presentation skills

The Real Reason People Hate Public Speaking

It’s no secret that most people associate some sort of discomfort with public speaking. In fact, many people flat out hate it. I believe part of the reason for this is that there’s a lot of advice on how to be a better speaker (and even how to get rich from public speaking) that is either only semi-accurate or in some cases, completely inaccurate. So when people follow it and it doesn’t work they get frustrated and think that there’s something wrong with them.

The Problem with Toastmasters

While I recommend Toastmasters to my classes and clients, it’s not always the perfect solution for becoming a good speaker. It’s hard for me to not seem wishy washy on the subject because my four plus years in Toastmasters were mainly positive. Yes, there were those not so good moments, but in general I enjoyed being part of an amazing club and making some excellent friends.

How to Choose the Right Toastmasters Club

Toastmasters is a great organization for people who want to become better speakers. It provides a safe, low-pressure environment where you can achieve your speaking goals at your own pace. With thousands of Toastmasters clubs throughout the world, chances are there is at least one club in your area.

Regardless of your reason for wanting to join a Toastmasters club, there are three things that you want to look for in selecting the club that’s right for you: convenience, membership and experience.

Convenience:

How To Be a Better Public Speaker – Ranking the Methods

I get a lot of people that come to me asking how they can best improve their presentation skills. Some of them have a strong fear of public speaking while others lack the fear but simply want to improve their speaking style. In both situations, the same basic rule applies – you can’t truly become a better speaker without getting up and speaking. But everyone is different and the truly best way for one person to improve their speaking skills may be different than someone else.

How Toastmasters Can Help Professional Speakers

I’m a big fan of false deadlines – milestones that force you to complete part or all of a task before its scheduled completion date. When I have a big project, the first thing I do is set a date to complete it. I then go through the process I teach in my goal setting workshop to create tasks and subtasks. But whenever possible, I’ll give myself a false deadline so that I ensure I stay on target. It can be as simple as sending a draft of a piece of writing to a friend to critique or as complex as testing out a new part of a talk on a safe audience.

Toastmasters Tips Roundup

Even though it’s been several years since I was an active member, I get asked all the time about Toastmasters. Is it worth it? Which club should I join? Should I just take a class instead? Well these are all valid questions and I’ve written about these and many other Toastmasters-related topics in the past, so I figured now might be a good time to round up some of my more popular posts and tips about Toastmasters into a convenient place.

So here are some of the Toastmasters tips that I think are most helpful. As always, if you have a question that you can’t find answered or if you have a Toastmasters tip you’d like to share, please feel free to leave me a note via my contact form. Also, all Toastmasters tips and articles can be found under the topic Toastmasters here on the blog.

Three Ways to Amp Up Your Presentations

Let’s face it, speeches are a lot more fun to watch when the speaker is energized and engaging. Plus you also pay closer attention and learn more too. Chances are that if you’ve ever fallen asleep during a presentation, the presenter’s style had more to do with it than the content of the presentation. I’ve seen presenters take a dry topic such as software testing and make it entertaining. I’ve also seen presenters take an exciting topic like getting rich and bore the audience to sleep. And yes, I’ve been guilty of giving a less than enthusiastic talk and could feel the drain of energy in the room.

So how can you take your speech and make it more fun and interesting for the audience? Well, first you don’t want to overdo it. A lot of speakers, especially those whose speaking experience is primarily at Toastmasters clubs, tend to overdo it. They overuse gestures and body language, do goofy things to get the audience’s attention like shout or make them do silly exercises or they throw excess humor into their talks. The good news is that you don’t have to go through all that bother. Simply be excited about your talk and do what comes natural. Here are the three areas to focus on.

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