Public Speaking

Public Speaking Success: Are You a Smug Speaker?

In one of my “Overcome Your Fear of Public Speakingclasses, an attendee asked me why so many speakers come across as smug. I hadn’t really thought about this so I opened the discussion up to the rest of the class and was shocked by what I heard – many speakers come across as condescending, arrogant, cocky and yes, smug.

I listened to stories about people that call themselves corporate trainers taking the attitude that they were not only the smartest person in the room, but the only intelligent person in the room. Anyone that asked for clarification simply “didn’t get it.” Others shared tales of speakers confidently contradicting themselves or speakers arguing with audience members that questioned them.

How to Improve Your Articulation

clear water by Yarik MishinAre there words which you frequently stumble over while speaking? Do people have a tough time understanding what you’re saying? Is English not you’re first language? Well don’t worry because you’re not alone. Many people, including professional speakers, struggle with their articulation. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to work on improving the way you pronounce words.

There are two techniques that I highly recommend for those of us that desire better articulation. Both of these techniques not only help you speak more clearly, but they also have some added benefits.

The Radio Repeat:

Tips For Toastmasters: Speaking at Rotary and Other Service Clubs

dinner by thomas rolaSo you’ve got a speech that was a bit hit at your Toastmasters meeting and you feel it’s ready for prime time. So what’s the next step along the path to becoming a professional speaker? I recommend taking your show on the road and speaking to local service clubs.

Service clubs are a great way to test the waters for your presentation. They offer you a real audience that will give you real feedback. While Toastmasters clubs are a great venue for learning how to speak, the audiences at these meetings are quite forgiving.

Public Speaking Success: Speaking to Groups of Children

students by guillermo ossaChildren can be the most delightful human beings one day and seems like the spawn of the devil the following day, but one thing is for certain, children are unpredictable. This adds a new twist to public speaking when your audiences are typically made up of children (or worse, the dreaded teenager). The good thing is there are a few steps you can take to avoid the majority of problems you can run into.

Toastmaster or Terrorist?

bombImagine walking into a conference room and finding a strange device. The device has a timer attached to it and three lights – red, yellow and green. You’ve never seen such a device before so you wonder what it is. Could it be a bomb?

Well a few days ago at a corporate building for Chase Banks in Columbus, Ohio, such a device was found and it caused quite a scare. Thousands of people evacuated the building while police investigated. What was this device? Well if you’re familiar with Toastmasters, you may recognize it as a set of timing lights for speeches. In fact, an employee of Chase hooked up the device to use to time a presentation. Who would have thought that someone simply trying to time a presentation could have caused such chaos?

Are Your Services Priced Correctly?

Last week I received an email from a speaker that we’ll call “Ken” (obviously not his real name). After a few tips and quotes about public speaking, Ken had a very nice looking coupon. The coupon had attractive fonts, good use of color and even had a professionally taken picture of Ken. But the thing that caught my attention was the large text that read “all services 80% off.”

It’s the Audience, Stupid

bored audienceWhy do so many speakers insist on using their audience as a form of group therapy for their own personal issues? I’ve seen speakers (including those that were paid to give their talk) use their presentation (I don’t dare call it training) to enact revenge, guilt the audience into cheering for them and to get things off their chests. Why?

Giving a speech is not about you – it’s about the audience. Someone has invited you to share your knowledge, wisdom or experience to their audience. They’re not interested in hearing about the guy that flipped you off in traffic, the cab driver that ran four lights on your trip from the airport or something idiotic that your Senator did (unless that’s the purpose of your speech).

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