Public Speaking

You Can’t Please Everyone

I once heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Well I’d like to add a second definition: trying to please everyone. Trying to make everyone in a group happy ranges from difficult to impossible and the only guarantee you have is that you’ll wish you never tried.

This topic comes up frequently in both my public speaking and networking classes as people are concerned about what others think. I think we all have a natural tendency to focus on the audience members that aren’t paying attention to us during a speech or the folks at a networking event that say “it was nice to meet you – I see a client on the other side of the room” immediately after you introduce yourself.

Should You Give a Speech While Wearing Your Halloween Costume?

When it comes to public speaking, and in particular the fear of public speaking, I’ve heard some wild things. “I wish I could give my speech in the dark.” “I wish I could be invisible when I have to give a speech.” I’ve yet to hear anyone say that they wish they could give a speech that no one can hear, so there’s obviously something about being seen by and audience that strikes fear in the hearts of many.

There are a number of things that cause the fear of public speaking but they generally fall into one of three categories:

Three Reasons Why You’re Cheating Yourself by NOT Improving Your Speaking Skills

More so than any other professional skill, improving your public speaking skills will give you the most benefit in your career whether you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed. Even if you don’t regularly speak to groups, the skills that it takes to communicate effectively to groups and the confidence that you’ll gain will automatically help you in interpersonal situations. So here are the top three reasons why you should improve your speaking skills.

Reason #1: The Skills are Transferable

Her Fear of Public Speaking Ruined her Career

photo by Kriss SzkurlatowskiA few weeks ago, I was sitting in the waiting area while my car was being serviced when a woman sitting next to me struck up a conversation with me. She had noticed the flyers I had for a free public speaking workshop and told me that she desperately needed to improve her speaking skills because her failure to do so had ruined her career. As I looked at this bright young woman who seemed difficult to dislike, I asked her to tell me more.

Public Speaking Sucess: Free Public Speaking Workshop

This Saturday, I will be hosting a free public speaking workshop at Tatnuck Booksellers in Westborough, MA. I do a couple of free public events each year to help spread the word about public speaking and communication skills. For more details on the event, please visit http://www.jvf.com/services/events/2008-10-tatnuck.asp.

This event is not a sales pitch (the agreement I have with the venue does not allow me to sell anything at the event), it’s a scaled down version of what I teach at my full day workshops and in my courses. At this event, I’ll cover the basics of public speaking including:

Public Speaking Success: The 80/20 Rule of Speech Preparation

80 20 ruleYou’re probably familiar with the 80/20 rule– it seems like virtually everything in life can use it in some fashion. Some of the rules invert the two numbers such as 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients, while others slice two or more things into an 80% chunk and a 20% chunk. In public speaking, the latter rule is used – 80% of your time is spent on preparation while 20% is spent on practice and delivery.

Public Speaking Success: The Pregnant Pause

Whenever I use the term “Pregnant Pause” among people who don’t speak for a living, it always raises eyebrows. It’s an odd term, but it essentially means an elongated pause (usually ten seconds or longer) used during a speech. Pregnant pauses aren’t always bad either; they can enhance a speech when used correctly. So let’s take a closer look at the pregnant pause.

A replacement for “ums” and “ahs”: