speaking

Ten Things That Will Guarantee Your Speech Will Bomb

bombThere are endless tips out there to help you give a successful speech so I thought I’d take a different approach with this article. Instead of giving you tips that may or may not help you give a great speech, I figured I’d point out ten things to avoid – each of which would almost guarantee that your speech is failure.

1: Don’t practice:

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:

Toastmasters Turns 85 – Imagining the First Meeting Ever

85 years ago today, Dr. Ralph C. Smedley met with a small group of people in a YMCA in Santa Ana, California. That was the first Toastmasters meeting ever. It’s amazing how since then the organization has grown to over 250,000 members in over 12,000 clubs in over 100 countries.

Public Speaking Success: Are You a Smug Speaker?

In one of my “Overcome Your Fear of Public Speakingclasses, an attendee asked me why so many speakers come across as smug. I hadn’t really thought about this so I opened the discussion up to the rest of the class and was shocked by what I heard – many speakers come across as condescending, arrogant, cocky and yes, smug.

I listened to stories about people that call themselves corporate trainers taking the attitude that they were not only the smartest person in the room, but the only intelligent person in the room. Anyone that asked for clarification simply “didn’t get it.” Others shared tales of speakers confidently contradicting themselves or speakers arguing with audience members that questioned them.

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.

What I Learned at Toastmasters Last Night

As I mentioned in another post, I attended the 30th anniversary of the Toastmasters club I used to belong to last night. While you can outgrow the format that Toastmasters uses, you can never outgrow learning and at each Toastmasters meeting I’ve been to (with only a couple exceptions), I’ve learned something useful. Sometimes I learn something new about communication while other times I’ll learn about something unrelated to speaking through one of the speeches that night. Speeches are a true gem because everyone has a story to tell (a point I emphasize in the classes I teach). So have an open mind when you’re listening to someone talk.

Five Signs That You May Have Outgrown Toastmasters

Shortly after I joined Toastmasters I couldn’t imagine myself getting to a point in life where I wouldn’t be regularly attending meetings. There were so many things to do in Toastmasters such as go for my DTM, participate in speech contests and get roles at the district level. But life is funny and sure enough, I found myself quitting Toastmasters, not just once, but twice.

I know that there is this perception that Toastmasters is just for amateurs – I remember hearing one woman vocally express this during a National Speakers Association meeting I attended. I don’t believe that to be the case as I know several excellent speakers who still use Toastmasters to sharpen their skills.