Featured: Public Speaking & ToastMasters

Discussion in 'Articles & Tutorials' started by howdoi, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. howdoi

    howdoi
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    Just wanted to share a quick tip about preparing a speech or presentation, regardless of your industry.This is something that I have done, and it works every time.

    Using powerpoint is something that I personally abhor, as I have always felt that it detracts from the art of public speaking, and instead gives the presenter the chance to have, use, and rely on an electronic crutch. In the event that the computer or projector breaks, catches fire, etc, a person who had their entire spiel in powerpoint may find themselves completely at a loss.

    I suggest preparing a speech first off by writing the entire thing down, and practicing as much as possible. Once you have that firmly in your head, use powerpoint as a way to add a bit of visual flare to the speech. A slide here, a chart there, but ensure that you yourself are the focus of the presentation, and not the screen. Otherwise, the audience goes into Zombie Mode, nodding from time to time, and struggling to keep their eyes open. Move about the stage or room, and return to the computer only to change slides, if you do not have a remote.

    To sum up, learn and practice public speaking first, and THEN go on to enhance the speech with visual aids.

    All the best!
     
  2. businessamateur

    businessamateur
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    Good advice Howdoi.

    I thought I was extremely good at public speaking until I decided to take a communication class at my college last semester. I have to admit that I learned more in that one class than I have in my whole life.

    What you have said is exactly what needs to be done. The only thing I would add is that instead of memorizing the speech, a person should make a detailed outline. That way even if you forget a line, your whole speech does not get lost and panic does not set in.

    I used to practice at least 5 to 6 times to ensure that I know exactly what I am talking about.

    One thing a person should do that is extremely important is to prepare for questions regarding what they have just talked about. If nobody from the audience ends up asking a question, you should have one ready to mention. For example: you can say something along the lines of "One question I normally get regarding this subject is... " and then continue to answer the question.

    Good public speakers have the power to sway opinion and any good marketer will be a good communicator.
     
  3. howdoi

    howdoi
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    Yes, sorry, what I meant by having the speech/presentation Firmly in your head was not to memorize the entire thing. Instead, much like a good book that you have read many times, you know what is coming next as you read through, and regardless of the fact that you cannot quote word for word, you know enough that if needed, you could provide a detailed account of the story to a stranger.

    So, if you know the speech in the sense of what comes after what, the use of visual aids will act as a reminder for you while on stage.
     
  4. Kay

    Kay
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    The problem with Powerpoint is that if your slides are too detailed, the audience will read ahead and not listen to what you're saying while they do so. They no longer focus upon you because they don't need to and what you go on to say will sound stale because there are no surprises. Better to have only a few words on it that are more like indicators of what you're going to talk about than a dozen lines of text you repeat parrot fashion.

    I hate nothing more than a presenter than just reads straight off the slides and spends three quarters of the time presenting a side view of themselves as they do so, barely glancing at the audience in case they lose their place. Give your talk a bit of personality and you'll be remembered. You can't expect to engage your audience if you're not even looking at them!
     
  5. Remotestaff

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    It also helps to consider the average attention/interest span of audiences. Studies have shown that people only listen attentively for not more than 10-15 minutes, then their attention would drift and then boredom seeps in.

    So when doing a long speech, make sure you structure your speech in such a way that every 10 minutes length (or so) of your spiels, you inject a bit of humor to make them laugh...or enjoin the audience in a short activity that would mitigate boredom.
     
  6. ryan1510

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    I agree. I don't think that powerpoint is appropriate for every presentation, for example, if you are motivating a group to sell more, they usually know the product and the methods of selling. Your goal is to make them want to sell more. Thus slides of explanations, graphs, charts, lists, pictures, and definitions are not needed. You need to really connect with the audience.
     
    #6 ryan1510, Jul 6, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  7. Lingua21

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    Remember that for any one slide in Powerpoint you don't have to display all of the points at once. Also. for some people, the message sticks better if they can actually see something displayed in writing. The Powerpoint presentation also gives members of the audience the chance to go back to previous points which they may not have understood from the speech, especially if the presenter is a poor communicator.
     
  8. businessamateur

    businessamateur
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    I was in transfer student orientation at San Francisco State University today so we had a few speakers.

    There were approximately 200 students sitting in the hall and we had one person on the microphone talking. When a student would ask him a question, he never repeated it back for everyone to hear before he answered it. Most people would not hear what question was asked, which is one thing a good speaker must do.

    The reason it is crucial to repeat the question back to the audience is not only because it makes other people feel less neglected, others might also have the same question. Maybe a person have never even thought of this question before, so by repeating it to the whole audience before answering, it could help out more than just one person.
     
  9. seanstevens

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    I have done a few speeches at conferences and a few lectures at a University. The use of Powerpoint changes for each presentation. When I am doing lectures, I use a lot of PP slides, however the majority of them will only have pictures on which represents the what I am going to be talking about. This prompts a reaction from the students and prompts questions that they may not have thought about at the start of the lecture.
     
  10. aptgal

    aptgal
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    I hate public speaking. They say public speaking is everyone's number on fear and dying is number 2. I guess people would rather die than speak in public. Funny.
     
  11. alel

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    It was just a matter of practices. I also got chickened when asked for public speaking or give talk on certain subject/topic.. Bust now my work required me to give talk to more than 40 people per week and every weeks for this whole year, my confidence hiked up and I beginning to like it!

    I even seriuosly considering or looking for future own business in giving talk to people since I have quite a good background spanning in few industries (agriculture, ICT, Business and Management).

    Hmm.. I'm now planning to modifed my excess parking lot in front of my house into a medium-sized seminar room
     
  12. houstonVijai

    houstonVijai
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    As soon I saw the topic headline, I was lured to check it out and comment on because it is my favorite topic. I am a Toastmaster. Does any of you know about Toastmasters and Toastmasters Club? It is an international Club which is been around for almost 50 years and helps build public speaking and leadership skill. It is very affordable. I was a toastmaster since 2000 and just taking a break a bit. I have done almost 30 speeches while I was very religious about it and active member. I have completed 2 level out of 4 level in an effort to reach Distinguished Speaker level.

    As ther other person said, it is considered number one on the list of fears. But when you master it, it comes off very easily. Toastmaster is just an avenue to get some practice to master it. That's all. Practice makes perfection. It is all about Practice, Practice, Practice. When I gave my first speech in 2001. I was really comfortable and too damn feared about wrecking my image. Now, I don't care for it. I will just wing any speech even if I got only 10 mins to prepare for it. It is all because of toastmasters. I really encourage you all to check out any near by club and try it out atleast once. You can find out more at www.toastmasters.org


    You can check out some good speeches from my old toastmaster blog at http://spotlightvideo.blogspot.com/ which I don't have time to maintain these days.

    My website should also have good links which talks about speech preparation and other important points on public speaking. Check it out.

    Happy speaking!!!
     
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  13. White80

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    Getting comfortable and confident in front of an audience is seen as important. I go to improv sessions every week. It doesn't cost much and it has certainly improved my confidence!!

    Best,

    Joe
     
  14. Fergal

    Fergal
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    houstonVijai great to see you here again. Thanks for those ToastMasters links. I've found my local group and will consider contacting them about joining.

    In what ways did being a member of ToastMasters help you?
     
  15. Kay

    Kay
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    Hey there houstonVijai, nice to see you around! :) I'd heard of the Toastmasters clubs but didn't know anyone that was in one until now. I think that's very brave of you to sign up. What kind of size of audience did you have to present to at these groups? Do you find it easier to present to a smaller or bigger group, or just about the same? I'm really interested in hearing about your experiences there and am watching a video now.
     
  16. alel

    alel
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    About public speaking, the most important stuff that we need to focus on after you have conquer your fear is yout ability to transmit the message you want to relay effectively.
     
  17. houstonVijai

    houstonVijai
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    Toastmaster is all about speaking and fun...

    Hey Fergal & Kay,

    Good to be here and contribute. It has been tough and it is going to get hard for me to find time while I am starting to prepare for my CFP exams coming up in Nov 2010.

    Alel, sorry to hijack your post man. Just couldn't resist to talk about Toastmasters.

    Public speaking is not just speaking infront of audience. Public Speaking is an Art. It has lot of components and Toastmasters club is just a simple avenue to help improve using those arsenals to excel.

    I been toastmaster for almost 8 years but just took a break since last year because of my other personal commitment. Once you are attracted, it is hard to leave. To answer fergal question, it helped both personally and professionaly. I come from a non-english mother tongue country. I speak Tamil which is a language in one of the state in India. But I studied everything in English and graduated in English medium. I know the basics but not perfect in english. I never concentrated my English grammer classes when I was at school and now I struggle for it.

    Being said about my background, you can imagine how hard to survive in a country where English is the sole communication language. I was able to manage day to day work but I wanted more. I want to speak with confidence and much more. Thats when I discovered Toastmasters. It was life saver. After a year, I completed my first book - 10 projects. I was able to speak confidently with any English speaking men. My grammer still sucks but I can make it up. I started writing blogs in public websites and now in my own websites. I gave speech infront of 500 people without much fear. I was president and VP for many toastmaster clubs.Currently, I act as keynote speaker or host in my dept functions. That much difference.

    Toastmaster setup is not just about public speaking. It is about leadership development as well. You take on roles and act on it. Most clubs have set agenda and they work on time. Usually 3 parts to a meeting, 1st part - prepared speech given by members working on their book projects, 2nd part - Table topics - Impromptu speech - helps to build to speak on your toes and final part evaulation - Experienced toastmasters evaluate and give feedback on the speech given. Thats the basic 3 parts of the meeting. THere are different levels which can be accomplished. First 10 project you complete, you become Component Toastmaster, next 10 speech on two different category - Advanced Toastmaster and so forth. Most of the clubs have members from 10 -20 or more. Most active clubs get 20 or members for a meeting and only 2-3 members give speech because of time constraint. THey do half yearly speech competition and winner from club goes to compete against winners from Area, then division, then district and at the international level. Every year, there is a international speaking competition held in August and it just got over for this year. It is a big to accomplish. Many people changed their live after toastmaster, example Darren Lacroix is one of them.

    Toastmaters taught me about goal setting, about organizing the speech and much more. I owe a lot to toastmasters. I think thats enough information to peak all you interest. A word of caution, don't go with big expectations. Just go and have fun and have one goal to start with that is to overcome the fear of speaking. You will notice the difference in few months once you start participating.
     
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  18. Fergal

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    Thanks ever so much for giving such a detailed explanation of ToastMaters houstonVijai, that's really excellent and I'm sure they'd be proud of how well you promote them. You've sold me on them :) and I'll almost definitely go along to my local ToastMaster's group meeting when they start up again in September.
     
  19. houstonVijai

    houstonVijai
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    Fergal, Thats great. You will surely like it otherwise you are not going lose anyting. Atleast you tried.

    There is nothing to promote. I owe them so much, it is hardly anything. I believe in policy, "You will get what you want by helping others what they want"
     
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  20. Andrew Clark

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    Thanks and nice to all who participated in here. This information also applies to those individual who align themselves as business keynote speaker.
     

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