Preparation – vital

The will to win is important. But the will to prepare is vital.

— Joe Paterno

I saw this quote somewhere else and thought it was good. I’m not American or into sport here in my own country, let alone in other countries, so didn’t realise who I was quoting. Thanks for the comment, Richard. In no way do I support Joe, the man, but I have to leave the quote there because it is so true. As I said … “And sometimes, in public speaking, (as, no doubt, in sport, we need to be reminded of the vital connection!!)”

Top 5 Reasons We Get Stressed Out When We Have to Give a Speech

Afraid of public speaking? Fear is always a symptom of an underlying attitude in your inner life. Here are some of the most common reasons why: =>

The Six-Figure Speaker: Formula for a Six-Figure Income As a Professional Speaker

This book is not for beginners. It’s not filled with tips on how to be an effective speaker. It has nothing to do with how to project your voice, how to organize a speech, or how to overcome shyness. This book is for the public speaker ready to take it to the next level, the speaker who is ready to go out and speak professionally to organizations and make large sums of money, starting at $2,500. If you’re that person, read this book. If you’re shy, read another book first. If you’re still learning to be a public speaker, but you’re passionate about it, read this book so you can take your career to the next level. This is the book every public speaker should use as a roadmap toward career success.


To inspire – Happiness …

“Here is a thought that is eccentric and divine, and that one day might save your life: happiness needs no reason!”

– Robert Holden, Ph.D.

Is your audience switching off when you present data? – Part Three


Presenting data is a very difficult challenge. It may be important that you be seen as the expert, but you are faced with the challenge of presenting this sometimes overwhelming mass of data so that an audience can understand and appreciate it. In Part One we acknowledged that, as for any presentation, the first step has got to be articulating for yourself what you want from the presentation, and that outcome needs to drive all that you say and all that you do with your presentation. In Part Two, we looked at visuals as a powerful support in this process and how to maximise their impact. Today, let’s look at the presentation skills needed to present data most effectively.

The first is to simplify the material as much as you can. Leave out some of the detail, if necessary, no matter how interesting it may be, so that you can keep your presentation focussed. And use language that will ensure the audience understands exactly what you want to communicate. Use plain English. Avoid jargon. If you must use acronyms explain them. Never take for granted that your audience is as familiar with your terminology as you are. Anything that will ensure there is no confusion, and that every detail of the presentation is understood.

Engage your audience. Data threatens to be boring. So add our own passion to the presentation. Make the delivery energetic and enthusiastic. You must be authentic. So inject your own personality and use your specific speaking strengths. If you are naturally funny, use that humour. If you are a natural storyteller, harness that. Enthusiasm is contagious!

Another way to engage your audience will also make the data more relevant and impactful. Use visuals, as we mentioned in Part Two. Draw on a whiteboard, or use photographs or images on your PowerPoint slides. Add a visual that makes the data real. Give it a human face. If you can, add a video of a person that represents the population in the data. Add emotion by telling a story about that person or the data represented, or use an analogy, and you will multiply the impact.

Finally, interact with the audience. This builds engagement. It will also give you the chance to make sure that everyone understands you and that you are getting the message across. Let them ask questions. Ask questions of them. Get them to agree or disagree with you so that they take ownership of the presentation and of the data and its relevance.

Keep your audience engaged and entertained. Keep them and yourself focused on your message and you will have a successful data presentation.

Public Speaking Techniques for Staying in Control: Effective Recovery From Interruptions

An aide comes in with a note. Someone’s cell phone rings repeatedly. A baby cries. Two people chatter. An audience member faints. The fire alarm goes off.

For many presenters who haven’t had public speaking training, interruptions like these destroy their concentration, the mood they have set, and their overall impact. How can you be the exception? By learning these public speaking techniques to stay in control. We have split the speech interruptions into two types: annoying and serious. They should, obviously, be handled differently.

Minor interruptions:

Control is key.

Whatever the situation, let the audience know that you are not only aware of it, but that you will handle it. When something unusual happens in a group situation, everyone becomes tense. There is an individual and group feeling that somebody should do something about it. You need to be that ‘somebody’.

First, acknowledge the interruption. Ask the aide who he/she is looking for. Tell the cell phone offender that while you all love his special ring, you’d appreciate him and everyone else turning off their phones. Also ask if he needs to leave to take the call. For the crying baby, you might make a joke about agreeing with the baby’s complaint because what you are discussing is a terrible situation, then invite the parent to take the child out for a stroll.

Gabbers in your audience are a special case, because you don’t know whether they are discussing last night’s hockey game or making fun of what you are saying. Depending upon your confidence level, you have a couple of options.

The most dramatic way of bringing attention to the situation is to stop dead. For a few seconds, the chatters will continue to chat and others will become very uncomfortable and probably stare at the offenders and back at you. You can then make some comment about “just checking to see who was actually presenting”.

While a tempting technique, this has enormous risk in that not only will the chatters probably dislike you for embarrassing them, but the rest of the audience may resent being made a part of the obvious reprimand. Still, if you have exhausted all other approaches and they keep on talking, you may want to resort to this public speaking technique.

Before you do, however, here are a couple of other options. The simplest is to look directly at the offenders and ask, “Do you have a question about what I just said?” In most cases, this will remind them that they should use their ears rather than their mouths. If it is a small group, you can walk over beside the chatters, stop and focus your comments at them. They will quickly get the point.

Interruptions with health or safety implications:

Control here is vital.

You are the person with the microphone and with the attention of the group. Use it.

It goes without saying that you will immediately stop your presentation and deal with the emergency. If it is a medical emergency and you are not a medical person, ask if there is a doctor or nurse in the audience. If there is, direct them to the person in distress. Also, ask the rest of the group to make room for both. If none is available, ask a specific person to call for an ambulance – otherwise, wait until the medical person determines the severity of the situation, then ask. If it is determined to be a minor incident, ask the people around the person in difficulty to escort him or her from the room.

If it is a safety issue, eg.) the fire alarm goes off, stay calm and encourage others to stay calm and leave the room in an orderly way (you should, before your speech, have checked out where they should go once they leave the room). Keep them moving quickly but orderly. You are the captain of the ship: you leave last!

OK, we’ve had all this excitement and now you have to finish your speech! How to start again?

After the medical emergency has cleared the room (and you have figured out what to drop from your presentation to fit the time loss), thank everyone for their support of the patient, give them a synopsis of his or her condition, and let them know you will still finish on time. Sadly, they may care more about that than about the person who had the problem. Now, tell them where you were in your talk and continue.

If it was a safety interruption, chances are you will have almost no time to complete your talk. If this is the case, make some comment about them being a supportive group with whom to share an emergency, and offer to post your presentation on a website so they can get the information. Then, leave them with a memorable thought, poem, etc. from your ever-present presentation ‘kit bag.’

Interruptions, whether major or minor, need not disrupt your presentation or shake your confidence. Use these public speaking techniques as part of your preparations, and you’ll be able to pull it together and save your speech!

Delva Rebin is part of a family of professional speakers. Collectively, Norm, Delva and Niki Rebin have spoken to, trained or coached over one million people. The biggest question they are asked is: “How can I control my public speaking fears?” For your FREE e-book download, “50 Tips for Calming Your Public Speaking Nerves,” visit here.

What you say …

What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.

 — Ralph Waldo Emerson (bio)

Why use Handouts?

They allow you to provide more detailed information than you would put on a slide. They give your audience something to take away from your presentation, to review later. They are one more way for your listeners to be reminded of you and your key messages.

Handouts are especially useful if your presentation is highly technical or complex. They can further explain important information. For example, you may want to include in your handout supporting data that you chose not to include in your presentation, such as contact information, case studies, references, marketing literature, or other collateral materials.

Your handout also can serve as a summary of your key points. In any case, your handout can include more detailed information than you may have had time to cover in your presentation, or which — for your own good reasons — you’ve chosen not to include in your presentation.

Before or after? =>

There’s no such thing as public speaking

The best speeches don’t sound like speeches, and the best speakers make listeners feel as though they are being addressed directly. The trick is to make every presentation as natural and direct as a one-on-one conversation.

Help …

If you can’t help all of them, help at least one

~ Mother Teresa

Who will you help with your speaking today? Which one person?