Archive for the ‘public speaking speech’ Category

Other Effective Ways To Start Your Speech

Monday, October 11th, 2010
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In a previous post I showed how an illustration can be an effective way to begin a speech but:

Of course, using an illustration is not the only effective way to start a speech. A question which causes an audience to think will get attention.
For example, a student speaker started by asking this question, “Do you know how long it takes a fly to crawl from one end of a seven inch banana to the other?”
This was a simple question but it caused listeners to think and wonder. After asking the question the speaker paused for a few moments, giving listeners time to think. Then he answered his own question, “It takes a fly exactly thirty-six seconds to crawl from one end of a banana to the other, because I watched one do it last week in the L, and L Cafe.”
This was the beginning of a very interesting and helpful talk about keeping food clean.
A housewife started a speech called “How to Stretch the Kitchen Dollar,” by pushing a handful of coins from a table into a metal wastebasket and asking at the same time, “Is this hapĀ¬pening in your kitchen?”
The audience willingly watched and listened. In addition to asking a thought stimulating question this speaker used a visual aid which usually gets undivided attention.
This was an interesting beginning, whereas a dull, trite way to start a speech on saving money in the kitchen could be as follows: “Every day, everywhere, people are wasting money in their kitchens. Considering the high cost of living, this, of course, makes staying on a budget very difficult. But I suppose this is not a new trend. According to psychologists, being careless may be a natural trait of humanity, although there are probably different opinions in this respect.” And so on.
This latter method merely presents general opinions. The ideas are not specific. Nothing happens. This approach is somewhat like the .one a college student actually made when he attempted to answer an examination question: “It is, well, on the other hand it could be, but perhaps usually in most cases, it is strictly an enigma.” What an indirect way to say, “I don’t know.”

Have you ever used a question to start your presentation or a speech? How did you get on? Did it make the audience think?

10 ways to improve your public speaking speech

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
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1. Confidence

You have to have a positive sensory orientation towards your speech, learn to have confidence. Unfortunately there is no secrets to this, you have to rehearse over and over again until your confident that you can make it.

Do remember that most people can easily distinguish between the certain speaker and the uncertain one, this is why you should never read your speech directly from a piece of paper. It gives an extremely bad impression.

2. Spice your speech

“Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech”

Make your performance remembered, make it tasty and try your outmost not to bore people. We all dislike hearing a boring professor speak, why commit the same mistake? A good way to spice your speech is by adding quotes to it, the more the merrier.

By the way, young folks are part of this culture where one uses some keywords over and over again which could make your whole presentation contaminated. Watch out for words such as; “like”, “well”, “you know” etc. A good way to counter this is by using alliterations, ie.

A sentence where all the initial letters in every word start by the same letter. For example: Cool! Crusty´s car crushed Carl. The important things is; be innovative when it comes to speeches!

3. Your posture

Your “body language” could turn out to be more crucial than you think, some people even claim that it might be more important than the speech it self!

Make sure you have a firm control over your body and try your out most to diminish the use of unnecessary movements. This might distract the audience and your recital might even be viewed as void.

4. Eye contact

Be cautious concerning your eye movements. You should avoid starring at someone/thing provocative, you do not want to be angered, annoyed or aroused when speaking.

5. Water

I think that this one concerns the guys a bit more; we (male gender) have this thing, we speak louder and less calmer then women. God knows, you might even become thirsty or lose your voice in the middle of the presentation, bad idea!

If your equipped with a bottle of water, your problem is fixed, plus you get a few seconds to fetch your thoughts when drinking.

6. Cards

Ever watched one of those lousy talk shows they air all the time? I am sorry if I brought back bad memories from the days you use to watch this garbage, but in case you paid attention back then you’ve probably noticed how all the talk shows hosts use cards when speaking.

This is an excellent move, you should employ that as well for a number of reasons:

a) Looks professional. b) By using keywords and sentences, you can summarize a long speech. c) You avoid using normal (A4) paper, if your hands shiver when you speak in public, the paper might shiver and produce this awesome sound of embarrassment.

7. Tools

Do you know how to make a power point, flash (or the like) presentation? If the answers yes, then what is stopping you?

In case you do decide to use a sideshow, be sure to avoid weird animations or music, this might distract your audience. Keep it simple, it usually works the best.

8. Your clothing

People don’t usually think of this, but be aware of the clothes you wear that day. You don’t want to wear tight/revealing clothes.

The whole point of the speech is for people to listen to your words, not be aroused by your looks.

9. Speak well

This must be emphasized; speak in a gentle and respectful matter. You have to avoid using bad words or phrases, such as the notorious f word.

10. Your ending

Try to make your ending summarize your whole speech, be innovative and make sure you don’t neglect this part. A good ending compensates a bad introduction

Abderisak Adam is a young study coach who resides in Sweden.

Have To Give a Speech? Go Ahead . . . Be Nervous!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
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he first advice I give to people who want to improve their speaking or presentation skills is, “Don’t fight the feeling of being nervous!” Feeling nervous is normal. Nearly every speaker, including the professionals, has that feeling before getting up in front of an audience. The difference is that veteran speakers give that feeling a different name: they see it as excitement or “aliveness.” It’s a feeling that lets you know that you’re about to do something exciting and the outcome is important to you.

So the next time you feel nervous before a speech or presentation, welcome that feeling and say to yourself, “thank you for the reminder . . . I’m glad I’m feeling this way!” When I don’t have that feeling, my speech is likely to be flat and I have to work much harder to deliver an engaging presentation.

When planning a talk, people usually ask: What am I going to say? Where do I begin? Do I tell a joke? What if they ask questions I can’t answer? The answers come much more easily if you shift the focus from yourself to your audience: Who are they? What do they need? What are their expectations? What information would be most useful or helpful to them? Why did they invite you to speak? The structure and content of your presentation will flow more naturally from your audience’s needs, and you will find it easier to adjust to your listeners during the speech.

A good way to start a presentation is to involve the audience right away. Capture their imagination with a relevant story. Make a bold or visionary statement. If you are not sure who your audience is or what they are expecting, you can do a quick audience survey. Ask them key questions or get their feedback on the topic.

Often I will do an “attitude check” with an audience. I will ask them to call out words that come to mind when they think about public speaking or talking to reporters. Usually great words and phrases like “terrified” or “deer in the headlights” emerge and I write them down on a flip chart or white board. This simple idea accomplishes two things. It lets me know how the audience feels about the subject. And it also give them permission to feel that way, which puts everyone at ease and opens their minds to what comes next in the presentation.

Using humor can be a terrific icebreaker and a way to gauge your audience’s response. But I don’t recommend starting with a joke or a humorous anecdote unless you’re good at humor and are totally comfortable using it. Also, make sure that any anecdote or humor is relevant and appropriate for your audience, the occasion, and the setting.

If you are using visuals, like overheads or PowerPoint style presentations, don’t let the technology become a crutch or a substitute for your content. There’s nothing more boring than a speaker reading overheads or slides verbatim. Use visuals to communicate complex material graphically or as a jumping off point for discussion. Provide your audience with handouts so they can review the material later.

Remember, you have been asked to speak because people want to hear what you have to say. There’s a built-in reason for the audience to support you and they want you to succeed in your presentation. They are looking for honesty, good information, and enthusiasm for the subject. People will forgive minor flaws in your mechanics if you speak from your heart with passion and authenticity.

And of course, don’t forget to breathe!

Lorraine Howell owns Media Skills Training where she teaches business owners, CEO’s, and management teams to speak with confidence and impact in an enjoyable and down-to-earth way. Sign up for Lorraine’s FREE e-tips and also receive her FREE 5 Steps to Start a New Business Conversation (& Get Results, Too!)” by visiting her website at

Public Speaking – The Art of Speech Making

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
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How do you speak naturally while all those people are watching you?

This document covers hints and tips on public speaking and presentation skill, dealing with public speaking nerves and anxiety, public speaking skills and public speaking techniques, public speaking training.

Common Fears of Public Speaking

What happens when you have to speak in public?

Did you know that public speaking tops the list of phobias for most people? Not spiders or heights – public speaking – speech in public!

Well, if you didn’t know that, we bet your body does. It will do all kinds of unpleasant things to you when you have to stand up and face a sea of faces with the hope of getting your message across in a compelling and interesting way.

Your hands may sweat and your mouth goes dry. Your knees may shake and a quaver affects your voice. Your heart may race and those well known butterflies invade your stomach.

When all that happens most people don’t think of getting their message across in a compelling and interesting way; they just think of getting off the ‘stage’ as quickly as possible!

Have we frightened you sufficiently yet?

It’s normal

We don’t really mean to frighten you, just remind you that your body reacts ‘in extremis’ when put under pressure, and for most people, public speaking is just about the worst pressure they can be put under.

It’s normal to be nervous and have a lot of anxiety when speaking in public. In a way, it’s less normal not to have nerves or anxiety; in fact, to feel you have a phobia about public speaking.

Why do we get Public Speaking anxiety?

Fight or flight

Our bodies are geared to fight or flight from ancient time – fight that mastodon or get the hell out of the way. We don’t have too many mastodons around these days, but the body still reacts as though we do. So, if we have to get up and speak in public, all that adrenalin and noradrenalin goes coursing through our bodies – way more than we need.

We can’t run away (well, we could, but we’d be out of job pretty quick if we did it too often), so our only option is to fight. But in terms of speaking in public, it can be hard to define just what we’re fighting.

Why does public speaking do this to us?

Good question. You’d think that for most people, being given the opportunity to impress their audience would be a fantastic one. There you are in front of a group of people, the spotlight is on you and for the length of time you’ve been give, the world is yours.

Or is it?

The very fact that the spotlight is you is enough to trigger every fear, anxiety and phobia you’ve ever had about public speaking.

Here’s why

You may be judged by all those people, and judged badly You may feel like a fool You might make mistakes and loose your way You’ll be completely humiliated You’ll never be as good as _________ (fill in the blank) ‘They’ won’t like you ‘They’ won’t ‘get’ what you’re trying to say

How to overcome fear of Public Speaking What good are Nerves

Public speaking may not be comfortable, but take our word for it, nerves are good. Being ‘centre stage’ is not a good place to feel too comfortable.

Nerves will keep you awake and ensure you don’t get too complacent. Hard to feel complacent when your heart is beating so hard you’re sure everyone watching you can hear it.

If channelled well, nerves can make the difference between giving a humdrum presentation and giving one that keeps people listening.

Get your attention off yourself

It’s very tempting to keep focused on how you’re feeling, especially if you’re feeling really uncomfortable. You’ll start to notice every bead of sweat.

To make your nerves work for you, you need to focus on just about anything other than yourself. You can distract yourself by paying attention to the environment in which you’re speaking and seeing how you can make it work for you.

Once you’re actually in front of your audience, pay attention to them. If you can, notice how people are dressed, who’s wearing glasses, who has on bright colours. There will be dozens and dozens of things you can pay attention to help you trick your mind into not noticing what’s going on with you.

Anything will do and you will find that the less you concentrate on how you are feeling and the more you concentrate on other things, the more confident you will feel.

How to build confidence in Public Speaking

Your audience can be your friend

Unless you know you’re absolutely facing a hostile group of people, human nature is such that your audience wants you succeed. They’re on your side!

Therefore, rather than assuming they don’t like you, give them the benefit of the doubt that they do.

They aren’t an anonymous sea of faces, but real people. So to help you gain more confidence when speaking in public, think of ways to engage your audience. Remember, even if they aren’t speaking, you can still have a two-way conversation.

When you make an important point pay attention to the people who are nodding in agreement and the ones who are frowning in disagreement. As long as you are creating a reaction in your audience you are in charge.

Keep them awake

The one thing you don’t want is for them to fall asleep! But make no mistake public speaking arenas are designed to do just that: dim lights, cushy chairs, not having to open their mouths – a perfect invitation to catch up on those zzzzs.

Ways to keep them away include

Ask rhetorical questions Maintain eye contact for a second or two with as many people as possible Be provocative Be challenging Change the pace of your delivery Change the volume of your voice

Public Speaking Training

Get a coach

Whatever the presentation public speaking is tough, so get help.

Since there are about a zillion companies out there all ready to offer you public speaking training and courses, here are some things to look for when deciding the training that’s right for you.

Focus on positives not negatives

Any training you do to become more effective at public speaking should always focus on the positive aspects of what you already do well.

Nothing can undermine confidence more than telling someone what they aren’t doing well.

You already do lots of things well good public speaking training should develop those instead of telling you what you shouldn’t do.

Turn your back on too many rules

If you find a public speaking course that looks as though it’s going to give you lots of dos and don’ts, walk away! Your brain is going to be so full of whatever it is you’re going to be talking about that to try to cram it full of a whole bunch of rules will just be counterproductive.

As far as we’re concerned, aside from physical violence or inappropriately taking off your clothes, there are no hard and fast rules about public speaking.

You are an individual not a clone

Most importantly, good public speaking training should treat you as a unique individual, with your own quirks and idiosyncrasies. You aren’t like anybody else and your training course should help you bring out your individuality, not try to turn you into someone you’re not.

Hints and Tips for Effective Public Speaking

Here are just a few hints, public speaking tips and techniques to help you develop your skills and become far more effective as a public speaker.


Mistakes are all right.

Recovering from mistakes makes you appear more human. Good recovery puts your audience at ease – they identify with you more.


Tell jokes if you’re good at telling jokes. If you aren’t good, best to leave the jokes behind. There’s nothing worse than a punch line that has no punch. Gentle humour is good in place of jokes. Self-deprecation is good, but try not to lay it on too thick.

Tell stories

Stories make you a real person not just a deliverer of information. Use personal experiences to bring your material to life. No matter how dry your material is, you can always find a way to humanise it.

How to use the public speaking environment

Try not to get stuck in one place. Use all the space that’s available to you. Move around. One way to do this is to leave your notes in one place and move to another. If your space is confined (say a meeting room or even presenting at a table) use stronger body language to convey your message.


Speak to your audience not your slides. Your slides are there to support you not the other way around. Ideally, slides should be graphics and not words (people read faster than they hear and will be impatient for you to get to the next point). If all the technology on offer fails, it’s still you they’ve come to hear.

You can learn to enjoy public speaking and become far more effective at standing in front of a group of people and delivering a potent message.

When it comes to improving your public speaking skills we have three words:

practise, practise, practise!


Jo Ellen and Robin run Impact Factory and have trained thousands of people in the art of Public Speaking for events from Wedding Speeches through to Key Note Conference Speeches.

How to Write a Speech in 13 Steps

Monday, January 18th, 2010
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You can see my credentials in my bio. You should also know that I love to write speeches. In fact, I’ve been accused of being a better speech writer than speech giver! I’m working on that. ;-)

I’ll tell you how to write a speech the way I do it, and I’ll tell you how to make it great. Plus I’ll give you some tips on what to put in, and what to leave out. I love this topic. How Good Do You Want Your Speech to Be?

From the outset, you should know that how to write a speech depends on how good you want it to be, and how much time you want to put into it. I’ll put the most important things first so that you can just go as far as you want, and stop when you run out of time. Remember to leave time to practice the speech three or four times. If you can record the second or third and listen to it, so much the better.

How to Write a Speech People Will Remember

In the old days, and I mean back in the time of the Greeks, much more emphasis was put on the writing of the speech, the content. Now people tend to emphasize presentation, style, vocal qualities, and technology. But writing a good speech is irreplaceable – I’m going to tell you how to get put content in, make it clear, and make an impact on your audience…how to write a speech people will remember.

Here’s the process:

(Why 13 steps? It just turned out that way. But if you think public speaking is scary, it fits, doesn’t it?)

1. Know your audience: if you forget this, everything falls apart. You can’t tell dirty jokes to a Christian women’s group. You’ve seen the commercial where the best man gives the wedding toast and goes on and on about how much of a player the groom was? Remember who’s there and what they want to hear. What do they like and dislike? What kind of humor do they like? If they’re a mixed audience, you have to be more mainstream in your language and manner. This is the most important part of how to write a speech.

2. Know your purpose: the only time you’re allowed to break rule #1 is if your purpose is to shock or to inform people about something uncomfortable. In the latter case, you’d need to make up for the shock value by acknowledging it, comforting them, etc. Besides all that, your purpose determines everything else. Visualize a straight line from you through your audience to the purpose. If you want to persuade them, you have to take them from where they are to the place of persuasion. If you want to inform, you have to take their brains from where they are, to where they’ll know your information. Knowing them, and taking them there is what it’s all about.

3. Know what you want them to think about the speech later: This is another part of your purpose, essential to how to write a speech. If you want them to say, “you really showed compassion in that speech!” then you have to do whatever you can to demonstrate compassion. If more than anything you want them to remember a certain fact, then do everything you can in the speech to implant it in their brain – shock them, plead with them, amuse them, but make sure they focus on that fact.

4. It’s not about you: the only time it’s about you is if one of your goals is to impress them, build your credibility, etc. Other than that, forget your fear, your self consciousness, etc. Let those things go in the service of your audience and your purpose.

5. Writing is editing. Editing is writing. The first time you write the speech, don’t criticize it, don’t edit it, just let everything flow out. You’ll organize it and choose better words and rephrase it later. Just be creative.

6. Organize your ideas into an outline. Make sure each idea follows the other logically. Ask yourself if your audience needs to know anything to understand any part of it. Ask yourself if any part needs more fleshing out

7. Rewrite it according to the outline.

8. Beef it up. Use examples for difficult to understand points or concepts. Find some jokes. If no one laughs at the first one, be careful, though. You might lose credibility if they think you’re an idiot. You can also find great quotes online, even search on whatever topic you’re writing your speech about.

9. Do an edit. Use MS Word for grammar checking. A big part of how to write a speech it editing. The next few steps involve editing and speaking. This step is about editing on paper. Replace long words and rephrase jargon. Imagine if it would make sense to your best friend, your mom, your grandma, etc. (caveat: if jargon is required to impress in business, use it)

10. Say it all out loud. Is anything missing? How does it sound? Change the words and phrases that sound unnatural when spoken.

11. Record it on a tape recorder or your computer. Is it missing anything? Add it. Are any parts of it boring, unneccesary, stupid, offensive? Cut off the fat.

12. Do it in front of a test audience. Get their feedback. Make sure they know your audience and purpose before you do the speech for the test audience.

13. Go give your speech to the real audience with confidence! If you’re interested in tips on the presentation or voice sides of things, you’ll need another resource, but…

Now you know how to write a speech!


Brian has been a public speaker for five years, a guest on national radio shows, is president of his local speaking club, teaches medicine, and is the author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure (