Mar
03

Public Speaking Training Courses – How They Help You Achieve Public Speaking Success

There are many effective public speaking training courses that are offered to a great degree of success. Most notable amongst such public speaking training courses are the ones offered by Toastmasters, Powertalk, etc. Here are some of the benefits that are offered by these training courses.

Fighting the Apprehensions and Nervousness

The training programs are aimed at helping you to conquer and overcome fear and nervousness that can engulfs you every time you face an audience. Public speaking training courses over a few sessions enables you to focus on the speech and the content without allowing nervousness and stage fear to distract your purpose. A lot of times, speakers face this problem due to lack of sufficient practice speaking to larger groups. The training courses organize sessions where individuals deliver prepared and impromptu speeches to the audience thereby getting better and better at it.

Memorising Techniques

Say for example if you were going to deliver a speech or presentation that might last an hour, then you will need to resort to memorising techniques to remember the content. Training courses help you with suitable techniques like mind mapping which allow you to remember what you wanted to speak about and deliver the entire content to the audience without being led astray.

Techniques to Use Voice Clarity and Elegance

Pubic speaking training courses offer a great benefit by teaching you how to use your voice clarity and elegance to charm the audience and appear more likeable. That is the hallmark of great speakers who use their command over language and themselves to captivate the audience.

Body Language and Gestures

Many things do not come naturally to good speakers either. Public speaking training courses help you to back your speech with confident body language and gestures like movement of hands and eye contact. Each of these aspects is important to maintain connection with your audience and deliver a more captivating speech.

Special Techniques to Address Various Aspects

Public speaking training courses teach a lot of things besides just delivering a speech confidently to the audience. A successful delivery involves using wit, humour, examples, anecdotes (as opposed to antidotes J) and demonstration using visual props too. Similarly, there might be need for some dramatisation. Speakers also need to be good at introduction, transition, summarising and conclusion to ensure that they have the audience’s attention at all times. All these aspects have to be taken care of if you want to achieve  public speaking success.

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Feb
26

7 Different Formats of Public Speaking

When it comes to public speaking, the key to success is your rhetoric. Choosing the correct format of speech is vital to the way an audience will receive what you say. Whether your goal is to inform, persuade, sell or inspire, there are various different disciplines to consider, and although they overlap, choosing the right one is imperative.

There are seven different formats of speech. Let’s have a look at all of them one-by-one.

Informative – When speaking informatively, it is your goal to educate people on a certain subject. It is important not to be explicitly persuasive as you are merely providing information. You should be specific in your details to allow the audience to absorb as much as possible.

Persuasive - Similar to speaking informatively, persuasive speech intends to provide information on a subject. In addition to this, you are using your words to influence an audience. There are different ways to convince people, but all involve appealing to a person’s logic, thinking or emotions.

Inspirational – Great orators have the ability to inspire the people that hear them speak. It is a form of persuasive speech but you are instead attempting to convince your audience that they themselves can change or achieve something. It is often used as a political technique as a way of rallying support.

Selling – A sales pitch is an attempt to convey to your audience why they want to buy your product. It is a presentation to initiate and close a sale. The best sales people are charismatic, confident and ensure they are warm to their audience. It is also important not to be too pushy, and to allow people to think they decide for themselves.

Impromptu - Impromptu speaking is notoriously difficult as it will involve little to no prior planning. It is common in many colleges and universities to have impromptu speaking competitions. The audience will often have no idea about the topic of the speech so it is important to construct your words in a simple and cohesive manner, and they are usually encouraged to be humorous.

Debating - This is also commonly competitive and is a method of interactive and representational dispute–a formal argument if you will. Public debating will often have competitors putting forth both sides to an argument. This conveys their ability to logically speak on any topic with ease.

Teaching - Teaching often encompasses all of the above speaking disciplines. What makes it different is that you do this from a point of authority. It is the job of a teacher to school students and pupils, sometimes in various different subjects and is a formal position. It is important for a teacher to maintain a level of control over a class; this is sometimes a difficult task, especially when dealing with younger children.

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Feb
23

An Exercise in Body Language and Body Mirroring

Body language is an  important skill to learn whatever the situation, but in particular a skill that very public speaker should have. The body language of a person shows his or her confidence when interacting with others.  Having the right Body language can also send out the right signals to the targeted audience which is often very important for people making speeches or presentations.

Mirroring Body Language

This is a technique which comes in quite handy when you want to build a very good rapport and communication with the other person. The body mirroring is a skill which you can use to create trust with someone and make the others feel comfortable that you both are similar. The term comes from the fact that it is the mirror neurons in the brain which copy the actions of others. There are many benefits of mirroring body language. It is quite normal to see sales people trying to copy the body language of their customers. This helps them to build a rapport with the customers and making them trust the person in return. Mirroring the body language will also help creating the feeling of similarity which could lead to better understanding.

The Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP

The NLP is a psychotherapy approach which is based a lot on interpersonal communication and establishing successful patterns of behaviour. NLP also creates belief through connection between neuro language processes and patterns in behaviour which is also based on the individual’s ability to learn from experience. The NLP is also useful to model oneself based on more successful or outstanding people who have been able to obtain results. NLP is used a lot to have influence especially in life coaching, self-help and management training to ensure that an individual grows more confident of handling others around.

Exercising Body Language

Often if you are speaking with someone, it is advised that you should try to get your eyes level and even match the breathing rate. A genuine rapport helps in a great way to build confidence with the audience and the demeanour adds to the congruency with the group in a great way. More importantly, body mirroring and body language are quite important in the sense that it helps parties to view a similar viewpoint and understand each other better. A lot of communication is non-verbal and body language is a major part of it. It includes involving gestures, expressions of the face and movements of the eye. Body mirroring and body language should therefore be practiced in every single conversation.

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Feb
19

The 10 Biggest Public Speaking Mistakes You Can Make

There are some mistakes that happen by chance and speakers can be forgiven for their bad luck.  But there are some public speaking mistakes which are made quite often below you will find a list of the 10 biggest public speaking mistakes you can make.

1.  Not Preparing Well

Not going enough deep into the subject matter and delivering a shallow speech is the biggest mistake the speaker can make. Speakers should respect the audience and prepare themselves well for the presentation.

2.  Ignoring the Audience

Every speech has to be tailor made for the audience. Ignoring the audience’s expertise or level of understanding and giving a speech is a grave sin.

3.  Speaking Monotonously

Speaking continuously in the same tone, almost mechanically is something every speaker should avoid. It is the duty of the speaker to involve the audience in the speech.

4.  Not Opening up the Platform

Speakers should not hog the entire length of the discussion. They should open the platform for questions and invite an open discussion that gets the audience involved.

5.  Not Looking at the Audience

Many speakers do not look at the audience but focus on the wall or the floor. Even if they do, they concentrate on just one or two members. Speakers should try to make eye contact with as many people as possible or at least give that impression.

6.  Getting into too much Technicality Straightaway

Speakers should not jump into serious technicalities which the audience is not aware of. There should be an introduction and a brief transition into the details and description.

7.  No Examples or Anecdotes

A speech bereft of examples, anecdotes, stories or humour could be mundane and very taxing upon the audience. Speakers should not commit the mistake of speaking only about their theories and the subject matter without making an effort to explain things better.

8.  Being Gross

While some speakers make the mistake of leaving out humour and wit entirely, others use gross and insensitive humour at times, which puts off some people in the audience.

9.  Not Taking Questions Supportively

Some speakers are very scornful or condescending when they receive questions. This attitude should be strictly avoided. In fact, speakers should be humble and try to connect to the audience and think from their perspective.

10.  Going on for Too Long

Going on and on with a speech will only tire the audience. If you have to give a long presentation, make it interactive, use images and visual aids and summarise every now and then.

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Feb
07

Tools to Help Give a Great Speech

When you would say tools, it is not about some machine doing the job for you. However, there are certain things which will help you give a better speech. Great orators don’t produce the speeches in their mind. They need research and they need good language too. Here are some of your best tools for a great speech.

iPad or Smartphone

Gone are the days when you could write down points on your cards and keep revising from them. Now you could use your iPad or even your entire smart phone to keep seeing your presentations or the speech that you would have saved online. In fact, speeches don’t have to be written on paper and ink any more as the soft copy would allow you to literally carry your speech everywhere. Technology will ensure that you always have access to your speech, until the big moment arrives.

Internet and Digital Library

Internet has advanced so much that you could start with nowhere and find content. Whether you want great quotations on a certain topic, a poem to start your speech or the best opening lines for a given topic, you will find it all on the Internet. The more time you have for your research, the greater will be the opportunity to find better lines for your speech. In fact, with smart phones, you can carry on your research anywhere at any point of time, on the Internet. If you have access to digital library with some great books, it becomes easier for you.

Thesaurus

Sometimes simple content might sound a bit drab. If a speech needs some flair, then you could use the thesaurus to give you some emphatic words to replace the simpler ones. However, you must remember at the back of your mind to not overdo it. A book of idioms and quotes would also be really helpful.

PowerPoint and Photoshop

These are the biggest tools for a great speech in the modern day. When you are talking about a certain subject, these two tools will allow you to provide facts and figures to your audience. You can also use images, make corrections to introduce special effects and markings to make the explanation far more engaging and interesting. Tables, graphs, charts and flow diagrams can all be made using these tools and in a lot many speeches, especially of the corporate world, you would find them very handy.

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Feb
02

The Benefits of Being Able to Speak In Front of an Audience

There are numerous benefits of being a good orator and to be able to speak in front of an audience. Some benefits are immediate like the approval of an audience while some benefits are long lasting. It is a great art to be able to speak well and like most other forms of art, needs loads of practice more than anything else.

Your Career

Irrespective of where you work and in what capacity, there would be chances where you get to speak to an audience. Whether it is the coffee table discussion with your colleagues or your business proposal to your manager and team mates, your ability to speak to an audience will influence how you are looked at. A lot of people have made a great career for themselves by speaking well to an audience that comprised of their managers and top management.

Sales Pitch to your Clients

If you own a start up or a small business, your speaking ability to an audience about your idea, service or product would decide your success. The ability to speak to an audience will help you sell your talent, service or product. Often the audience needs an explanation of what something is, whether it is a strategy or a brand. The audience uses your speech to decide subconsciously, how much trust you are worth of. A good and confident speaker always gains the trust of the audience, which is the key to success.

Motivation to your Subordinates

If you are a leader or a manager, your success depends on how well your team performs. In order for your team to do well, you will have to motivate your team mates and subordinates to give their best. If you sound confident and enthusiastic it rubs on to the others, allowing them to perform at their best. A good speaker always creates a buzz at the workspace enhancing the energy levels everywhere.

Popularity at an Informal Gathering

Very often at get-togethers and parties, some people seem to have bigger groups around them than others. This is because those people know how to hold an audience. At the end of the evening, they are the ones who make the most friends and acquaintances. A person who can speak to an audience and hold its attention will also be the most popular one. The audience looks up at them as intellectual and confident personalities who are fun to be with.

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Jan
29

Strategies to Convey Your Message, Thoughts and Vision Effectively

In order to deliver an effective strategy or presentation, it takes a lot more effort than an impromptu attempt on the stage. Depending on how important the speech or presentation is, you might need to prepare days or sometimes even months in advance. Here are some strategies that will help you deliver a memorable presentation or speech.

Make Notes on What You Would Want to Say

These notes would have a general draft on what you would like to speak about. They would be more like bullet points that you will wish to touch upon in the course of the presentation. These notes need not be elaborate, but descriptive enough to give you an idea when you visit them again. Don’t rely on your loose thoughts to carry you through. Give a concrete shape to your vision and thought and channelize them.

Choose the Order

You have to choose an order in which you will touch upon various points. This order is quite important because it determines the structure and flow that you are going to follow. Remember that it is always a good idea to go for a pyramid approach or a crescendo. In the former, you can start with the most important thing and then proceed. In the other approach, you build the subject towards a peak, which can then taper off into less important details. However, never leave the most important points till the end, because you might not be left with the attention of the audience by that time.

Elaborate on your Points

Once you choose the order, elaborate on the points you are making. If there are time constraints, it would be a good idea to decide beforehand how much time you will spend on each point. You can then add the information accordingly.

Anecdotes and Examples

The most important points should sound the most important as well. You can do so by adding some interesting anecdotes, humour, examples and stories to elaborate on them. A message can get across far more easily when you are narrating an example or a story.

Look for Statistics and Research the Background

One thing common in all great presentations is that the presenters are well prepared. Do a thorough research about the topic and the background if possible. This shouldn’t be a superficial effort. Have facts and figures ready, in case, anyone in the audience wants to know. Most importantly, think about all possible questions and try to find their answers with the right examples and statistics. Satisfying those who ask questions is one of the key aims of a good presentation.

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Jan
25

Public Speaking and PowerPoint Presentations – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Public speaking as well as PowerPoint presentations always have a lot on stake. In some cases, they could even be a make or break opportunity. Your speech to a target audience or your PowerPoint presentations to a group of executives could be the difference between an elusive promotion and the great drop.

The Good

A good public speech could make you a hero in the eyes of your audience. The importance of a public speech can never be emphasized enough. From times immemorial, great speeches have been able to mesmerise the powerful, motivate the subordinates and win the admiration of friends. A good speech can help get a point across whether it is a political meeting or a corporate affair. A coherent and confident proposal needs the backing of a good speech to win the trust of the audience. The speaker can also think of reaping rich dividends if he delivers. Careers have been built on great oratories and presentations and it could be one of the best opportunities that could come your way.

The Bad

Numerous things can go bad when you are making a public speech or a PowerPoint Presentation. One of the dangers of trying too hard is that you actually end up being more nervous and lose focus. A public speech or a PowerPoint presentation that doesn’t deliver the message across the audience could be termed a failure. Once again, this could be a major impediment in your career. Another common problem a lot of people face while making a speech or a presentation is a barrage of questions. Handling a lot of questions, some potentially unanswerable could make a real dent in your confidence too. If you walk away from the dais with a scathed self-esteem, that could be a bigger loss than actually not being able to clinch the deal.

The Ugly

There are things which lot of people are really scared of and hope it wouldn’t happen to them. As a student forgetting the speech midway was one such fear. However, as we grow up and become professionals forgetting the speech isn’t really a concern. However, a stuttering voice and incoherence of speech along with the accentuated shiver in the voice, often caused by nervousness are something beyond control. Giving the wrong explanation, stating an avoidable face or goofing up on a proper explanation, leaving the dais with the audience in a confused state, could be the ugliest things that could happen, although practice can reduce their chances to a great extent.

A speech too is like a song. Some notes are soft and some high. Good speeches always have some emphatic lines, which represent the crescendo of an idea that will stick with the audience.

Speech Should Have Flair but Should Not Be Over-Bombastic

A speech should have flair in it. However, it shouldn’t go over the top of the audience’s head. Whether it is the language, the facts, the stories or anything else, the audience should be able to make sense of it.

The Speech Should Connect

When you write a speech, try to address the question, what is in it for the audience. Invariably, you will create a great speech.

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Jan
21

How to Write an Unforgettable Speech in 7 Easy Steps

Writing an unforgettable speech is to deliver a message that is indelible and sticks to the mind of the listeners. Great speeches have to be crafted carefully and here are some tips.

Get the Attention of the Audience

Most great speeches take the audience on a ride. Invariably the ride begins with the first sentence spoken out by the speaker. If you don’t begin the speech well, you lose the audience’s attention and so you have to go the extra distance to get back their attention. The trick is to never lose it from the first line.

Begin Well and Differently

The key to winning their attention is to begin differently than other speakers, if there are any, and also from what the audience is expecting. Some good speakers startle the audience with an interesting fact or announcement. Some start with a quote. Others start with a story. Each time the beginning is different and enraptures the audience.

A Speech Shouldn’t Miss Humour

Even the best of speeches should have an element of humour. The timing too is important. The audience, irrespective of how serious the topic of the speech is should get something to cheer about. That brings them into the conversation. After all, that is the difference between a lecture in the classroom and a speech.

The Speech Should Be Well Structured

A good speech should have a gist. A great speech never fails to pass on that gist. Every member in the audience should be a part of the speech as a though process being discussed. This means there should be a definitive structure. You start with A, go to B, then to C and so on. However, the audience should be able to see clearly the transition from theme A to B and understand the relation.

Speech Should Have Emphatic Lines

A speech too is like a song. Some notes are soft and some high. Good speeches always have some emphatic lines, which represent the crescendo of an idea that will stick with the audience.

Speech Should Have Flair but Should Not Be Over-Bombastic

A speech should have flair in it. However, it shouldn’t go over the top of the audience’s head. Whether it is the language, the facts, the stories or anything else, the audience should be able to make sense of it.

The Speech Should Connect

When you write a speech, try to address the question, what is in it for the audience. Invariably, you will create a great speech.

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Jan
17

How to Create a Strong First Impression on an Audience

Creating a strong first impression on an audience is perhaps the most important thing for a speech. In some cases, it could almost decide how your speech or presentation is going to proceed. First impression is considered to be the best impression by some while for a few others; it is also the last impression. So you have to plan the opening of a speech or a presentation very carefully.

A Bit of Drama is not Bad

Some speakers have a style of startling the audience right at the beginning even before they greet the audience a very good morning, afternoon or evening. Invariably, the drama is created by a serious question, an emphatic quote, a well known poem or some recent publicized comments, all of which should be related to the topic at hand. This form of start wakes the audience from their slumber and makes them sit and watch. This also builds the anticipation around the speech. The audience would be looking to find out what they want to know.

Make Them Laugh

No matter is so serious, unless at a funeral, that you cannot make a funny remark. Make the audience laugh and they will love you and give you their undivided attention. Humour is often underestimated when it comes to speeches and presentations. But the truth is, humour is a great ice breaker and it helps everyone to relax. In a way, it makes a speech feel less like a speech and more like a conversation, both to you and the audience. This is because humour allows audience to respond while you speak. Their laughter is their feedback and approval of what you said that doesn’t have to wait till the end. In short, you begin to engage the audience and what else could be a better way to begin?

Provide Some Good Handouts

If the audience is limited, provide some high quality handouts, and you get their attention even before you speak the first sentence. They have an idea of what you are going to speak about. So you only have to go up there and deliver it well.

Continue from the Previous

If you are speaking in a seminar or your presentation is one of many at that point of time, it is a great idea to start from the previous topic by saying how engaging the discussion was. This way you are beginning with something the audience know about and might agree. You are also showing them how attentive you were, indirectly asking them to do the same for your speech.

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