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Handling the audience in public speaking

Audiences Are Your Friend

For the rank amateur to the ignorant professional, audiences create the same effect no matter how small they are to a speaker.
Fear and anxiety.

From a single person to a crowd as big as the fans in the Super Bowl, speaking in front of a serious listening audience is the true test and baptism of fire.

Despite this, audiences are predictable.

Audiences listen to you because they want to learn something from the speaker.

Following this logic, the speaker would do well to follow the strategy of making it informative as well as interesting to listeners to see your speech through till the end.

Here are some tips on how you can have the audience listen in rapt attention.

Read on …

Public Speaking Success Tip – Avoid fillers

Unless your speech if absolutely fascinating, any “pause fillers” you add repetitiously, like um, or y’know, or OK will start to stand out. They will capture the audience above your speech. Start by listening to others – sports commentators, interviewees on television, anyone speaking publicly. Listen for their fillers then you will learn to listen for your own.

How to give your presentation a great title

How to give your presentation a great title

People don’t usually give much thought to the title of their presentations. Yet they should. Giving your presentation an interesting title means that interested people are likely to turn up to hear you speak. If you ever speak at seminars you realise that you are sometimes competing against 4 or 5 other speakers. In this situation, often the best presentation title in the programme will get the lion’s share of the audience.

We can borrow a few lessons from journalists and copywriters when it comes to naming your presentation.

People who write headlines understand what it takes to get people interested and engaged.

Wanda Loskott, on her site lists her choice of the Top 100 headlines of all time. There are some fairly dated ones in there, but it’s the structure of the headlines which we can learn from.

25% of them start with the word “how”.
16 of them are questions.
Not one of them is less than 4 words long.

Next time you are trying to think of a name for your presentation try starting it with the word “How”. This will get you thinking more like a copywriter, it will engaging more of your audience from the outset and you will invariably end up solving a problem for the audience.

Here are Wanda’s Top 100:
They Laughed When I Sat Down at The Piano – But When I Started to Play!
Give Black What They Deserve
Profits That Lie Hidden In Your Farm
How I Made a Fortune With a Fool Idea
Thousands Have This Priceless Gift – but Never Discover It!
Do You Do Any Of These Embarrassing Things?
Six Types of Investors – Which Group Are You In?
Does Your Child Ever Embarrass You?
To People Who Want To Write – but Can’t Get Started
The Crimes We Commit Against Our Stomachs
How to Do Wonders with a Little Land!
“Here’s an Extra $50, Grace”
A Wonderful Two Years Trip at Full Pay – but only men with imagination can take it
A $10,000 Mistake!
The Greatest reason in The World
The Man in the Hathaway Shirt
Dare To Be Rich!
How To Rob Banks Legally
A Startling Fact About Money
How To Discover What You Are Really Good At
How To Write a Business Letter?
The Secrets of Making People Like You
Advice to Wives Whose Husbands Don’t Save Money
How a New Discovery Made a Plain Girl Beautiful
How to Win Friends and Influence People
How to Swim with The Sharks without Being Eaten Alive
Do You Make This Mistakes in English?
Why Some Foods “Explode” in Your Stomach
You Can Laugh at Money Worries – if You Follow This Simple Plan
Five Familiar Skin Troubles – Which do You Want to Overcome?
How I Improved My Memory in One Evening
Suppose This happened On Your Wedding Day!
Free Book Tells You 12 Secrets of Better Lawn Care
The Secret to Being Wealthy
To Men Who Want to Quit Working Some Day
Imagine Holding an Audience Spellbound for 30 Minutes
New Shampoo Leaves Your Hair Smoother – Easier to Manage
Thousands Now Play Who Never Thought They Could
Great New Discovery Kills Kitchen Odors Quick!
For The Woman Who Looks Younger than She Is
Check the Kind of Body You Want
“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”
Why Wall Street Journal readers Live Better
“Dear American Tourister: You Saved My Life”
Girls! Want Quick Curls?
You May Be Eating More Salt Than You Should
Get Rid of That Humidity!
How You can Get a Quick Loan of $1,000
Become a Well Paid Hotel/Motel Executive
How To Get More Energy From The Food You Eat
They Grinned When the waiter Spoke to Me in French
Imagine Harry and Me Advertising our Pears in Fortune!
My Sears Kenmore Sewing Machine has 9 Different Stitches – Imagine!How I Improved Memory in One Evening
You Can Make Big Money Easily
Get Rid of Money Worries for Good
Keep Your Dog safe This Summer!
Free to Manufacturers.
Write for Brochures You Want.
The Instrument of the Immortals
For People Who Don’t Have Time for Unimportant Books
How To Avoid Mental Hazards
Break Out of Jail!
Tenants Mysteriously Disappear from the Carrboro Apartment Complex!Will You Help me Free Gina?
Don’t Even Think About Buying New Home Without Reading This Report!How To Start from Scratch and Become a PO Box Millionaire
The Secret of Having Good Luck
How To Get Rich Reading Classified Ads
How To Form Your Corporation Without a Lawyer for Under $50
Seven Steps to Financial Freedom
How To Write a Hit Song and Sell It
Who is Making a Bundle and How
How The Experts Buy and Sell Gold and Silver
Want to Be a Legal Investigator?
How To Write a Good Advertisement
But What if You Could See Her Naked?
A Little Mistake That Cost a Farmer $3,000 a Year
The Child Who Won the Hearts of All
The Last 2 Hours are the Longest – and Those Are the 2 Hours You Save
How To Burn Off Body Fat, Hour-by-Hour
Is Your Home Picture Poor?
“I liked this product so much – that I bought the company!”
Why Some People Almost Always Make Money in The Stock Market?
How Much is Your Working “Tension” Costing Your Company?
Is The Life of a Child Worth $1 to You?
161 New Ways to a Man’s Heart – in This fascinating Book
How To Give Your Children Extra Iron – 3 Delicious Ways
Often a Bridesmaid – Never a Bride!
Little Leaks That Keep Men Poor
This is Marie Antoinette – Ridding To Her Death
Take This One Minute Test!
Here Is a Quick way to Break Up a Cold
“I lost my bulges – and save money too!”
Satisfaction Guaranteed – or Your Money Back!
The Truth About Getting Rich
Do Your Employee Work as Slowly as They read?
The Most Expensive Mistake of Your Life
7 ways to Collect Your Unpaid Bills
Need More Money!
What Your Lawyer Doesn’t Want You to Know
Have You Ever Seen a Grown Man Cry?

From: How to give your presentation a great title

Creating the WOW factor in your Speech or Presentation – Consider your Audience

Why are you giving this speech? What do you hope to achieve with your presentation?
What sort of impact do you want to create? What will that “WOW” be?
In creating that “WOW”, that impact, one of the most important steps will be to research and consider the audience, because unless they understand what you are saying and respond to it, there can be no impact, no WOW. Read on …


The Guy Kawasaki 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint

The majority of the presentations that I see have text in a ten point font. As much text as possible is jammed into the slide, and then the presenter reads it. However, as soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch. From the 10/20/30 rule of powerpoint

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Three essential body language tips

For anyone who has done some training with me, you’ll know that I don’t focus on body language when presenting. People can get obsessed by trying to look convincing or slick, and neglect the content of their presentation. They perform all the textbook hand gestures, and what comes out of their mouths doesn’t match up. A bit like watching 100 chavs pour out of a limo. It just doesn’t seem right.
Sometimes however I do give advice on body language for presenting – especially when it detracts from the message. Here are the 3 biggest body language presentation pitfalls, and what you can do to avoid them:

Read on …

Using both sides of the brain for Public Speaking success

Men can think faster than women, transmitting nerve impulses more rapidly – according to a controversial study recently reported in The Sunday Times. It measured nerve conduction velocity (NCV), the speed at which messages pass through brain cells and found males had four times faster NCV’s than females. (Mind, the researchers are all male…)

Whatever your gender, do you have trouble thinking fast when put on the spot, Bronwyn? Whether during question time after a presentation, in the board-room or at team meetings, a tough question fired out of left-field can send anyone into panic.
We are more effective presenters if we can balance our logic and analysis (left brain hemisphere) with colourful imagery and expression (right brain).

Confidence trick: Accessing both brain hemispheres enables us to present with security – assuming we’ve prepared and know our topic!

The power of the whole brain Educational Kinesiology and Brain-Gym programs develop brain-body wholeness with simple movements like cross-crawl, i.e. crossing over the mid-line between brain hemispheres, as we do when walking. Originally conceived to correct learning disabilities, Brain-Gym’s whole-brain learning is used by people from many fields (professionals, students, athletes, dancers, musicians, artists) to draw out their hidden potential and to make it readily available.

Some over-diligent people, by trying too hard, “switch off” the brain-integration mechanisms necessary for complete learning. Thus, information which is received by the back brain as an “impress” is inaccessible to the front brain as an “express.” This inability to express what is learned or to stay “centred” locks us into a failure syndrome, resulting in irrational fear, flight-or-fight reactions and frozen emotions.

Even a simple action like the steepling of fingertips balances and connects the two brain hemispheres. And it’s a poised look for a presenter about to take the spot-light.
Before presenting, if you feel an urge to pace, don’t resist it! Walking sends blood circulating to your brain, helps you handle curly questions with clarity.

(Precis from “Don’t Freak Out- Speak Out; Public speaking with confidence”, available as hard-copy, e-book and audio CD from

Speech Making Success Tip:

Eye contact is a wonderful tool to convey sincerity. It is also useful to help you to stay aware of how the audience is reacting to you. Stay aware and adapt by changing your presentation style and content to keep their attention and interest.

This is an excerpt from the Pivotal Public Speaking ezine which goes out today. You can view it here or subscribe to receive tips, articles, links and resources. Subscribe to Pivotal Public Speaking by clicking here.

Public Speaking: No Brainstoppers!

From the Great Public Speaking blog

I made this term up so don’t try to find it anywhere else. A “brainstopper” is something you say or do that causes the mind of an audience member to stop to think. This can be a good thing, but most of the time when I catch a coaching student delivering a brainstopper, it is a bad thing.

Here is an example of a good brainstopper. You might say, “Take a moment and think about the first toy you had as a child.”

A command like this would take the audience member’s mind from where it is now to a time long ago. For most of the audience this will be a pleasant experience. For some it may be unpleasant. Either way you still are directing the show. You might do this to make some kind of point about how simple things used to please us, or something like that.

Here is an example of a bad brainstopper. You might say, “That man’s elocution is impeccable.” For all of us highly educated and brilliant folks the word “elocution” obviously means fine form in speaking or reading.

If this word was used in a less educated arena, the instant it came out of your mouth, the brains of the audience members would be racing to figure out what the word “elocution” means. Thus, their brains have stopped because you used a word that was not easily understood. The audience member will not hear your next few sentences because they are still trying to figure out the word “elocution.” Do this several times and they will tune out altogether … unless of course you are Deepak Chopra who gets high praise for being totally unintelligible hahahahaha

Another way to stop someone’s brain is to distract them by your actions. You might display an odd prop before explaining what it is. This would make an audience member stop listening while their minds tried to figure out what the prop is. If you were talking during this time, they wouldn’t hear a word you said.

Look at your word choice and actions carefully before you exhibit them on stage. It is hard enough to keep attention in today’s short attention span environments. Don’t make it worse by using bad brainstoppers.