Speaking for Success

Why bother?

Why should you spend time improving your public speaking skills? As long as you don’t have to speak too frequently and you can get through a speech without stumbling too much, who cares? I do and you should. And you obviously do, which is why you are here.

Improving your speaking does much more than enable you to deliver a message to a crowd. Knowing that you can address an audience with less discomfort is a real self-confidence builder. And that self-confidence will snowball and impact every area of your life, personal and professional. After all, everyone feels and performs better when they have confidence in themselves and their skills.

So, what can you do to boost your skills in the public speaking arena? TED Talk Curator Chris Anderson has been reviewing potential speakers for over a decade. In his own Talk, he discusses four major things you can do to ensure a successful speech.

  • – Stick to One Great Idea. Studies show that the great majority of people remember very little of a speech just a few hours after they hear it. By sticking to one idea, you can spend your time making your speech more memorable.
  • – Give your audience a reason to care. There is nothing new under the sun, as the old saying goes. Why should your audience care enough about what you have to say to actually remember some of it?
  • – Use language that resonates with the audience. Choosing the right words to motivate and inspire your listeners makes a big difference in their engagement with you and your topic.
  • – Have something worth sharing. Why is it important? Why do you care about it? Why should they?

How to Make It Happen?

  • – Do you have a choice? Is your speech topic prescribed or do you have some room to pick and choose? Either way, you’ll want to find the seed of the subject you’ll be discussing and coax it into germination. That is your One Great Idea.
  • – Share your passion! Find an angle of your subject that inspires you. Talking about something you truly care about makes public speaking much less nerve wracking because you can focus on spreading the message instead of your nerves. Give them a reason to care by showing them that you care! Passion is contagious!
  • – Tell a story. Present it as a mystery. However you do it, pick words that will motivate and inspire. Use a thesaurus to help you choose just the right word. Adjectives are especially helpful in bringing your story to life.
  • – Why is your speech worth listening to? Does it have the ability to make your audience more successful? Happier? Healthier? Consider why they are there and what they stand to gain. What’s the takeaway?

Try It on for Size

Pick a topic that you have recently spoken about, whether it was a one-on-one conversation or a discussion in a larger setting. Try out some of Chris Anderson’s suggestions and walk it through my How to Make It Happen tips and let me know how it goes.

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Top Ten Tips for Presenters

Hello and welcome! Today I’m going to do a top ten countdown, reviewing the topics we’ve been covering. If you have been reading my tips for public speaking for a while, you’ll know we’ve covered a wide variety of tips in the last few months.

If you’re new to SpeakingWithNoFear.com, you can get an idea of the kinds of topics I discuss here.

Let’s look at ten of the tips that will help you on your way to speaking with no fear.

  1. 10 – Know your material. Practice is crucial to success. It’s important to be generally comfortable with your subject, but there is no substitute for practicing your speech until you can give it without detailed notes. Joining a Toastmasters Club in your area will give you an opportunity to practice speaking on a regular basis, too.
  2. 09 – Keep your visuals simple. If you plan to use Power Point, Prezi, or any other kind of slide, limit it to those that will highlight your main points. Keep the words to a minimum and use bold images that drive your point home.
  3. 08 – Don’t read your speech. It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to fall back on detailed notes or wordy slides when you are nervous. That’s why tip #10 is so important! The easiest way to lose an audience’s attention is by focusing on notes instead of on them.
  4. 07 – Move around the stage. Don’t plant yourself in one spot. Moving around as you speak allows you to directly engage different sections of the audience and it keeps them engaged as they track your movements.
  5. 06 – Vary your voice. Use volume and tone to change your speech patterns and emphasize important points. Changing your voice when you talk will keep your audience’s ear. This is especially important in tip #5.
  6. 05 – Tell a story. Using a story to make your point is one of the best ways to keep your audience interested. Weaving the parts of the story through your presentation will hold their interest and keep them wondering what will happen to your story’s characters.
  7. 04 – Put yourself in the audience. What would you want to hear if you were in their seat? Are you selling something or trying to influence opinions? What do they need to hear and see to be convinced?
  8. 03 – Use gestures, but don’t plan them. Allow yourself to use your natural gestures. Planning ahead and inserting them as you talk makes you look stiff.
  9. 02 – Ask the audience if they have questions. Questions give you a chance to take a break from speaking and encourages the audience to stay engaged. It takes the spotlight off you briefly, as well.
  10. 01 – My number one tip is to have fun! Remember that the audience is on your side. They want you to succeed! Let your enthusiasm for your subject show and your audience will love you.

What tips do you have for successful presentations? I would love to hear from you!

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