Turn Any Presentation into a Landmark Occasion

Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln

James C. Humes

Turn Any Presentation into a Landmark Occasion

Ever wish you could captivate your boardroom with the opening line of your presentation, like Winston Churchill in his most memorable speeches? Or want to command attention by looming larger than life before your audience, much like Abraham Lincoln when, standing erect and wearing a top hat, he towered over seven feet? Now, you can master presentation skills, wow your audience, and shoot up the corporate ladder by unlocking the secrets of history’s greatest speakers. => http://bit.ly/X5H56N

Thought for the day – Fun is like life insurance

“Fun is like life insurance: the older you get the more it costs.”

-Kin Hubbard

Quick Public Speaking Tip – Fillers

Unless your speech if absolutely fascinating, any “pause fillers” you add too 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.

Public Speaking quote – Audience response

“It’s not how strongly you feel about your topic, it’s how strongly they feel about your topic after you speak.”

~Tim Salladay

Don’t let your public speaking nerves embarrass you

It’s embarrassing for the nervous speaker and it’s embarrassing for the audience – those awkward, horrible moments when something goes wrong, something embarrassing happens. They are an experience neither the audience nor the speaker wants to have to endure.

 Here are four situations where you can smooth out those embarrassing moments … and a powerful strategy to use in the future.

1. The mental blank That terrible moment when someone loses complete track of what they are saying – there is a blank, their face drops, and then becomes more and more frantic. This is painful not only for the speaker but for the audience. Develop a strategy now so that if, despite your best preparations, a blank happens, you have something to say. You could remark, “Oops I’ve lost it” and maybe you can add some appropriate humour (“Must have left the speech in front of the mirror!”) and then add something like “Now where was I?” Look at your notes if necessary – “We were talking about …” If it’s really bad, ask the audience. Whatever strategy you use along these lines, you keep the audience, and yourself, moving on, returning to target and none of you is embarrassed. So if you fear the blank moment, be prepared with a strategy that will allow you to deal smoothly with the situation.

2. The audience is bored It’s a moment that nervous speakers dread – to realise that most of your audience is bored. They’re glassy eyed, maybe even falling asleep, chatting or texting on their mobile hones. Horrors! Worse still and more embarrassing is the presenter who becomes frantic, attempting to regain attention. Avoid the whole situation if you can by ensuring you have variety wired into your presentation, and have something up your sleeve that you can move into if necessary. Introduce a new visual. Involve the audience. Change your stance, body language or walking pattern. Stop. Stand still. Whatever you use, it will become a smooth, professional piece of your presentation instead of a situation that embarrasses you and your audience.

3. Dry mouth Do you have a persistent dry mouth? Then take a glass of water with you. Before the speech, organise a place to put it and then choose a time where you can drink without interrupting the flow of your speech. Incorporate this into the planning of your presentation and your visualisation of your successful presentation. If it does interrupt, then find a way to explain it, incorporate it, or joke about it.

4. Those other embarrassing physical symptoms The same applies to anything else you expect might embarrass you or detract from your speech. If you cannot overcome the physical symptoms in the lead up to the speech, then these are the ones you need to develop strategies for. And use this same set of tactics for any other symptoms like blushing or shakes – if they detract from your speech – find a way to explain it, incorporate it or joke about it.

Then you will have defused any embarrassment that you feel or your audience feels. In all of these situations where you might make mistakes or have a mishap, there is one underlying powerful principle that works to avoid embarrassment: “It doesn’t matter what happens. What matters is how you deal with what happens.” It really does not matter!. The embarrassment for everyone lies not in the event itself, but in how you respond to it. So instead of being embarrassed, respond, instead, with professionalism and confidence.

Be as prepared as you can for whatever may arise, and be prepared to explain, incorporate or joke if something does happen. Then you will have been able to deal with it, confidently and professionally – without embarrassment. The added bonus? You are reducing your nervousness and increasing your confidence in the process.

©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. Go to http://www.30speakingtips.com

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Inspiration – Love of invention

“One thing I feel most passionately about: love of invention will never die.”

-Karl Benz

Quick public speaking tip – Use variety to keep attention

You can avoid boring your audience by varying the pitch and the volume and pace of your words. Use pause for drama.

Speak quickly to communicate your energy and enthusiasm, and then use a slower rate for emphasis.

You can also deliberately vary the structure of your sentences. A single word can have huge impact used on its own, particularly if it comes after a wordier segment.

All of these are keeping your audience hooked.

Public speaking quotation – True humour

True humor is fun – it does not put down, kid, or mock. It makes people feel wonderful, not separate, different, and cut off. True humor has beneath it the understanding that we are all in this together.

-Hugh Prather

Use Body Language to add hidden power to the Message of Your Presentation

In any speech or presentation, your body language adds power to the message. It supports what your words are saying. The operative word here is, of course, “support”. Body language must be in tune with the message. And the corollary is that body language must also not distract or detract from the message. If they are denying each other, then your presentation will fail.

Confidence and sincerity are the absolute basis for this process. If your body is declaring that you are not sincere in what you are saying then your credibility decreases and there is no way your message will have the impact it should have. Think about the tone of your message. Is it relaxed, conversational? Then make your body language relaxed. Is it passionate, strong and powerful, then create body language that conveys that power. Is it alert and enthusiastic, then your body language will be upright and reflecting that enthusiasm.

You also need to be aware that your gestures can support or detract from your message. Learn to become aware of what your hands are doing while you speak. If necessary, make yourself hold them still. Many people have habits that are terribly distracting and yet they aren’t aware of what they are doing. They click or twiddle a pen, play with their hair or their clothes, hold a microphone with fingers unconsciously making a rude gesture, take glasses on and off, put hands in pockets and take them out. All of these things are not necessarily detrimental in themselves, if the audience is absolutely focused on the speaker and the message. But if there is any reason for the audience’s attention to stray (and we all have short attention spans) then they will become fascinated, at best, and possibly annoyed at whatever it is that the speaker is doing with their hands.

If, on the other hand, (my pun!!), those hands are working to support the speech, they will bring the attention back to the message. They will also give power to the impact of the message.

Natural gestures are basically the aim. If you are not a natural gesturer, your body will support your message. It is necessary to be aware that you are not repeating the same gesture many times. It may add emphasis the first time, but after that it will distract as much as the others mentioned earlier. Watch television journalists and sooner or later you will notice this.

You can also practice gestures. Join a public speaking club (and I recommend POWERtalk), where you can practise in a supportive environment until you are comfortable, and confident that your gestures are not detracting from your message.

Of course, there are many books and websites with information about body language and gestures. Basically:
Gestures above shoulder level support messages about things that are spiritual or uplifting (a church minister will raise his hands in blessing).

Ordinary messages are supported by gestures at the middle level of your body.

Things that are despicable or degrading or debilitating are supported by gestures below the waist.
You can use your palms. Held out, palm upwards, they support supplication, requesting a response, or openness. They can be used to indicate division if held vertically with the little finger down. Using a fist is a very powerful gesture. It indicates strong power and passion, and may also be used as a threat. Be careful with that. Take care, too, with pointing with a finger. People don’t respond well to accusation or to being singled out, so be sure your gesture supports your message.

Your clothes, too, can distract attention from your message. If you have a very bright or unusual item of clothing, if your scarf or tie flaps in a breeze, if your earrings dangle or click, or your necklace or tie pin clicks on a microphone, the audience will be distracted from your message. Again, unless your message is absolutely riveting, your clothes will become the centre of attention just as gestures can, and your message will lose its impact.

How you stand and walk works in just the same way. If you are a passionate speaker who simply cannot stand still, then hopefully you will support the passion of your message. Try to use standing still to give the same sort of impact that a pause in the middle of rapid speech would give. If you choose to move or change position just to provide relief because you think your speech is boring; be careful. It may be that your movement will have more impact than your massage. Timing can help so that you change position with a new idea or with a new visual support. Try to make all of your body language work with the movement. So, for example, if you want to walk to give the impression of thinking of a new idea, then set your hand up to your face to indicate thoughtfulness, and speak slowly or stop speaking altogether.

Facial expression, too, must be in harmony with your message, or it will work against it, just as your body language does.

Everything – body language, image and message must work together to create the impact you have chosen.


© Bronwyn Ritchie … If you want to include this article in your publication, please do, but please include the following information with it:
Bronwyn Ritchie helps speakers to be confident and effective. In just 6 months time, you could be well on the way to being admired, rehired as a speaker, confident and sucessful, with the 30 speaking tips. Click here for 30 speaking tips for FREE. Join now or go to http://www.30speakingtips.com