These 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.
In one of my “Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking” classes, 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.
Are 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:
So 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.
Children can be the most delightful human beings one day and seems like the spawn of the devil the following day, but one thing is for certain, children are unpredictable. This adds a new twist to public speaking when your audiences are typically made up of children (or worse, the dreaded teenager). The good thing is there are a few steps you can take to avoid the majority of problems you can run into.
Imagine 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?
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.”