Category: public speaking

And then what happened…

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Seth Godin wrote an interesting blog post on public speaking and sentences. Most speeches, he argues, are based on sentences. People give speeches and presentations one sentence at a time. They insert pauses at the end of each sentence to give the audience time to react. Godin argues that you should speak in paragraphs, or stories, which ebb and flow based on the audience’s mood.

To determine whether you are succeeding with your story, stop in the middle of a sentence. If the audience insists that you continue, then you know that you have them hooked, which is what you really want.

Although it is difficult to do in public speaking, you can do this with your writing: focus on one word at a time. Headlines and titles offer excellent opportunities to attract your audience’s attention with just one word. Some words (FREE) stand out on their own and grab the eye. They demand that the reader pay attention because there is something IMPORTANT happening here.

But I think that stories are a great way to write and draw in the audience. People read words and sentences, but building a story will actually drag them along, engage them, interest them, and want them to continue reading. People like stories because they lead somewhere. It’s the destination. Where is this going? If a story just stops, it’s disconcerting because people need conclusion.

Tell a good story, and people will follow.

Do you need help telling your stories – getting the words to say what you mean? Let me know how I can help –

David Gargaro

Six tips on giving a great presentation

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Good speeches, presentations, seminars, workshops, etc. have a number of common elements. Learning how to develop your presentation skills (particularly when doing PowerPoint presentations) can improve your career and help to make your subject more appealing to your audience – which should be one of your key goals.

  1. Stick to the main points. One solid piece of advice for giving a good talk is to keep your speech or presentation to a few main points. Base your talk on one central theme, and support it with a few key points. You can support those key points with examples, case studies, stories, facts, etc. For example, suppose you are giving a presentation on “Writing an effective email.” Your three key points could be:
    – Write a powerful, relevant subject line.
    – State your purpose in the opening paragraph.
    – Conclude with a call to action.
  2. Know your audience. It is very important to know who you will be presenting to so that you can tailor your speech accordingly. Don’t say the same things to different groups of people. Find out what people are interested in, and speak to those topics. Ask several key audience members what interests them, and what they want to get out of the presentation. Use the opening of your presentation to work in a reference to the situation. This will get your audience interested from the beginning of your talk.
  3. Provide great content. Focus on a few clear and specific points, and provide a lot of details to support those points. Organize details and examples to keep the talk interesting.
  4. Tell interesting stories. People remember stories, anecdotes, and relevant examples because they affect real people’s lives.
  5. Be enthusiastic. Show enthusiasm for your topic and your audience will care about what you have to say.
  6. Personalize your information. Customize the opening of your talk to your audience, and insert relevant points throughout to keep them engaged. Research your audience ahead of time, or talk to a few people before your presentation. I saw a comedian from the U.S. who made a number of jokes about things he saw when he came to town, and we laughed even more because we could relate to the content.

Do you have any tips for providing great presentations? Let me know –

David Gargaro

How to become a better public speaker

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In a previous post, I pondered the idea of developing my own seminar, webinar or workshop on an editing or writing topic that would interest corporate clients. Besides trying to come up with the right topic, another key issue is my introversion, as I do not like to speak in public or converse with strangers. However, I have often been complimented on my public speaking and speech writing, as I think that I am good at it when I put the requisite effort into it.

Many people have a fear of public speaking, but I think the main issue is that people don’t know how to do it well enough to overcome their fear. Here are my four tips on practicing your public speaking and presentation skills while overcoming your fear at the same time:

  1. Work with someone else: Partner with a more experienced presenter, or split the duties with someone else in a similar field. You can focus on specific subjects, or let the other person do the majority of the speaking.
  2. Attend Toastmasters: This organization allows you to learn from experienced public speakers and get constructive feedback on your presentation skills.
  3. Talk at schools: Teachers at high schools and colleges are often open to experts speaking for free on different business topics, or subjects that would interest their students while tying into lessons.
  4. Be prepared: Make sure that you know your material. Do not read from cue cards. Use real examples, case studies and stories that are familiar to you so that you are more comfortable with the content of your presentation.

What tips do you have on becoming a better public speaker? Let me know –

David Gargaro