presentation skills

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.

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.

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.”

Public Speaking Myths: You Must Immediately Capture Your Audience’s Attention

So you’re listening to someone read your introduction to the audience. It’s your turn to finally take the stage. You walk out, shake the hand of the person introducing you and face the audience. The clock has started and you have only a few precious moments to capture the audience’s attention or it’s forever lost. Or do you?