diversity photo*Mona had been accused of something at work that she didn’t even do, and because she couldn’t articulate her truth adequately, she went directly to default: got emotional and started stumbling over her words and pointing fingers.

Everything she said and did in an attempt to defend herself came off as weak, spiteful excuses. Her nerves got the best of her and unfortunately, she lost her job. Melanie wonders exactly what she is supposed to do at the networking event coming up next Friday evening. She knows there will be people standing around, some solo, others in groups; how is she supposed to approach them and start a conversation? Faraji is from southern Africa. He has learned how to speak English well. Something he is so proud of. But when he is in a crowd of people he realizes there’s a lot “behind the words” that natives have no problem understanding, yet foreigners do; and he often feels he “misses out on the joke.” He wonders how do you decipher what’s not being spoken, yet is clearly being said?

Many of us suffer from a lack of good communication skills and the worse part is, we may not even realize it. We’ve simply accepted it as a way of life. The stories above are mere examples of what this deficiency can “look like,” but other examples include being paralyzed by fear or shyness; having anxiety just before making a presentation; cluelessness on how to meet people; start a conversation or keep one going; how to  approach different situations, individuals or groups.

Let’s face it, saying the right thing, in the right way, to the right person, at the right time is more than luck…it takes skill.

You’ve heard the saying “Opportunity knocks,” but let’s take it a step further; when you answer, will you know what to say?

There are hundreds, thousands of communications challenges we encounter in our daily lives each day that we don’t have to suffer through, and gaining the tools to effectively navigate through these challenges can be life-changing and FUN. “How to Talk to Anybody” is a one-of-a-kind communications class that has been helping everyday folk change their lives by taking them “behind-the-scenes” of what limits us; and presents this in a way that enables you to “get it” and move forward in your life. Guaranteed!

“The diverse topics we explore in this course, and the depths we go to in order to help you break through, is unlike any other class I’ve been to or even heard of,” says DeBorah B. Pryor, the communications specialist and entrepreneur who creates curriculum for workshops under The Art of Communication: Public Speaking for the Private Person a small business she started in 2005. Since that time her workshops have garnered interest from private companies and local colleges such as Glendale Community College, DeVry University and UCLA Extension; where she has taught her original workshops since 2011.

Pryor, has worked in the corporate, private and nonprofit sectors and has a background in journalism and a degree in Drama. A contributing writer with EURweb since 2003, she also prides herself on a teaching style that is real-world versus the more formal, sometimes stoic teaching style of her peers. And the diverse array of professionals that have attended her classes seem to agree.

“How to Talk to Anybody” was absolutely a joy to come to. I looked forward to coming to class…each homework assignment encouraged students to share and interact in class,” beams Scharla, who works as a Dietician. “At the end of your class it was evident that each assignment would lead to something wonderful…!” While Allison, who works in production adds,  [the class] is an exceptional experience… creates a magical environment that allows everyone to be heard…A professor that cares is very rare to find.”

The class continues to bring in professionals from a variety of fields, such as attorney Robert M. who says, “DeBorah, most of all I want to thank you for teaching such a fabulous class. You are an amazing teacher and communicator.”

“When I first started developing workshops, if I’m being perfectly honest, my motivation came from all the bad examples I witnessed out there,” DeBorah admits. “The front-line people such as telephone receptionists who were representing companies, the poorly written emails being sent around the office from folks who should’ve known better, and oh my god, my heart would go out to people who suffered so much when they had to stand up and speak or give a presentation at work or at community events. You could see it, they’d probably choose death over that! I found myself asking, ‘what can I do to help them.’ Don’t get me wrong, I was afraid too; but I had a lot of courage and a load of compassion.”

EUR poster500Pryor, herself once terribly shy, tells a funny story in class about her unconventional means of challenging her shyness because she felt she had a “greater purpose” to fulfill.

“I used to live in the Bay Area, and I had heard of a small theatre company, The Black Repertory Group, helmed at the time by the late Nora Vaughn – a true “Grand Dame” in her own right. They had a 49-seat theatre inside of a store front and I went down there and told them I wanted to act. I wanted to do some plays; which was funny in itself because I come from New York and was always around actors on Broadway and couldn’t stand them. But I was encouraged and BRG opened their doors to me. So here’s the thing: In my first play I was so nervous and I could swear the audience saw me shaking. In one scene I had to shoot a man, and when the time came, the gun jammed. It wouldn’t go off. Inside I was freaking out; but as an actor you learn to ‘never let ’em see you sweat’. But the strangest thing happened; and this is when I learned how the audience is really pulling for you; something I reiterate to my students. The gun finally went off, the guy fell, and a woman in the front row leaned over and said, ‘and you’d better stay dead too!’ The audience howled. I never had another problem with fear on the stage.”

Pryor used 19 years of professional acting, her work as a journalist (which forces you to do interviews with various personalities and types) and years of working in the corporate and private sectors to help her seque into public speaking and then, teaching.

After developing the curriculum for her first workshop more than a decade ago while working at a child welfare agency in Los Angeles, and successfully convincing the CEO of that agency as well as employers she has  worked for since that time to sponsor staff who wanted to attend her workshops, “Public Speaking for the Private Person (a one-day class) and “How to Talk to Anybody” (a class that takes place one evening per week for six weeks) has not only helped many become greater, more effective communicators; but also happier people.

EURweb readers are invited to attend the next “How to Talk to Anybody” class in Glendale, California on Wednesday, October 2 through Wednesday, November 6. If you email us or call and identify yourself as an EURweb reader, you will get $25 off the original workshop price (that’s an additional $5 less than the “early bird” discount).  To enroll or seek more info see the “What’s New” section on the site. Click here or visit [email protected]