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Virtual Torch Talk with Ellen Dunnigan

We may not be able to have in-person events with the current state of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but we are adapting and rolling out more virtual events to keep you connected! Now more than ever, it’s important to keep up communication with your mentors, mentees, and tribe– doing so will help everyone feel less isolated. 

We will be hosting Torch Talks every other week for the month of April. This week’s virtual talk was with Ellen Dunnigan, a public speaking professional and the founder of Accent on Business. 

Through Zoom, she talked with attendees about how to be an effective communicator and speaker in your field. Here were some of her most prominent tips: 

Know Your Purpose. 

Effective speakers have a specific mission and purpose with everything they say. That way, their words are known to be meaningful and their audience listens carefully. Having a specific planned purpose can help you build credibility as a speaker and get your point across clearly. 

Know Your Audience

Another characteristic of effective speakers is that they carefully consider who they are talking to. Depending on what type of community they are speaking to, they will need to change how they get their purpose across. How can you make your information more relatable to the people in your audience? What do you know about their careers? Their successes? Their worries? 

Think About What Questions You’ll Receive

If you’ll receive questions after your presentation, think in advance about what those questions might be. Even take time to consider the questions you hope you aren’t asked. Taking time to think about hypothetical situations will help you be prepared. 

Watch Your Body Language

Even if you don’t feel super confident about talking publicly, practicing strong body language can help you feel more powerful and prepared. Pay attention to your posture while you’re talking, don’t keep your hands in your pockets, make eye contact with your audience, and be conscious of how you use your hands. 


In summary, Ellen Dunnigan’s presentation was insightful for all professionals who have to give presentations as a part of their career. If you attended the Torch Talk, we would love to receive your feedback HERE.

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