5 surefire tips to better public speaking

If you search in Google for the term “public speaking tips” you get roughly 2.6 million responses. That seems like a lot, but when you have to be the one standing in front of the group there isn’t enough information in the world that could get you over that fear.

Believe it or not, most of those fears are self imposed. What do I mean? The people listening to you don’t really care how the information is disseminated, they just want at the information. It’s the speaker that puts themselves through the ringer weeks before the event. Here are some tips that may seem obvious, but once completed, will really put your mind at ease, trust me.

Public Speaking Tip #1

KNOW YOUR TOPIC! I don’t mean know your topic, I mean inside and out, upside down, what ever question someone could throw at you, you know the answer. You really need to be prepared to reach this level. You need to know your speech almost by heart; you need to know the products you will be discussing. Do your homework, you will know you have reached public speaking Nirvana when you get that “feeling”, it will come with knowledge. Believe!

Public Speaking Tip #2

Greet as many of the attendees prior to your speech as possible. Familiarity promotes confidence. Besides, think of the benefit you provide the topic you are to speak on when you take the time to meet people before you go on.

This strategy also prevents you from pacing back and forth and worrying yourself to death until you go on. There is no point in cramming now, if you don’t know it, you wont, and it will show.

Public Speaking Tip #3

DON’T think everyone in the audience is naked, this in fact will hurt your chances of a successful public speaking outing.

Public Speaking Tip # 4

When you find yourself with only a mouthful of uhs and ums, stop yourself, repeat the sentence as if to add importance, and replace the uhs and ums with silence to allow your points to hit home.

Public Speaking Tip # 5

Animate your speech. Most people think that good communication is mouth-centric. Nothing could be farther from the truth! To be a powerful communicator, you have to use your entire body. Gestures and body language add energy and enthusiasm to your speech.

These are tips can really help you take your next step in public speaking. Do you realize that people pass up promotions because they will be required to speak publicly?

Do you realize people fear speaking in public more than they fear dying? Maybe because dying is abstract and appears far away while the podium is right in front of them. Either way, you really can come to grips with your fear and maybe you won’t enjoy it, but you’ll be able to get through it easier. I can’t emphasize enough that half of your battle will be just knowing what you are going to say, and anticipating what others are going to ask. It can be easy!

Deer-in-the-headlights

Deer in the Headlights

People who make their living researching what frightens people the most have made a pretty amazing discovery. Consistently when people list the top five things they are afraid of in life, they have are some pretty intimidating terrors. But you would think that death would rank number one on that list. But death doesn’t take number one, it has to settle for number two. Amazingly, the number one thing that terrifies most people is not death, it is public speaking. A popular comedian once said that this means that people would rather be the guy in the casket at a funeral than the guy giving the eulogy.

If you have ever been in a meeting listening to a speaker, you can usually tell if they are terrified. They will get up there and you will see that "deer in the headlights" look. You know that look. It is one of extreme fear, panic, and terror so profound that the person is frozen in place unable to speak of move. And if you have ever been that guy or gal in front of a group giving the "deer in the headlights" look, you know the feeling of terror that happens in front of a group of people can be pretty awful.

So if you know that public speaking is going to be part of your job or something you have to regularly, you have to find a way to neutralize that fear and be able to relax in front of a crowd when you speak. How often have you sat and listened to a speaker who was relaxed, funny, bright and even able to field questions with no difficulty at all? It's easy to admire that kind of public speaker and think that he or she has some magical powers that you will never get. But they don't have magic. That speaker has just learned some techniques for neutralizing those fears so he or she can appear relaxed and as though he or she is having fun up there. It's not an inborn talent. It’s a skill which can be learned.

Of course a lot of the ability to look out at a sea of faces who want to hear what you want to say and not feel sick comes from experience. But experience teaches you things that you can at least understand before you become an old pro at public speaking. One of those things is that the crowd out there doesn’t know what to expect. If you broke down why you feel terrified in front of people, it's that you think that they think they know what they want and that you are being judged.

But to understand what people really expect when they are looking at you at the podium on stage, just remember the last time you heard someone speak. You had no predefined idea what was about to be said and you probably had no outline or any frame of reference what that speaker was going to say. That means that even if you don't deliver your speech perfectly, they will never know that! As long as you don't let on that you are nervous or not sure about your material, they won't know if you got it wrong. If you forget an entire segment of your speech, as long as what you do say flows nicely and they never know you forgot it, the people listening will think your speech was just fine and will probably applaud.

Also remember that you are not really speaking to a group. The group has no ears. You are speaking to several individuals. When you are listening to a speaker, you are one person listening to one person. That is how each person in that audience is receiving you, as individuals. So if you speak to them as though they are one person, not a crowd, your presentation will be warm and personal and very successful. And the crowd will like you to which helps a lot.

Just remember that their expectations of you are fairly low and for the most part, people hearing you speak want you to succeed. So smile at them, use a bit of humor and use that little insider tip to relax up there. And when you can relax, you can actually have fun at public speaking rather than wishing you were the guy in the casket instead.

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Rule of 3 not 2 not 4

When arranging flowers, balloon bouquets, or business presentations, do you use the rule of three? With flowers and balloons, optically we prefer odd numbered or non-symmetric arrangements. Impress your friends with this tip, don't make a balloon bouquet of two or four balloons, stick with three!

Before I get to business presentations, I want to relate a cute baseball story to provide greater context for the rule of three.

Many years ago I coached T-ball with a fellow who was 6'10". At 5'7" it is safe to say I really looked up to this person. We were coaching five year old kids and this was their foray into baseball.

At one of our early practices, Bill saw me providing instruction on how to hit the ball off the "tee". He asked me what I was doing. My many years of baseball behind me, I guess I looked at him a bit dumbfounded. I explained I was providing direction on hitting the ball. One of my life lessons was about to begin.

Bill said, "Clayton, you can only tell the kids three things. It is all they will remember - if you are lucky!" Bill also suggested I'd be more successful if I related each point to something the kids could visualize or were clues to help them. Lastly he told me consistency and repetition is good.

So step one became how to set up in the batter's box. I suggested their feet became tree trunks with roots going into the ground so they didn’t move. Our "code" when they approached the batters box became ROOTS! Second was to watch the bat hit the ball. Our code was to take our first two fingers and point to our eyes, as a reminder to WATCH the bat hit the ball. Sounded simple enough, and with practice most did. Lastly they had to remember to run. That is where the parents were quick to help coach by yelling from the stands RUN RUN when the hit was made. Our first batter in our first game hit the ball and ran ... you guessed it, straight out to second base and kept going! We learned a lot that year!

Bill later explained to me, not only kids, but adults have short memories. Tell them one thing they'll remember it, tell them two and you are still safe, tell them three and they may remember it but don’t go past three. He called this the rule of three.

How do you leverage the rule of three in business?

- First, prioritize the three most important points you want to communicate.

- Second, relate each point to something familiar to your audience, capture their interest and attention.

- Third, be consistent and repeat the three points to reinforce your message.

Think about your next presentation. What are the three most critical points you want to message? Do you begin and end by reinforcing them? If you are using PowerPoint, limit your bullets to three per slide. This forces you to think in threes and prioritize your communication. Lastly, how do your points relate to your audience? Are they a call to action? Why are they important? How will they benefit your audience? A wise person once recommended, "Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Then finish by reminding them what you told them!"

Start practising the rule of three. You will be surprised how well it will work for you!

Public speaking why all the fuss

When asked, the majority of people in the US would claim that there greatest fear is getting up in front of a crowd and giving a speech. People 100 years ago would not say that public speaking was their worst fear, but they had more threatening things to worry about right? I’m talking about things like war, and wild animals, and rampant crime without great law enforcement. The fact that our society is more tame is perhaps part of this strange fear of a relatively benign circumstance but doesn’t explain it entirely. I want to discuss why we are so afraid and measures that can be taken to put our fears to rest.

So why are we so afraid of public speaking? Well for one thing not very many of us are good at it and we don’t know how to get better. Public oration was a skill highly valued in the past and therefore it was something that was worked on with much effort and time in school. Part of the reason that more people that were schooled in speech making in the past was because school was really only for those to whom the skill would be beneficial. What I am trying to get at is that only the “gifted” children were formally trained in such skills and the rest of kids worked on the far and never had the need to make a speech. With the requirement of grade school, and the assumption of a college education, there are more people than ever that, in my opinion, shouldn’t be there in the first place and will never use the skills they may gain in the second.

So first we are not good at it, second we don’t for the most part need to do it regularly, and third as mention in the first paragraph threatening has taken on a whole new definition in this relatively safe society. So why are people called on to do public speaking that don’t have the natural skills, desires, or regular practice that they need to be good? Well that is a function of the vast middle class in this country who think they are good enough to carry on the traditions of the rich and famous, but who lack the upbringing and training that make a person truly gifted in the art of public speaking. Famous examples would be graduation addresses, wedding tosts, eulogies, etc. We, I think, expect too much of ourselves and therefore are definitely afraid of the inevitably horrible job that we are going to do?

My answer? Well either imagine all the horrible things that are much worse than the agony of embarrassment. Or you could actually take the time to get trained (not recommended unless your job requires that you do it all the time). Or you could just give up on the senseless traditions of the past that were required of people that were much better trained to do public speaking.

How to be a great speaker without using powerpoint

RESEARCH YOUR AUDIENCE It amazes me how some speakers will show up for a speaking engagement and really not know anything about the audience they are speaking to. Many speakers just get lazy and feel that their message is so important that anyone would want to hear it. They couldn't be more wrong. Your core message may be about the same for everyone, but knowing your audience will allow you to slant the information so that the audience feels it was prepared just for them. They will relate much better to the information and think much more highly of you for creating something specifically for them. Of course, in many cases you were only slanting your information, but I won't tell if you won't.

PRACTICE The only way to look polished while speaking is to practice. This is one skill you cannot delegate to anyone else. It is you that is on stage with the microphone and it is you who will look either great or terrible. You are sadly mistaken and egotistical if you think the PowerPoint slides that either you or someone else created will make you a dynamic speaker. There are specific techniques used to practice that don't take much time and make you look extremely polished. One of these techniques is called bits. You practice a short piece of material over and over again. You don't practice it word for word, but just talk your way through it. This way you won't blank out when a distraction happens while you are on stage.

TAKE CARE OF HECKLERS The following is my famous asterisk technique; I use it to make sure hecklers don't interrupt my presentation. I get people in the group to identify potential troublemakers BEFORE I get to the event. I phone these people and interview them to give them the attention they are craving. I then mention their names during the speech. This virtually eliminates the chance they will give me a hard time because I am praising one of their opinions. This works really well but don't mention their names exclusively or the rest of the audience that knows these people are trouble may think that you are just as bad. Mention a wide variety of people in the audience. Just make sure the bad ones are included which normally keeps them at bay.

USE EMOTIONAL LANGUAGE Boring old facts rarely move people to action. Learning to use words that evoke emotions in people will make a much greater impact when you speak. There are many emotions you can trigger in the audience just by your choice of words. Happiness, anger, sadness, nostalgia are just a few. Knowing your purpose for being in front of the group helps you to pick which emotions you want to tap. When your purpose is known, choosing words to get the desired emotional response is much easier. For instance, if you wanted to take someone back to a childhood experience you might say, "Do you remember when someone did something bad at school and the teacher smacked the yardstick on her desk?" The word Phrase "smacked the yardstick" would evoke an emotional response that many adults can relate to. A younger group may not relate to this phrase since corporal punishment has all but disappeared from schools. You must pick the words that would mean something to your audience.

REVEAL YOURSELF Often people have trouble implementing this idea because they like to remain aloof and private. This will hurt their chances of making a good connection with people in the audience. You certainly don't have to reveal your deepest darkest secrets when on stage, but you certainly could tell someone how much you like horses, or how you love to cook . ..anything that will give them a glimpse into the real you will give you a better chance of connecting with them and getting them to listen to you.

USE PROPS A prop is worth a thousand words. People can really anchor a thought in their minds when it is connected to an object that relates to the point you are trying to make. You could use large, small, funny or serious props. Always relate the prop to the point you are trying to make and make sure the audience can see it. Sometimes you'll want to hide the prop so people don't wonder what it is until you are ready to present it.

USE HUMOR Even Shakespeare used humor in the middle of the tragedies he wrote. Humor is a powerful and effective tool that gives the audience's mind a chance to breath in the face of heavy material. It also makes you more likable and fun to listen to. Humor is also much more likely to make your information more memorable. You don't have to be a stand up comedian to use humor in speeches and presentations, and you don't have to tell jokes either. There are many ways to add humor that don't require any skill at all. You can show funny visuals, tell stories, or read from books or periodicals. Just like with props, make sue your humor relates to the point you are trying to make and you will be much more successful. Each issue of "Great Speaking" has about 20 pieces of humor you can use during speeches.

MOVE 'EM TO ACTION If you are going to bother taking up people's time to speak to them, don't you think it would be a good idea to get them to do something positive because of your presentation? Even if they do something negative, it's still better than doing nothing because they will at least get a chance to learn something from their mistake. Regardless of the size of your ego, the reality is that you are there for them, not the other way around. I'm all for you building up your reputation, but if you go into your speech thinking it's all for you, it will show and you probably won't do as well as you would have had you concentrated on the needs of the audience more.

BRING SOLUTIONS One of the best ways to make sure the audience loves you is to bring solutions to their problems. If you have done a thorough job of researching your audience, you already know what their problems are. It's your job to bring ideas for them to try. In modern day thinking this is what motivational speaking is all about. No longer is it good enough to get people all fired up where they are bouncing off the walls without a clue as to what they will do with this new found excitement and motivation. Modern professional motivational speakers bring solutions and a plan of action to achieve them. Now those are motivating.

PAY ATTENTION TO LOGISTICS The best preparation, practice, and audience research could be ruined if you forget to pay attention to all the details surrounding a presentation. You want to know what is happening before you speak, and what is happening after you speak: How are the people seated? Are they at round tables where half of them are facing away from you, or are there no tables at all? What kind of microphone is appropriate? How big is the screen in the room? Will the people be drinking alcohol? What is the lighting like? All these items and many more affect the overall effectiveness of a presentation. The same exact words delivered with significantly different logistics could be received in entirely different ways. You could even go from a fantastic evaluation to a bomb just because of the way people are seated. It's up to you to know the differences and how they affect a presentation.

Speaking precisely

You can express yourself better if you learn the proper words to use for each situation.

You can pick up these words by reading good books and articles. Just be careful you don't pronounce something incorrectly in your head, and then speak that way in public. People will think you're ignorant.

I remember listening to a radio talk show one time when a man called in and mispronounced a word. The guest, who disagreed with him, attacked his mispronunciation, and the host was clearly embarrassed for him. All in all, it was just an awkward moment. And you definitely don't want to be initiating awkward moments while trying to drum up business.

Pronunciations do vary depending on your locale, so you could just say that's how it's pronounced where you're from. But there are usually only a few alternatives, and most educated people know of them.

You can learn proper pronunciation by listening to intelligent people. If intelligent people are rare where you live, buy some tapes or visit some podcast directories.

Some well-read people mispronounce words they read all the time but never hear. If you found a great word in a book that you're not sure about, check it out at Dictionary. com. They have a pronunciation guide, and, if you want toSpeak Precisely, you can sign up for their premium service. They have a feature where you can click on a word and hear the proper pronunciation.

At any rate, just make sure you know how the word is pronounced and what it means, before you use it. Nothing sounds worse than someone using big words out of context. There's nothing wrong with using big words, though, as long as you're using them correctly.

Of course, you should probably stick with the shorter, more common alternative if one exists. Don't use a big word just because you know it. Only use a bigger word if it's the only word available to express exactly what you mean. Most people have very small vocabularies, and will tune you out if you start talking over their heads.

If you're talking with experts, you'll probably want to use shortcuts (jargon). This can save time. Just don't use jargon outside specific groups, because it'll sound like gibberish to most people. You can learn this jargon by reading industry-specific journals and visiting message boards.

Speaking precisely isn't that hard. Just use the right word at the right time. That knowledge will only come with experience.

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Top 5 strategies to effective public speaking

I was never a huge fan of public speaking. I was always very nervous and had this overwhelming feeling the audience was judging my every word. I now know how to overcome my fears and deliver a memorable presentation.

I have summarized for you the top 5 strategies I use to make sure every presentation is a showstopper.

Realize 90% of Nervousness Doesn't Even Show

The audience usually can’t see the telltale symptoms of nervousness. The butterflies, the shaky hands or the sweaty palms. The key is for you to not focus on them either. You need to focus on the audience. When you do this two things will happen: 1) they will like you more, and 2) much of the nervousness that you feel will go away.

Don’t Avoid Eye-Contact.

When we are nervous, it is a natural reaction to want to hide. When you are standing in front of a group of people where do you hide? You can’t. So you will tend to look down or look away from your audience. If we can’t see them they can’t see us, right? Wrong.

The other trick people try is to look over the tops of their heads. The idea here is that by looking a peoples foreheads, they will think you are looking at them. Wrong again.

You need to look directly into people’s eyes with kindness. Create a rapport with the audience through your visual contact. If anyone smiles when you look at him or her, smile back. This will make you, and the audience, feel more at ease and will make your presentation more genuine.

Identify three people in the audience whom you want to speak to: One on your left, one in front of you and one on your right. Deliver your speech to these three people. Look at each one for about 4-5 seconds and “switch target” to the next person. Don’t maintain eye contact for too long. This will create an uncomfortable situation. You don’t want to creep people out.

By using this technique, it will give the impression to the entire audience that you are making eye contact, because you are sweeping the room with your glances.

Don't Apologize.

Never start a presentation with an apology. By starting a presentation with an apology for your nervousness or for having a cold, you are drawing attention to something the audience may not have noticed. You are also announcing to the audience, “the presentation you are about to receive is less than you deserve, but please don’t blame me.”

Avoid Rushing Monotone Voice.

A fast paced monotone speech is a sure-fire way to make your audience feel unimportant. It will also cause them to lose focus and become bored. How many lectures did you sit through in school listening to a monotone professor drone on about whatever subject he was teaching? How much of those lectures did you actually remember?

You don’t want to subject your audience to this same torture and you want them to remember what you talked about.

You can easily avoid monotone messages. Before saying a word think about the value of your message. Think about the aspects that create passionate feelings. Think about speaking clearly with compassion. Smile. Tell yourself a joke. Take a huge confidence breath.

Use eye-contact, positively say “you,” and flow with the message. If you do, you’ll hear, “I felt like you were speaking specifically to me.” That’s one of the best compliments you can get. And it proves that you’re speaking TO not AT the audience.

Limit your talk to a few key points.

Narrow down your topic to either one key point for a short talk, or three key points for a longer talk (a talk longer than 30-minutes). Ask yourself, “If my audience only remembered one thing from my talk, what would be the most important thing for them to remember?” The more points your presentation has, the less focus the audience will have on each individual point. Once you have your key points, then create your PowerPoint slides.

If you remember these five key points, you will be sure to knock-em dead

What's-your-problem

What's Your Problem?

How you approach that moment when you stand up to give a speech depends a lot on why you are giving the presentation. Now we are not talking about the fact that you have to give the speech to pass your general education speech class in junior college or that your boss is making you give the speech because he is to darn lazy to do it. Instead to really give a good speech, you must know that the speech is designed to do. By identifying what the goal of the speech is and what you want the audience to experience from your presentation, that will give you a lot of information both on what kind of content to use but on your attitude and "approach" when you actually get ready to give the talk.

There are some very basic reasons that someone gives a speech. Those are to inform, to convince, to amuse or to cause action. Many speeches you hear are a combination of these motivations. A sermon is there to inspire which is a mixture of to convince and to cause action. A lecture in school is to inform and if you get lucky, the teacher will at least try to make the presentation also try to amuse you. So that is the first thing to ask yourself when you have your topic and your audience. Also there are variations on these themes. A speech intended to sell something is a variation on the "to convince" format.

A good question to ask when you are ready to put your presentation together is "What do I want my audience to do with this information?" If you want them to walk away with new information that makes them smarter people, you were speaking to inform. If you want them to laugh and have a great time, you were out to amuse. If you want them to go out and use your web site, to join your political party or stop hurting the ozone layer, the objective of your speech is to convince.

You will not necessarily announce when you start speaking what your objective is. Sometimes it's obvious. If you are addressing your class at school, its obvious you are there to inform the students. But you may also be looking to convince them to live a certain way or to take some other action with the information you are giving. A speech to amuse is very often also a very softly worded sermon on behavior. Just watch any comedian and you will hear small snippets of philosophy such as "people, we are all the same, we just have to learn to live together" in the middle of the comedy set. That comic is actually out to convince you to change your outlook and behavior and using comedy as the tool to that end.

These are all very valid adaptations on the basic forms of a speech. To make sure your talk reaches its primary talk, lay down the outline or the "skeleton" of the speech with your primary goal in mind. You might even "back into it" by writing the conclusion first. The conclusion might be, "And so ladies and gentlemen, I hope you can see that using mass transit will do a lot to help the ozone layer". From there you can back up into the body of the speech and lay down, again at the skeleton layer what your three points of the body of your speech is. These are the things that must get done and that you will evaluate whether you were successful by whether you got those points across.

With that skeleton done, you can go back and start writing the speech from the beginning and use any or all of the public speaking approaches to layer that on top of the core reason for the talk. You can use humor, inspirational stories, urban myths or factoids from history to help your speech be fun, compelling and attention grabbing.

If by the end of your talk though, you can tell you hit that primary goal, then your speech was well constructed. And a well constructed speech is easier to give. It is also easier for your audience to hear so everybody wins.

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Top 7 steps to better public speaking

Publishing Guidelines: You are welcome to publish this article in its entirety, electronically, or in print free of charge, as long as you include my full signature file for ezines, and my Web site address in hyperlink for other sites. Please send a courtesy link or email me where you publish. Thank you.

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TITLE: Top 7 Steps to Better Public Speaking

AUTHOR: Sandra Schrift

COPYRIGHT: ©2006 by Sandra Schrift. All rights reserved

Format: 60 Characters per line

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Top 7 Steps to Better Public Speaking

Whether you want to be a part time, full time or BIG time speaker you must speak, speak, and speak. At first, deliver 25-30 minute free talks to service clubs and community organizations. Consider it to be your off-Broadway tryout. A great opportunity to fine-tune your program…and maybe get some future paid business!

Do the following to put at ease when delivering a speech:

1. Your speech needs a beginning, middle, and end. You must grab your audience’s attention in the first minute…so begin with a starting comment, question, story, or humor. End your speech on a strong note by asking a question, providing a quote, tell a story or leave them laughing.

2. Every 5-7 minutes, back up your facts with signature (about you or others) stories. Stories are out there – everywhere. Find them in the stores, at restaurants, on the airplane, at home. People retain information better when hearing a story.

3. Practice your speech out load. Record it on to a tape recorder and/or video camera. Also do this when giving a program to a live audience. Do it every time!

4. Practice pausing before and after important points. Don’t be afraid to leave open space. The use of silence is a key requirement to becoming an effective speaker.

5. Use direct eye contact. You can focus on one person when making a point…and everyone else in the audience will think you are speaking to them also.

6. Don’t just stand behind the lectern: move around, gesture. Be animated. (Fifty-five percent of how people perceive you is by body language; 38 percent by your voice;

7 percent by your words)

7. Smile a lot. Be enthusiastic about what you are saying. And have fun.

Bring your presentations to life and get a standing ovation

: Presentation techniques are the tools that help us to bring a page of written text to spoken life. They are the means by which we animate words, inject interest and build audience rapport. Learn the following 7 techniques and you’ll have your audience clinging to every word you say. 1. Speak To Their Ears. Remember that your audience receives your words through their ears. They aren’t reading it. That’s why you should continually ask yourself, “how will this sound to my audience?”. In particular, you should check for… • the use of jargon, technical and bureaucratic language, long phrases and gobbledeegook. Avoid them. • specific meanings: "next Friday" is better than "soon". • concrete words rather than abstract words: "microphone" is better than "sound amplification facilities". • Anglo-Saxon rather than Latinised words: "talk" is better than "communicate". 2. Use Conversational English. Speakers who lack the confidence to speak directly to their audience tend to lean heavily on their prepared texts. This creates the risk of speaking the written word which can sound artificial and stilted. Conversational English on the other hand is natural and flowing. By creating the feeling of a personal chat, the conversational style helps to build audience rapport. Idiomatic, conversational English is distinctly different from written English. It allows for occasional ungrammatical and incorrect use of words and sentences, as long as the meaning is clear and sounds right. You would not, for example, say the grammatically-correct "For whom is it?" in place of the colloquial "Who's it for?" 3. Make Everything Make Sense. One of the most important points to remember about a presentation is that written English does not always make the same sense to a listener as spoken English. When we read written English we go at our speed and can pause, go back or jump ahead. When we are listening, we rely on the speaker to make sense for us. Notice the difference between these two ways of expressing the same sentence. Not: "The user will no doubt be familiar with the consequences of a machine failure at difficult moments." But: "I expect you know the sort of thing I mean. You're right in the middle of something worth saving when, Phut!, the whole damn thing goes up in smoke. Before your very eyes..." 4. Signpost Where You Are Going. The technique of Signposting, or Labelling, can be used throughout a presentation. Signposting, like the signs on a street, is a way of letting the audience know in advance what is coming next in your talk. It is used to tell the audience what you want them to understand from it. • we can signpost the whole talk when we start: "I'd like to do three things this morning. First, I'd like to look at our current position; then our plans and finally, the costs." • we can signpost a sub-point: "My second area is to look at plans. First, this year's; then next year's..." • we can signpost any issue: "Let me give you an example of what I mean..." • we can signpost the end: "Just one more point before I finish..." Audiences appreciate signposting because it helps them know where they are. 5. Use Jokes To Build Rapport. Jokes are a way of amusing an audience while at the same time sharing something with them. The point of contact is the shared laughter. If a joke works it brings you together; conversely, if the joke doesn't work, it pushes you apart. Jokes need to be appropriate, well-presented and, of course, funny. A blue joke from the Rugby club dinner speech probably won't work well at the annual conference of the Women's Institute. Equally a joke told badly where you miss your timing, tell it too quickly or forget the punchline is worse than no joke at all. This joke told by Patrick Forsyth seems to catch the mood of a farewell speech: "I remember the day after Nigel joined us and overhearing the impression he'd made on two young ladies from Accounts. "Doesn't that Mr Green dress well," said one. "Yes," replied the other. "And so quickly." 6. Pause For Maximum Effect. Some of the best moments in a speech are, surprisingly, those moments when you stop. Knowing when to stop is the art of the creative pause. It can work for you in a number of ways: • to tease the audience, perhaps after a provocative question: "I bet you'd like to know how you could make a million..." • to pause before the punchline of a joke • to wait for an audience to settle after laughter or a general discussion • to give the audience time to think (for example, when looking at a new overhead) • to show you're in total control by holding the pause just slightly longer than you need to. 7. Show Don’t Just Tell. Turning a simple presentation point into a narrative or story can entertain and involve the audience on a different level. It is a way of showing them not just telling them. Not: "Our personal computer has three kinds of memory storage: the random access memory, the hard drive and the floppy drive." But: "Designing the storage memory for this particular computer was always going to be a tricky problem. The first team to look at it was Rob James and Ellen Smith. After several experiments they discovered that they could build in a huge RAM but their problem was what to do with the hard drive. This was new territory. Neither of them had worked on anything like that before. First, they tried a separate box. No good. Then a new casing. Still no good. They were about to give up when news came from Japan about an amazing new microchip..." Master these simple techniques and you’ll raise your presentation expertise to heights you’d only just dreamed of before!

Conquer speaking fear - 5 tips

Reduce your fear of speaking by taking the following steps.

1) Conduct Research.

Visit or call key participants to ask them what they expect from your presentation. That is, what do they want to learn from it? What do they already know about this topic? How will your presentation help them? Such conversations enlist these people as your allies during your presentation. It also helps you learn what people expect, so that you can deliver it. This is like collecting the answers to an exam before taking it.

2) Prepare.

Write an outline, and if possible write a script for key parts of it (such as the opening and close). Then practice giving your presentation, without reading the script until you know it so well that you can deliver it conversationally. Avoid trying to memorize a script. That makes things too complicated and difficult. Practice your speech anywhere and at any time. For example, you can talk through parts of it while jogging, working on chores, or taking a shower.

3) Rehearse.

Practice your talk in the meeting room with a group of friends, coworkers, and (if possible) your boss. Ask for their comments on how to improve your talk. Also, use this as an opportunity to become familiar with the room and any equipment, such as a projector.

4) Be the Host

Arrive early so that you can meet and greet the attendees before your presentation. Shake their hands and thank them for coming. Introduce yourself to them and engage them in small talk. (e. g., "How are you?") Act as if they were guests coming to your party. This converts them from strangers into friends.

5) Expect Success

Fantasize doing a wonderful job. If you let nightmares run through your mind, you will scare yourself. Give yourself confidence by expecting to do well. Know that everyone wants you to do an excellent job.

Bonus Point

The key to success is being prepared. It helps you do a better job and fills you with confidence.

How to hire the perfect keynote speaker

:
  • Establish the date, location and budget of your event. These factors will play an important role in determining the pool of keynote speakers available to you. Your date, for example, will affect which keynote speakers are available, whereas your budget will limit whom you can and can’t afford to hire. In order to save on the cost of the keynote speaker’s travel, you may want to consider the distance between where he or she resides and where your event will take place.


  • Determine the type of presentation you want and the time of day when it will take place. Some speakers are skilled at delivering workshops, while others excel at providing keynotes. After-dinner speakers should incorporate humor into their talks, where morning speakers should be energizing.


  • Clarify why you want to hire a keynote speaker. Some common reasons include the desire to:
    • Educate
    • Motivate
    • Shift behavior
    • Initiate a change effort
    • Raise funds
    • Promote a cause or organization
    • Entertain

  • Consider which keynote speakers have been successful in the past with your group or a group similar to yours.


  • Call your friends and associates. Asking for references can be a great way to narrow down your search. BigSpeak can locate any keynote speaker for you whether you see them on our roster or not.


  • Establish who the core decision makers are regarding a keynote speaker and tap into their vision.


  • Consider the demographics of your audience. Do you need a keynote speaker who will appeal to a general audience or one who will interest a specific demographic group (e. g., an all-women’s group)?


  • Avail yourself of BigSpeak!’s agents’ expertise. We have helped thousands through the process of choosing just the right keynote speaker for their event and are happy to lend you our ear and ideas. What’s more, our services are free. We are motivated to get you the best keynote speaker for your event because our aim is to keep you coming back to BigSpeak! for all of your keynote, training and consulting needs.


Avoiding a panic attack and public speaking

Many people associate a panic attack and public speaking. They usually have had an anxiety-producing public speaking experience. They may test that past memory of public speaking again, but often the same anxiety reaction results. People who have to speak publicly on a frequent basis and suffer from panic attacks are always searching for a panic attack remedy.

Amber's Story

Amber had many risk factors for panic attacks when she entered high school. Her mother had a history of anxiety as well as her older brother. Amber was successfully able to avoid a speech class until her final semester of school. In order to graduate, she was going to have to take speech.

Although she had never received a diagnosis of panic attacks or an anxiety disorder, Amber had always dreaded taking a public speaking class. Just the idea of standing up in front of a class of her peers caused Amber to feel dizzy and nauseous.

When Amber walked into her first day of class, the teacher could see how nervous she was. He came up to Amber after class and discussed her obvious discomfort with this public speaking class. Amber discussed her physical reaction to having to speak in front of her peers. She explained to her teacher how she was:

* Extremely Anxious

* Dizzy

* Nauseous

* Short of Breath

Amber's teacher recommended that she visit with the school counselor before their next class meeting. Amber was embarrassed by her reaction and was even more anxious about having to meet with the school counselor, but she knew that she was not going to be able to graduate if she could not figure out some way to get through this class.

The school counselor was very familiar with the signs of a panic attack and especially with students feeling uncomfortable about speaking in front of their friends. To help Amber get through her next day of speech class the counselor recommended that Amber stand up in front of her family every time she wanted to talk that evening.

So Amber told her family what she was trying to do to help get over her fear of public speaking. At dinner, Amber stood up every time she asked to have an item passed to her. Before bed, Amber stood in front of her parents and brothers and did a pretend speech.

Although speaking in front of her family was a lot different than speaking in front of her peers, it did help her get through the next day of class without having a full blown panic attack. Amber was extremely uncomfortable during her speech class but was able to focus and get through the class.

As the semester continued on, Amber asked some of her friends to come to her house the night before she had a big speech due. She would then practice her speech on her close friends and family until she was able to get through it without an extreme amount of anxiety.

The technique Amber used to overcome her panic attacks is called systematic desensitization and is one of the most widely used remedies for people suffering from panic attacks.

Don't-fear-the-pause

Don't Fear the Pause

If you listen to experienced speakers, it's easy to see some real differences in how they step through their presentation than maybe how you go about giving a talk when you are called upon to speak in public. But it is a good exercise to use every opportunity to listen to different public speakers and learn from them. From speakers who are not effective, study why they are and learn how to correct those problems in your presentation. For speakers who are very good, learn what they do that works and copy their methods without shame. It's all part of learning from each other.

One thing that jumps out when an experienced public speaker is holding an audience in the palm of his hand is that he is totally relaxed up there. That is a calculated relaxation. In fact most of the methods he uses such as his use of hands, the vocal range of his voice, where he looks and how he moves are all carefully planned and part of that presentation and who that speaker is. And all of those things come with time and practice. So if you need a few times in front of a group, or a few dozen times before you can begin to get that relaxed, be generous with yourself and allow that public speaking is the kind of thing that you can read about all day long but you don’t get good at it until you get good at it.

One thing that very often jumps out in a speaker who is at ease with his style is that for most of us the idea of a pause is terrifying. But notice smooth speakers often will pause and allow that moment of quiet in a presentation to just hang there. When that pause happens for that other speaker, you may have felt as terrified as if it was happening to you. But not to worry. As you noticed, that skilled speaker uses pauses to create interest and isn't afraid to let his presentation stop for a moment either intentionally or to check notes or make some other adjustment.

The pause is actually a very powerful communications tool that if you can master it, you can use it to make points, add drama or just wake up an audience that may have begun to doze off on you. That is because as you speak along, if your presentation is somewhat long, it is easy for people to be lulled into an unintentional trance of sorts. The mind can wander and that is the condition people get into when they doze off as you speak. They track to the continuous sound of your voice and the melodic tempo that you naturally fall into when you speak in public.

When you begin to use pauses and changes to the tempo of your presentation, you break that natural rhythm of your talk. The pause will jar the audience back to you and they will suddenly be attentive with that "what did I miss" look on their faces. That is a real tool to you to help your audience stay focused and to use particularly when you are approaching a point that is an important part of what you have to say.

Most of us when we are just starting out in public speaking fear the pause in our presentation in the worst way. That moment when you are not speaking and that audience is looking at you and nothing is happening can feel like you are falling to your death. But in truth, all you have done is focus the concentration of the group on you and on your talk. So don't fear the pause. If used with caution and sparingly, it can be a powerful communications tool to help you make your point.

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Eulogy speeches use a story to help you get started

So you "have" to do a eulogy speech... or maybe you "want" to get a chance to express in public all the deep feelings you have for your loved one who has passed away.

Yes, I know it's a tough time to write a eulogy speech or anything else for that matter. Yes, I know you're probably distraught and having a hard time focusing. That's OK. I'm going to give you an easy tip to get going. Where do you start?

One of the best elements to include in a eulogy is a story about you and an interaction you had with the deceased. Your eulogy story could be funny or heart-wrenching. In fact, a mixture of both in the same story is great, or you could do one of each. There is no law that states you can only tell one story.

Your eulogy could start with a story about how you met your loved one, or maybe you could talk about your earliest remembrance of them when you were a child. You could talk about a really great life lesson you learned from them and how it has helped you in your life.

Another great thing about using eulogy speech stories is that you don't have to read or memorize your words because you lived the experience.

All you have to do is make a brief bullet point in your notes that would say something like, "Tell farm story", or whatever will briefly remind you of the story you want to tell.

There are many other points you need to know about writing a eulogy speech, but using a story to help you get started will take away some of the pressure in creating a great tribute to your loved one.

About Author : Tom Antion is a speech expert and author of "Instant Eulogy Speeches".This book gives complete instructions for writing a eulogy speech quickly and easily even when you are upset. It also includes many loving phrases and paragraphs you can copy and paste into your finished eulogy along with more than a dozen pieces of appropriate humor to ease the tension.

The-greatest-public-speaking-secret-of-them-all

The Greatest Public Speaking Secret of them All

Any guide to success in an endeavor will tell you that there is no magic formula to success. But in a lot of fields of endeavor, there seem to be "insider secrets". And taking on the challenge of becoming a truly great public speaker is a noble ambition. But if you could learn the insider secret that makes the difference between good public speakers and great ones, that would help you make that transition.

Actually there is one great secret to what makes speakers that really shine in front of a group so great. But it isn't magic or something that you can take as a pill and an hour later, presto, you are ready to stand up and dazzle the crowd. It is a very simple process that is something you already know a lot about. It is just simple, old fashioned hard work and preparation.

The further in advance you can start getting ready for a presentation, the better your public speaking will be. You know that feeling of terror that you experience when you address a crowd. Well you may not be able to pinpoint why that feeling comes upon you because who can think when terrified? But many times it comes up because you aren't completely prepared and you don’t know what to do or how it will go because the material is not as well developed as it should be.

If you put the work in on your presentation, it will make all the difference in the world when you stand up to give your presentation. First of all, make sure the content meets your standards. You should make that speech compelling and fascinating to you. And if that presentation is full of great material that it not only fascinates you but you will be eager to get up there and share what you know with this crowd. And that eagerness to speak is a very refreshing feeling when it replaces that terror you felt when you did not work hard in advance to make sure the material was well developed in advance.

Your audience will notice that big change in your attitude too. Enthusiasm is contagious and if you get up in front of them bubbling with anticipation because what you have to share is just that cool, they will be eager to hear it. It's like when someone says to you, "Hey, want to know a secret?" You are dying to hear that secret. That is the attitude you will see in your audience when you get up there not only well prepared but excited to tell them what is in that outline.

The more you have that outline and the details of your presentation in your mind, the more confident you will be in front of a crowd. If you have that presentation virtually memorized, when you begin to speak, you will look at your audience more and only have to glance at your outline to stay on track with where you want to be next. That is a terrific skill to develop and huge benefit when speaking to the crowd because you have that material down pat in your mind and you always have a destination throughout your talk.

It will take some work to get to that level of confidence in your material. Rehearsals of your presentation help a lot. Prepare a dynamic opener that puts the problem statement into the minds of the crowd and then proceed to solve that problem. Also know the navigation plan of your presentation and plan the transitions from point to point. That will help you not get stuck in one part of the talk and not have awkward transitions which will make you and then your crowd nervous.

Finally plan how you will conclude. There is a conclusion you want your audience to reach. Make sure you know the critical points and what parts of your talk are "optional" or there for illustration or to fill time. In that way, you know where to cut if time runs short and you will still get to your point and close strong. If your talk has good content, enthusiasm, good points to lead up to solving the problem and closes strong, not only will you feel great about it, your audience will applaud the job you did. And won't that be a nice way to end a public speaking exercise for you?

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5 ways to liven your audience

Has a boring speaker ever put you to sleep? Your head begins to nod as you fight off the urge to slip mercifully into the Land of the Z’s. Or has your mind ever wandered during someone’s dull presentation? Although you appear to listen intently, what you are really thinking about are the million tasks waiting for you at home.

Sure, this has happened to all of us, more than we would like to admit. However, don’t let it happen to you when you are the speaker. The key to keeping your audience from taking a mental exit is to involve them in your talk. Yes! Studies show that the more you involve your audience, the more they retain. Why? Because they are listening!

You can involve your audience in several ways, and I have listed 5 of my favorites below. Select those that will work well with your presentation and that feel genuine to you. If it feels uncomfortable, it will look uncomfortable—so don’t use it.

1. Ask questions.

Questions will cause your audience members to try to think of an answer. They can’t help it – it is simply how our brains are wired. If the energy in the room starts to drop, ask a question and select a member of your audience to respond. Then, thank him or her for participating and move on to the next person. Don’t worry about loosing control of your audience. Sales guru Brian Tracy emphasizes, “He (she) who asks questions is in control.” I personally prefer questions like “How many of you . . .,” and then I ask for a show of hands. These closed-ended questions get your audience involved both mentally and physically.

2. Finish your sentence.

For example, if you said to your audience, “Lions and tigers and bears . . .” and did not finish the sentence, what do you think they would say? As long as they are familiar with the movie The Wizard of Oz, they would respond with “Oh my!” This is a fun way to get your audience to participate. If they know the answer, they will blurt it out. If they don’t, you answer it. Choose something that should be so obvious they will absolutely get it.

3. High-five.

This is one of my personal favorites, and if you have attended one of my talks you have experienced it firsthand. If you ever feel like the energy in the room is heavy, you can change it by using this technique. Simply ask a question (remember the power of asking questions). Ask, “Is this good stuff?” When your audience responds with “Yes,” say “Then, turn to the people on either side of you and give them a high-five and say ‘This is good stuff!’” Most people get a kick out of it. However, if you have an individual in your audience who does not want to participate, don’t worry about it. Some people simply just don’t want to have fun.

4. Do exercises.

I learned this trick from the famous millionaire T. Harv Ecker when I took his “Train the Trainer” course. He says, “Get your audience to do the work.” To accomplish this, ask them to break into groups of two or three (with people that they don’t know) and give them an exercise that is congruent with your presentation. Afterward, ask them to share openly with the rest of the group and thank them for doing so.

5. Give them candy.

Reward your audience for participating, and they will participate even more. Simply ask a question and when someone answers it, gently throw a small piece of candy to that person. I find that chocolate works best. You will find that it becomes a game and people will compete for the chocolate. I don’t use this throughout my entire speech, only for a few minutes in the middle of my talk.

There are many other ways and techniques to get your audience involved. What is important as a speaker is for you to come up with as many different ways as you can think of that are appropriate for your audience and for you as a speaker. Believe me, your audience will thank you.

Maintaining-focus-in-public-speaking

Maintaining Focus in Public Speaking

A public speaking situation can be intimidating for even the most seasoned of public speaking professionals. That is because when speaking to a live audience, you really never know what is going to happen. Never mind the freak occurrences of problems with the audience and the room, you as a human being could be subject to momentary memory halts that often come as the result of nervousness or just looking up and seeing all those eyes looking at you.

So much of the discipline of giving a public presentation is to establish an internal structure to your talk that helps you stay on task and maintain the focus of your subject for the entire time you are speaking. That structure can also be of huge value in helping you gauge your time and make adjustments so you get the most crucial parts of your talk presented within the allocated time frame even if that means leaving out less important parts of your presentation.

There is a simple directive many public speakers live by that gives you a fine guideline for that structure. It goes like this…

. Tell them what you are going to do.

. Do what you said you were going to do

. Tell them you did it.

This simple outline may be overly simplistic but it is the heart of what makes a good presentation work. And the simplicity also helps you stay focused under the pressure of a public speaking situation. So any tool that can do that is a good one.

You tell the audience what to expect during your opening comments. Those comments also contact giving your personal information, a greeting to the audience and perhaps some humor to set the tone of the talk. After you have gotten the speech underway, it is common to establish what is the topic of your talk. But to do that, the most effective device is to make a statement of the problem. By phrasing the subject matter as a compelling and very real problem to your audience, that creates interest as the audience says mentally, "Yes I have that problem. Tell me how you will help me fix it."

This is where you tell them what you are going to do. The body of your speech is usually a three to five point discussion of the solution to the problem. Don’t give them the entire heart of your speech but let them know the ground you are about to cover. Not only does this give the audience a road map of what to expect, it lets them know that you know what you are doing and you know when you will get done. This gets rid of a secret fear of an out of control speaker that a lot of people who sit in on presentations dread.

Once you establish this roadmap for the rest of your speech, this gives the audience a good feel for where you will be going. By giving them this information early on, that actually reduces the impulse to interrupt you because they know you have a path to go on and they don’t want to take you off that path. Now it is just a matter of stepping through each of the outlined areas to do for this audience what you said you would do which is to offer a solution to the problem statement. Naturally your detailed discussion will have more content than your brief preview. But if you continue to broadcast to the audience where you are on the outline and that you are on track to reach the goal, that keeps them interested and assured that this is an organized program they are a part of.

It is always good to let the audience know then when you are entering your closing statements. Many speakers use a simple clue like "Let me point out, and I am closing with this…" to give the audience the signal that the presentation is almost done. This is common courtesy and a professional way to conduct a presentation. And if you treat the audience with respect like this by telling them what you are going to do, do it and then tell them you did it, you will be a speaker that will get good reviews and invited back for more presentations frequently.

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Why it s worth fighting your dragons and start public speaking

Everyone hears about being nervous when speaking, and when you overcome it, you

become confident and very successful.

What you don’t hear from successful speakers is about the journey itself.

For example, when I started in the field of speaking, I was a corporate employee.

As a project engineer, I had to develop concepts and designs to solve problems within the plant.

I was good at this and yet my career progress was slow because I simply couldn’t speak well,

and I needed to present my proposals to obtain funding.

I would become nervous, tongue tied and confused.

So when I started my public speaking career I was so scared and terrified, that even the

thought of being in front of a group of people, made me feel physically sick, and would

make my heart race so much, I thought I was having a heart attack.

Clearly, I didn’t want to go through my life like that so I did some training and got ready

for my Maiden speech.

With this speech I was competing for a prestigious Silver Cup and I was excited because

I thought I was going to win it.

I walked out onto the stage in front of 200 people and arrived at the podium.

Suddenly my legs started to shake so much I thought I was going to fall down.

So I grabbed the lectern, which also began to shake, and then, at that moment, the butterflies

in my stomach turned into dive-bombers and I started to feel sick.

While shaking the lectern so much, I watched with horror, as my notes slid onto the floor.

In total confusion now, I decide to start my speech without picking up the notes.

My voice quavered as I stated my name, and then my mind went completely blank.

After what seemed an eternity, I grabbed my notes from the floor and fled the stage.

All I achieved that day was to let people know who I was and that I was one pathetic speaker.

Needless to say , I didn’t get the prize or even a polite or sympathetic applause from the audience.

It was such a horrifying experience that I had to make a decision to quit or do something about it.

(I was unable to get into the witness protection program to lose my identity!)

Well I studied, practised and used everything that I write about in my book and then some

12 months later, I had to give a speech on behalf of my company.

Now this was a seriously major important speech for the company and me.

If I didn’t do a brilliant job, my career would finish, the company would suffer and I reckon

I would have been out of a job.

That would mean, a massive change in lifestyle for my family, changing schools, changing

houses and even putting my food supply at risk..

So as I walked to the Podium this time I could feel this huge pressure bearing down on me.

And do you know?

I was confident, created humour and had them laughing, created pathos so they could feel

sad, lifted them with excitement, spoke a very clear message, had them in the palm of my hand

and when I finished, they stood up to applaud.

Pretty good eh?

Oh yes, I got promoted and realised that day, that being a great public speaker helps you make

more money, no matter what your job is.

So what made the difference?

What transformed me from bumbling idiot to charismatic speaker?

And could anybody do the same?

Clearly, the answer is yes, if they went through all the stuff they I had.

Why am I qualified to say this?

Because it is based upon my learnings, my studies, my experiments, good and bad, and

most importantly, on my real life, in the fire, under the hammer, experience.

And then I even wrote my own book on how to overcome the Fear of Public Speaking!

As Chairman of the Public Speaking Group at the Australian Institute of Management I have

coached and helped many people who at the beginning of the year , could not even say their

name, and by the end of the year, had become articulate and confident speakers.

So overcoming the fear and building the skills, step by step, not only transforms your

presentation skills, it builds your confidence in all parts of your life.

And isn’t that a good enough reason to start!

Speakers clubs in the uk

The Association of Speakers Clubs is committed to teaching the art of effective speaking through practice and evaluation.

It does not employ professional lecturers or speakers but draws upon the experience of its membership (who have all suffered the fears and lack of confidence themselves) to help evaluate and encourage newer members.

Within the atmosphere of friendly club gatherings the ASC offers a well proven approach to learning and improving effective speaking - both prepared and impromptu.

We rely on our tried and trusted Speakers' Guide which is available to all ASC members.

We develop our members into better speakers, not just for formal events like dinners, but for any occasion where someone is called upon to say a few words.

Club meetings are organised to guide the speaker through a series of logical set assignments.

The Association of Speakers Club's manual provides guidance on each of ten basic assignments, as well as an advanced section, with helpful advice on chairmanship, impromptu speaking and evaluation.

The first assignment from the ASC guide is 'The Icebreaker'. This is the point at which the novice speaker begins to Achieve Speaking Confidence. The speaker is invited to make a short speech, about themselves, their hobbies or interests.

The next assignment's title is the watchword for everyone who gives a speech: 'Mean What You Say'. Here the speaker is asked to speak with feeling and passion about a subject close to their hearts.

Each speech is evaluated by a more experienced member who gives views on the performance and advice for improvement. This is the keystone to success. Because there are no hidden agendas, positive peer feedback gives the developing speaker the confidence to improve.

The advice is invaluable. It covers how to use body language in a positive manner, how to prepare notes, how to modulate the voice and how to hold an audience by good eye contact.

The Association of Speakers Clubs also organises competitions at Club, Area and District levels, culminating in the National Contests which occur at the end of April each year.

There are eight distinct Districts in the organisation which spans England, Scotland and Wales. Each year the National Conference is hosted by a different District. Not only is the regular conference business of the ASC carried out alongside the prestigious competitions, but it is also a marvelous social occasion where new friends and old mingle to share the enjoyment of first class communication.

How to communicate in his love language

Are you wondering how to communicate with that new man in your life? Or maybe you are just wondering about the next man in your life? New or old, it’s never too late to learn how to communicate in the language of love.

Maybe you’ve seen the tomboyish girl that somehow has men flocking around her. If you stopped turning green with envy for a moment, you’d notice why she was a man magnet. She just sort of fit herself into him, like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that he didn’t even know was missing.

Instead of rolling your eyes at that dazed and happy-in-love look he has on his face, why not look into how she did it? Learn these tips on how to communicate in a whole new way by getting to know his love language and speaking it fluently!

We all know that love is built on the solid foundation of communication. When we are in love we are on the same page as our lover. It’s a special level of communication that people in love have.

Some call it chemistry, but really, in order to even get to the chemistry stage you need to know his love language. For a clue as to what that might be, we need to understand how he relates to the world around him.

Everyone perceives their world with three senses - sight, sound and feelings. Psychologists have discovered that even though we use all three senses, one of these senses is always more pronounced. It doesn’t mean that it replaces the others, but if you pay attention, the more dominant one will reveal itself to you.

Asking questions is the easiest and fastest way to learn his language and since asking questions is the most common way to get to know someone or start a conversation, he’ll never suspect.

He’s just returned from a business trip. You ask about his trip. Pay attention to his answer:

1. If he’s visual he might say: the weather was terrible. I didn’t get to see the sun once!

2. An auditory guy will talk about sounds: we got the account, which was good. But the hotel I stayed at was too noisy.

3. He is a feeler if he answers something like: I have to admit; I’m not much into traveling alone. I get lonely when I visit new places.

Knowing a man’s love language is the key in how to communicate with him in a way that will make him feel that you are the missing piece to his puzzle. You’ll just fit. Of course, one question isn’t going to tell you. You’ll have to watch for a pattern to emerge.

Once you do find the prominent sense, you’ll want to speak his language. Talking with your visual man will be all about what you saw on the way over, while the auditory fellow will want to know about the new CD you just bought.

It doesn’t matter what your love language is. As long as you know how to communicate to him in his Love Language you’ll soon be the envy of all the other girls. That is, unless you tell them your secret.

Six steps to becoming a powerful public speaker

Public speaking ranks right up there in terms of the things we are afraid to do. Whether it’s the fear of being watched closely by others, or the insecurity and self-conscious feeling of slipping up during the presentation, these six tips will help you give a polished, professional speech that you (and your audience) can be proud of!

1. Know your audience. This is the single best piece of advice for delivering a presentation. What are there interests? Their backgrounds? Why are they coming to hear you speak? What ideas do you have to share with them? Approaching your speech as more of a “me-to-you” discussion rather than a full-blown broadcast makes it less stressful.

2. What do you want your audience to do as a result of your speech? What’s really at the heart of your presentation? By concentrating on the “end result” rather than slogging through the beginning, you create a powerful punch that drives home your message instead of rambling on.

3. Share a story. In public speaking circles, this is called a “hook” – something that gets your audience’s attention and makes them sit up and listen. Start off by asking questions or sharing an experience you had. People like to be active, rather than passive listeners. By giving them something that they can identify with, you’ll find that these people are just like you; that makes giving a presentation a whole lot easier. Be sure your story has a beginning, a point, and an ending. There’s nothing quite as bad as telling a story to an engaged audience and then forgetting why you told it!

4. If you’re selling a product, focus on the benefits instead of the features. People would much rather hear WHAT a product can do for them than HOW it does it. Narrow down your product’s features until you get to the core of how it solves a problem. If you need help with figuring out the difference between a feature and a benefit, ask yourself “So What?” For example, if you’re selling a vacuum cleaner that has a hypoallergenic filter, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask yourself “so what?” The answer would be something like, “It picks up dust, mold and pet dander”. Again, “so what?” Answer, “You’ll feel relief from runny nose and sneezing plus itchy, water eyes.” Now THAT’s a benefit!

5 Powerpoint presentations are great but they can be overwhelming – or downright boring. Instead, give your audience something to DO by providing them with fill-in-the-blank flip charts or “team activities”. These help reinforce and emphasize your message in ways that a computer presentation simply cannot.

6. Make sure your speech ends in a way that reiterates the beginning. Speakers can get carried away with the details and leave their audiences asking, “What was the point of all that?” People naturally digest information in “chunks”, so focus on the big picture rather than all the pieces. If the details are just as important, save it for an after-speech handout that the audience can take with them and read over at their leisure.

If you keep these six tips in mind, you’ll not only have an easier time overcoming your fear of public speaking, but you’ll have a very appreciative audience who will in turn be more receptive and eager to try your product or service. Go get ‘em!

9 tips for handling public speaking questions

How you handle questions from an audience can often be the deciding factor as to how your presentation is received. If you're pitching for business, then it's absolutely vital to handle questions well.

1. Be prepared for questions - When you write your presentation, think about what you're likely to be asked and what your answer is going to be. Maybe you won't want to answer a particular question there and then, so think about what you'll say to satisfy the questioner.

2. Make it clear at the start - You may decide to take questions as you go or at the end of your presentation. Whatever you decide, make it clear at the start and don't change your mind. I would suggest questions at the end in a short presentation; if you take questions as you go, then your timing will get knocked out. And always remember, an audience won't forgive you for taking half an hour when you were only scheduled to speak for fifteen minutes.

3. Never finish with questions - Far better to ask for questions five or ten minutes before the end, deal with the questions and then summarise for a strong finish. Too many presentations finish on questions and the whole thing goes a bit flat - particularly if you don't get any.

4. Listen - When asked a question, listen and look like your listening. It may be something you've heard a million times before. Treat the questioner with respect and don't trivialise their point.

5. Thank the questioner - It's only polite, it shows respect and it gives you a bit more time to consider your answer.

6. Repeat the essence of the question - Some people may not have heard the question so your answer may not make any sense to them. It can also be irritating for them not to hear the question. Again, it gives you more time to think of the answer and it makes you look so clever and in control.

7. Answer to everyone - Don't fall into the trap of only answering the questioner. If they happen to be near the front then you could end up having a conversation with them and exclude everyone else.

8. Keep it simple - Many speakers, when it comes to questions, have become more relaxed and the fact that someone is interested enough to ask them a question, leads them to go on too long with the answer - DON'T.

9. Don't bluff or bluster - If you don't know the answer to a question, say so and find out. Suggest to the questioner that you'll 'phone them or come and see them with the answer. It can even be a good way to make further contact after the presentation.

As we all know, it's possible that you may not be asked any questions and you then have that awkward silence. People may be thinking about what you've just said and may need more time to ask. They may also be a bit shy and may take a few minutes to speak out. Why not have a question of your own prepared and say something like. "You may be asking yourself.........?" If you still fail to get any questions then go straight into your summary and closing statement.

Handling a question and answer session well, demonstrates your professionalism and reflects on your message.

Speech topics that capture the full attention

First, if you are looking for a persuasive speech topic, you must know that the more controversial the speech topics, are the more response you will get from your audiences.

The topic sentence has to be short, declarative sentence that states the central idea of your speech. Your persuasion speech topics should zero in on one main idea rather than focusing on entirely different areas.

If you are looking for science related speech topics, there's plenty of those in the science forums. It is relatively easy to join forums. A visual presentation is sure to bring your informative speech topics to a whole new level of interest.

Choosing a persuasive speech topic for your presentation is not an easy task. Introduce the topic with a statement of fact and support that statement with the main points of your speech. Write a purpose statement by stating the goal and topic for a speech and specifying the method to be used in developing the speech. This means you will have to research your topic and work your sources into your speech and outline.

The more controversial your persuasive speech topic, the harder challenge your creating for yourself, and the more you'll learn. Interest the listeners in the topic, purpose, and issues of the speech. Developing a topic and identifying the purpose of a speech will aid in the organization and direction of the overall performance. You will get enthusiastic applause...perhaps even a standing ovation, every time you speak if you develop informative speech topics which are slightly controversial in nature!

If you should emphasize both the positive and negative characteristics of your topic in order to provide a well-balanced speech, you will definitely make your speech more interesting! So, the idea here is to first pick a topic and then list down the positive and negative characteristics of your topic. It will stimulate your mind in more ways than you can imagine, and could easily spawn dozens of speech topic ideas.

Public speaking - the key is in the body language. the 8 stages to a successful presentation

Most people have a fear of speaking to a large group. This is a totally normal apprehension. People may visualise the audience laughing at them, or shouting out. This is an extremely rare occurrence, unless you are a politician.

Most people listening to you are aware of the pressures you are under and would never change places with you.

These guidelines will help you to overcome your fears.

1. Know your subject. Read through your presentation beforehand. Read around the subject, so that you are confident that you know more than your audience, even after you have spoken. If you know your subject then you will come across in an interesting way and keep the attention of your audience.

2. Expect to do well. Your expectations are obvious in your body language. If your audience sees that you expect to do badly, you will do badly. Expectation is vital.

3. Look at your audience. Eye contact is vital if you are to judge their understanding so that you can change the pace of your delivery if necessary.

4. Use notes. You should never, never read your speech from a sheet.

5. Slow your speech down. This makes you appear more confident and enables your audience to take it in more easily. If you are talking slower, it is easier for your audience to maintain their attention, and momentary lapses in their concentration mean that they miss less.

6. Vary the tone and level of your voice. This maintains interest. You should speak clearly and project your voice, rather than shouting. Talking quietly in key segments means that your listeners will need to actively listen to those parts of your presentation.

7. Avoid excessive body movements and gestures. Hand gestures can be used for emphasis only.

8. Keep your hands and thumbs visible. Holding your hands out, with the thumbs uppermost is a very powerful dominance gesture. Watch politicians speaking, they all use this gesture.

9. Rejoice in the endorphin high that you will feel when it goes well.

Make-them-laugh

Make Them Laugh

In the delightful Broadway musical "Singing in the Rain", there is a song called "Make em Laugh" which is based on this idea that the best way for any stage performer to build a bond with an audience is to use humor to bring a smile, or a laugh, to that audience. Well, that idea is not just valid for stage performers. It's just as true when you begin to develop your style as a public speaker.

If you pick up any self help guide to how to be effective as a public speaker, one of the golden rules is to open with a joke. But guess what? That is not actually a hard and fast rule. Humor is the type of thing that works just as well about a minute into your presentation, halfway through or just about anywhere that you feel you are losing your audience.

Audience psychology is a funny thing but not in the "laughter" sense. The truth is that when you first begin to speak to an audience, they are probably listening to you. Most people are at least curious about you and what you have to say and will take interest in you if for no other reason than you are a new person up there in front of them. While there is certainly not a bad idea to open with humor, the time your audience needs a joke is when you have launched into your discussion and you look out to nodding heads or drifting eyes and you know that you are talking but nobody is listening. That is when humor brings the audience back to you and hooks them back into your presentation.

The biggest problem with a lot of public speaking situations is that you may be presenting ideas to the crowd. While an idea is a good thing, people have trouble staying focused on pure concepts for very long. That is why most good public speakers use illustrations, stories and humor to keep the audience focused on what you are talking about. And that is where a generous use of humor will help your public speaking style as well.

Humor has a certain effect on the human psychology that causes the listener to bond with the speaker in a unique way. To put that more simply, using humor in your presentation makes people like you. And when they like you, they want to hear what you have to say. There is just no getting around the fact that people will listen to, accept, understand and make their own ideas presented with humor far more readily than if your talk is dry presentation of material, even if it is important material.

But what if you don't know how to use humor? Of course you can always just tell a joke. But canned jokes are just that, attempts to use someone else's humor. They do work, (if it’s a good joke) but if the humor is not relevant to what you are talking about or to you as a speaker, it often is not as effective as it should be. The best humor is actually self-deprecating remarks as you speak. These are easy to come up with by simply using yourself as the subject of an illustration. For example, if this topic was part of your speech, you might say…

"You know it's easy to get tongue tied and bumble around up here trying to use humor. But you folks won't make a mess of it like I am doing."

That isn't even a very good joke. But because it is highly relevant, it is self deprecating and it’s a light moment in the presentation, it will probably get a chuckle. A chuckle is really all you are looking for. You are not trying to become a stand up comic up there. Humor that is too wild and designed to bring hearty laughter actually is distracting. You just want little asides that are of a humorous nature to bring your audience back to listening to you.

Listen to good speakers you admire and take note of how they seem to slip and out of humor easily and effortlessly and how quickly that build rapport with the audience. It will take some practice to get good at using humor as you speak. But it will improve your presentation style tremendously. And that's the whole idea, isn't it?

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Becoming-larger-than-life

Becoming Larger Than Life

To say that there is no ego in a person who does public speaking regularly or for a living would be clearly a false statement. But for those of us who only speak from time to time, when you see a speaker who can walk out in a room of 30 people or a auditorium of 3000 and literally "own the room", it really is an amazing transformation. To imagine how you could ever be that much larger than life is mind boggling.

But in a lot of ways, when you step out to talk to a group of people, you do become larger than life. That is because you are doing the impossible. You are having a conversation with dozens of people all at once. Now, whether you feel like you are having that conversation or not isn't important. If your talk is not interactive, you may not know the dialog is happening. But in the minds of every single individual in that hall, they are interacting with you. What you are saying is getting down inside of them and they are reacting to it. But even more than what you are saying, how you are saying it is having an even bigger impact.

So are there things you can do to "become" larger than life? Well there are some ways of behaving in front of a crowd that differ from daily life. We do have to accept that you will develop a "stage persona" that is different from your daily personality when you speak to a group. Does that make you a phony? No. Both of those personalities are you. It is just a different you when you relate to a group than to people one on one and it seems strange because that form of you only comes out on stage. But it isn't a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde thing. Just as you speak to a child differently than you speak to an adult, you will develop a way to talking to a group that differs from speaking to an individual.

Part of becoming larger than life is learning to what they call "own the room". This sound egotistic and strange but it really does work when you are about to speak. Owning the room simply means that when you step out in front of that crowd, they are no longer some random group of people, they are YOUR people. They are there to listen to you and what you say is of value to them. If you had any ego problems before you stepped out in front of that audience, check that ego problem at the door.

You must assume that you are adored when you speak to a group of people. This doesn’t mean you strut about like God's gift to the world. But it does mean that you recognize that your value to this group is as a speaker and that your services are wanted and needed here. In fact, the only way you will be an effective public speaker is if you own the room. Treat that room like it was your home and these people came here just because being with you is just that great. If you step out there with that attitude, the audience will buy into your attitude and they will give you the room and be glad you took it over.

It can be a bit strange if you watch yourself become larger than life. But you can be humble about it and just recognize it is part of the craft of becoming a great public speaker. And if being good at this art you are gifted to give to the world means owning rooms and becoming bigger for an hour or so, well then why deny the world that experience? Enjoy it and let others enjoy it too.

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What makes a good speaker

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TITLE: What Makes a Good Speaker?

AUTHOR: Sandra Schrift

COPYRIGHT: ©2006 by Sandra Schrift. All rights reserved

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What Makes a Good Speaker?

When people hear that I owned a national, professional speakers bureau for 13 years, they often ask me, who are the best speakers and why? What follows are some of the characteristics of a very successful speaker who is often a highly paid speaker.

‘Tell’ em what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell’ em what you told them.”

1.They arrive early and check out the sound system and introduce themselves to audience members during the networking time.

2.They speak on a subject that their audience needs to hear. And they use words and body language that shows their passion and authenticity.

3.They connect with their audience in the first few minutes with a riveting story, a funny incident, a startling statement or perhaps a poem. They know how to make their opening remarks relate to the material that follows.

4. They have no fear. They don’t only say what the audience wants to hear, but what they NEED to hear. In other words, their remarks may raise some eyebrows. They give their audiences some fresh ideas.

5.They never make more than 3-4 points in their speech. They don’t feel the need to tell an audience everything they know. No one can retain it all. For each major point they tell an illustrative story. A good story evokes emotion and offers a lesson. The audience members are then only a step away from their own story.

6. They make great eye contact and make each person feel attended to. This makes them appear to be more heartfelt and really present for their audience.

7. Before closing, they summarize and reiterate their major points. They end with an inspiring story and a call to action. They hold the audience accountable – to take some action in the next few days, weeks.

8.They don’t talk too long. They know how much time they have been assigned and they don’t exceed it.

9.They rehearse their speech a few times but never sound canned. They NEVER read their speech verbatim.

10.All successful speakers market themselves. They all promote themselves. And they all Network. They are a model of excellence. And you can be too!

Speak-with-more-than-your-voice

Speak With More Than Your Voice

There is a bit of a misperception about the phrase "public speaking". The misperception that the technique of becoming good at public speaking is all in how you speak. The truth is that your voice is only part of what you need to be successful in giving a presentation to a group of people. To be an effective public "speaker", you should use every resource you have including your body language, your arms and your legs to capture the attention of the crowd and hold it.

There is nothing more boring than a speaker who stands in one place and never moves his arms and speaks softly just putting out the information of the talk. So to avoid this curse, learn not only to communicate with your entire being when you are in front of an audience. Learn to express yourself with facial expressions, with gestures of your arms and with movement. Because that extra effort is what can make a fair presentation good or a good presentation a great one.

A good public presentation can be compared to eating a meal in a restaurant. A good chef knows that there is more to fine dining than just food because you also must have good service and ambiance so the presentation of the food makes the meal delightful to eat. The same is true of a public speaking situation. It isn't enough just to stand up there and speak out the information. You are not just speaking because you are only really successful when you are communicating. And to communicate, your audience has to grasp what you are saying and be prepared to make it real in their own lives.

Movement is probably the most underused public speaking method but it is also one of the most effective. To put it bluntly, when you speak to a group, don't just stand there. Get out of the podium and move around a bit. Walk from one side of your speaking area to the other. Use your hands to help you describe an illustration or to gesture with emphasis toward the crowd when your text fits that kind of expression. This movement is good for you because it’s a way of walking off your nervousness. It's good for the audience because it keeps them interested. And it's very good for your presentation because it is a powerful way to get your point across and to assure you are being understood.

The relationship between public speaking and public performance is unmistakable. When you watch a speaker, the key word is "watch". Taking in the presentation of a speaker is an event that brings in all of the senses. And the more your audience actually "experiences you" rather than just hears what you say, the better they will like your presentation and the more likely they will be to agree with what you have to say or take action in the direction you had hoped they would.

Of course, it can be a nervous moment the first time you decide to step away from the podium and use your body as part of your presentation. If you walk and move in front of people, there is always the chance an accident can happen. You could swing your arms in emphasis and knock something over. You could trip over a microphone cord and be in danger of falling down. Or your wardrobe could malfunction because of the increased stress and that would be a horrible thing to deal with when everyone is looking at you. You can do take some extra measures to be sure your wardrobe is secure beforehand and to evaluate the speaking setting so you are aware of potential causes of accidents. But the possibility of a mishap is just a risk that you should be prepared to take because the movement you use is so powerfully effective that the rewards are too great to pass up.

The other risk is that by stepping away from the podium, you step away from your outline. To enable yourself to wean away from having to have that outline in front of you all the time, select one or two sections where you will depart the outline and share a personal story. Then your movement will be confident and effective. And when you can integrate confident movement into your presentation, your public speaking skills will go from good to great instantaneously.

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Public speaking the power of words

Words hurt, heal, motivate, and aggravate. They are powerful. They control emotions and can even control a person physically.

A word is worth a thousand pictures.

“Come here.” Two words that move a person from there to here.

“Write this down.” Three words that cause people to put words on a page.

“Remember a time when you felt angry.” Seven words that can create an overload of emotions.

Your words are power. Think of the number of people you have made smile by saying, “I really appreciate you.” Or the number of people you have hurt by saying, “What’s wrong with you? Can’t you do anything right?”

Words possess just as much power when spoken to a crowd of a thousand as in a one on one conversation. It’s one thing to get one person excited, but impassion an entire group, and you have irresistible intensity on your side.

Use your words more effectively…

1. Understand their influence. Do not use or choose your terms lightly. A wrong word can turn an audience from friends to fiends. The better you know your group the better you can tailor your terms for their benefit.

You get to choose the outcome. Want the group to be charged, mad, excited, encouraged, content, or happy? You can produce any of those by using the right words in the right way.

2. Don’t be afraid to be edgy. Too many speakers are soft. You can be tough without being obnoxious, or insulting a group’s intelligence. You can humorous and still make a hard-hitting point.

I got in at 1 a. m. last night after spending two days speaking to 1,500 people. Get this – all the reviews came back at the top level, and I was tough on the folks. Several came up and said, “You’re not afraid to tell it like it is!” The words I chose challenged the group without breaking them.

What about your words? Do you toss them out lightly, or with precision power? Your words can change lives and influence millions. Choose and use them well.

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