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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: Prepare but Avoid Scripts

by Terry Paulson, Ph.D.,CSP,CPAE

Some people script out their entire message. Some people are even successful doing it that way. But most speakers lose far more than they gain by preparing exact wording for an entire speech. Craft and shape your opening and closing, but don't fall victim to scripting the whole thing. As a pilot, you plan and execute with precision your takeoff and landing, but once airborne know how to enjoy the ride taking people to the locations they want to see. Once you are soaring on the wings of words, don't be trapped by the words you have deposited on any page. You don't take cue cards to a party. Prepare, but make your presentation a party for all involved.

Speak from you passion and preparation to serve in the moment. Look into their eyes. Come from experience and make sure you and your audience enjoy the ride. Keep an eye on the fuel gage and when the clock says you're nearly out of time, go back to that targeted and prepared close. Don't be a slave to a speech when everyone wants to soar along with you!

From 50 Tips For Speaking Like a Pro by Terry Paulson
http://www.terrypaulson.com/resources.html

Monday, June 27, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: What if the Banquet Staff are a No Shows?

Thank goodness this doesn't happen often, but it happened to me. I had my full day Electronic Marketing camp scheduled for a 7:00 AM setup with attendees to show up around 8:30 AM. I showed up in the room and no one was to be found anywhere.

Here's a checklist of what to do:

1. Immediately use the house phone to call the front desk and ask for the " manager on duty." Start raising a little h _ _ _. I do this simply to get their attention. You might mention something like "breach of contract" which usually gets extra attention.

2. Start opening side doors in the meeting rooms and looking at all the other meeting rooms to see what you can scrounge, tables, extension cords, chairs, etc. Drag them into your meeting room so you can take ownership. (I'm not saying ruin someone else's setup, I'm just saying if no one else's room is set up, then it's their fault if they didn't come down to double check things early so grab what you can.)

3. If you need a screen and none has shown up, (this also happened this weekend) find the most usable section of a white or light colored wall and set the room around that area.

4. If you have a breakfast scheduled or coffee/tea service go directly into the kitchen and start yelling "HELLO." Always have a copy of your contract with you if you have one. Go directly to the chef on duty and see if they can get something going quickly.

5. Don't be afraid to jump in and do things yourself. Move quickly with a stern look on your face. If someone eventually does show up, this demeanor should transmit the idea that you are miffed and there is not time to play games.

Yes, I know some people will say that you should be sickening sweet to get things done, but I'm afraid that when there are deadline time constraints you must get action quickly and many hotel staff people are not in any kind of hurry, so if you want to be ready when those attendees roll in, you have to move people to action.

Oh, one last thing. Always have cash bribes on you to get fast action when you really need it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: Floor Check

Make it a point to check the area you will be walking on during your presentation. Risers are notorious for being wobbly. The gaps between them can catch your shoes. Check the entire surface area by walking in each area and listening for loud thumps and squeaks. Check the stairs up to the risers for placement and sturdiness. Even if you are not using a riser, cords to your projection equipment can get in your way. Make sure they are taped down with good quality duct tape or high quality "gaffer tape." If you do trip during a presentation have some one liners ready like, "Well, I had a good trip and I'll see you next fall," or "So much for all those poise and charm lessons I had as a kid, " or "No wonder I got kicked out of Arthur Murray”

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: Last Minute Practice

If you happen to be staying in a hotel in a room next to mine, it is very likely you would hear parts of my upcoming speech bellowing through the walls.

Even after the enormous number of presentations I've done I still practice my stories and various bits of material the night before my event. I heard Zig Ziglar saying that he does the same thing.

Unless you are speaking every day, it is almost impossible to stay razor sharp with your delivery. Being a keynote / large event speaker, I may go 90 - 120 days between times when I tell certain stories on stage. The last thing I want to do is flub up a line or bumble through a piece of material because I hadn't thought about it for a couple months.

Don't get cockey! Practice your material several times right before you do your speech and you'll have a much greater chance that each word will come out perfectly.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: Use Humor

Use humor in presentations to make yourself more likable. Humor is a great rapport builder which knocks down audience resistance to your message. Make sure you space it throughout your presentation. You will subconsciously or consciously be tagged as trite by the audience members and out of touch if you tell a joke at the beginning and then forget humor for the rest of the presentation.


(Ref: Wake 'em Up Business Presentations Page 4)
http://www.antion.com/wakebook.htm

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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Public Speaking Tip: Openings

=> Make points that folks agree on first. Never create
controversy early, unless you are doing it for dramatic
effect.

=> Never tell a long involved story unless it is HIGHLY
TESTED. If it bombs, you will have a tough fight to win back
the audience.

=> Never tell any story or joke that has a remote chance of
offending someone. After you warm up the audience, you may
be bolder.

=> Somewhere in your opening you must tell the audience why
you are there. They need some selfish reason to listen
to you.

=> Using humor in your opening tells the audience that yours
is going to be a fun presentation. It tells them that they
might actually enjoy it. Don't disappoint them by telling an
opening joke and boring them the rest of the time.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: Non Hotel Events

When you are speaking at an event that is NOT in a hotel setting, you must pay particular attention to making sure you have everything you need to make a smooth event.

Here's a brief checklist of things that may not be available if you aren't in a hotel:
- Projection Screen
- Flip Chart
- Extension cords
- Power strips
- Ice
- Refreshments, coffee, juice, water, etc.
- Lunch
- Cups
- Napkins
- Pens
- Pencils
- Microphone and sound system
- Adapters
- Signage
- Copies

Add to the above list any items particular to your event that the hotel usually supplies. Pay close attention to every detail because there may be no time to head to Radio Shack or some other outside vendor before your event starts.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: Distractions - Doors

One of the biggest sources of distraction has to do withsomething every meeting room has and that is a door. Doorssqueak, they slam shut, and they allow people to walk in theaudience's line of sight. According to Tom's Law ofPresentations, these three things are only allowed to happenat the exact moment of your best punch line or most dramaticstatement.

Doors are very easy to deal with if you can gain access tothe room early. The first thing I do is check to see if thedoors squeak. If they do, I call maintenance or find alittle oil can and oil the hinges. If it's an old hotel,this probably hasn't been done in 30 or 40 years. Then I letthe door swing shut on its own. This tests the closingmechanism. If it is hopelessly weak and allows the door toslam shut, I either ask for it to be adjusted (which no oneever knows how to do) or I have someone stand at the door toopen and close it for latecomers. The latch of the door canmake lots of noise to, so you simply tape the catchmechanism shut.

Door location can also be a pesky problem. Sometimes theroom is set so there is a door behind or very close to thestage area. If someone would enter this door during yourpresentation, it would be very distracting.

You can usually tape up a "Please Use Other Door" sign tohelp with this. When you know you have any kind of doorproblem, try to alert the planner or recruit people from theorganization to police the doors for you.

Excerpt from the "Wake 'em Up Professional Speaking System"
http://www.antion.com/speakervideo.htm

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: More Hiding Places for Your Notes

More Hiding Places for Your Notes
by Paul O. Radde Ph.D.

1. I sometimes place a chair, back to audience, next to my prop or projection table. I may take off my coat and place it over the chair, but I also use the chair back to tape up notes, or even put them in the seat.

2. I have also placed a flip chart-sized piece of paper in the back of the room so that when I look out over the audience I can look at my outline. If I am on a stage with a curtain, I may have the same sized cheat sheet on both sides of the stage, between stage frame and the curtain, or just behind the curtain. That way, which ever way I am facing or pacing, I have it in front of me.

3. Finally, with adequate preparation, I simply reduce the entire presentation down to 2-3 points and put it on a 3x5 card, which is easily placed almost anywhere within view.

4. The biggest problem I have faced in making notes to myself is writing too small to read it, or putting an excessive number of notes on one page. Mindjet.com has a 30 day trial of its Mindmanager [mindmapping] program which provides excellent graphic organization of notes for a speech.

Paul Can be reached at http://www.thrival.com

Friday, June 03, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: Make it a point to check the area

Make it a point to check the area you will be walking on during your presentation. Risers are notorious for being wobbly. The gaps between them can catch your shoes. Check the entire surface area by walking in each area and listening for loud thumps and squeaks. Check the stairs up to the risers for placement and sturdiness. Even if you are not using a riser, cords to your projection equipment can get in your way. Make sure they are taped down with good quality duct tape or high quality "gaffer tape." If you do trip during a presentation have some one liners ready like, "Well, I had a good trip and I'll see you next fall," or "So much for all those poise and charm lessons I had as a kid, " or "No wonder I got kicked out of Arthur Murray"

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Public Speaking Tip: When speaking to a very small group of people ...

When speaking to a very small group of people you should be ableto include an extremely large amount of customization. You shouldhave researched the group and done your normal homework includingphone interviews with the expected attendees (if it is a publicevent and you don't know who is coming, be set up way early soyou can greet and interview people as they arrive.) Jot down anote of why each person attended. Then, when a section of yourtalk applies to them, point it out and name them by name.

Example: "John, you told me you wanted to learn how to sell moreto the people that visit your website. This section specificallyaddresses that, especially the part about the psychology of thesale."

Don't assume that people will perk up when you come to the partthat specifically applies to them. Make a big deal to point itout to them. You will be adding an extreme amount of value whichmakes them realize that it was a good thing they attended. Oh anddon't forget they'll love you for it.