Public Speaking

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.

How to Hire a Toastmaster For a Speech

Toastmasters is a great place to find good yet inexpensive speakers, especially for nonprofits and organizations on a budget. The nice thing about Toastmasters is you can often find incredible values as this is where many professional speakers go to start out. Many of these budding speakers are looking to just get their name out or get some “paid” (or non-Toastmasters) speeches on to their resumes. So it’s an excellent way to find a good speakers that will speak for free or a small honorarium.

There are a couple of things that you’ll want to do when you look to your local Toastmasters club for a speaker. But something you don’t want to do is just email all the local club Presidents to see if they have anyone willing to speak to your group. This is a common mistake companies and organizations make and usually results in them finding a speaker that’s eager to do the talk, but not necessarily the most qualified. So here are some tips:

Toastmasters Success: The Power of Theme Meetings

I’ll never forget the night I assumed the role of Vice President of Education for my Toastmasters club. I had been a member for only about 5 months and pestered the Club President for the prior week about getting more involved. When I was told I could have the role, I prepared like crazy. I researched everything I could about how to be successful in that role.

So there I was, nervously awaiting my turn to get up to address the club for the first time as an officer. I was very self-conscious about the role because while I had gotten to know most of be active members and gave several speeches, being so new I felt like I needed to prove myself.

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.

What I Fear About Speaking

I bet you never thought in a million years that I’d admit on this blog that there are things about public speaking that scare me. Well, there are. I’ve been in the speaking business for almost ten years now and while I’ve had my share of successes, I’ve also had a lot of non-successes (I’m trying to avoid referring to them as “complete failures“). Some of them were my fault while others could be blamed on other people, but these are mistakes that I’ll never forget – and that’s a good thing. You see, these are mistakes that I desperately do not want to repeat.

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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