The Power Of Adding Poetry To A Speech

Poetry is music written for the human voice
Poetry is music written for the human voice
Image Credit: Hilary Dotson

How did your last speech go? Did your audience hang on your every word? Did they seem eager to hear what you were going to tell them next? Did they seem to be a bit disappointed when your speech was over – they really wanted you to keep on talking? If you are like most of us, the answer to most of these questions, despite the importance of public speaking, is “no”. What this means is that as public speakers we are dropping the ball. We really need to find a way to add some more zip to our next speech. Perhaps this is where poetry can step in and lend us a helping hand.

What Poetry Can Do For A Speech

All too often when we are creating the opening for a speech, we think about what we want to say to our audience and then we just say it. That’s ok as far as communication goes, but the bigger question is will it stick – are they going to remember what we’ve told them? In most cases, the answer is no. What this means is that perhaps the opening of our next speech would be the place to slide in a bit of Shakespeare or some other poet in order to find the words that will fire up the imagination of our audience.

We are all facing the same problem these days. The words that are easy to use, the ones that we find ourselves going to over and over again have become tired and worn out. There are a whole host of words that I can run by you that should cause you to start to groan: paradigm shift, low-hanging fruit, out of pocket, etc. All of these tired phrases are used by us in order to try to sound smart to our audience; however, more often than not they just end up trying to figure out what we are really trying to tell them. Likewise, we’ve all had to sit through countless PowerPoint presentations in which the presenter tried to impress us by turning nouns into verbs by adding “-ize” to the end (“incentivize” anyone?) Look, some jargon can help professionals communicate better. However, it all falls apart when we become either too technical or too wordy. You need to try to keep it nice and simple.

So this all puts you into a difficult position. You want to capture and hold onto your audience’s attention. However, most of the tools that you would generally use to do this appear to be overused and worn out. What’s a speaker to do? If we take a moment to listen to what the famous living poet Maya Angelou said: “Poetry is music written for the human voice” then we’ll know what we should do – work more poetry into our next speech. The good news about poetry is that it is supposed to be spoken and heard. Work some poetry into your next speech and you will have worked some music into the speech.

How To Work Poetry Into Your Next Speech

Before you are going to be able to work any poetry into your next speech, you are first going to have to find a way to get yourself inspired. One way to make this happen is to take the time to read poetry. When you read poetry you can read it in your mind, or even better read it out loud. Doing this can help to allow you to understand how you can say something in a way that will cause it to “stick” with your audience. If you don’t feel comfortable reading poetry, then take the time to read song lyrics. It turns out that these are poetry also!

In order to make sure that your audience remembers what you say, you need to find a way to engage all of their senses when they are listening to you. When people are creating poetry, they attempt to do more than just paint a picture with words. They try to make what they are talking about real using the five senses: taste, touch, smell, and sound as well as sight. As a speaker, one of the things that you need to realize is that the sense of smell is closely associated with our memory. This means that if you can find a way to work a description of either a scent or a taste into your speech, there is a better chance that people will remember what you told them.

One of the things that we need to be able to realize is that there is a flow to poetry. What this translates into is the understanding of the sound, pace and rhythm of the words that we use when we are reciting poetry. If you take the time to read some poetry out loud, you’ll discover that you are able to hear the cadence of the words. Poetry gives us words that seem to fit together and which flow naturally from each other. Your audience will be able to hear the fluidity in your speech when you use poetry.

What All Of This Means For You

The goal of any speech that we give is to be able to connect with our audience and make a change in their lives somehow by sharing with them the benefits of public speaking. The challenge that we run into is that it can be difficult to find a way to create a speech that allows us to present our thoughts and ideas in a way that will capture the imagination of our audience. All we have to work with are words and sometimes it can be difficult to see how we can use them to accomplish what we are trying to do. This is when poetry can come to our rescue.

A big challenge that we are all facing when we start to put a speech together is that a lot of the words and phrases that we automatically tend to use have been overused. They are now tired and will not capture our audience’s attention. If we can understand that poetry is a form of musical speech, then all of sudden we have a new tool with which to get the attention that we are looking for. In order to work poetry into your speech, you are going to have to first take the time to read poetry. Reading poetry out loud will allow you to start to understand how all of the words fit together. Taking the time to make sure that the poetry that you use will engage all of the senses is a great way to capture your audience’s interests. Finally, you need to be able to recognize the flow of the words in poetry. The cadence of the poem will make your speech more memorable for your audience.

Poetry is a powerful tool that not enough speakers are willing to incorporate into their speeches. We need to take the time to expose ourselves to more poetry so that we can start to understand how poetry fits words together and what the meaning of those words is. Once we become comfortable working poetry into our speeches, we can start to use the power of those words to attract and hold on to our audience’s attention.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You:

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So when you sit down to put a speech together, what language do you use? I’m not talking about English vs Spanish vs French here. Rather, I’m talking about the use of slang. You know what I’m talking about, slang is a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal. Do you feel comfortable including this type of language in a speech? Do you think that it could contribute to the importance of public speaking? Should you be including more of it?

Problems With Modern Speeches

Perhaps we've become too good at this speaking thing
Perhaps we’ve become too good at this speaking thing
Image Credit: mike krzeszak

When we talk about giving speeches, we spend a lot of our time talking about how we can become better because we understand the importance of public speaking. We look at things like body language, what words we use, and how we go about building the speeches that we give. However, one thing that we never take the time to talk about is what happens if we become too good at giving speeches. In fact, is that even possible? Can we become so good at public speaking that all of a sudden our audiences no longer pay attention to us? If so, then what can we do to prevent this from happening?

That Darn Twitter Thing

When we give a speech, we want to make an impression on our audience. We want them to listen to what we say, be influenced by it, and then take action based on our words. However, it has always been quite difficult for a speaker to evaluate just how much of an impact their speech has had on their audience. However, now that we are all living in the internet age, this has become much easier. The arrival of Twitter and its ability to group together related “tweets” that all use the same hashtag (“#freedoughnutfriday”) has changed everything.

Now our audience has the chance to comment on our speech using Twitter. In fact, they can comment on it even as we are delivering the speech. Their comments have to be brief – 140 characters or less, but they can be current and topical. As more and more speakers have become aware of the power that Twitter has to spread our message, some of us have started to change how we create a speech. Some speakers are now making sure that their speeches contain content that is tweetable – has been designed to be sent out by audience members via the Twitter app.

Many people don’t think highly of this kind of speech construction. They think that speeches should be created for the audience, not for the world of Twitter. However, the critics may be over reacting. Lately a number of speeches have been analyzed for their tweetability. It turns out that speeches that were given by U.S. President Barack Obama, Malcom X, and Dr. Martin Luther King were all shown to be highly tweetable. This means that that a very good speech can also be a tweetable speech.

The Problem With Too Much Polish

When you are asked to give a speech, what do you do? If you are like most of us, you’ll sit down and take the time to create a speech. You’ll identify the points that you want to make, determine what facts you’ll want to use to back up your positions, and then you’ll decide how you want to wrap things up. Once you’ve done all of this, it will be time for you to practice your speech. You’ll practice it over and over again until you feel that you’ve gotten it down and that you’ll do a good job of delivering it. Once you reach this point, it’s time for you to go off and give your speech.

This is when you can start to run into problems. All of that practice that you put into creating your speech may have made you too good. What has happened is that you have smoothed out all of your rough edges. What is now going to happen is that you are not going to be able to make a real connection with your audience. When talking about difficult topics, your audience may decide that you don’t sound sufficiently sad, outraged, or even shocked. This can cause your audience to become skeptical about what you are saying.

I ran into this problem recently. After I had finished giving a speech a friend of mine was providing me with feedback on how I had done. He told me that mechanically I had been perfect: good eye contact, good hand gestures, and a loud clear voice. However, he said that I had not connected with my audience. The reason for this was because I had sounded “too good”. I had not had to search for any of my words, I had not stumbled, I had not used the wrong word in any part of the speech. In short, I had been like a perfect robot. This meant that nobody could connect with me and my message was not well received.

What All Of This Means For You

We live in a wonderful age in which public speakers have become much better than they ever were before. We have the opportunity to create, practice and deliver speeches that show off the benefits of public speaking and which are well polished machines. However, what we are discovering is that we may have become too good at what we do and by doing this, we may be losing our audience.

The ability to influence an audience and to get them to take action based on what we’ve told them has been the goal of public speakers for a long time. However, we’ve never really been able to tell if our words have had an impact on our audience. The arrival of the popular Twitter application has now provided our audiences with the ability to comment on our speeches and spread our message in real time. In order to help our audience do this, some speakers are creating speeches that are designed to contain messages that can be tweeted. However, studies have shown that very good speeches in the past were just naturally tweetable and didn’t have to be designed this way. Another problem that speakers are running into is that they have become too good. By smoothing out all of the rough spots in their speech they have created a masterpiece that will no longer allow them to connect with their audiences.

As speakers we are obligated to take advantage of all of the advances that become available to us. The arrival of Twitter and our ability to do a better job of practicing speeches that we’ll be giving are examples of this. The good news is that we don’t have to structure our speeches to fit Twitter’s 140 character limitations and we can still get a good response from our audience. We just need to make sure that we don’t over practice our speeches and drive all of the humanity out of them. We can give excellent speeches, we just need to make sure that we are meeting the needs of our audience.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you don’t want to over practice your speech, then how many times should you practice it?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How did your last speech go? Did your audience hang on your every word? Did they seem eager to hear what you were going to tell them next? Did they seem to be a bit disappointed when your speech was over – they really wanted you to keep on talking? If you are like most of us, the answer to most of these questions, despite the importance of public speaking, is “no”. What this means is that as public speakers we are dropping the ball. We really need to find a way to add some more zip to our next speech. Perhaps this is where poetry can step in and lend us a helping hand.

Creating A Clear Message For Your Next Speech

When we speak, we want to be clear and therefore understood
When we speak, we want to be clear and therefore understood
Image Credit: _mogi. Follow

If you are going to be willing to go to the effort of creating, practicing, and then delivering a speech, you may as well make sure that your audience experiences the importance of public speaking and understands you. What’s it going to take in order to make this happen? For one thing, the speech that you are going to give is going to have to be clear. What does this actually mean? What is means is that you are going to have to engage in some clear thinking in order to do some clear writing which will result in you being able to speak clearly. Now just exactly how can we go about doing that?

Brainstorming

When you’ve been asked to give a speech, you now have the responsibility to create a great speech. More often than not, you are starting from a blank sheet of paper – what do you want to say and how do you want to go about saying it? What you need to do is to start out by coming up with the basic set of things that you’ll want to cover in your speech. Think of these as being the “big ideas” that your speech will contain.

In order to determine what these basic big ideas are, you are going to have to spend some time doing some brainstorming. This is something that you can do by sitting with yourself or by spending some time talking with a friend. The key is to not throw any ideas that you have away – be nonjudgmental. Since we can’t always be certain when we’ll have a great idea for our next speech, make sure that you carry something to write with at all times. This way you’ll be able to remember each of your great ideas.

Grouping

Most of the speeches that we give are going to have the same basic type of structure. What this means is that we are going to have a main point that we want to make during the speech and then we are going to want to support this point with three additional points. Since we’ve now completed our brainstorming, we’ve been able to identify the main points that will make up our speech. Our next step is going to be to start to organize these points.

What you are going to want to do next is to step through the items that you were able to create as a result of your brainstorming. You are going to want to group these items based on your main point and the three supporting points that you’ll want to cover in your speech. As you place each one of your brainstorming points into one of the four “buckets” that you have, you’ll probably find yourself moving things around as you start to see what other items are in that bucket. When you have completed this task, you’ll have four buckets with points in them. At the same you will have potentially discarded a number of your brainstorming ideas at this stage.

Creating An Outline

The last step in this process has to do with creating an outline using the groupings of ideas that you’ve already created. We all know that every speech has an introduction, a body, and then a conclusion. What you are going to want to do is to create a label for each of the buckets that you’ve identified. This will serve as the topic and the three major headings for your speech.

As you create the outline for your speech, you are going to want to draw on the ideas that you came up with during your brainstorming session in order to initially present your main topic to your audience. In your body, you are going to want to give some background on your idea. Next you’ll want to introduce your main topic and give it some context. Finally, you’ll need to discuss what is currently going on in regards to your main topic. In your speech’s conclusion you are going to want to provide a brief overview of what you’ve already covered and then you are going to deliver a call to action for your audience. What do you want them to do based on hearing your speech?

What All Of This Means For You

The goal of any speech that we give is to use the benefits of public speaking to clearly communicate a message to our audience. However, that can often be easier to say than to do. What we need to be able to do is to create some clean thinking that will allow clean writing and clean speaking. The key is to understanding the process by which you can make this happen.

It all starts with you doing some brainstorming. You need to be able to take the time to identify the main points that you want to be able to cover in your speech. Your next step is to group the items that you’ve decided that you want to cover in your speech. Since you know that your speech will have a main point and three supporting points, you can use these as “buckets” to group your brainstorming ideas. Finally, you’ll want to create an opening, body, and close for your speech. Using the contents of each of your buckets, you can use your brainstorming ideas to create each of these sections of your clear speech.

Giving a speech is a big effort. As public speakers we want to make sure that each speech that we give has the maximum impact. In order to make this happen, we need to ensure that the speech that we give is clear to our audience. Creating and delivering a clear speech requires us to follow a process that allows a clear speech to be created. The technique that we’ve described will allow your next speech to be understood and acted on by your audience.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think that you should spend brainstorming ideas for a speech?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we talk about giving speeches, we spend a lot of our time talking about how we can become better because we understand the importance of public speaking. We look at things like body language, what words we use, and how we go about building the speeches that we give. However, one thing that we never take the time to talk about is what happens if we become too good at giving speeches. In fact, is that even possible? Can we become so good at public speaking that all of a sudden our audiences no longer pay attention to us? If so, then what can we do to prevent this from happening?

What To Do When Your Speech Has Been Written For You

Sometimes the speech that you will be giving has been written for you
Sometimes the speech that you will be giving has been written for you
Image Credit:

When we think about what makes a speech a good speech, I think that we can all agree that our ability to interject some life into a speech can go a long way to capturing our audience’s attention and allowing us to show the importance of public speaking. This is why when we are practicing giving our speech we like to try to interject some humor, comment on our audience, or do something else that will keep our audience engaged in what we are saying. However, sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to do this. Sometimes our speech has been written out for us and we’ve been asked to deliver it as it is written. What is a speaker to do then?

What’s The Problem With Prepared Speeches?

Prepared speeches can come in many different forms. They can be an entire speech that someone else has written and which we’ve been handed and are expected to deliver as written. Or they can be just part of a speech, perhaps a long quotation from a book, an introduction of another speaker, or even a section of the Bible. No matter what the reason for including a prepared text in your speech, the end result is the same: you’ll be delivering text that has to be read to your audience. It turns out that this may be one of the hardest speeches to give!

It sure seems as though being given a prepared text to be included in your speech would make the speech easier to give, not harder. However, that’s not the case. It’s true that having prepared text does make it easier for you to get your words out – you know exactly what you want to say next. However, at the same time it’s going to become much harder for you to make your speech sound real. You won’t have as many options when it comes to making your speech come alive. You will be struggling to make your audience understand that you really believe what you are telling them. When presented with prepared text you are going to have to put some serious effort into including it in your speech. What you are going to have to do is to make your prepared text sound like you normally talk.

So what can happen when we include prepared text in one of our speeches? When we hit the prepared text, all of a sudden we can start to sound flat to our audience. What we need to realize is that when we are giving a speech, we put energy into it and we take the time to emphasize the words that we are saying. By doing this we are able to keep our audience engaged in what we are telling them. Providing this energy is much easier for us to do when we are saying our own words. Your words show how much you care about what you are talking about. It’s all too easy for this energy to slip away when you are reading a text simply because you end up treating all of the words the same way. You lose your vocal variety.

How Can We Make A Prepared Speech Sound Better?

So why do we read text that has been prepared by another author? Simple – we want to capture the intent of that author. This prepared text was selected for the reason that it was seen as being able to help illustrate a point that your speech was to make. Your challenge going forward is going to be to find a way to make sure that your audience understands that this is what you want to do.

In order to do a good job of reading prepared text, the first thing that you are going to want to do is to print out the text. Make sure that you use an easy-to-read font and that you make the text nice and big. You are going to be marking it up and you’ll need the extra room. Next you’ll want to read through the prepared text and underline any words that you think will need extra emphasis. If you want to include a short pause when you are reading the prepared text, place a dash in between the words where you’d like the pause to be placed. Finally, if there are any words that are difficult for you to say, circle them so that you’ll see them coming when you are reading the prepared text and you’ll know to slow down and take your time with them.

One of the most important things to understand about any prepared text that you are going to be reading will be how the words flow together. There will undoubtedly be collections of words that are designed to be said together. This can be titles, or descriptions that don’t have any pauses or breaks in them. If you pause while saying them, then you are going to come across as appearing to be stilted or unnatural. What you are going to have to do is to mark these words as being part of a single collection of words. This means that you have to mark the start of a group of words that need to be said together and then you have to mark the end of the group of words. This way if the words split over the end of a line, you won’t slow down when you are saying them.

What All Of This Means For You

The best kind of speech that we can give as public speakers are the ones where we can pour ourselves into what we are saying in order to show the benefits of public speaking. In these speeches we have the ability to make our words come alive. Where things can start to get tricky is when we either are told to include prepared text or we decided to include prepared text. How are we going to make what someone else said a part of our speech?

Including prepared text in a speech can make it a difficult speech to give. This should be an easy thing to do, but because we often don’t use our normal talking voice when reading prepared text, it can be quite difficult to do well. When we are giving a speech that we’ve written, we deliver it with a lot of energy. However, when we get to the prepared text part of the speech what happens is that we tend to lose our vocal variety. In order to improve how we deliver prepared text we need to print out the text. We then need to mark it up: identify words we want to empathize, places where we want to insert a pause, and groups of words that need to be said together.

Adding prepared text to a speech can serve to make any speech more powerful. However, we need to understand that it is human nature to treat prepared text differently from a speech that we’ve written ourselves. We need to take the time to study the prepared text and make sure that we are going to be able to deliver it in a way that will make it just as interesting as the rest of our speech it. Our speech should become better, not worse, because of the prepared text that we have included in it.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you include prepared text in a speech, how much of your speech do you think that it should take up?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you are going to be willing to go to the effort of creating, practicing, and then delivering a speech, you may as well make sure that your audience experiences the importance of public speaking and understands you. What’s it going to take in order to make this happen? For one thing, the speech that you are going to give is going to have to be clear. What does this actually mean? What is means is that you are going to have to engage in some clear thinking in order to do some clear writing which will result in you being able to speak clearly. Now just exactly how can we go about doing that?

How Do You Introduce Yourself In A Speech?

A good introduction can lead to a good speech
A good introduction can lead to a good speech
Image Credit: Pearl Pirie

How often when you get up in front of an audience do you find yourself addressing a room full of people that you don’t know. For that matter, the people that you are talking to probably don’t know you. It sure seems like one of the first things that you need to be doing as a speaker because you understand the importance of public speaking is taking just a moment to get things started off on the right foot. How about an introduction? Now comes the tricky part – what’s the right way to go about introducing yourself to your audience?

The Importance Of Getting Your Introduction Right

Let’s face it – a good introduction is a critical part of any speech that you give. Your introduction can have an impact on how your audience receives the message that you have for them. When you are starting your speech everyone in your audience is thinking about one question: tell me about yourself. The tricky part in answering this question is that we are all experts when it comes to the topic of who we are; however, it turns out that most of us are not very good at introducing ourselves.

One of the things that you don’t want to do when you are introducing yourself as a part of a speech is to classify yourself as being a part of a professional category. This means don’t tell your audience that you are a lawyer, a fireman, a salesperson, or a homemaker. The reason that you don’t want to do this is because when you describe yourself this way, you are talking at your audience, not to them. Instead, what you are going to want to do is to take the time to introduce yourself using more of a dialog technique.

It All Starts With A Plan

The technique that you want to use when you are introducing yourself as a part of a speech is to start things off by creating a plan. Every audience that you’ll be addressing will be different. What this means for you is that you need to have a goal for your introduction that will match the people that you’ll be talking to. Before you start your speech, you are going to have to be sure that you know what you want to say about yourself.

Once you know what you want to say, you then will have to write it down. What you write down is going to be critical in making sure that you can communicate who you are to your audience. This means that you need to include basic facts about yourself. If possible, you’d like to include an item that your audience will find catchy and memorable. It doesn’t hurt to include some humor in your introduction also. Your goal here needs to be for you to be able to provide your audience with a quick synopsis of the experiences that you’ve had along with identifying one point that will be unique to you.

Talk About Your Contributions

The good news is that an audience has shown up to hear you speak. Now what you need to do is to use the opportunity of your introduction to capture their attention and make sure that they remain interested in what you are going to be telling them. The purpose of your introduction needs to be to communicate your contributions to your audience. You want to let them know how you plan on serving them.

A great way to go about accomplishing this is to create what is called a “curiosity statement” and then work it into your speech. The goal of your curiosity statement is to communicate your value and to make your audience want to hear the rest of your speech. When you are creating your curiosity statement you’ll want to think about who you help and how do they benefit from your actions? By sharing this with your audience they’ll come to know you better and will be primed to hear the content of your speech.

What All Of This Means For You

The goal of any speech that we give to find a way to get our audience to listen to what we have to say, understand the benefits of public speaking, and then take action based on what we have shared with them. What this means is that if our audience does not know us when we begin our speech, we need to be sure to take some time and introduce ourselves to them. However, it turns out that although we know ourselves very well, we generally do a poor job of introducing ourselves.

In order to do a good job of introducing ourselves, we need to understand that how we introduce ourselves can be done several ways and what we want to do is be seen as talking to our audience, not at them. In order create a good introduction for yourself, you’ll need to start with a plan. A plan requires you to have a goal, write it down, and include key points that will make you unique. In order to capture the attention of your audience you’ll need to talk about your contributions. This can be done by including a curiosity statement as a part of your speech. This will hook your audience’s interest and will get them to pay attention to the rest of your speech.

Every speech that we give is an opportunity for us to create a relationship between ourselves and our audience. In order to get that relationship off to a good start, we need to start our speeches out by introducing ourselves to our audience. This may be something that we’re not very skilled at. If we take the time to plan out how we want our introduction to go, then we’ll be well positioned to capture our audience’s attention and hold on to it for our entire speech.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think that a speaker’s introduction should be?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we think about what makes a speech a good speech, I think that we can all agree that our ability to interject some life into a speech can go a long way to capturing our audience’s attention and allowing us to show the importance of public speaking. This is why when we are practicing giving our speech we like to try to interject some humor, comment on our audience, or do something else that will keep our audience engaged in what we are saying. However, sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to do this. Sometimes our speech has been written out for us and we’ve been asked to deliver it as it is written. What is a speaker to do then?

Getting Your Speech The Attention That It Deserves

Your speech deserves all of the attention that it can get
Your speech deserves all of the attention that it can get
Image Credit: Gordon Ross

When we create a speech that we’ll be giving, we work hard to make it the best speech possible. We spend time thinking about what points we want to communicate to our audience, we pick the words that we’ll use with care, and we then practice just exactly how we’re going to go about delivering this speech. With all of that effort, you would think that every speech that we give would be a smashing success because we can make our audience understand the importance of public speaking. As we all know this is not the case – sometimes we just can’t get our audience to pay attention to what we are telling them. What’s a speaker to do?

It’s All About The Questions That You Ask

A speech is all about us getting up in front of an audience and then talking to them. This is very much a one-way sort of conversation. However, a smart presenter knows that it doesn’t have to be this way. All of us have the opportunity to use questions at the start of a speech in order to get our audience to feel as though they are involved in and a part of our speech. This is a simple and powerful technique that prevents our audience from just sitting back and not paying attention to us. However, if we really want to grab our audience’s attention, we have to ask our questions in the right way.

A fancy way to ask a question is called “chiasmus”. This technique is defined as being a rhetorical figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order, in the same or a modified form. A great example of this being used in a speech is John F. Kennedy’s speech in which he said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” When you use this technique to ask a question, you are going to have to be obvious so that your audience can appreciate what you are asking them.

Use The Preview Flashback To Grab Attention

When we give a speech, our audience has some expectations regarding how our speech is going to go. They expect us to start at the beginning, move to the middle, and then wrap things up in the end. If you deliver your speech in this way, you’ll be giving them what they expect and they may decide to not pay attention to you. What you need to do in order to grab their attention is to change things up on them.

One way to go about doing this is to use a flashback in your speech. A flashback occurs when you are telling your audience about something that happened to you. You then stop your story. You then go back in time and tell them another story about something else that happened. This second thing that you tell them about has to in some way impact the first story that you were telling them. Once you are done telling the second story, you can go forward in time to get back to your original story. Now you can finish telling this story and your audience will have a better understanding of what it all means.

Use The Words Of Others To Get Your Audience To Pay Attention

Let’s face it, during most of our speeches our audience doesn’t know who we are. They’ve never met us, don’t know anything about our background, and probably wouldn’t recognize us if they met us on the street. However, there is a way that we can lend some credibility to what we are in the process of telling them. If we use quotations in our speech, then it will be as if we had somehow invited other people to come up on stage with us and stand by our side as we talk to the audience.

All too often when we think about using a quote in a speech, we think that we have to go get a book from the library that has a collection of the sayings of famous people who lived in the past. It turns out that is not true. We can use quotes from any of our friends, from current celebrities, or from someone that people will recognize as being an authority. When using a quotation we do need to be careful to not make our quotes too long because then it will become hard for our audience to understand what we’re trying to communicate.

What All Of This Means For You

A speech that we give that does not capture and hold on to our audience’s attention won’t do us any good if we can’t share the benefits of public speaking with our audience. As speakers we want our audience to listen to us and to understand the message that we are trying to deliver to them. In order to make this happen we need to find a way to capture our audience’s attention and then hold on to it during our speech.

A great way to capture an audience’s attention is to start your speech out by asking them a question. This is a simple technique that allows your audience to feel as though they are involved in your speech. A fancy way of asking a question is to use the chiasmus method in which you repeat your question in reverse order. Another way to grab your audience’s attention is to use the preview flashback method. While you are telling them a story, stop and then go back in time to tell them another story. Once you wrap that one up, move forward in time and complete your original story which your audience will now understand even better. Finally, in order to add more credibility to your story, feel free to add quotations to your speech. Quotes don’t have to just come from famous people. Your friends and knowledgeable people will do fine also.

Every time we give a speech we want it to make an impact on our audience. We want the time, energy, and effort that we’ve put into the speech to result in an audience that has been changed in some way by listening to our speech. In order to make this happen, we need to find a way to grab our audience’s attention at the start of our speech. Using questions, playing games with flashbacks, and adding quotations to our speech are all techniques that we can easily use to make sure that our next audience pays attention to what we have to tell them.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that there is a limit to the number of quotations that you should add to a speech?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How often when you get up in front of an audience do you find yourself addressing a room full of people that you don’t know. For that matter, the people that you are talking to probably don’t know you. It sure seems like one of the first things that you need to be doing as a speaker because you understand the importance of public speaking is taking just a moment to get things started off on the right foot. How about an introduction? Now comes the tricky part – what’s the right way to go about introducing yourself to your audience?

Grab Your Audience From The Beginning

You want to grab your audience's attention at the start of your speech
You want to grab your audience’s attention at the start of your speech
Image Credit: Rutger Tuller

So what makes a speech a good speech? I think that we can all agree that one of the most important things that we need to be able to do is both capture and hold on to our audience’s attention in order to show them the importance of public speaking. Although this may sound like a simple thing to do, it turns out that it’s actually quite difficult to do. We may be able to so some sort of crazy thing at the start of our speech that will cause our audience to stop what they are doing and take notice of us, but that’s not going to be enough to hold their attention. What we need are some strategies that we can use to make our audience want to pay attention to our speech.

Using Visual Humor

As we all know, humor can be a very powerful tool. Everyone wants to laugh and if you can show your audience that you are a person who can make them laugh, then you will have a way to capture their attention. When you choose to use visual humor as a way to start a speech, you will need to focus on how you display the item to your audience. Suddenly showing something to your audience will be unexpected. The item itself may be inherently funny. What you do with the item after revealing it may produce an unexpected sight gag (did you put it on your head?). You’ll be able to grab your audience’s attention if you can create an air of suspense about what you’ll be doing next with your prop.

As powerful as visual humor may be, as speakers we need to keep in mind that it can be difficult to work with. When you decide to use visual humor, you are going to want to be thought provoking and there is a fine line between this and being offensive. Your sense of humor may not be shared by your audience and they may not understand your visual humor. Additionally, you have to be confident when you use visual humor – if you are uncertain then your audience may start to become uncomfortable.

Use A Demonstration To Grab Attention

Sometimes when we want to grab our audience’s attention, we need to start things off in our speech with a demonstration. More often than not, we’ll end up using some sort of prop for a demonstration, but if needed, words by themselves will do just fine. You have a great deal of power when you are using a demonstration. You can make up statistics to support whatever point you are trying to make and you can use any visual humor that supports your demonstration. What you want to happen is for your audience to experience your main idea and then be ready to listen to the rest of your speech.

Just like any other attention getting device that you choose to use in your speech, you are going to have to be careful when it comes to using a demonstration. The beginning of a speech is such a critical time that attempting to use props can cause a number of problems. No matter how many times you practice what you want to say, there is the chance that you’ll become nervous during your speech and you’ll make mistakes and screw up your demonstration and cause it to go badly or go too long.

Comparisons Can Capture An Audience

As speakers, the most powerful tool that we have when we are up on a stage are the words that we use. One powerful tool that we can use with our words is a comparison: where we compare one thing to another. When we use a comparison, we are helping our audience to more quickly understand ideas that can be complex or abstract. We do this by taking the thing that they may not fully understand and comparing it to something that they do understand. The result of this is to create interest and intrigue.

Although a comparison can be a powerful tool, it is also possible that as speakers we can end up taking them too far. We need to be careful to not to try to include too many comparisons into a single speech. We also have to understand that if we try to compare two items that don’t really compare well, then it’s just going to end making our speech that much weaker.

What All Of This Means For You

As long as you are going to be willing to give a speech, you sure would like your audience to experience the benefits of public speaking and listen to what you have to say. In order for that to happen, you are going to have to grab their attention at the beginning of your speech and find a way to hold on to it. If you can’t do this, then you can give the best speech in the world, but nobody will be listening.

In order to grab your audience’s attention at the start of your speech, you may want to consider using visual humor. This will require you to bring a prop along with you on stage. At some point in time you will reveal it to your audience and with a little luck you’ll make them laugh. You need to be careful because your sense of humor may be different from that of your audience and that could cause your visual humor to misfire. Another way to start a speech is with a demonstration. This is when you may use a prop to show your audience something that will allow them to feel what you are saying. Be careful how you use a demonstration because it could adversely affect your speech. Finally, in order to communicate an abstract or complex idea to your audience you can use a comparison between it and something that they already know. However, you have to be careful to make sure that the comparison is understandable or you’ll lose your audience.

Starting a speech off correctly is the key to delivering a successful speech. As speakers we need to grab onto and hold onto our audience’s attention as quickly as possible in order to make sure that they will pay attention to what we are saying during our speech. There are a number of different ways to get an audience’s attention. We need to take a careful look at the speech that we will be giving and pick the right way to get and hold our audience’s attention.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you choose to use a demonstration during your speech, should you use it at the beginning?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we create a speech that we’ll be giving, we work hard to make it the best speech possible. We spend time thinking about what points we want to communicate to our audience, we pick the words that we’ll use with care, and we then practice just exactly how we’re going to go about delivering this speech. With all of that effort, you would think that every speech that we give would be a smashing success because we can make our audience understand the importance of public speaking. As we all know this is not the case – sometimes we just can’t get our audience to pay attention to what we are telling them. What’s a speaker to do?

Using Goals To Become A Better Public Speaker

It's by setting goals that we can become better public speakers
It’s by setting goals that we can become better public speakers
Image Credit:
Jurgen Appelo

Congratulations – you have the ability to stand up in front of an audience and give a speech. Now what? If you are like most of us, you probably want to get better at this thing that we call speaking. Wanting to get better is a good thing, knowing exactly how to go about doing that is a completely different thing! The bad news is that there is not one magical thing that you can do that will transform you into a better speaker and allow you to share the importance of public speaking with your audience. However, it turns out that there are a number of steps that you can take that will make this happen.

It’s All About Goals

You can’t become better if you don’t know what you want to achieve. What you are going to want to do for yourself is to set some big goals. After you have done this, you need to sit back and spend some time visualizing yourself being successful. A good way to go about setting goals is to take the time to write down a statement of achievement. It’s the visualization of yourself achieving your goal that will make this goal real to you.

Get Some Coaching Help

In order to become a better speaker, you need to realize that you can’t do it all by yourself. You are going to need the help of somebody who knows how to speak well. You need a coach. You are going to want to have your coach watch you give a speech. If they can’t be there, then at least have them watch a videotape of your presentation. As they give you feedback, take It in and spend time trying to understand what they are telling you. This may be some of the most valuable feedback that you will ever receive!

Pick Your Feedback

Every time that we give a speech, we will always get feedback. The feedback that we get will come from a number of different sources. The trick to feedback is that you need to understand that not all of it is going to help you to become a better speaker. Some people just feel obligated to give you feedback after any speech that you give. What you are going to have to learn how to do is to take the feedback that you find to be useful and then discard the feedback that has no value to you. If you can learn to do this then all of sudden the feedback that you keep will start to become more valuable.

Prepare

I’m not sure – do I even have to cover this one? If you want to become a better speaker, then you are going to have to change how you give a speech. If you are going to be making changes to how you speak, then you are going to have to take the time to try out your new techniques. This means that you are going to have to practice what you are going to be saying before you give it. The big question that always comes up is how many times do you have to practice a speech before you are ready to deliver it? I believe that the answer to this question is 7. That seems to be just enough times to allow you to get all of the bugs out of the speech and yet not so many times that you slide into “robot speak” when you are delivering the speech for real.

Celebrate Successes

One of the things that I believe that I don’t do very well is celebrate my successes. We are generally working on several different goals when we are trying to become a better speaker. As we accomplish these goals it can at times look like we still have a long way to go in order to achieve our objective. This can become a bit disheartening. The way to keep our enthusiasm up is to make sure that every time we achieve a goal we take some time to celebrate our accomplishment. This does not have to be a big deal – I like to eat some chocolate in order to celebrate.

What All Of This Means For You

Public speaking like so many other things that we do is a skill. What this means for us is that if we decide that we want to become better public speakers who can share the benefits of public speaking with our audiences, we need determine how we want to go about doing that and then take steps to make it happen. The good news is that what we have to do is a simple set of straight forward actions.

The first thing that we need to do is to set goals for improving our speaking ability. We have to have a good understanding of what we are trying to improve. Next we need to understand that in order to improve, we need to get outside help. This means that we’re going to need to find a coach. Every time that we give a speech we’ll get feedback. We need to develop the talent that is required to be able to pick though the feedback that we receive and select the feedback that can help us the most. It almost goes without saying, but if we want to get better at speaking, we need to take the time to prepare for each and every speech that we give. Finally, the journey to become a better public speaker can be long. We need to make sure that we take the time to celebrate our successes as they happen so that we’ll be motivated to continue on our journey.

Becoming a better public speaker is not something that happens overnight. Rather, it is the result of a process. We need to create a plan for how we are going to improve and then we need to execute that plan. The good news is that once we do this, we will have become the public speaker that we always wanted to be!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: When you are selecting a coach, what characteristics should you be looking for in them?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So what makes a speech a good speech? I think that we can all agree that one of the most important things that we need to be able to do is both capture and hold on to our audience’s attention in order to show them the importance of public speaking. Although this may sound like a simple thing to do, it turns out that it’s actually quite difficult to do. We may be able to so some sort of crazy thing at the start of our speech that will cause our audience to stop what they are doing and take notice of us, but that’s not going to be enough to hold their attention. What we need are some strategies that we can use to make our audience want to pay attention to our speech.

Tips For Speaking At Special Occasions

Special occasions call for special speakers
Special occasions call for special speakers

Image Credit: O’Reilly Internal

When you think about giving a speech, what comes to mind? For most of us, we think of ourselves standing in front of a room of people with our prepared speech spread out in front of us using the importance of public speaking to launch into a speech. However, life does not always work out that way. It turns out that we can be asked to give a speech in a number of different ways and special occasions are just one set of these. What this means for us as speakers is that we need to make sure that we’re ready to give a special occasion speech when the time comes.

Where Did Special Occasion Speeches Come From?

Special occasion speeches were first defined back in the days of the ancient Greeks. They were even given their own name “epideictic oratory”. The Greeks viewed these speeches as being ones that could be delivered at public events. There were many different types of speeches that they believed could fit this classification including awards, tributes, toasts, eulogies, and commencement addresses. The goal of this type of speech was to inspire people and provide them with uplifting ideas and words.

Mastering The Toast

Toasting is when we take a glass and raise it. We then either speak words of praise or we offer good wishes to somebody who is being honored by the people who have gathered. A toast is generally concluded by urging everyone to “drink up!” You may encounter a toast in any one of a number of different places such as weddings, engagement parties, retirement banquets, anniversaries, etc.

When you are called on to provide a toast you are going to want to remember a few things. You need to keep your audience in mind. You are going to want to make your toast both relevant and interesting to them. You are going to have to make sure that you are aware of the formality of the situation. Then you are going to have to make your humor and language match the situation. Finally, you need to remember that toasts are traditionally short. Make sure that you keep yours to no more than two to three minutes.

Speaking To Complement

One of the most fulfilling speeches that we can be called on to give is the speech in which we complement someone. The person that you are complementing can either be living or dead. This kind of speech could either be a eulogy or a speech at an event such as a retirement party, anniversary, or even a corporate meeting. Your goal when giving a speech like this is to inspire a deep appreciation of the person that you are praising.

A Roast

If you can master giving a toast, then it can be simple to master giving a roast. The two types of speeches are very similar. The difference is that a roast is designed to honor someone by poking fun at them. You goal needs to be to use humor to provide an affectionate show of admiration for someone. The kind of humor that you choose to use should be light and entertaining to your audience, it should never be insulting or cruel. When you are roasting someone, you’ll want to use short stores. As you tell these stories, you’ll want to make them funny by exaggerating them, adding one-liners and twists to your stories. Use a roast to unite the audience.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers we often get asked to give formal speeches to audiences. These are big deals in which we are the stars of the show. However, it turns out that there are a lot of other types of speeches that we may be asked to give in order to share the benefits of public speaking. These types of speeches are called special occasion speeches and they can come in many different varieties. We need to be ready for them when they show up.

Special occasion speeches were first identified by the Greeks. They saw them as public speeches that were given for a variety of reasons. In our lives, one of the most common types of special occasion speeches that we may be called on to give is a toast. We need use our time to say good things about the person that we are toasting. We may also find ourselves in a situation where we deliver a speech that is designed to complement a person. These types of speeches can happen at a wide variety of different events. A roast is very similar to giving a toast with the difference being that we are using humor to poke fun at someone that we are honoring. We need to be very careful and only choose humor that is light and funny.

There are more occasions to give specialty speeches that there will ever be opportunities to give formal speeches. What this means for us is that we need to make sure that we are always ready to deliver a great specialty speech. Before attending an event, give some thought to what kind of speech that you might be called on to give and make sure that you show up ready to give the best specialty speech that anyone has ever heard!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think that a roast speech should last?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Congratulations – you have the ability to stand up in front of an audience and give a speech. Now what? If you are like most of us, you probably want to get better at this thing that we call speaking. Wanting to get better is a good thing, knowing exactly how to go about doing that is a completely different thing! The bad news is that there is not one magical thing that you can do that will transform you into a better speaker and allow you to share the importance of public speaking with your audience. However, it turns out that there are a number of steps that you can take that will make this happen.

Apprehension Is A Part Of Being A Speaker

We all feel some apprehension when it's time to give a speech
We all feel some apprehension when it’s time to give a speech
Image Credit: Kyle Mahaney

Apprehension is a big word that we use when we are trying to communicate the fact that we are scared to do something. Public speaking is not something that comes naturally to most of us and so to say that we feel some level of apprehension when it comes time to stand in front of a group of strangers and deliver a speech is putting it rather lightly. We’d all like to find some magic way to make this feeling go away so that we could focus on delivering the best speech possible because we understand the importance of public speaking. However, we just don’t know how to make that happen. Perhaps what we really should be looking for is a way to get our apprehension under control.

Know Your Material

Although this may seem like a silly thing to say, we need to know what we’ll be talking about before we take the stage. All too often we can get asked to speak on a topic that someone needs a speaker for and they just happen to decide that we’d be the perfect person to take care of this. This does not mean that this is a topic that we are comfortable with. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves standing before an audience talking about a topic that we knew nothing about before we were asked to give this speech.

As a speaker, you need to practice some self-control when it comes to deciding what you will and won’t talk about. If someone asks you to talk about a topic that you don’t know anything about, then you need to tell them “no”. Restrict yourself to talking about topics that you have some familiarity with. By doing this you’ll be able to boost your self-confidence. You’ll feel more comfortable about what you’ll be telling your audience.

Speak Often

The way that we become better speakers is exactly the same way that professional athletes become better – practice. The best way to go about getting practice giving speeches is to actually give speeches. All too often we tend to think of speaking as being us standing in front of an audience and delivering a speech, but it does not always have to be that way.

If someone is creating a video and needs someone to introduce part of it or to explain something, you can volunteer to do this. If someone needs someone to teach a class on a particular subject, you can offer to be that person. If there is an introduction that needs to be given as a part of a function, you can be that person. These are all speaking opportunities and the more of them that you do, the better you will become at public speaking.

Be Prepared For The Unknown

One of the big reasons that we may feel apprehension when it comes to giving a speech is that we fear the unknown. We don’t know the audience, we are unfamiliar with the room that we’ll be speaking in, and we don’t know how things are going to turn out. Taken together, these can all build up into a very large feeling of apprehension that may be hard for us to get over.

What we need to do is to realize that while we are giving our speech, there are an almost unlimited number of things that may occur. No, we can’t plan for all of them. However, with a little thought we can probably identify the ones that are the most likely to occur. If we think about how we should react if any of these events happen, then we can create a plan that will allow us to save our speech. Even if none of these things happen, just knowing that we have a plan to deal with them should help us to keep our apprehension under control.

What All Of This Means For You

Speaking in public is not an easy thing to do. When we spend time thinking about all of the different things that are not under our control, it’s all too easy to start to feel overwhelmed with apprehension and we can start to lose sight of the benefits of public speaking. We’d all like to be able to make this go away, but perhaps we should be focused on finding ways to get our apprehension under control.

The first step in making sure that your apprehension does not get out of control is to make sure that you know what you’ll be talking about. Don’t accept speaking assignments that would require you to talk about a subject that you would not be comfortable with. In order to become a better public speaker, you need to speak more often. Realize that not all speaking opportunities look the same and so you should look for any opportunity to stand in front of people and talk. One of the biggest contributors to our public speaking apprehension is the fear of the unknown. Since we can’t control everything that might happen, we need to take the time to think about the things that are the most likely to happen and then decide what we would do if they did happen.

We can’t make apprehension go away, but we can find ways to deal with it. If we take the time before we give a speech to prepare by knowing our material, practicing speaking, and having plans in place then we’ll be ready on our big day. The great news is that every speech that we give will provide us with even more tools to keep our apprehension under control.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How many different things do you think that you should create plans for dealing with during your next speech?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When you think about giving a speech, what comes to mind? For most of us, we think of ourselves standing in front of a room of people with our prepared speech spread out in front of us using the importance of public speaking to launch into a speech. However, life does not always work out that way. It turns out that we can be asked to give a speech in a number of different ways and special occasions are just one set of these. What this means for us as speakers is that we need to make sure that we’re ready to give a special occasion speech when the time comes.