presentations

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.

A Toastmasters Primer

Okay, so you want to learn about Toastmasters but feel overwhelmed with all the information out there. Well, here’s a cheat sheet to help you learn what you need to know about this member-run organization.


History:

Clubs:

  • Clubs are local chapters of Toastmasters. Each club elects officers, sets dues and decides on meeting times and locations.
  • You can belong to as many clubs as you’d like to join.

Why Most Speakers Are Clueless About Social Media

Many professional speakers use social media but most of them use it wrong. They see it as a virtual extension of their speeches and simply talk to their audience while completely ignoring what’s coming back their way. While this is one way to use social media, it’s not the best. Most people don’t care about your blog posts, coupons, tips, events or products unless they know something about you. So if all you do is post this “me” information– everyone is going to ignore you.

Social media is about interactivity – something many speakers may not be used to with their presentations. I’m connected with a number of speakers on various social media services and I see so many of them posting things such as:

How to Deal with Rude Audience Members

It’s unfortunate, but not all audience members treat speakers the way we’d like to be treated. People have a very short attention span and it shows. Instead of listening to the speaker like we were taught to in school, people are having side conversations or playing with their BlackBerrys in the middle of your talk.

This topic came up in my public speaking class last night and we had an interesting discussion about it. While many speakers think that this is caused because they are boring the audience, the truth of the matter is that some people are just rude and/or inconsiderate. I’ve seen this happen in a variety of situations and here are just a few examples:

An Ingredient to Spice Up Your Presentation

If you want to put your audience to sleep then go through the typical motions of putting together a speech without thinking much about why you’re there and who you’re speaking to. If you want breathe life into your audience and capture their attention, then you need to add one critical ingredient to your talk – passion.

No, not that kind of passion – the passion I’m talking about is an excited interest in what you’re talking about. Passion and excitement are contagious – just try it out in everyday conversations. When you add it to your speeches, it has a similar effect on your audience. If you’re excited, some of the people will become excited and start paying closer attention to you. Then, almost like a virus, that excitement and interest spreads to the other people in the audience. As people starting paying close attention to you, the people sitting around them subconsciously think to themselves “hmm. if that person is listening, maybe I should as well.” So as more and more people in the audience notice the people around them paying close attention, the effect spreads until it reaches most (if not all) members of the audience.

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:

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:

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