When The Time Comes – It’s All You!

It’s All You

When it is finally time to get in front of your audience, you will have no more lifelines and no backup, just you giving the presentation. Although this sounds very intimidating, with proper preparation you can make the most out of being in the line of fire and give an impressive speech.

Practice Your Speech

Practicing will make all the difference in the world when it comes to giving a great speech. Make sure you create a good outline that you can easily remember, so you won’t have to rely on note-cards.

You should also practice in front of trusted friends or colleagues in somewhat of a private location. Also, make sure you practice standing up and giving your speech out loud. Although practicing isn’t guaranteed to make you perfect, it will improve your delivery and make you feel more confident and in control of your content.

Be Fueled by Desire

Think about what your motive is, what moves you, what drives you. Also, what is your purpose behind your presentation? Really dig deep and uncover these things and you will be fueled by a desire to deliver a powerful speech.

Be Nervous

Being nervous before a speech is not a bad thing. Remember you are nervous because you want to do a good job and nervousness means you have passion for your topic. You need to allow yourself to feel because in your attempt to suppress your nervousness you could end up suppressing other emotions that will add life to your talk.

Pause and Take Detours

Pausing is an important way to engage your audience and to effectively deliver your message. To create emphasis and to allow your important point to sink in, do not under estimate the power of not speaking. Also, you don’t have to stick to your outline exactly; you can play around with your speech and make it more relaxed and fun.

Being a little spontaneous and courageous will lighten up the room and make your listeners feel more comfortable. However, do trust your instincts and gauge your audience, so you don’t end up going overboard.

Nail Your Close

End your speech with some final passionate thoughts. Use your creative thinking skills and a compelling delivery to end your speech strong. Always end a speech with a call to action. What do you want to see happen as a result of your audience hearing your speech? You should close with something inspiring that will illustrate your points, like maybe a good story.

Make sure your story is brief, and the moral is clear and ties in with your topic. Finally, let your audience know that you are finished in a manner that is authoritative and that adds to your credibility.

On your next speech, I challenge you to the make the most of being in the line of fire. Remember that you can turn your anxiety into passion and make your speech a success instead of your worst nightmare.

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Being Positive Makes Your Speech More Successful

It’s easy to forget that having a generally positive outlook on life affects us in many ways. We talk about getting up on the wrong side of bed or seeing the glass half empty or full.

It’s also easy to let a bad mood dictate how our day will go, how we will treat other people, and how we are perceived by our friends, family, and colleagues.

It naturally follows, then, that a positive attitude reflects well on us when we are speaking to others. So what can we do to “be of good cheer” more often?

Let’s take a look at some time-honored advice on the subject that has held up over the decades for very good reasons…the ideas behind them work!

Make a Choice

Fake it till you make it” is an old cliché that actually works! There is a great deal of research that proves that a sincere smile elevates mood and lowers stress, including one study mentioned at Forbes.com.

A genuine smile, scientifically known as a Duchenne smile, has much more impact than a forced one.

Guillaume Dechenne was a mid-19th century French neurologist who made the observation that a genuine smile uses muscles around both the mouth and the eyes, where as a forced one does not engage the eye muscles.

Use of the mouth and eye muscles when smiling, it was noted, can impact brain waves which in turn, may elevate mood.

Practicing a genuine smile when you aren’t in the best of moods can change your mindset and improve your outlook on the world and those around you. This will come through to others whether you are in one-on-one conversations, or addressing a group of people.

Make a Difference

Volunteering to help others can give our own emotions a boost. We sometimes hear people say that they “get more than they give” when they volunteer. They are usually referring to the gratitude that comes from those you are helping.

We also know that volunteering can help reduce stress and calm our nerves.

A few years ago, I spoke with a friend whose wife had left him on Christmas Eve just a year into their marriage.

He went to his church and spoke with his pastor who listened to him as he talked and cried, then as part of a suggested escape he sent him out to deliver meals that the church had prepared for those who couldn’t afford to feed themselves.

My friend reported that the act of helping others during his own crisis boosted his spirits and helped him get through the most difficult night of his life.

It’s Your Turn

The next time your day gets off to a less-than-ideal start, take a moment to refocus yourself and think about what you have to be grateful for. Then try an out-loud laugh to get a genuine smile on your face. You should feel at least a small difference right away!

Seek ways to give back to your community by donating your time to a local project or cause. The good you give to others will come back to you many times over.

I encourage you to join the conversation on the wide variety of simple techniques you can use to improve your speaking skill through my weekly newsletter.

Let me know what you think!

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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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