Friday, February 18, 2011

30-Day Challenge 3: Public Speaking 101

Question of the Day: What characteristic or trait do you admire most in a person?

Day 03: A picture of you and your friends.

Once again, I have a no-real-photos policy at the moment so I decided to portray my friends and I through Yahoo! avatars. The first Avatar chick is actually me, you see...I am surrounded by books, have my signature "reporter" glasses and have a layered 'do. :) I'd like to introduce you to my amazing friends, all of whom have some spectacular and distinct personalities:

From left to right, top to bottom...
1) The Red Angel (me!) I don't look very red and I don't look like an angel though...
2) Madame Curlique loves the beach and everything that has to do with nature.
3) Jammin' Poe-Poe is one of those "I JUST WANNA PLAY MY MUSIC" kinda guys.
4) B-Ball4Eva likes sports and is a die-hard fan of our university teams.
5) Mr. Senator has always loved everything politics.
6) Gloss&Shiny has beautiful hair, loves colorful things, and owns a fantastic imagination.

I apologize for the long wait for this post! Finally, all my midterms are over and the stressful study sessions and all-nighters have paid off. Hooray!


Probably one of the most frightening experiences you could ever have is speaking in front of a class full of college students. The best thing you can get out of it? A response.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of talking in front of a few Creative Writing/Poetry classes about our literary magazine and what a great opportunity it is to submit work and possibly get published. I'd just like to point out that I stutter, shake, and sweat when I am nervous. Specifically, when I am nervous about speaking in public. Who am I to tell these 18-21 year olds what to do with their time? Who am I to interrupt their daily learning hour (or, rather, Facebook-stalking hour) with my public service announcement? What could I possibly have to say that would interest them?

As a freshman in college, I believe that my public-speaking abilities have improved greatly through the speeches, conferences, interviews, and class talks that I've been thrust into participating in. And now that I'm able to talk in front of a group of people and not feel like barfing, I actually somewhat enjoy the experience and have really come to value the importance of such a skill.

The Do's & Don'ts of Public Speaking
1) DO: Briefly rehearse what you are going to say before the spotlight is on you. Even if you are in a seminar where colloquial discussions are encouraged, it helps a lot if you know what points you want to make and any reasoning you want to add on to make your argument stronger. Or if you, like me, are standing up to persuade your audience to be a part of something or advertise a certain product or thing, make sure you back your information with the types of incentives or positive results that what you are advertising could lead to.

DON'T: Spend hours making note cards or writing a speech out from scratch. 99% of the time, you will end up changing what you say during the actual moment. And then, drifting away from the strictly bullet-pointed dialogue you created might even result in a total screw-up. At the very most, make a short outline of all the most important things you want to talk about and use that as a guide.

2) DO: Make eye contact. This is so much harder than it sounds like, and I know from experience. When you have a hundred, or even just twenty, professors/peers/parents/people staring you down as you speak, it takes all you've got to not run away at that moment. But staring right back not only makes you appear to be confident (even if you aren't), but doing so also lets you identify with your audience on a more personal if unspoken level.

DON'T: Look down. Looking up and looking just to the right or just to the left are all bad, bad, bad...but looking down is the very worst thing you could do. People will eventually get bored with what you have to say, not because what you're talking about isn't interesting, but because you look scared and small. Staring at the floor gives such a negative message to the people who are listening, a message that says: OmgIdon'twannabeherepleaselemmegetthisoverwith! Not attractive.

3) DO: Speak with your hands as much as you speak with your voice. For some reason, the use of body language seems to ease the stress of public speakers. A lot. Hand movement helps emphasize what you're saying, plus it prevents anyone from falling asleep. Sure, a strong voice can go a long way, but there's no reason to add that extra oomph with your spirit fingers (seen "Bring It On" lately?). Plus, you will look, sound, and feel 10x more passionate and confident.

DON'T: Be stiff. If all you do is look straight ahead and recite, you're going to end up talking to a bunch of snoring faces. Take a few steps here and there, move your hands, and tilt your head from one side to another to make sure you're putting equal amounts of attention on the whole audience. Act like you're talking in a conversation with another person, not a wall. Don't be afraid to move. Your audience will thank you for not being just another robot.

4) DO: Take things lightly, smile, and crack a joke. When I went to speak in front of those literature classes, I decided that I just wanted to get it over with and didn't spend that much time preparing apart from the main ideas I wanted to get across. For once, I wasn't freaking out and I didn't get nervous and I didn't spazz out, simply because I didn't want to spend all that time and energy worrying about talking in front of some college kids. And it actually made the whole thing go a lot smoother. I made a few sarcastic jokes and--*yay*--my peers chuckled, grinned, nodded. Heck, they responded the way I wanted to! I was funny! And that's when I realized this whole public-speaking thing isn't that big of a deal after all. :)

*This post was inspired by Search for Hope.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

30-Day Challenge 2: The History Behind "TRA"

Question of the Day: In my last post, I confessed that I know how to burp by will. Care to 'fess up a hidden talent of yours?
Day 02: The meaning behind your Tumblr Blog name.
My second-ever post on this blog actually dealt with the meaning behind my alias, Red Angel. Looking back at all the old stuff I wrote when I first started blogging, it is almost embarassing to read what I wrote as an unexperienced blogger! 8) It is still fascinating to me what a long way I have come.
Basically, the idea of a "Red Angel" came to me when I fantasized what the name of my band would be if I ever chose to make one. One of my favorite colors is red because if its rich hues and meaningful symbolism behind that color. In China (Ethnicity=Chinese! for those of you who don't know), red is associated with good luck and fortune; it can also stand for love, passion, blood, and pretty much any super intense emotion.
My goal in life is to be my best self and use my writing towards improving society for the better, sharing my unique experiences and others' as well. I constantly strive to help and serve others, whether it's through lending an ear and shoulder for a friend to cry on, spreading awareness about breast cancer, trick-or-treating for UNICEF, or simply writing the story of someone who has survived something traumatic. I always try to be there for other people, and be as close to a guardian angel as I can be... without the wings, of course.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that little tidbit about the blog and about me. :-) According to the TRA poll results, 57% of you would like to see more personal entries on my blog and get to know more about me as a person. Again, thanks to all who participated in the poll, I really appreciated all the feedback I received!
In other news, I FINALLY GOT A NEW CAMERA. Being a huge fan of Nikon, I got this camera for Chinese New Year, and have fallen absolutely in love with it. So! You can expect to see a lot more photos now, which 28% of you voted for! Hurray!
However...I have two Calculus and Economics exams on Wednesday and Friday, respectively, that I must cram for. Most likely you can expect the next post from me (the public-speaking entry that I promised!) on either Friday or Saturday! I hope you all have a fantabulous week!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

30-Day Challenge 1: Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Question of the Day: What is one thing you crave the most? It could be cookies, American Idol, the rush of performing on stage, anything!
Day 01: Post a picture of you and 10 interesting facts about yourself.
Sadly, I have a strict no-people-photos policy so I will have to skip that part of the challenge. The 10 interesting facts, though? I think I can handle that. :)

1. I can burp by will.
2. My macaroni and cheese dish is a beast (a good one!).
3. Someday, I plan to open up my own restaurant and name it: The Macaroni Shop.
4. I secretly believe in magic. Okay...maybe it's not so secret anymore.
5. For past Halloweens, I have been a cat, a pirate, a gypsy, a twin, Little Red Riding Hood, myself, a sorority girl, just to name a few.
6. I am by far the slowest eater you will ever meet.
7. When I was little, I made doll clothes for fun.
8. I am terrified of the dark and wet paper.
9. I was named after Wendy's the fast-food restaurant.
10. I don't know how to put makeup on (excluding lip balm and nail polish).

TRA Poll Results:

Thanks to all who participated and provided me with feedback about how to improve this blog! If you have further comments or questions, don't hesitate to email me at
photography and visual elements
4 (28%)
more about TRA, who she is, and personal entries
8 (57%)
writing advice and literary works
5 (35%)
tutorials and how-to post
1 (7%)
bits and pieces of randomness
8 (57%)


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 100 + 30 Day Challenge + Chinese New Year Eve

Question of the Day: Fill in the were born in the year of the _________ (hint: Check out your Zodiac!).

Happy February, everyone! I know I'm a day behind, but hey better late than never. :) I can't believe I'm already in my 2nd semester of college...way too scary to even think about it. I suppose when you're constantly doing Economics (*dodges*) and Calculus (*cringe) all day long the days do tend to eventually blur together.

I've got midterms in both of those classes next week. Honestly, I think that those classes are seriously out to get me. I have homework due in those classes every two days on the same day. And the classes take place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Eek! And contrary to popular belief about Asians, I am not good at math, nor do I like it. On a brighter note, this will probably be the hardest semester I have as an undergraduate, I am thinking. As long as I get through this semester, the hard math-related parts of college will be over (hopefully).

Instead of thinking about the hard parts of this semester that have yet to come (integrals are even worse than derivatives, I hear!), I'm trying to focus on what I HAVE accomplished so far.
  • got on the fiction staff of our college literary magazine (*yay*)
  • developed better public speaking skills (my next post will be about this!)
  • rehomed my turtles to a mansion of their own (not exactly a mansion, but a 20-gallon tank is MUCH nicer than a 2-gallon one)
  • fed my turtles feeder goldfish for the first time--success!
  • learned the difference between quantity demanded and demand, and quantity supplied and supply (there's a difference, I swear)
  • began my "career" as a blog editor for the college features magazine
  • learned how to fold dumplings
  • became a finalist for a leadership program (wish me luck on my interview next week!)
So what have YOU accomplished this year so far?

Speaking of dumplings, tomorrow is Chinese New Year! For those of you who don't know, it is the year of the rabbit. :) Tonight, I will be having a wonderful feast with my family at the apartment I live in. We will have duck, thick rice noodles, meatballs, and all sorts of yummy goodies. In fact, we celebrated CNY in my Chinese class today. A classmate and I brought in dumplings and I hosted a short presentation and improv game, which was "hen hao wan," or "a lot of fun." It definitely made me miss China!

But yes, back to the American calendar now! I will be participating in the February 100 Challenge (a writer's challenge in which we pledge to write at least 100 words a day) and the 30 Day Tumblr Challenge (a certain topic will be addressed in each post), which is technically meant for Tumblr folks but I'm going to do it here instead. :) This is going to be fun.

Anything exciting that you're looking forward to this month?

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