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.

Follow the Bouncing Ball

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One potential problem for some speakers is keeping track of where they are going in their presentation. One method is using notes. These notes provide a roadmap of where to go. Of course if you accidently shuffle your notes, you may put them out of order. If the font is small, they may be hard to read. Notes have advantages and dis-advantages.

Another simple method is to use a written outline. Then memorize this outline and turn it into a mind map. As you speak you can visualize this mind map to see where you are going in your speech. Of course, making the mind map overly complex defeats your original purpose. As you speak you can mentally see your major points and pretend there is a bouncing ball going from one point to another. Your minor points can be simply just words and your bouncing ball can go from one point to another as if you were watching subtitles on a movie screen.

The key is having a simple and effective method to lead your audience.

Your Elevator Speech

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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!

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Making A Great Impression

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It does not take long for someone to have an impression of you; maybe three seconds would do. To make a great first impression here are three critical factors.

  • Be on time — In today’s world of someone doing their own thing, punctuality is still important if you want to make a good first impression. Respecting your audiences’ time will always work in your favor.
  • Dress for Success — A great rule of thumb is to dress professionally at all times. Suit and tie or a well matched sport jacket shirt and tie. Yes I know about business casual. Unless you know that is appropriate, dress up, for you can always dress down by removing your tie or jacket. However, if you do not have it you cannot dress up.
  • Smile — It is the counter sign of Friendship – A sincere smile makes you friendly and the audience will respond in a positive way.

Consistency, One Key to success!

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Which effort has more hours involve? Working fifteen minutes a day, five days a week for two months or just one eight hour work day. There answer is they both involved the same number of hours. The more important question might be is which is easier of the two options. Many people will say that doing fifteen minutes a day is easier.

If you want to be a better speaker, trainer or just about anything in life, it is best to be consistent and do something every day. For example, speaking at any opportunity will make you a better speaker and help guide you to practices that will increase your skill sets.

In conjunction with being consistent, people need to develop the discipline to be consistent. Discipline and consistency work hand in hand and are 2 major factors for success.

An old saying once said, ‘Inch by inch is a cinch, yard by yard is hard’.

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What Type of Speech are you giving? Part 2

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The last type of speech is the extemporaneous. The dictionary definition states: it is made up or done without preparation. Most people consider extemporaneous or impromptu speaking as interchangeable. In the world of public speaking it is the opposite. Experience speakers will tell you that an extemporaneous speech is thoroughly planned but not memorized.

This allows a speaker when confronted with an unplanned event such as the projector failing, to deal with the event and then proceed without any problem. If during your speech an audience member raises their hand, you can answer their question and then continue.

An extemporaneous speech is carefully planned and prepared. This is also followed by extensive practice. Since the speaker is not memorizing the speech, they may try different words or phrases to capture the desired effect. During the speech the speaker may have practice one phrase or gesture then decide to use a different one.

Using a memorized or impromptu or extemporaneous speech is dependent on circumstances and personal style. The key is to experiment and find what works best.

What Type of Speech are you giving? Part 1

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In speaking there are three types of speeches; memorized, extemporaneous and impromptu.

With a memorized speech everything is memorized; your words, hand gestures, body movements and stage actions. At any given moment, if someone has your notes, they know exactly what you will say and how you will say it. Winston Churchill after giving a very bad speech, decided that he would always give memorized speeches. He practiced hours on his words, gestures, body movements and even his ‘mistakes’. To make your speech sound natural rather than memorized, the key point is to practice. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to look natural.

The other end of spectrum is the impromptu speech. This speech can be a twenty minute business presentation or a thirty second elevator speech. The keys to success are speaking skills, practice and knowledge. You can have the knowledge, however if your skills are lacking, everyone will know. With great speaking skills, you can fool people with your lack of knowledge, only for a short time.

Our last type of speech, extemporaneous, is in part 2.