Be the spark! Ignite action with your talk

In this post, you’ll find tips you can use to help motivate your listeners to turn your words into action. And through that action, people can solve the problem they have – which is what brought them to hear you speak in the first place.

As author and researcher Andrew Abela puts it:

“If you’re trying to solve a problem for them,
then whatever you give them is going to be
interesting to them.”

So trying to solve your listeners’ problem certainly keeps them engaged. But how exactly can you help people turn your words into action? I recommend you use this 3-part model:
Continue reading

Advertisements

Should you tell a deeply personal story? 3 ways to help you decide, from @KindraMHall [Video]

How do you decide whether to tell a deeply personal story in public, such as at work?

In this 4-minute video, Kindra Hall gives you 3 ways to help you choose whether (and how) to share a tricky story like that:

Recently, I came across Kindra’s work online, and I love it! She shares some great advice, and the topic she’s passionate about is storytelling.

In this video, her 3 main points are:
Continue reading

Strengthen your words – 5 simple speaking tips you can use today

cool-729445_640If you use weak words, you weaken your message. So to make what you say more vivid and compelling, you should rarely use words like “very” or “really”.

For instance, instead of saying “very good” or “very bad”, you could use stronger adjectives – like “superb” or “awful”.

That’s what well-known public-speaking blogger John Zimmer wrote recently, and I agree.

In fact John shared a handy list of almost 150 words you could use when you’re tempted to say “very”. (The list was originally compiled by Jennifer Frost.)

Does that mean you should never say “very”? No, it doesn’t. As John says:

“[Very] has its place when used sparingly”

To my mind, that’s because sometimes when you avoid “very”, you might cause 1 or more of these 4 problems, where you choose a stronger word that:

Continue reading

Critique of Toastmasters video: “Managing Fear”

Have you ever stood in front of an audience and felt so nervous that you couldn’t remember what you wanted to say?

I’m sure you’ve been nervous about speaking in public

I bet you can relate to that feeling, and even if you’ve never felt exactly that way, I’m sure you’ve been nervous about speaking in public. (I have, for sure!)

Because so many people can relate to that question, and it’s emotionally charged, it’d make a great opening line for a talk on public speaking.

In fact, it is the opening line for the 3½-minute Toastmasters video below. At least, you could say it’s the opening line – or you might argue it’s not.

More on that shortly, but 1st, why not watch the video and make up your own mind?
Continue reading

Starting your talk with a startling statistic – 3 examples [Video]

You’ve likely heard it said that opening your talk with a startling statistic helps you grab people’s attention. But what exactly does that technique look and sound like?

In this post, you’ll see 3 clear examples on video, and I’ll discuss key takeaways from each. So you’ll come away with solid tips you can use in your own talks.

Ultimately, I hope these examples inspire you to use some startling statistics yourself.

Here’s what you’ll find in this post – you can click any of these links to skip ahead:
Continue reading

Gesture from right to left in your talk [Video]

Here’s a tip you might like, because it’s used by elite professional speakers. Three points about the tip are that it’s:

  • Subtle
  • Counter-intuitive
  • Yet surprisingly effective!

Let me show you how it works

In your talk, suppose you’re discussing the passage of time, or the steps in a process, or items in a list. At times like those, you might often gesture with a sideways movement of one or both arms (or hands, or with your whole body – depending on factors like the size of the room, how much emphasis you want to add, and so on).

If you don’t think about what you’re doing – and you don’t practise on video beforehand – you’ll likely gesture from your left to right, because that’s what feels natural to you.

Take a look at this 5-second example to see what that type of gesture looks like:

Note: If you’d like to replay the clip, please use this link to open it on another tab, because when embedded in a blog post, YouTube doesn’t support replaying a clip from the same point. (Or, you can press F5 to refresh the page, and then click the video below again.)


 
Continue reading

Secret #5 of star presenters: @TEDchris on persuading your audience [Video]

Here’s a brilliant metaphor (plus advice) for giving a talk. It comes from Chris Anderson (curator of TED), speaking recently at TED Global in the UK.

Take people on a mental journey step-by-step

In setting up his metaphor, he says that when you speak, your main task is like cloning your talk’s core message into your listeners’ heads. So to do that, he asserts that because of how the brain works, you need to take people on a mental journey step-by-step from their current state to one where they’ve accepted your message.

You might already know the metaphor of treating your talk as a journey. For me though, the best part of Chris’s version comes next, when he asks rhetorically:

What are the 2 things you need to do to persuade people to
come with you on a journey?

And he answers with this fantastic quote:
Continue reading

Free public-speaking class (in Sydney, via @AuthenticBen)

presenter with megaphone

The best 2 hours I’ve ever spent…

Are you serious about wanting to improve your public speaking? If so, do yourself a favour and listen to what Benjamin J Harvey has to say about it. I did that last Wednesday night, and it was probably the best 2 hours I’ve ever spent on improving my presentation skills!

What a great move that was!

Ben’s a Sydney-based entrepreneur who offers occasional free public-speaking workshops. (Wherever you live, you might also like these 5 free public-speaking courses.) As I’m in Sydney too, and his workshop happens just every few months, I took the chance to go along. What a great move that was!

Why so great? There are 3 factors: Continue reading

When you speak, how often and how long should you pause? Best answer: “Try 1-2-3”

pause when presenting 1-2-3You might have heard public-speaking experts recommend pausing when you’re presenting. But how often – and for how long – should you pause during your talk? Continue reading

Toastmasters vs. Speaking Circles – what are their strengths?

strength - presenter lifting weightsOdds are, you want to improve your public speaking – no matter what your skill level is. Happily you’ve several options, one of the best-known being Toastmasters. (If it’s new to you, you can watch how Toastmasters meetings work in a professional video.)

A second option is Speaking Circles, first founded in the US by Lee Glickstein. You can read chapter 1 of Lee’s book Be Heard Now! online. I thought the chapter was extremely intriguing and appealing, so in this post I’ll highlight the key differences between the Toastmasters and Speaking Circles approaches. Continue reading