, be it go, be it public speaking, be it debating, be it otherwise), becoming better does not start with practice IMHO.
Don't let anyone plant bad seeds in your heart.

Good luck.

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Post #19 Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 1:56 pm 
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sybob wrote:
Kirby wrote:
No, I haven't. Like I said, I suck at communication. That's why my manager recommended it, I think.


Hi Kirby,

Reply to cheer you up.
My first advice to you would be to not accept your manager's advice.
No one, especially your manager, should talk down to you, ever.
Do not accept that, and please do not speak of yourself in terms of "suck at communication".

Anyone can say to anyone that he/she is not good at communication: it is a gratuite statement. Ask him/her to clarify and have him/her make it a constructive point: what communication, when was it not good, which aspects can/should be better, in what situation was it not good, which persons and/or media were involved, etc.

Building selfconfidence, needed for public speaking, comes from within.
Although I applaude your effort to become better (in anything, be it go, be it public speaking, be it debating, be it otherwise), becoming better does not start with practice IMHO.
Don't let anyone plant bad seeds in your heart.

Good luck.


I have to disagree with this. I have been in IT management and have had to tell people that they have problems in certain areas. They need to know. But it must be done in a constructive way to be productive, and it sounds as though Kirby's boss did this - he provided a useful recommendation to remedy it. I got no feeling that his boss was talking down to him.

My neighbor were I live now had a similar problem. He was extremely knowledgeable in his field but had problems with communications. His boss suggested toastmasters. Now my neighbor is a master toastmaster (or whatever the term is) and is an excellent communicator who has recently started his own business. Without that push from his boss I doubt he would have got where he is today.

_________________
Still officially AGA 5d but I play so irregularly these days that I am probably only 3d or 4d over the board (but hopefully still 5d in terms of knowledge, theory and the ability to contribute).

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 Post subject: Re: Trolling 101
Post #20 Posted: Sat May 09, 2015 1:47 pm 
Lives in gote

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Hello DrStraw,

My earlier reply was directed to Kirby and was intended to cheer him up (as stated). Not to you.

As neither of us were not present when Kirby's manager told him about communication, both your and my view and opinion are irrelevant to Kirby. And never mind possible good intentions on your side, your "feeling" about this is even less relevant and may even be totally off the point.

I also think it is of no use bringing up your personal experience in this matter, as this topic revolves around Kirby and his live. Your personal experience may not be aligned towards his life. I can bring forward my experience (which often indicates a view opposite to yours is best suited), but that is also not relevant to Kirby in this matter. Unless perhaps if Kirby is your neighbor?

It is okay if we perhaps have different views, but let's not bother Kirby with that. That does not help him.

I do hope you do not disagree with me if I try to wish him well when saying "good luck".
So, I say again: good luck to you Kirby.

Regards all.

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