You never get a second chance to make a first impression. When the time comes for that first impression, you take the time to be extra presentable and impressionable: clean clothes, fresh copies of handouts, research beforehand.
What first impression does your e-mail present; not the content, but the e-mail address itself? Is your address “yourname@yourpersonaldomainname”? Is it “yourname@ yourcompanyname” ? Or, is it “somecrypticglop@somefreee-mailsite”?
What goes to the right of the “@” speaks volumes about you, your profession and your success. “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” convey a more professional and successful impression versus “ email@example.com”.
Free e-mail is great: it’s free! However, every time it’s used, that is what is conveyed. That’s fine if you are a student or need a personal account, which, again, is what your free e-mail account conveys. As a professional speaker broadening your horizons and clientele, you need something better. Get it. You get what you pay for.
When you watch speakers, it is always fun to look what they do with their hands as they speak. Some speakers hide their hands in their pockets. Others make a steeple or seemed to be praying. Many speakers have no clue on what to do with them and most importantly it shows. Others move their hands with no purpose as if their hands have a mind of their own. Just as your body movements on stage must have a purpose, so do hands need that same purpose.
First rule to remember is your audience always needs to see your hands move in the first place. Many speakers have a tendency to keep their hand movements down low by their sides rather than higher up near the middle of the chest where everyone can see them. Also, be and stay consistent with any sense of direction you are pointing to.
One common question every comedian is asked, “Where do you get your material?” The answer is always same, “Everyday experiences.”
One great source of stories for any speaker is their own family history. We all have stories that we can tell to illustrate any point we want to make.
The problem is that you as the speaker know the story intimately while the audience knows nothing of the people or the circumstances surrounding the story. Your difficulty comes from trying to put in enough details to tell the story but not too many details. This is where revision and editing are important. It is best to practice your story in front of another person and have that person judge your story; too many details or too few. Your evaluator can also tell you which parts of the story are significant to your audience.
Start is by listing your family stories in a journal. Write down what you remember about the people, places and situations. Then begin to edit and revise.
Many speakers feel they give great presentations. Most who feel this way hate to be evaluated. Or worse, feel that since they give a great speech; do not need to be evaluated. If the audience doesn’t get what they are trying to say, then it is the fault of the audience. I always tell a new speaker the best way to improve is to have someone evaluate your presentation, it can be as simple as to what they liked and what they feel needs improvement. A person’s evaluation can be very detailed or general in nature. Every evaluator’s opinion is of value no matter the experience level of the evaluator. One of the best ways to evaluate a speech is to simply ask the speaker, “What are you trying to accomplish?” If the speaker wants to accomplish the X factor but you the evaluator see it as the Y factor, every speaker wants to know this.
So as a speaker you must learn to accept evaluations as part of your being a better speaker. As an evaluator you must learn to give good evaluations which helps any speaker and you the evaluator.
Many times whether you are speaking in front of a large audience or in front of a small meeting, knowing how to control a stage will be crucial to controlling your audience. In order to be successful, you need to practice on that stage before you give the actual speech.
One important aspect is to know your sight lines. You will need to walk all parts of your stage to see if every member of your audience can see you. There maybe columns blocking your audience sight lines. You will also need to sit in the different areas of where your audience sits and you must see what your audience sees.
What kind of lights are used to illuminate the staging area. Maybe there are no lights. Are there dark spots or areas that have too much light. What color are the lights? Is the color warm or cold in nature?
If you are using props, do you have an area on stage to store the props?
It is very simple to control your stage but you must first know your stage, the negatives and positives!
One of the side benefits for all speakers is having stage presence. Every speaker on stage in front of an audience, large or small, wants to command the stage and have the audience pay attention to every word that is uttered. Speakers study and practice their speaking skills to achieve this.
One side benefit that anyone who speaks achieves by developing a stage presence is what happens when they walk into a room. People who can command a stage will also command a room that they walk into. The same skills that are used to have a presence when they are in front of an audience can be used when they walk into a room filled with strangers. Many people think that the skills they develop for being in front of audience do not work when they walk into a meeting room or in a social setting. You must realize that the same skill sets that you develop to speak in front of an audience whether it is 300 people or 10 people will help you when you walk into any room whether it is a social gathering or a business meeting.
So, the next time when you into a room and want to command, mentally pretend that you are in fact walking on to a stage!