Archive for the ‘public speaking tips’ Category

More Tips On Gestures In Public Speaking

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
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Gestures in public speaking out to be natural but there are some natural gestures to avoide.

Sometimes a person, sensing that gestures of any style can enhance his presenting, makes continual pointless motions with his hands. This naturally is annoying for audience members and worse than no gesturing. A speaker need not feel obliged to make overt motions continuously. Frequently his hands ought to hang in a natural way at his / her sides, but always his / her entire body ought to be in a condition of readiness to gesture. Once this condition prevails he will “believe” and respond sensibly with his body.
Any form of doodling, both with or without a pencil, is an irritating behavior that a few speakers have. The speaker who shuffles his paperwork, removes and restores his / her spectacles periodically, rattles the change in their own pocket, scratches his scalp regularly, twirls his / her key chain, drums the stand with his / her fingers, gives his hands dry wipes, paces in a routine as he / she speaks, or even makes any unnecessary motions repeatedly, actually creates needless competition for himself. Clearly such movements shortly attract attention from a crowd and might result in listeners to think only -when is he going to cease that.
Generally, however, whenever a speaker is vitally interested in communicating ideas to an audience he / she will have neither the interest nor time to engage in distracting physical mannerisms. But even a professional speaker may have established a distracting habit so firmly he can continue it while seriously communicating. In such a case his / her coach or someone else should call his attention to the habit. Next, by becoming painfully aware of the mannerism, he / she could defeat it.
Any inclination a speaker might have to wrap himself/herself up should be avoided. Holding a speaker’s lectern and hanging on, for instance, will occupy the hands to such an degree they simply won’t bother to produce any illustrative or emphatic movements. Clasping the hands in front of the body, at the rear of the back, or folding the arms are habits that motivate a presenter to make use of little if any bodily action. A successful speaker isn’t like a soldier at parade rest, or an Indian chief during a peace treaty. However his manner is similar to that of an able boxer in boxing ring that is constantly prepared to move any part of his/her body harmoniously with the particular situation.

Hope you are enjoying these tips on movement in public speaking. If you want to know more check out my weekly newsletter to have the tips delivered direct to your inbox by entering your details on the right.

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?

3 Easy Tips You Can Use Today For Public Speaking Success

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
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Dave turned and faced the group. As he looked at the 24 people seated in the meeting room, he felt his pulse quicken, his hands grew damp, and his face hot. Remembering an old public speaking trick he read in a magazine, he tried to imagine the group in their underwear. Now his face grew even hotter and he was certain his neck was starting to splotch red. “Good afternoon,” he began. “Today we’re going to talk about the scope of the project and the timeline.” Starting the power point helped calm his nerves somewhat, and he turned and read most of the slides to the group, elaborating a little as necessary. Halfway through the presentation, he gazed again at the audience, who seemed to be caught halfway between nodding off and eager to leave. Looking at their expressionless faces escalated his nervousness. Several people glanced at their phones, “Wondering how much longer I’m going to talk,” he thought nervously. Thirty-five minutes later, he finally ended by saying, “Any questions?” Relieved that not a hand was raised, he closed with, “Okay, that’s all I have.” He watched as people gathered their things and hastily left the room, their silence speaking volumes about the dryness of his public speaking abilities. What he failed to realize was all the time and energy he put into creating interesting power point slides had been wasted. A boring delivery nullifies even the best of graphics and is a complete time waster, not only for the presenter, but for the audience as well. This article provides three simple tips that will increase effectiveness for any speaker or leader of meetings.

Tip #1: Make Them Glad They Came!

Do you have time to spend attending unproductive meetings? Neither do the people with whom you work. Make them 1) thankful they attended, and, 2) willing to attend future meetings, by having an actual opening and closing to your presentation and peppering your talk with little examples. The simplest and most impactful way to do this is to tell a short story. And don’t say, “I’m going to tell you a short story that demonstrates why this topic is important.” Just launch into the story! An example might be: “4:00am Tuesday morning, plant employees walked into our Michigan facility and clocked in for their shift. What happened four minutes later shocked us all and created a public relations nightmare from which our organization is still recovering…”

Tip #2: Don’t Talk To Your Slides!

The verdict is in – slides are nice, but they are not the presentation – you are. The goal is to be perceived as though you are a leader, having a powerful conversation with your audience, as if the group were really a single individual. Turning your back to your audience only creates distance between you and them instead of the connection you both need to make and participate in an effective presentation. Don’t insult your audience’s intelligence by reading to them. Instead, provide a handout when you are going to talk about something specific like a chart or graph, or refer to the specific web page if your presentation is online.

Tip #3: Get Over Yourself!

Most people feel nervous because they worry about evaluation. Their motives are more about what people think about them than helping the individuals whose time they are taking. Being successful in front of a group is all about having your purpose and your motives lined up correctly. If your information is helpful to them or the organization, make sure they know about the connection. Fear is often a reflection of not enough speaking experience, misplaced negative evaluation thoughts, or the wrong motives in delivering the talk. Deal with the root of that nervousness to be effective as a public speaker. Currently, only a very few presentations are considered, “Excellent” or “Memorable,” so with a little training, coaching and enthusiasm, you can go a long way in making yourself stand out amongst the other presentations your audience will endure in their careers.

Bottom Line: Think about your audience first and get training if you need it! The best communicators often have the most influence, so keep improving your public speaking skills. Nick Ruotolo is a trainer with Greater Impact Ministries, Inc. He is filled with enthusiasm about helping younger workers avoid common mistakes while encouraging those in the middle or at the end of their careers discover a new enthusiasm, passion for excellence and purpose in their lives. Nick finds the growth that occurs in others through THE GREATER IMPACT COURSETM invigorating and inspiring and revels in helping others to achieve greater success.

How To Become A Professional Public Speaker

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
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Business speakers are only as good as their ability to communicate effectively. It does not necessarily follow that an expert on business matters has the know-how to engage, educate and entertain an audience.

Some of the world’s greatest business minds can ooze confidence and excel as practitioners of business, yet can become shivering wrecks whilst standing behind a lectern facing an unassuming and docile audience.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear from the outset ~ quality business speakers are not born with a natural ability to captivate and inform an audience. They have learnt the essential skills required for a polished public speaking performance and then practise and perfect their art.

What follows are the basics of giving a public presentation as a business speaker, together with some simple suggestions on how to acquire a noticeable air of confidence whilst presenting in public.

Firstly, as a business speaker you need not only to establish the title of your talk but also the objective of the presentation. e.g. the title may be ‘The Alpha Widget’ and the objective could be ‘To familiarise delegates with the benefits of using the Alpha Widget’.

You can establish the objective as a business speaker by simply asking ‘by the end of my presentation what would you like delegates to do or what would you prefer them to be thinking?’

Establish early how many minutes your business speaker masterpiece is expected to last.

In preparation for the task ahead clear your desk of all clutter and you are already on the road to becoming a polished business speaker admired by many.

Write the title of your talk and speech objective as a business speaker onto separate Post-its (or scrap papers), and then place them in the centre of your now cleared desk.

Carry out a brainstorming session by writing anything that comes to mind that is connected to your title or business speaker objectives onto additional Post-its and place them around your title and defined objective.

Once you have covered your desk you will then need to cull. Get rid of anything that is not central to the objectives of your presentation as a business speaker.

Take into account the amount of time that that the event organisers have set aside for your speech, and the time allocated to you, the business speaker, at the end of your talk to take questions from the audience etc.

Consider each Post-it as no more then two to three minutes in time and this will help you improve your time management skills as a business speaker.

Establish order in your business speaker presentation by separating the Post-its and creating a beginning, middle and end in your speech. The beginning might be related to what existed prior to the production of the Alpha Widget, the middle a reference to the main advantages of the new product, and the end perhaps some reference to the future benefits the delegates will achieve when they use the fantastic Alpha Widget.

Now add a Post-it or two to the very beginning of your speech introducing yourself – the business speaker to the audience, together with a brief overview of the content of your talk. (Known as the gestalt).

Add one or two Post-its thoughts at the end of your talk to act as a finale. The conclusion provided by a business speaker usually consists of little more than a brief summary of the presentation and an equally short ‘thank you for listening’ comment or an ‘any questions in the time remaining?’ type statement.

Look again at your timings as a business speaker. If you anticipate one particular Post-it needs to be allocated more than a few minutes this may mean some other Post-it(s) will need to be cut.

When you are totally satisfied and confident about the content and likely duration of your presentation produce an aide-mémoire.

The best business speakers don’t normally use notes but it is perfectly acceptable for a less experienced business speakers to use one or two index cards showing a few words, usually written in very large letter with varying colours, to act as a prompt and assist in the quick retrieval of information, if required.

Even the top, experienced business speakers rehearse, rehearse and rehearse again. Check your talk timings carefully, and know your material well.

On the day of the event, a good business speaker will arrive at the venue very early to check everything is set up and ready. If you are using slides with PowerPoint make sure they are loaded onto a computer and you understand the workings of other people’s remote devices that are used to forward and reverse a slide during the speeches.

To be effective as a business speaker don’t use more than ten words per slide. Audiences quickly get bored with too many words and always prefer meaningful pictures and illustrations to emphasis a point.

Direct your business speaker presentation to the whole audience and yet try to make each and every delegate feel as if you are addressing them as individuals. The best way to do this is by randomly looking at different sections of an audience and establishing the briefest of eye contacts with as many delegates as possible.

Build rapport as a business speaker by sharing humorous observations and create audience participation by asking the odd open question e.g. ‘Anyone been in a situation where they wished they had something like an Alpha Widget to help them out of a tricky situation?’

Talk as if people in the audience are your best friend of many years standing and they will quickly warm to you and make your job as the impressive business speaker that much easier.

Whatever you do as a business speaker don’t read, especially from your slides. Remember notes are an aide-mémoire; nothing more, and the top, very best business speakers don’t use them at all.

Don’t detract from your performance as a business speaker by trying too hard. If you have purposefully prepared, know your material, and rehearsed as I advised, you will appear that much more confidant to a grateful audience who has a thirst for knowledge.

Stop hiding behind a lectern. Stand near the front of the stage, with your legs slightly apart, displaying open arm gestures, and you will appear honest and genuine as a business speaker. (Check out short videos of quality business speakers on the Internet to better understand why I recommended this style of deportment).

If you intend to move away from the lectern make sure you are fitted with a radio mike and the lighting engineers are expecting you to move.

Vary the tone and speed of your delivery as a business speaker, and carefully watch the energy levels of your audiences, injecting humour, witty observations and the like to regain full audience attention if required.

Whatever you do, don’t get too carried away when the audience look as if they are really enjoying your skills and expert knowledge as a business speaker. When you get to the end of your allotted time say something along the lines of ‘in conclusion’ or ‘finally’ and know that, at best, you have no more than two minutes to stop and humbly accept the applause.

So in conclusion, from one business speaker to another, I wish you every success with your presentation. Business speaker John Bell has been educating and entertaining audiences for over 26 years.

You can learn more about business speaker John Bell and watch videos of him performing at his website www.johnbellspeaker.com

By visiting his site www.johnbellspeaker.com you will also have the opportunity to read some of the many testimonials he has received from delighted meeting organisers together with a ‘no obligation’ option to temporarily hold his services for your meeting.

Using Visual Aids And Graphics In Public Speaking

Saturday, June 5th, 2010
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We all know that a picture is worth 1000 words.But, do we really convert a picture into 1000 words? Do we pick up the right picture that equals this number of words? Studies conducted all over the world show that integrating visual aids into presentations can dramatically enhance the effectiveness and the efficiency of a given presentation by up to 50%. So you can see the unfair advantage that a presenter who uses visual aids over the one who does not. Massive difference, right? With all that being said, we must bring into the table the fact that most of today’s presenters misuse these graphics; therefore, screw everything up and consequently, instead of boosting up their presentation’s effectiveness, they reduce it to the nadir, by getting less or no impact on the audience.

The above reason brings us to what this little article is written for? Simply put, to help get the most out of your presentation using visual aids as the experts in this game do. So the followings are some tips that if put into practice can produce the desired outcomes.

-Create visuals that help them understand better what you utter. What you say should align what is in the graphics.

-Make sure that each visual communicates only one idea. Do not puzzle them with too much ideas conveyed within one graphic.

-Choose the best visuals that suit your audience, objectives and environment. Too many complications won’t serve your expectations.

-Bear in mind that the most important element in the presentation is YOU. Do not let the graphics to take the focus away foam you. They may be the most important tools, but what you say must be more important than your tools.

-And finally, make sure that your visuals are working before you enter the presentation room.Otherwise; you know what going to happen.

In summary, The are just aids. no more, no less.undoubtedly,good visuals are able to determine the final results of your presentation.So,use them smartly. And remember, visuals are to add, not to block, communication. SIMON GARMAH is an executive Communications Consultant and Coach. He is president of Lifestyles Communications, Inc. which helps individuals communicate in the new global and virtual world. His fear public speaking blog.So take the first step toward conquering your fear of public speaking