Huh…it’s my fault?


There are 3 possible audience reactions to any speech, whether you speaking to 1000 people or just one person. On one end of the speaking spectrum, your audience craves more of you speaking. The other end of the spectrum, people feel that their time was wasted. Between these two ends of the spectrum is the middle ground where everyone considers your speech just average and ordinary.

The hard fact of life is that you are responsible. If your speech is successful or less than successful, it is your fault. This is a difficult concept for many speakers to deal with.

However, once you have accepted this premise, it makes being a better speaker easier. You begin to search out the tools to make you better. You might decide that recording all your speeches is the best way to learn. Seeking mentors or mastermind groups to evaluate you maybe another tool that is used. However if you enlist a mentor and that person suggests changes that you are not comfortable with or you feel is not the best, remember, ultimately your audience’s reaction is on your shoulders.

Remember, concentrate on being the best, not who to blame.



What the Nightly News Programs can Teach Speakers

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How many speakers watch the nightly news programs and applied what they learned to their presentations? The key point that you can take away is how fast the announcers go from one story to the next. Stories are compact, short lived and quickly grab your attention. In a space of 30 minutes, you may have many stories.

The danger of not constantly holding your audience’s attention is that they may mentally use their brain as a remote control and zap you to the next channel. This maybe simply just daydreaming or looking at their smartphone.

Your forty-five minute presentation may be one topic, however think in terms of five to six minute scenes. Each scene is built around your points and sub-points. Also in each scene there is a sentence that you deliberately inserted to direct your audience to what you want them to take away.

Learn from the best, to make your presentation the best.

The Unspoken Agenda Between the Audience and Speaker.

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During most speeches, there is an agenda between the speaker and the audience. Speakers may want to have the audience ‘do something’ or ‘take some sort of action.’ They are going to present facts, figures and anecdotes to convince the audience on why they should. If done correctly, there will be action on the part of the audience.

On the other hand, the audience is making a decision on whether not this is something they want to do. They will take the information given and decide if this is valuable to them and their time will not be wasted. During the final second if the speaker did everything correct, the audience will say; “This speaker is absolutely correct and I need to do this!”

Some presentations have no impact on their audiences because this idea is not taken into consideration. To be successful in a presentation think of your ideas as sharp arrows shot by a bow to the bull’s eye, rather a scatter gun approach.

Your Elevator Speech


You’re waiting for the elevator and someone joins you. You strike up a conversation with light chatter, then the elevator arrives. You both enter and select floors: you’re going to three, your fellow rider is going to two. As the elevator door closes, you get the question, “What do you do?”

Fumbling for words, you start, “Well…I…”, and then the elevator door opens. Your fellow rider gets out, quickly, never to be seen again. Whatever hope you had for revenue generation with that person dies with the door closing. Before the realization of this communication failure sets in, the elevator door opens at your floor. Now, you must pick up the pieces and recover before your next encounter craters before you.

What could have prevented that experience? The answer is: Your Elevator Speech.

The Elevator Speech is a 6-12 word blast that conveys the essence of your mission to potential customers. Its intent is to produce the “Scooby Doo Effect”: where Scooby quickly turns his head and shouts, ”shoink?!” Once you have their attention, you have them on your side, and the ball is rolling.

Sayings like, “I’m a motivational speaker”, or “I build web sites” are not Elevator Speeches, although they do meet the word count criteria. But “I inspire people to climb mountains”, or “My students produce Award Winning Web Experiences” could be.

Examine where you are and why I should choose you over the hoard of people who claim they are who you are. Give me a reason to choose you. Give me that ”shoink?!” Moment. Start working on Your Elevator Speech NOW!



The opposite view!!


One of the best ways to improve as a speaker is to video record your speeches. This recording of you speaking allows the analysis of all aspects of your speaking skills. You can see your hand gestures, body movements and facial expressions. You can listen to the audience and hear your cadence, inflections and tone of voice.

One view that is often times overlooked is to record the audience. The benefit to recording your audience as you speaks allows you to analysis the audience’s reactions to your words and stage presence. If parts of your speech are boring or not understandable, the audience facial expressions will show. If you are walking back and forth across the stage like a ping-pong ball. You will see this in your audience’s head movements.

Another benefit of recording from this angle is that you can use some of the footage in any video that you take for your website or promotional materials.

So remember always record your speech from your perspective and your audience’s perspective.

The Hook!

hooksIn any speech opening, people are going to decide whether to play with their iPhone or listen to you. In the first thirty to sixty seconds of any social interactions, people make judgement decisions. Why should listening or not listening to your speech be any different?

The opening of your speech has to grab the audience. It has to make them want to invest their time in listening to your speech. You do not want to start your speech with a boring beginning. There are many techniques you can use to grab people’s attention.

You can ask a thought-provoking question. You can give a challenging statement or facts. You can hold a prop that will catch people’s attention. You can begin with a powerful personal story. The list is only limited by your imagination.

You need to look at the first sixty seconds of your speech as the hook which you then reel in the audience.


Now What?


As you close your speech, your audience is going to be thinking two questions. First, is the speaker really coming to the end of their speech? Secondly, now what does the speaker want me to do with all of this information?

Many audiences have listened to speakers who don’t quite know how to end their speech. Some dawdle towards to their ending. Others end their speech on a dead stop leaving audiences in a lurch. The best way is to simply announce by saying, “in conclusion… or to summarize…” Or you can briefly restated your main points by saying, “let me finish by restating two main ideas to take away…” When the audience knows the end is near, they generally pay more attention.

The last few minutes of your speech or presentation is what your audience is going to remember about your material and you. This is where your parting thought, challenge or action answers the second question.