I’ll never forget that night. It was several years back and I was sitting in a hotel lobby preparing for a talk I was about to give. I opted to skip dinner that particular evening because the nervousness set in and my stomach wasn’t up to any food at all. It was my first event after taking over a year off from speaking, so I was a bit anxious, even though I was prepared. While I sat there in that busy lobby, my mind started to wander and those doubtful questions started to rear their ugly heads: Why am I doing this? Why subject myself to all this pressure?
Part 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:
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:
Communication fears can limit us more so than anything else. They prevent us from meeting new people, strengthening relationships, moving ahead in our career and achieving financial abundance. While the internet and social media give us the opportunity to communicate with thousands (and potentially millions) of people without ever speaking a word, this path isn’t always the best one to go to reach your goals.
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.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to public speaking and presentation skills. In recent months, I’ve discussed a number of myths related to public speaking – ideas, stories and advice that either doesn’t help a speaker or can add unnecessary stress to speech preparation. While I feel a lot of people that call themselves public speaking experts propagate these myths as if they were gospel, there are several people out there that really know their stuff. So I’d like to introduce you to four of them that not only coach people, but also have excellent blogs about public speaking. While there are many others out that are also quite knowledgeable, these four are great people – friendly, helpful, approachable and people that truly do this to help others succeed.
A number of speakers, books and other motivational programs talk about a famous study done with Yale’s class of 1953. The study states that only 3% of the graduating class had written goals. When the class was surveyed again 20 years later, they found out that the 3% who had written goals had a combined wealth that was greater than the combined wealth of the 97% that didn’t have written goals! What an interesting story. And it’s no wonder that so many self-help & personal development gurus and motivational speaker share this story. Too bad the study never happened.
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: