Public Speaking

What to Do When You’re Asked to Give a Speech

despairNot everyone has the luxury of time when they’re asked to give a speech. Perhaps they’re working on an important project at work and then asked to make a presentation to “sell” it to other parts of the company. Or maybe they are a business owner and get to spotlight something exciting about their business to the local community. Whatever the case, we often lack the time for taking a class, joining Toastmasters or finding a speaking coach. So what can you do?

Write it out:

The Night I Almost Quit

exodus by Bjorn de LeeuwI’ll never forget that night. It was several years back and I was sitting in a hotel lobby preparing for a talk I was about to give. I opted to skip dinner that particular evening because the nervousness set in and my stomach wasn’t up to any food at all. It was my first event after taking over a year off from speaking, so I was a bit anxious, even though I was prepared. While I sat there in that busy lobby, my mind started to wander and those doubtful questions started to rear their ugly heads: Why am I doing this? Why subject myself to all this pressure?

Your Pre-Speech Checklist: Ten Things to Do Before a Big Speech

desk_1Part of the reason that even experienced speakers feel a bit nervous before a speech is that there is a lot that must be done before you even walk on stage. If you don’t have a pre-speech checklist, here are some things for you to do before your speech in chronological order:

1: Practice:

For shorter speeches (such as a Toastmasters speech or other speeches under 20 minutes), I recommend practicing the entire speech at least three times. For longer talks, practice it in pieces and practice the parts that you struggle with several times.

2: Check your facts:

Public Speaking Success: Four Speaking Experts Worth Checking Out

bright_ideasLet’s face it, there’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to public speaking and presentation skills. In recent months, I’ve discussed a number of myths related to public speaking – ideas, stories and advice that either doesn’t help a speaker or can add unnecessary stress to speech preparation. While I feel a lot of people that call themselves public speaking experts propagate these myths as if they were gospel, there are several people out there that really know their stuff. So I’d like to introduce you to four of them that not only coach people, but also have excellent blogs about public speaking. While there are many others out that are also quite knowledgeable, these four are great people – friendly, helpful, approachable and people that truly do this to help others succeed.

Public Speaking Success: A Lesson From the Yale Class of 1953

collegeA number of speakers, books and other motivational programs talk about a famous study done with Yale’s class of 1953. The study states that only 3% of the graduating class had written goals. When the class was surveyed again 20 years later, they found out that the 3% who had written goals had a combined wealth that was greater than the combined wealth of the 97% that didn’t have written goals! What an interesting story. And it’s no wonder that so many self-help & personal development gurus and motivational speaker share this story. Too bad the study never happened.

A Fast Way to Improve Your Articulation

It’s amazing how sometimes you can find a good resource in the oddest places. I recently came across a children’s book that I found especially challenging to read out loud as it was full of tongue twisters. But before I get into that, let’s talk a little bit about tongue twisters.

Tongue twisters are short poems or rhymes loaded with words that have similar sounds. Sometimes the words all begin with similar sounds (alliteration), sometimes there’s a repetition of words that contain or end in similar sounds (consonance) and in some cases there are words spelled the same way but have different pronunciations (homographs). Some examples of tongue twisters include:

If You Only Listen to One PowerPoint Tip…

projectorThese days, many meeting rooms have built-in projectors and/or screens. Some even have built-in computers so the need to lug a laptop with you has essentially been eliminated. Let’s face it, a USB drive will fit even the largest of presentations and can fit on your keychain – plus it won’t hurt your back. But even though all this is there to make your life easy, it can also work against you. Unless you test your presentation on the exact equipment that you’ll be running it on, you’re running a huge risk.