What did you expect when you wrote your speech?

You wrote your speech, prepared it, presented it. Was it successful? Did you get some response?
What did you expect?
If it was not successful, if it did not get response, then possibly it did not meet your expectations. What were your expectations? Did you have expectations?
Expectations are vitally important in creating a presentation.  And they need to start before the speech, be a part of the planning stage, not just a part of the finale. If you do not know exactly what you want, or if you don’t plan your speech/presentation around what you expect, then you are playing Russian roulette with your speech – shooting it off without knowing if it will work or not – without preparing for it to succeed in the way that you want it to.
Every successful speaker knows, before they even start writing their speech, what it is that they want to achieve with that speech.
When we build a house, even though the part of the process that seems more important is creating the rooms, first a foundation has to be laid. Eventually it will be out of sight, but without it, the house is lost. So it is with a speech. Before we start putting together the words and phrases, there are things to be done.
First ….If the words and phrases, the body language and the visuals are to have impact, that impact has to be defined. What is it that you want to achieve? What is it that you would see as success for this speech?
The public speaking literature lists “impacts” as things like
· To inform or educate
· To persuade or motivate
· To thank
· To inspire
· To entertain
· To provoke thought
And you can think in those terms. Or maybe you have your own personal view of the impact you want to make – to impress the boss, to gain funding for a new project, to sell a product – the list of possibilities is endless.
Whatever that impact is, it is vitally important to keep it in the forefront of your thoughts, and make it the basis of all the processes involved in creating your presentation.
Visualisation works. It does. Visualise what you want at the end of the speech. How do you want to feel? What do you see the audience doing? Are they flocking to buy your product? Are they cheering? Are they coming to you with quiet admiration? Are they asking questions? Are they signing up for your course or ezine? Are they hiring you for the job? Are they heading for the polling booths to vote for your candidate, or vowing to be more attentive to environmental issues in future?
When you have a picture of this outcome, when you know in detail what it is that you want to achieve in this presentation, then you can go ahead and put together the words, gestures and facial expressions that will make up the speech. But not before. Impact is not an accident. It is something that is planned. For experienced speakers it may be an instinctive process, but it happens nevertheless. If you want success for your speech or presentation, plan for it and let that plan permeate everything you put into the presentation, and you have the foundation for success.


© Bronwyn Ritchie If you want to include this article in your publication, please do, but please include the following information with it:
Bronwyn Ritchie is a professional librarian, writer, award-winning speaker and trainer. She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge with POWERtalk, a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. Get her 30 speaking tips FREE and boost your public speaking mastery over 30 weeks. Join now or go to http://www.30speakingtips.com

Your own perspective

Powerful stuff!!

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”

— Alan Keightley

The Power of Words

Did you see this when it went viral on Facebook? It really is a powerful reminder that every word we use has an impact – in our sales presentations, our speeches, whatever their desired outcomes and our marketing – not to mention any communication that we use.

“The Top 10 Secrets of Today’s Most Successful Speakers”

Maya Angelou, JFK, and President Obama didn’t become gifted orators overnight. It takes old-fashioned practice and perseverance to master the art of public speaking.

As a business owner, you’d be surprised how much your world will expand when you begin to connect with a live audience. Your confidence will attract new clients, new resources, mentors, and the media. So, if you’re ready to master this powerful business development tool, here are my top 10 tips for success on the stage:

1. Research — Prepare carefully by doing your research before you even attempt to write your speech. Who is your audience? What are your “take aways” — the most important things you want them to walk away having learned from you? The more you know about your audience as well as your subject, the more confident you’ll feel when you are in front of them.

2. Make clear notes — Write down your entire speech, then pick out the main areas you’ve covered. Jot them down as bullet-points, words or phrases on 3? X 5? cards to prompt you during your speech. Use different colors to separate your points, in case you lose your place or work them into your PowerPoint presentation.

3. Practice thoroughly — Practice giving your talk into a recorder and use a timer to watch your minute marks. Surprisingly, having a recorder running puts pressure on you to know your material. From here, you can graduate to practicing in front of others. Practice using tools such as your PowerPoint clicker or laser pointer.

4. Visit the venue beforehand — Make an advance visit to where you’ll be speaking, even if you can only do this an hour beforehand. Stand exactly where you will be giving your speech to get a feel for the space. Also, ensure you get a sound check beforehand if there is a sound engineer provided for you.

5. Dress to stand out from the audience — If the backdrop is dark on stage, make sure you wear light colors. If the backdrop is light on stage, wear a contrasting color or darker shade. Never wear black on top, although black pants with a light or colored top works well. If you wear a dress, pick one with a belt, so you can clip the wireless mic transmitter to it! (Otherwise, in a pinch, I have clipped my mic pack to my bra strap.)

6. Breathe deeply – Take deep breaths before you go on stage. A minute or so of calm, deep breaths will slow your heart rate, increase your oxygen levels, and ground you nicely to give a calm, confident performance.

7. Think positively — If you’ve rehearsed and prepared adequately, there is no reason not to believe in yourself. Visualize no other outcome but being a raging success. Think how much the audience will like you, and how good you will feel after you’ve done it!

8. Don’t rush — Speak slowly to ensure you don’t trip over your words, and don’t rush to finish points. Ideally, set timings in your speech notes, so you know if you are going too fast or too slowly as you go along. Timing checks in your notes will help you sail along at a comfortable, relaxed speed.

9. Show your passion! — Feed off the passion you have for your subject. This will engage your audience’s attention. Let your voice get louder for some points and softer for others; have some variance in your presentation as far as your sound dynamics.

10. Be yourself and have fun – Audiences may forget what you say, but they will remember what you make them feel. And no one will know that you “messed up” but you. So go for it!

© 2011 Ali International, LLC
Self-made entrepreneur and Inc. 500-ranked CEO Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE weekly articles and advice at www.AliBrown.com

Is your audience listening?

Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.

Dorothy Sarnoff

Be prepared to say a few words off the cuff

Mention impromptu speaking and many people shiver with fear and loathing. Given that many would rather die than give a speech, then to do so “of the cuff” is completely beyond the pale.

Impromptu speaking certainly is speaking “off the cuff” and we often think of it as speaking without preparation. That, I think, is where we go wrong. A great deal of preparation can be put into impromptu speaking. As Mark Twain said, “It usually takes me about three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

Consider everyday conversation – “Hello, beautiful day isn’t it?” If someone says that to you in passing, you can answer and probably choose from a range of answers, “off the cuff”. Much of your ability there comes from habit combined with thought. If someone asks you about your business or what you do for a living, you can answer, and again choose what to say “off the cuff”. And your ability there comes from habit and from having thought out your marketing or why it is you do what you do.

These are both examples of impromptu speaking and we deal with similar impromptu situations on a regular, frequent basis, usually with success and without too much difficulty.

All we need to do then is apply the same skills to Impromptu speaking in a more formal setting and we have the same achievement.

Generally when we are asked a question, the best thing we can do is talk about what we know and particularly what we know best. Confidence comes from knowing that we are familiar with the information. And because we are familiar with the information we can give more thought to how best to present it.

This works particularly well if you are being asked to talk about your specialty. You can choose what to say, just as you do when you answer a conversational question. You can choose based on your audience what you want to be the result of your talk, and how much time you have.

If, on the other hand, you have been asked your opinion on something you are not familiar with, you will also need to choose from our own knowledge and experience in choosing what to say. The worst case scenario is being asked about something that you know absolutely nothing about. Then it becomes a case of talking about the value of the subject itself rather than its information. You can also talk about why you know nothing about it, that you have no experience of it and why, that you would like to know or need to know more and why, or that you would prefer not to know and why.

So when you are asked to speak, think of your own life and what you know about the subject. Think also about what you feel, and what your opinions are. If you have stories from your life that relate to the subject, it’s highly likely that you can construct a speech around those – and again how they make you feel and how they may have influenced your opinion.

So state an opinion in terms that will engage the audience. Use your experience and knowledge to support two or tree points about that opinion. Conclude with the same statement of opinion, adapted to the new information that you gave and you have quite a powerful completely impromptu speech.

So given that you have a way to access your own experiences and knowledge to create “a few words”, you can set up a mindset of being prepared to speak off the cuff or impromptu. This preparation involves being aware, always, of things you could use in a speech. Be aware of stories happening in your own life and the lives of those around you and those in the news or movies. Be aware of your own experience and life story. Be aware of your own knowledge. It is often broader and deeper than you knew until you catalogue it.

Then you can also collect phrases and ways of saying things that will support you in your presentations. Collect phrases that can stall for time, that can cover for any mishaps during the speech, that can link between ideas, and that can introduce humour. Think of clever or witty ways you could tell your stories, and ways to tell them so that they truly and succinctly support a point.

Now you are prepared to speak seemingly “without preparation”!!

(c) Bronwyn Richie
If you want to incude this article in your publication, please do, but only if you include the following information with it:

Bronwyn Ritchie is a professional librarian, a writer, and an award-winning speaker and trainer.
She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge with POWERtalk , a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. Boost your speaking success, click here for Bronwyn’s FREE 30 speaking tips. Join now or go to http://www.30speakingtips.com

101 Ways to Captivate a Business Audience

There’s nothing worse than sitting in the audience while an inept speaker stumbles through an ill-conceived business presentation– unless, of course, you’re the one floundering in the spotlight. In 101 Ways to Captivate a Business Audience, Sue Gaulke, founder of the Speaker’s Training Camp, strips the mysteries from the process by showing how to prepare and present an effective address that will successfully involve your audience and deliver your message. => http://bit.ly/zBvNQW

Enlighten with a question

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”

— Decouvertes

Developing the Speaker Within You: Capture That Inspiration

We are all wired up differently. Our DNA is not the same. Thankfully.

We all think just that bit differently, process differently and arrive at conclusions in different ways, and, at different speeds.

This is not rocket science, but when dealing with a very subjective thing like inspiration, it becomes very important indeed.

For, trying to tell someone how to be inspired, how to come up with ideas, how to be creative is like the classic ‘how long is the piece of string’.

We will all arrive at these moments in slightly different ways, and importantly, we will manage those moments quite differently.

When speaking, or writing for that matter, it is often impossible to simply allocate time to be creative, and then do it, or rather, be it. Just like that. Clinically.

I often liken this condition to being ‘in the zone’. A time when ideas, concepts, themes and solutions just seem to flow. Like, the tap has been suddenly turned on and our thoughts run unimpeded, unrestrained, freed from our circumstances, surroundings or competing priorities.

Some people can, in fact, simply spend time formally thinking, and be creative. Many of us, however, find that these moments are seemingly outside of our control. They just happen, and often when we are least prepared.

Perhaps while sleeping and suddenly we awake with these amazing thoughts. Scientifically this is proven: that our brains whilst asleep process huge amounts of data and frequently just come up with solutions. This is the old saying ‘to sleep on it’ at work.

Perhaps while driving, or in the shower, the epiphany occurs and the solution or the idea just seems so clear.

The eureka moment (that concept attributed to the ancient Greek thinker Archimedes in about 225 BC) occurs and we have it!

But what we do with that epiphany, that Eureka thought, is mission critical in these circumstances, for just as these thoughts seem to arrive out of thin air, they will disappear just as quickly into thin air if we don’t capture them. For usually at these creative times, our thoughts and processing capability are quite scattered, running this way and that. Great thoughts stumbled upon in a waking moment will often be lost completely unless captured, recorded in some form.

I have found myself literally getting up out of bed several times in a single night to quickly record thoughts for an address I am preparing for, such is the urgency, the imperative of doing so. Now, usually, I keep a notepad and pen beside my bed at all times, and often don’t even turn the light on to write, but simply jot down a few words in the dark as memory prompts for the next morning. That way they are not lost.

I know people who have been driving and literally written key thoughts with a whiteboard pen, or even lipstick, on their car window (not on the wind screen to impair their vision) in order to capture those critical key Eureka thoughts while they are happening.

On occasion I have literally had to reach out of the shower (not a pretty sight) to scribble down some key words, to capture those key thoughts on the run so I don’t lose them.

I often capture notes and ideas on my iPhone and save them as notes, or email them to myself so as not to lose them. Obviously, an audio recorder can also be a great way to go. Most smart phones have this capability now.

The key here is to simply be like the boys scouts, and be prepared.

Moral to this story: inspiration happens when it happens, whether we are ready or not. It’s best to be prepared for it when it comes. Opportunity lost is no different to never having an opportunity at all.

Nothing is truer than the old adage: the bluntest pencil is better than the sharpest memory.


Neil Findlay has been involved in the business and Not For Profit sectors for nearly 40 years in Australia and abroad. During this time he has been an active public speaker. Take a moment and review his website at http://www.neilfindlay.com.

How to remember your presentation without using the PowerPoint slides as notes

How will you remember your presentation? How will you remember what to say? How will you remember what comes next? “Use the slides.” No way! There are too many reasons why this is not a great idea.
What you stand to lose by using slides as notes:
You will lose the power to connect with your audience. Looking at the slides and the screen means you are not maintaining eye contact or connection with your audience. You also lose your spontaneous interaction with them by reading the slides and not your audience.

You will lose the power of design in your slides. Instead of having the chance to be one powerful point that reinforces your message, each slide will descend into being simple reminders to you or a mass of text.
You will lose the power of your message. If you say the same thing as your slide each weakens the other. Your audience is divided between listening to you and reading the slide. No audience is so stupid as to need the material presented to them in exactly the same form twice ( we all need reinforcement, but preferably in more subtle ways than that.)

Your audience will question your confidence in your subject, and your personality cannot shine through.
Other ways to remember:
Use the structure of your speech. You will have distilled your message to one sentence when you were preparing the presentation. If necessary, return to that sentence and then expand and in the process you can return to the point you were making. You will also have decided on the best structure for presenting your information – maybe chronological, or from strongest point to weakest, or pros and cons – whatever it was it can be a guide to you to work through as you present.

Use your senses when preparing. Use visualisation. As you practice, visualize the speech and how you are presenting. Visualise audience response. Visualise yourself moving and speaking and using the slides. Then when you present, move through the pictures in your mind that you created. Or use the audio sense. Or use notes when you present – the structure of the speech – main points, subheadings and when you present you can return to the picture of that page or those notes. If you an audio person, listen to yourself as you practice. Listen to the pauses, to the introductory phrases, to the quotations and power words. Then as you present, you can listen to the recordings in your head that you ran as you practiced and use them as prompts.

Use notes. Either use the Notes View in your presentation software or create a set of paper notes. Practise with the notes. Place them where you can use them – on the podium, behind a chair, in your coat pocket, on the desk next to the computer, but use them confidently. Have them organised so that they work seamlessly.
Then you can put all of your attention into your presentation. You can focus on your audience, on your message and on the energy and passion of your presentation. You will not be focusing on your slides, and you won’t need to use them to remember what comes next!


(c) Bronwyn Ritchie
If you want to include this article in your publication, please do, but please include the following information with it:

Bronwyn Ritchie is a professional librarian, writer, award-winning speaker and trainer.
She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge with POWERtalk , a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years’ experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. Boost your public speaking success with Bronwyn’s FREE 30 speaking tips. Join now or go to http://www.30speakingtips.com