Mind Mapping: Picture Your Speech

Mind mapping is an effective and powerful tool to remember your speeches. It is the easiest way to put and keep information in your brain, it literally maps out your thoughts.

Using this technique is also more interesting and fun than just memorizing a script or note-cards.

To start, write down your topic or central idea in the middle of your page. From your center, you start adding branches, using one word or image at a time. With each new word or picture, your brain will start making connections. Each fact or idea is written down and linked by curves, thus creating a map of relationships. The more images you have the better; as images have a much greater impact than words. Also, adding color to your map adds excitement, energy and interest.

“The mind map will change your life” – Tony Buzan

Why it Works

The purpose of this technique is to facilitate ideas and concepts and to capture and ingrain these ideas in our brains. Our brains like to work in a way that deals with connections and associations and can connect memories or information to literally thousands of other ideas. Also, our brains perform in a circular fashion.

Even though most people still use lists to organize thoughts and ideas, it is far more effective to use a mind map as it will access all parts of your brain and will get out all applicable information. The trick is to not over complicate things, the simpler you make things the easier it will be to let your thoughts connect and the more you will remember.

One key thing to keep in mind is to only write down one word or image at each branch. If you do more than that, you will complicate things and disrupt the connective flow. When you are creating your map, you are drawing connections between information, highlighting important pieces which gives you the opportunity to remember vast quantities of information. The fact that you physically created your map helps you visualize it when you are giving your speech.

In the video, How to Use a Mind Map, Tony Buzan explains how to effectively use this technique.

Visualize Your Ideas

Mind mapping is essential for tapping into your ideas on a much deeper level than just writing down bullet points or lists. You will be able to prioritize key pieces of information which you find the most relevant. Allowing yourself to visualize your ideas will greatly support the flow of your speech.

I encourage you to utilize the mind map method in your next speech to unleash your brains potential in creativity and memory.

In Closing

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Using Humor In Your Speech

Learning how to effectively intertwine humor in your speech is essential to establishing yourself as a notable speaker. We all want to entertain our audience effortlessly but you need to use sound judgement when using humor; sometimes it is appropriate and sometimes it is not.

Using humor can be effective in almost any speech, it can be a good way to break up tension or lighten up the mood. It can also be used to break the ice; speakers that employ humor connect quicker with their audience and are deemed more likable by their listeners.

“Humor is treacherous. It can charm, coax, and persuade, but it can also distract, baffle or alienate the audience.” Eugene Finerman

Also, you can use humor to add variety to your speech to keep your audience interested. Weave in jokes or a funny, small story or anecdote to your topic to keep the flow of information balanced.

However, you should always make sure that your joke fits in with your topic. No matter how funny that joke was that you heard the night before, refrain from using it if it does not apply to your topic.

How to Use Humor

  • Plan your humor according to your audience– The professional level and overall age of your listeners will play a huge part in what will be appropriate and conversely what might be offensive. What listeners will find funny will vary with different groups, so do your research beforehand.
  • Laugh at yourself– Although no wants to see you put yourself down constantly in your speech, the audience does like to see some vulnerability in the form of humor. You can add this by telling a funny story about something that actually happened to you and this will increase your credibility with your audience by making you seem more real.
  • Keep working at it– Using humor in a speech can be difficult, proper use takes time to develop. Try to use steady and gradual improvement to avoid a “flop” and major

How Not to Use Humor

  • Do not try too hard- We have all witnessed someone that uses humor or tries to tell a joke that clearly was recycled from someone else and it is awkward. If you try to use humor that is not your style, it just doesn’t work and is not funny.
  • Do Not Make the audience the “butt” of your jokes – Nobody wants to be the target of anyone’s jokes, it is offensive to most people.
  • Be on the safe side – Do not make jokes about race, sex, religion or politics. For most people, these are sensitive subjects and should be left out of your jokes.

The Video Use Humor in Speechs by Toastmasters International shows you some do’s and do not’s of using humor in your speech.

Implementing humor in your speech is not easy and can be very intimidating. However, if used correctly you can create rapport with your listeners or if used incorrectly you can create a wedge.

My challenge to you is to break out of your comfort zone and use these tips in your next speech to engage your audience and make them laugh!

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Speaking To Teach Your Audience

In a demonstration or how-to speech, the presenter explains how to do something or how something works. This is a very popular type of speech and can be redundant if not carefully thought out and crafted well. In your demonstration, you are going to want to teach the audience something.

Your audience is craving knowledge and they want to learn something new. To keep your listeners engaged and interested in what you are teaching, there some important guidelines to keep in mind when speaking to teach.

A speaker should approach his preparation not by what he wants to say, but by what he wants to learn.” -Todd Stocker

Choosing Your Topic:

When choosing your topic, think about who your audience is going to be and what you want to teach them. Not only should the topic be compelling to your audience but should be something that is interesting to you as well. You need to tell your audience why the information that you are about to tell them is important and how it will relate to their lives.

The more passionate you are about your topic, the more convincing and inspiring you will be. Also, you need to come up with new, unexpected or unfamiliar material to keep your listeners intrigued.

When people are presented with new information, they are immediately drawn in and are more likely to remember what your presentation was about.  If you can’t come up with a new topic, you need to figure out a way to put a “spin” on it to make it new and refreshing.

In his video, How to Choose a Presentation Topics that Rock, Carl Kwan explains the importance of finding a good topic.

Motivate Your Audience:

Start with telling your audience how they will benefit from the instruction you are about to share with them. Once your audience knows how this will improve their life, they will want to listen. There are many ways to motivate your audience but giving them something they can use in their everyday life is one of the best ways.

Give an Overview:

Present an overview of the development or steps before diving right into the entire process. Your audience needs to see how the steps will fit together so they have a mental framework of the task. Also, with your overview you should list supplies or resources needed for the project.

Go Through the Steps:

Use your outline that you have prepared and go through the steps in order from start to finish. Make sure that you keep it simple and demonstrate essential steps only. This will avoid confusion and keep the attention of your audience. Finally, end with a summary of the process, recap the benefits and allow for a short Q & A session.

When giving a demonstration to an audience, remember they are there to learn something from you.  People are wired to want to learn new information, in fact, they crave it. I encourage you to speak to teach and give your listeners a new and fresh experience that will be of value to them in their everyday lives.

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Perfect Practice – The New Rules For Giving A Speech

Practice does not make perfect anymore according to the new methods being embraced by today’s most effective communicators.

Instead, the new rules are more casual and direct such as you practice to perfect your talk. For example, you need to practice in front of a trusted audience to get good feedback and make adjustments according to their reactions.

“It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time.” Wayne Burgraff

Practice out Loud the Way You Will Give Your Speech Live

Although this won’t make you perfect, it does produce a lot of benefits. Reading your speech out loud may expose flaws that you may have missed in your editing. This will also allow you to gauge your excitement level for your topic, are you excited about or bored?

Also, you will be able to gauge your timing and boost your confidence by rehearsing your material.

There is no “right way’ to Give a Speech

The hard and fast rules of public speaking are changing and the days of boring lectures are over. In fact, speeches and presentations will become more interactive in the coming years.

Find your authentic style, what works for you, and doesn’t work for you and tweak it accordingly. Practice different ideas in front of your trusted test audience and get their honest opinion.

Find Your Own Voice

When preparing for your speech, pay attention to the tone of your voice and practice how you want your voice to sound in your speech. Your voice is an important element to how your listeners will judge your attitude, credibility, and sincerity. You can vary your pitch, rhythm and volume for emphasis and work expression in.

You need to do that throughout your speech or your voice will become monotone which will give your audience the impression that you don’t care about the message you are delivering.

Use Honest Even Harsh Feedback

To really gauge how you are doing, always solicit feedback even if you know it is going to be bad. You should make people aware that you really want honest feedback.

It could sting for a second but the best way for us to learn is from our mistakes. You may be repeatedly making a mistake that you are totally unaware of and since people don’t like to offer criticism no has ever told you. If you are doing a fabulous job and keeping everyone interested, your peers will be happy to tell you.

This is the wonderful thing about practicing in front of trusted individuals is that  you don’t have to worry about the pressure of a large audience and you can be practice being yourself.

Do not Practice in Front of the Mirror

Forget what everyone has always told you, practicing in front of the mirror does not work. This can sabotage your speech in a negative way if you are becoming self-conscious by focusing on flaws. The negative feelings can leave you less than enthusiastic to deliver your speech. Also, you will try to remain in full view of the mirror and this will limit your movements.

When preparing for your next speech remember to forget about a lot of the outdated rules you have learned and practice with the idea that practice does not make perfect but you practice to perfect your talk.

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Have Passion For Your Topic

We have all seen speakers that deliver their message onstage with passion and conviction. The question is, how do you use that passion to set yourself apart from other speakers?

We all are passionate about something in life; the trick is digging down deep to find what that is. Sometimes it is something that is not obvious.

Passion is finding that thing that gives you great joy and ignites the fire within in you. It inspires you to do something with all of your heart, and if you lack this, you won’t be very convincing to anyone.

Passion is the genesis of genius. – Tony Robbins

How can you inspire Others if you are Not Passionate About What You Are Talking About?

If you are not on fire for your topic, why would anyone take the time or spend the money to listen to you?

If you have a fascination for your topic you will always seek more knowledge about. People will know how excited you are about your topic by your body language and they will be energized by it.

If you don’t care about your topic, you will be dry and boring and your audience will not be engaged with you. Passion or lack of it is truly contagious.

Why Does This Work?

This works because when you are speaking from your heart, you exude positive energy. In this day and age, we have negative energy all around us.

People are thirsty for positive energy, in fact, they thrive off of it. If you can provide this for others, they will flock to you.

Regardless of what you are teaching, even if it is something that doesn’t exactly thrill you, you can always find something surrounding that topic to be excited about.

Find something that matters to you regarding that topic. For instance, you can use a story that is important to you, maybe something from your childhood with a funny twist to illustrate your point.

Whatever it is, figure out a way to make the topic interesting and exciting to you and listeners. In the video Public Speaking Tips-Find Enthusiasm, Bill Monsour talks about the importance of having some sort of engagement with your topic.

Conclusion

If you are not passionate about your topic, you will not get others to care or be excited about what you are teaching.

I challenge and encourage you to really start digging deep in your soul and think about what gets your fire going, what do you really care about? Believe in what you are saying and always have your audience’s best interest in mind.

Next time you give a speech, use your passion to guide you and you will engage your audience and set yourself apart from the rest.

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