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Public Speaking 101

An All-Inclusive Resource on
Writing, Researching, and Delivering an Enlightening,
Effective, and Entertaining Speech
Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 3
Chapter 1: Mastering the ABCs of Public Speaking .......................................................... 5
Chapter 2: Overcoming Stage Fright ................................................................................ 17
Chapter 3: Developing Compelling Presentations ............................................................ 21
Chapter 4: Stand and Deliver ............................................................................................ 35
Chapter 5: Click Here for Technology.............................................................................. 44
Chapter 6: There‘s More… ............................................................................................... 50
More Public Speaking Resources ..................................................................................... 55
Epilogue ............................................................................................................................ 57
Believe it or not, most people would rather die than speak in front of an audience.
That‘s right; one survey found that 65% of us are more afraid of speaking publicly than
pushing up daisies. The stats should provide consolation to us, however. If the majority
of folks are just as uncomfortable with public speaking as we are then we know that
feeling anxiety before giving a speech is normal. In fact, even the best speakers in the
world experience fear prior to speaking publicly, they‘re just able to overcome it so they
can speak effectively.

If knowing that other speakers are just as frightened as you are doesn‘t provide
comfort, try uncovering the root of your fear. In most instances, people‘s fears about
public speaking are based on misinformation as well as false expectations about the roles
of the speaker and the audience. Once you understand the truth about public speaking,
you‘ll be able to rise above your fears and deliver your next speech with style and grace.

Just think, what would have happened if people like Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Ghandi, and J. Krishnamurti would have kept their wonderful ideas to themselves? The
world would never have gotten the full benefit of their knowledge. The same is true for

Public Speaking has its Benefits

As you move in different circles, you‘ll notice that public speaking will become a
necessity for the most basic social settings. At a chapter meeting, you may be asked to
read the announcements or give an update on the projects you‘re involved in. If you can
speak effectively in these and various other settings, you will become an example to
others and foster the success of the movement.

If you truly want to help spread the message of The Zeitgeist Movement and/or
The Venus Project, then you will need to sharpen and ultimately perfect your public
speaking skills. Giving way to your anxieties is no excuse for having a meltdown at the
podium. It‘s not that your audience doesn‘t accept that you have fears; but they‘ll expect
that you‘ll rise to the occasion.

That said, there are a few things that you can do to prepare for your public
speaking engagements. This e-book, focuses on the long list of factors that you should do
to ensure that your speeches are consistently enlightening, effective, and entertaining
(when necessary) speech. |
Public Speaking Tips and Techniques
The study of public speaking is interdisciplinary. To that end, you can expect this
e-book to cover a wealth of subjects that go beyond the actual presentation of the speech.
Much of your public speaking success will depend on what you do before and after the
speech as well as what you do when you deliver your message. So don‘t be surprised if
you come across some information that you don‘t immediately see as a means to improve
your public speaking. It‘s all connected.

Here‘s what you‘ll be able to do after reading this guide:

Understand and appreciate public speaking basics;

Develop presentations that are compelling and relevant to your audience;
Improve your communication, confidence, and credibility;
Conclude your speech in a memorable, positive manner;
Respond to questions with competence and finesse;
Use proven methods for developing a strong relationship with your
Use guides and sources to strongly support your speech;
Fine-tune your speaking style so that it supports your message;
Determine how technology and visual aids can be effectively used to
complement—not overshadow—your presentation;
Find additional resources to help you further improve your public
speaking skills.

Talking the Talk

If public speaking has always been a challenge for you, there‘s good news. Few
people are born with superior public speaking skills, most acquire them. As long as you
are willing to learn and implement the techniques featured in this e-book, then you can
and will be an effective public speaker. |
Chapter 1: Mastering the ABCs of Public Speaking
Use soft words and hard arguments.
~English Proverb

The buzz words in the Real Estate profession are location, location, location! In
the world of public speaking, the great orators are buzzing about preparation, preparation,
preparation! If you think public speaking is mostly about your performance on stage,
you‘re misinformed. If you don‘t properly prepare for your speech, you‘ll never
effectively communicate and connect with your audience. And if you don‘t do that,
you‘ve just wasted precious time—theirs and yours!

Unfortunately, a lot of people take the phrase ―public speaking‖ and think that‘s
essentially what oral presentations are all about—speaking in a public forum. But, that
explanation is much too simple to include everything you need to know before you get in
front of an audience. In fact, when you actually get on stage that‘s just the end result of
everything else you‘ve done beforehand to prepare for that moment—it‘s really the

So how can you prepare for your public speaking finale? Master the basics and
keep building. This e-book is organized in that fashion. It takes you from the planning
page to the brightly-lit stage. In this chapter, we‘ll discuss some of the public speaking
fundamentals so you‘ll be clear on your goals, understand the parts of your speech,
organize your thoughts, familiarize yourself with the types of delivery methods, and
implement some initial strategies for success.

Going for the goal!

Before you hit the stage, you need to identify your primary objective. What do
you want to accomplish when you speak? What information is the audience expecting
from you? What do you want to happen once your speech is over? What is the general
purpose for your speech?

Your responses to these questions and others will help you determine the type of
speech you plan to deliver as well as what approach will be most effective in delivering
your message. For our discussion, there are four general purposes for a speech: to inform,
inspire, persuade, and entertain. Your speech may be designed to accomplish one or more
of these purposes or all of them. For instance, a speaker‘s message may be to persuade an
audience to accept a certain view but to accomplish this, he might provide extensive
information on a topic as means to convince them. Similarly, you might add humor to an
informative or persuasive message to make the speech equally entertaining. |
You can only shape your speech once you understand what you want your speech
to accomplish and settle on one or more of the following objectives:

To Inform: Informative speeches are designed to educate your audience

on a particular topic. Depending on your subject matter, you can do this by
using facts, anecdotes, or other illustrations. The point to remember is that
the primary objective of an informative speech is to provide the audience
with some new, interesting, and compelling information. Though
informative speeches can offer several main points, most experts suggest
that your talk highlight no more than five main points.

To Persuade: In persuasive speeches, you are trying to sway the

audience to your point of view. Lawyers, salespeople, and politicians are
avid users of this approach.

While informative speeches can have several main points,

persuasive talks should only have two. The first point presents the issue
that need to be solved, answered, or changed. While the second point
focuses on what you believe to be the correct response to the problem. As
you might imagine, a persuasive speech is only effective if you are able to
convince the audience of your point of view and get them to act

To Motivate or Inspire: This speech is highly related to the persuasive

speech but it can differ in that it‘s not necessarily a call to make a
purchase. Motivational or inspirational speeches are sometimes designed
to improve the lives of the listeners. People who deliver these types of
speeches have a deep passion for the subject matter and want to pass that
enthusiasm on to the people in the audience. If after the speech, the
audience members are fired up then the speaker has done his or her job. At
the same time, if listeners are no more inspired than they were before the
speech, then the presenter failed to deliver.

To Entertain: Comediennes, actors and other performers sometimes

make speeches to entertain the audience. Sometimes these celebrities use
their platform and notoriety to also persuade or inform their listeners but
their primary goal is to captivate their audience‘s attention through
amusement. How does an entertainer know if his speech was successful?
One way to determine this is to assess the audience‘s feedback. Did they
laugh? Did they cheer? Was there a standing ovation or a request for an
encore? The answers to these questions will help determine the success of
a speech in this category. |
Hitting the Bull’s-eye: From a General Purpose to a Specific One
Once you‘ve established your general purpose, you need to make it more specific.
To determine your specific purpose, first review the categories above to select a specific
type of speech and then combine it with a concept that you initially think will work for
your speech. As you read further, your specific purpose may change but at least you‘ll
have a starting point.

Here are some examples of how you move a general purpose to a more specific

To inform my audience about the most devastating time in my life;

To inform my audience about the four-step process for making a window
To entertain my audience with tales of a honeymoon gone wrong;
To inspire my audience to get breast cancer screenings at an earlier age;
To persuade my audience to purchase a life insurance policy for their

As you review the above examples, notice that they integrate a specific topic with
one of the general purposes from the prior section. As you do this for your speech,
remember that less is more. If you pick a topic that is too broad, you‘ll be overwhelmed
by the vast information that is available and you‘ll have a hard time trying to determine
the relevant pieces that you need to include in your talk. You know your topic is too
general if you have a hard time determining which details you need to include for a
meaningful speech. Just think, how could you do a speech on beverages? That‘s way too
broad. By the same token, how can you do a speech on water? Sure, water is a type of
beverage but it‘s still too general. Now, if you wanted to do a speech on the benefits of
bottled water, that‘s more specific and will allow you to develop a fascinating speech.

When it comes to creating a specific objective or purpose, you should be narrow

in your approach. Typically, you‘ll be able to cover three main points after speaking for
roughly eight minutes. Think about how you can package the information you‘d like to
convey in the timeframe you‘ve been provided.

Also, always include your audience as part of your purpose. They‘re the reason
for the speech and you need to ensure that they‘re top of mind in every way. Once you
deliver your speech, their reaction will be the ultimate test of whether your presentation
hit the mark. |
If you think you‘ve identified a specific purpose, ask yourself a few questions:

1. Is there enough information available on my topic?

2. Will the information that I want to present fit in the allotted time limit?
3. Will this topic keep my interest as I take the necessary steps to properly
prepare for my speech?
4. Is this a topic that will be of interest and relevance to my audience?

A positive response to these questions indicates that you have a topic that you
want to talk about to an audience that actually wants to hear it. Those are two strong
indications that you should move forward.

Organizing Your Thoughts

Have you ever attended a speech where the speaker seemed to be rambling on
about nothing? Or, maybe you heard a speech that made you wonder, why didn‘t this
speaker better package his thoughts for the audience? If that‘s the case, you‘re not alone.
Many speakers don‘t have a clue about how to organize their thoughts and ideas.
Organization requires that you arrange your ideas into a unified, cohesive message. If you
fail to do this, you‘re not going to feel comfortable speaking and you‘re not going to
connect with your audience.

There are important things you‘ll be able to accomplish by taking this early step.
First, you make yourself appear much more credible to your audience when you deliver a
well organized speech. Next, an organized speech will help your audience understand and
retain your message. And since you want your audience to believe you‘re a credible
speaker and you want them to comprehend and remember your message, you should be
willing to take the extra time and effort to organize your speech.

Although there are several ways you can approach the task of organizing your
speech, this chapter offers two options: 1) traditional outline, and 2) mapping. Both
approaches allow you to determine your main topics and add your supporting evidence.
More importantly, these methods will enable you to write and deliver a well-organized
speech. |
Traditional Outline
A traditional outline or topic outline contains a list of brief phrases or single
words that are numbered or lettered to illustrate the importance of your ideas. This
approach is used to group similar themes or ideas together along with their supporting
points. The outline has a Thesis statement at the top followed by the topics in the speech.
The basic structure is:

Thesis Statement: ____________________

I. Heading (Main Heading)______________
A. Subheading ______________________
1. Second Subheading ______________
2. Second Subheading _______________
a. Third Subheading _________________
b. Third Subheading _________________
B. Subheading ________________________
II. Heading (Main Heading)_________________

There are a few things you should note about topic outlines. First, the main
headings are indicated by the roman numerals. These highlight the most important pieces
of information that are the central points of your speech. The subheadings are key pieces
of information that support the main headings and so on. You shouldn‘t have more than
three subheadings for a particular main point because things get confusing. If you need
more than three subheadings, then consider developing another heading with its own
supporting points. Also, only capitalize the first letter of the first word in the main
heading and don‘t include punctuation because you‘ll only be writing phrases not

If a traditional outline may be too restrictive for you, consider mapping. This
organizing alternative will enable you to create a visual map of your key ideas. Unlike an
outline, the map doesn‘t require you to immediately decide the importance of various
topics. You simply plug them in as they come to your head and this allows you to work
on various points simultaneously.
The map is pretty easy to use. The main topic is placed in the center circle of the
map. Then you draw a few spokes out of the circle (think about a bicycle wheel). The
spokes represent key ideas which then have a series of supporting branches that have
additional details. As with traditional outlines, if you don‘t have at least two supporting
points, you should either cover that information within another topic or eliminate it. On
the flip side, you shouldn‘t have more than three supporting points per topic. Just keep it
simple. |
Figure 1.0 (SCORE, 2001)

Parts of Your Speech

Effective speeches can be divided into three basic parts: the introduction, the
body, and the conclusion. As you construct your speech, you need to consider each
section and how you‘re going to connect them in a way that your audience can
understand and appreciate.

The Introduction: As you open the speech, your main focus should be to grab
the audience‘s attention and unveil the specific purpose of your talk. Be sure that
the purpose of the speech is presented so that the audience can clearly see how the
information that will be presented is relevant, important, and beneficial to them.
Chapter 3 discusses specific attention-grabbing techniques and offers other
suggestions for introductions.

The Body: This portion of your speech is where the topic is discussed in depth
and all of the supporting material is presented. For your audience to appreciate the
information in the body of the speech, you need to use a specific organization
approach that supports the subject of your talk. There are six organizing speech
patterns, including: topical, chronological, spatial, causal, problem-solution, and |
motivated sequence. Here we‘ll look at each in more depth and later look at how
to relate supporting ideas.

Patterns of Speech Organization

Topical Order: With this organizational pattern, you categorize your
information by certain specific topics in your speech. Then you either
arrange those topics in the order of most importance to least importance or
by least importance to most importance. Once this is decided, the main
points need to be supported more fully with sub-points and full detail. The
notable thing about the topical pattern approach is that the speech can be
organized independently and be interconnected, though many speakers say
they use this approach as a last resort when none of the other patterns

Chronological order looks at ideas over time. With this approach, the
speaker typically discusses events or conditions that occurred furthest
away and works his way up to the present occurrences. On occasion, he
may start with more recent happenings and then refer to things that
happened earlier. This approach is used when the speech focuses on
historical events or people. Speeches that focus on processes or
demonstrations use a chronological speech pattern as well.

Spatial order arranges ideas according to location or geography. Spatial

order provides a way to examine structures, such as buildings and objects.
Spatial order provides a way to analyze conditions in relevant locales.
Spatial order may be combined with chronological order to explain
geographical development or migration over time.

Causal order looks at the causes and effects of a problem or

phenomenon. The approach discusses or examines the effects first and
then presents the probable causes. This approach is useful in accounting
for historical events and understanding problems. You can refer to
probable effects when you want to make predictions about the future.

Problem-solution arrangement discusses the nature of a problem and the

solution. The speaker uses the causal pattern to present the problem. Then
he points out the problem‘s harmful effects and the probable causes. Next,
the speaker offers a solution that will either control or eliminate the
effects. In this structure, several solutions may be presented along with
their advantages. Researchers say it‘s best to clarify the problem or need |
before showing your preferred solution. For the best response, begin with
the problem, then offer the solution.

Motivated Sequence Order is a technique used to organize the entire

speech. This largely differs from the first five approaches which are used
to arrange the main points or the sub-points under a main point. The
Motivated Sequence Order is really effective when you‘re trying to
persuade people to your point of view. It can also be used for informative
presentations. It uses five steps:

1. Attention – Like the Introduction part of the speech, this step is

designed to snag the audience‘s attention by using a means that
relates positively to the rest of the speech.
2. Need – This step relates the problem to the audience. This step can
be supported with statistics, quotations, or other facts.
3. Satisfaction – In the satisfaction phase, you present the specific,
detailed plan that addresses the need as you anticipate and respond
to any questions the audience has about the solution.
4. Visualization – Here you help the audience see themselves in the
future. With positive visualization, the speaker describes the
advantages of adopting the plan that was presented.
5. Action – This final step is designed to move the audience to do
something—apply the information, vote for a particular candidate,
sign up for a program, read a book, or take some other action.
The motivated sequence pattern is more complex than the others
listed here. However, it‘s highly effective when used for
persuasive speeches.

The above organization patterns will help you systematically arrange the
body of your talk. By selecting the right pattern, your taking one more step to
ensure your speech connects with your audience and delivers what they expect.

Alternatives to Relating Supporting Ideas

Which comes first, the idea or the supporting evidence? Here are two
approaches to help you decide:

The Didactic Method is where you state your idea first, then show the
support, and finally restate the main point. This approach offers the bottom line
first, shows the audience how the idea came about, and then reminds the audience
about your main idea. It‘s a good teaching or instructive technique. |
With the Inductive Method (also referred to as the method of
implication), the supporting points are presented first and then the speaker draws
a conclusion from those points. This helps listeners hear evidence that supports
the validity of an idea before they tune out. Use this method if you think your
audience might initially reject your idea or position without even hearing you out.
This alternative is good for persuasive speeches.

The Conclusion: So you‘ve grabbed their attention and provided them with
comprehensive information in the body of your speech. Now what? It‘s time to
help your audience cross the finish line. The purpose of the conclusion is to offer
a signal that the speech is about to close, provide a summary of the information
that was presented in the speech, and leave them with a memorable last
impression. These three tasks are extremely important considering that most of
your listeners will recall your conclusion first when they think about your speech.
That means a simple thank you or that’s all for now just won‘t do.

A Detailed Outline of Your Speech

Now that you‘re familiar with the parts of speech, including the process for
developing an outline for the main body of your talk, let‘s look at how you would form
your entire speech outline. Though your outline will vary depending on the type of
speech you‘re delivering and the speech pattern you select, the information detailed here
provides a comprehensive guideline for developing a successful speech.

As discussed above, the three main part of a speech are the introduction, the body,
and the conclusion. But even though you‘ve familiarized yourself with these main
segments, you‘re still not ready to start writing your speech until you complete your
outline because each of these parts can be further broken down as illustrated below. Be
prepared to leave some areas of the outline blank until you read more information in this
guide. You can use this outline as an aid when writing your full speech or as a speaking
script when you‘re delivering your talk. |
This outline has four components: the header, the introduction, the body, and the
conclusion. Before you complete your speech, fill in the areas listed here to increase your
chances for success.

1. Header – Title of Speech

Topic: What is your topic? Determine what the audience will be expecting you to
discuss and why you feel you‘re the right fit for this speech.

Audience: Analyze your listeners. Determine how much knowledge they have
about your subject matter and how receptive they‘re going to be. See Chapter 3
for details.

Reformulate your topic: Based on your assessment of the audience, determine

if you need to alter the topic to match their interest and needs. You can change the
focus or scale of the topic.

Purpose Statement: Clarify the specific purpose of the speech.

Organizational Method or Pattern: You select your pattern based on the

information you gather and the specific purpose you want to achieve. Generally,
there are six organizational methods:

Motivated Sequence Order

Now that you‘ve completed the parts of the ―Header,‖ you‘re ready to proceed to
the main three parts of the speech.

2. Introduction
Greeting and Attention Getter: What strategy will you use to get the
audience‘s attention? Think of a line that will cause them to listen up right from
the gate.

Thesis: Here‘s where you introduce the audience to the goal and topic of your
speech. |
Credibility: In this section, you introduce yourself to the audience and include
who you are and why you feel you‘re the ideal candidate to discuss the topic at
hand. This is where you establish credibility.

Overview: Tell them what you plan to cover in your speech and why the
information is important and relevant to them.

3. The Body
Transition: As you move from the introduction to the main part of your speech,
select a sentence or phrase that will let the audience know that you‘re moving into
the body of the speech.

Main Points and Ideas:

Main Points Supporting ideas Evidence Visuals

What are the What information will Include examples or

What visuals will you use to
main points you you present to support details that you
illustrate these particular points
want to cover in this particular main have to support
or views?
your speech? point? these points?

4. The Conclusion
Transition: As you move from the introduction to the main part of your speech,
select a sentence or phrase that will let the audience know that you‘ve reached the
conclusion of your speech.

Reinstatement of Main Points: Provide a summary of your main points and

highlight the information that you want your audience to key in on.

Closer: Choose a memorable sentence that will make a strong lasting impression. |
Use the above outline as a guide, not a script. At the same time, if you
successfully fill in the areas above, you will have everything you need to deliver a strong,
effective message. If you have all (or at least the majority) of the information above then
you‘re ready to write a powerful speech.

So what’s the big idea?

If you want to deliver a great speech, you need to have an objective, think about
the type of information you plan to include, and understand how you‘re going to develop
the introduction, body, and conclusion of your speech. Once you do that, you can work
on formulating the speech and delivering your message. Unless of course if you‘re
dealing with stage fright, then refer to chapter 2 before you hit the stage. |
Chapter 2: Overcoming Stage Fright
How do you master presentation panic? When your stomach begins to
churn, your palms begin to sweat, your hands shake, and your voice
cracks—how do you lift yourself above the panic and deliver a calm,
collected, and poignant speech? …Get out from under your own internal

Getting a Grip: How You Can Get Over Stage Fright

Investor's Business Daily
By Gerald A Achstatter

What‘s the one thing you need to remember when you‘re giving a speech? It‘s not
about you! If you take the focus off of yourself and put it on the audience, you‘ll be less
concerned about your fears and more focused on uncovering ways to better serve your
listeners. And, isn’t that the point?

The biggest thing you can do to keep your stage fright at bay is to keep the
situation in perspective. The fear of public speaking is often based on misinformation as
well as false expectations about the roles of the speaker and the audience. If you‘re a
jittery speaker, you‘re probably placing unrealistic demands on yourself because you
think you‘re totally responsible for the overall impression that people take from your
speech. That‘s not entirely true.

Although we should mange the parts of our public speaking experience that are in
our control we also need to realize that the audience—which may include, colleagues,
superiors, family members, friends, and the media—also contribute to the situation.
You‘ll be less nervous if you expect that other people will help contribute to the success
of the event as well. Of course, you should manage as many factors as you possibly can
but your primary motivation should be tied to meeting your audience‘s needs; not your
own vanity. If you have this mindset, you‘ll have little time for stage fright.

Ah, but let‘s say you‘re still having trouble getting a grip? This chapter offers
suggestions that enable you to rise above your fears and deliver your next speech with
style and grace.

Facing Your Fears

Most people with a fear of public speaking either want to avoid the experience
altogether or find some way to become fearless. Well, experts say that may not be
possible or even necessary. You don‘t have to eliminate fear to be a great public speaker;
you just have to learn to manage it. One approach suggests you can deal with fear by
accepting it, reframing it, and controlling it. |
Accept it: If the thought of giving a speech makes your stomach do
somersaults then you‘re not alone. Many top executives have a fear of
public speaking too, they‘ve just learned to accept it and work around it.
To do this, acknowledge that fear is something that‘s going to be a part of
the experience. In fact, studies suggest that having a ―fear‖ of public
speaking is a common human characteristic. Instead of trying to eliminate
it, try to think about what‘s making you fearful and deal with that. For
instance, if your fear of public speaking is really based on your concern
about what the audience members will think of you, then stop focusing on
that because you can‘t control that anyway.

Reframe it: Keep it real. Sometimes our overblown negative thoughts get
the best of us and our fear is not even based on reality. Replace your
negative emotions with positive ones or at least more realistic ones. Focus
on your attributes and the benefits you can offer your audience—even if
it‘s only one thing. Once you find an initial positive trait, you‘re bound to
discover others.

Control it: Your fear of public speaking can be greatly reduced with lots
of practice. The more you speak, the more comfortable you‘ll be in front
of an audience. Participating in public speaking groups like Toastmaster‘s
International ( may help too.

If you‘re fearful of public speaking, you need to address it—not ignore it. By
accepting it, reframing it, and controlling it, you have three techniques that will help you
use your fear to your advantage so your audience can still get the benefit of your

Giving the Best You’ve Got

Again, public speaking doesn‘t require you to be fearless. It requires that you give
your best despite your fears. Recognize that the butterflies in your stomach may be
uncomfortable for you but don‘t let them paralyze you and prevent you from achieving
your goal.

So how can you do your best despite your fears? Use these tips:

Make fear work for you: Instead of letting your fears hurt you, use them to
energize you. Tell yourself, ―I can beat this‖ and do everything you can to meet
the challenge ahead of you. Again, fear is a normal response to a big event. When
you‘re excited about something, the sensation tells your body to release a burst of
adrenaline which may cause an increased pulse rate, sweaty palms, and other |
nervous symtoms. But the adrenaline boost has good side effects too. It can
inspire you to do your best.
Prepare yourself: You can help to releive some of the nervousness by
adequately preparing for your presentation. Practice what you‘re going to say in
front of a mirror and in front of other people. Make sure you‘re not reading the
material, but study it enough so that you know it from top to bottom. Try to
predict the questions that your audience is going to have and develop clear
responses to them. Whatever you do, don‘t wait until the last minute to prepare
because that will make you even more nervous.
Envision your success: Fear of the unknown largely drives our anxieties. By
picturing yourself delivering a successful speech, you make your brain think
you‘ve presented the speech already and you‘ll minimize some of your anxiety.
Greet your guests: If you meet and greet the audience members prior to your
speech, it will make you feel like you know them and they‘ll feel like they know
you. That will make it easier to speak in front of them and may soothe your
Make eye contact during your presentation: As you speak, scan the audience
but don‘t be afraid to hold the gaze on a few people as you deliver certain
sentences. This will help you make a connection and it makes you feel better
when you can see that people are paying attention to what you have to say.
Realize that most of your nervousness is invisible: Even though we think the
audience is clued in our nervousness that‘s usually not the case. Unless you let
them know by saying things like ―I‘m so nervous‖ or ―I‘ve really never done this
before,‖ the audience doesn‘t know how you really feel. You‘re probably doing
better than you think.
Control Your Volume: Don‘t just practice the content of your speech, rehearse
your delivery too. If you notice that you speak too softly, practice speaking louder
in your car or shower.
Know that mistakes happen: No matter how much you practice or prepare for
your speech, sometimes things go wrong. Let‘s say you lose your train of thought
or feel yourself rambling, pause and get yourself back on track by saying, ―the
point I‘m trying to make is.‖ If something else happens, don‘t have a breakdown
or draw your audience‘s attention to it. They probably didn‘t even notice your
error and even if they did—most audiences are pretty forgiving. If you make a
mistake, the best thing you can do is keep the presentation moving.
Get help: If your public speaking fears really wreak havoc in your life or put
your in instant panic mode, then maybe you need professional help. You can start
by speaking to a psychologist or consider one of the highly successful fear-
reducing approaches like:
o 1) Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) which you can further research
by contacting Change That‘s Right Now ( |
in New York or Bright Life Phobia and Anxiety Release Center
( in Los Angeles;
o 2) Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) which has practitioners listed on;
o 3) The Lefkoe Method (TLM) which offers a fear reducing program that
specifically deals with public speaking on
Though none of these methods work the same for everyone, they do boast
success rates as high as 97% and some programs offer money-back
guarantees. Before you plunk down your cash, talk to other customers and
conduct your research until you‘re convinced that a certain technique will
work for you.

Hopefully, these suggestions will help you quell your fears the next time you need
to give a speech. In the meantime, know that each time you speak in front of an audience,
you‘ll become more comfortable and that your efforts to overcome your stage fight will
be well worth it. |
Chapter 3: Developing Compelling Presentations
Speak when you are angry--and you will make the best speech
you'll ever regret.
~Laurence J. Peter

Think of the last compelling speech that you heard? If you‘re like most people,
you may be having trouble recalling it. That‘s because most presentations are pretty
forgettable. That‘s really unfortunate since any speaker‘s primary goal is to make a
lasting impression. So, how can you ensure this doesn‘t happen to you?

There are a couple of things you can do to develop memorable speeches and
presentations. Some straight-forward suggestions include understanding your audience;
analyzing your information so you can include the key elements in your presentation; and
concluding your presentation in a memorable, positive way.

This chapter will help you confidently deliver speeches and oral presentations that
are relevant, compelling, and memorable.

Knowing Your Audience Inside Out

Understanding your audience is an essential part of developing an effective
speech or oral presentation. In fact, you should have some insight about the makeup of
your audience before you agree to speak. Great speakers know that you can‘t use a
cookie-cutter approach when presenting information. You need to tailor each of your
presentations so that you meet the needs and expectations of your listeners and the only
way you can do this is to get to know them—in advance.

Getting to Know the Members of the Group

How do you get to know your audience members? It depends. In a classroom
setting, you may already have been associating with these individuals throughout the
semester or maybe you have access to their academic backgrounds. In this case, you
know that you probably share some similarities and interests with your audience just
based on the topic of the course. The students in a class are probably going to be much
more homogenous than other groups you‘re going to face.

At work, you may have had an exchange with your listeners at some point and
could have some insight on what they need to get from the presentation. Or, maybe you‘ll
be presenting in front of people you‘ve never met. Regardless of how much you‘ve
interfaced with your prospective listeners, an advanced survey to find out the group‘s
overall needs, expectations, interests, challenges, and knowledge of the subject matter |
couldn‘t hurt. Where possible, try to secure information on the group‘s background,
including age and culture. This information will help you better prepare your presentation
and ensure that the information you include will be useful to them.

Making Predictions: How Will They Receive My Message?

You also need to understand what the audience‘s attitudes may be toward you.
Will they be suspicious or hostile? Or, will they be friendly and welcoming? Are they
anxious to hear what you have to say? Or, are you going to be discussing something they
could care less about? Of course, each listener will have his or her unique attitudes
towards your subject so you can‘t predict each individual‘s responses. Even still, getting
a general view of the audience at large will provide some distinct guidelines that will help
you shape your presentation.

That said, you do need to know if there are certain key people in the group that
you need to win over. Some groups have members who operate as leaders and those
people can shape how your message is received. If that‘s the case, you may consider
directing a portion of your message to that person without making it too obvious to the
other audience members.

Taking Stock of Your Environment

As you continue to analyze your audience, consider the occasion and the
environment. You need to do this because the setting may also influence how open the
audience is going to receive your message. To get a handle on the environment, find out
the answers to the following questions:

Where will the program or meeting be held?

What is the purpose of the meeting?
What is the reason for your presentation?
How does your presentation relate to other parts of the program or other speakers?
Where do you fit in the program?
Will your presentation be competing with other activities?
How accomodating is the room size for the number of people in the audience?
How alert will the listeners be when it‘s time for your presentation?
How much time will you have to present?
Will a podium be available?
Will a microphone be available?
Is there audio/visual equipment available? |
Is the room properly lit so that you‘ll be able to read your notes?
Is the room a comfortable temperature (Generally 68°F)?
Will the room be exposed to outside noises?
Once you get the responses to these questions and others you‘ll be able to
eliminate as many unknowns as possible. You should also check out the space prior to
your talk so you can determine if the answers to your questions were accurate or discover
if things have recently changed. It will also allow you to make last minute changes to
your presentation if you find some major problem—such as a bad Internet connection, for

Just know that even if you preview the space before your presentation, there are
still some things that are beyond your control. Don‘t sweat it. Just apologize to your
audience for the inconvenience and continue sharing the powerful information that they
expect from you.

Getting to the Heart of Your Presentation

Once you have a clear understanding of your audience, the environment, and what
information you can present that will best serve them, it‘s time to finalize the information
that will be in your presentation. In other words, you need to come up with a speech that
will knock ‘em dead or at least make them feel that you actively tried to meet their
expectations or fulfill their needs. As you sort through the information to determine what
elements actually make your presentation, keep in mind that the focus should not be on
what you need to say but what your audience needs to hear.

As long as you keep your focus on your audience, you‘ll never get off course.

Clarify the purpose of your presentation

Write down a specific statement of purpose for your presentation. This is an
important first step because you can‘t develop a presentation until you can clearly and
concisely express the specific goal of your talk. Clearly state the reason for your
presentation and why you‘re the best person to deliver this message. Even if you don‘t
initially think you‘re the best person to give this talk, convince yourself that you are for
the purposes of the presentation. That will help build your confidence and get you in the
right mindset to give a great speech.

Once you‘re clear on the purpose of your speech, you need to sort out the
elements that you believe are absolutely necessary or just nice to include. Sometimes we
get so excited about the topic we think we need to include everything but the kitchen
sink. Although that might excite you, this approach will probably bore your audience to |
tears. A great speaker strikes a balance between what he wants to say and what the
audience will be open to hearing.

Refer back to the K.I.S.S. (keep it short and sweet) principle. This montra will
help you design a message that‘s clear, convincing, and interesting while using as few
points as possible. Start by listing all of your key ideas. Then think about the time that
you have alloted for your presentation. Next, review the points to determine which ones
you can realistically explain in the timeframe you have available. More importantly,
focus on the elements that will be most meaningful to your audience.

If you‘re clear on your purpose, your audience needs, the evironment where the
talk will take place, and the how you believe your audience will respond to you, it‘s time
to complete your outline. This will help you express and expand your central idea, using
key supporting elements. The process is similar to developing a preliminary table of
contents for a written report.

Forming the Skeleton of Your Speech

Chapter 1 provides a great framework for outlining your speech. As a review,
start by using your main points as the major headings in your outline. Leave at least five
lines between each heading. As you plug in the supporting evidence in the lines under
each point, consider what information would be interesting and compelling. If you can‘t
find at least three supporting elements for a particular main point then you may consider
combining it with another main point. In the case of a speech, less is more. Your
audience is more likely to remember fewer, points that drive home a strong message than
a long list of points that aren‘t compelling.

As you organize your outline, shift the main points around to match the order you
plan to present them. You‘ll add other interesting, helpful and even amusing details as
you continue planning your talk.

Conducting Your Research

This step is essential to developing an effective speech. Essentially, there are two
categories of research: primary and secondary. Primary research is research you conduct
yourself while secondary research is already available through books, publications, study,
articles, and other means.

Here are some ways you can gather information for your speech:

Interviews: Think of the person or organization that could offer the best insight
on the topic of your speech and set up an interview. Interviews may be conducted by
phone or face-to-face. Most organizations have a media or press office and will help you
connect with the right person; you just need to reach out to them. Whether your interview |
is by phone or in person, you should have at least 10 thought-provoking questions
prepared. They should be open-ended, challenging questions and you need to leave space
for final comments. Before the interview, get some background information on the
company through pamphlets, brochures, and other materials.

Surveys: These serve as primary research if you conduct them yourself or

secondary research if you get them from the library or research company. If you develop
your own survey, try not to make it too long or you won‘t get many responses. You
should include mostly multiple choice questions that include an ―other‖ alternative so
respondents can write in an answer.

Computer Searches: Though computer searches offer an easy and quick method
for gathering information, you should be wary of research you get off the Internet. Check
the source to ensure that it‘s reputable and look at the site for clues on whether it‘s
updated regularly. Also, keep good records of the information that you use and where you
got the information.

Periodicals—Newspaper, Magazines, and Other Publications: Magazines,

journals, and newspapers have current information on a variety of topics. Books take a
more in depth approach and are often written by experts on a particular subject matter.
Though periodicals may or may not be written by subject matter experts, they have the
timeliest data. As with other sources, always cite where you got the information.

Tips for Researching for Your Speech:

Start researching your topic early. Research will probably take more time than
you expect so it‘s important that you carve out enough time for the research as
well as developing your speech. The earlier you start the research process, the
more time you‘ll have to complete your speech.
Become friends with your librarians. Your librarian has access to tons of
information in the library but can also direct you to not-so-commonly-used
sources on the Internet. The information that they connect you with can be crucial
for developing a powerful speech.
Use a variety of resources: You‘ll gain a broader perspective on your topic by
using various resources, including books, newspapers, magazines, e-zines,
newsletters, and primary research. Again, just check the source for accuracy,
completeness, and reliability.
Document your sources using a professional style guide: For guidance on citing
your sources or other style questions, refer to the Chicago Manual of Style
(, the American
Psychological Association - APA Style Guide (, and
Modern Language Association ( |
Be Aware of Time Limitations
We‘ve already discussed the importance of knowing how much time you have
available to deliver your speech. But, how do you ensure that the speech you have in
mind will fit into that timeframe? You practice it. With the aid of a tape recorder, replay
yourself giving the speech. Don‘t just listen for content but assess your delivery too. Will
you be able to complete the speech in the time you‘ve been alloted? Do you feel it
contains the important elements? Is it interesting? It needs to serve the audience. Think
about whether you would be interested in listening to the speech yourself. If not, go back
to the drawing board.

The time factor is not just about how long you‘re going to speak overall, but how
much time you plan to spend on each point. That‘s why a comprehensive outline is such a
helpful tool. If done properly, you can see how many supporting factors you have for
each of your main points. Then you can literally break your speech out into minutes, or
seconds if necessary. At the very least, you want to make sure that the audience has an
opportunity to hear everything you planned to say and that you don‘t overshoot when you
make that happen.

As you develop your speech, use only as much time as you need to use to
effectively deliver the information. At the same time, you don‘t want to be too brief
because your audience will feel cheated or won‘t have enough details to understand your
message. You want to stop talking just before your audience begins to squirm, that‘s
probably around the 20 minute mark. If you need to run longer, incorporate things to
keep the talk interesting and upbeat. Remember your presentation time will be extended
if you take questions at the end.

Also consider the rate at which you speak when you practice your speech. Talking
too slow or too fast could impact how receptive your audience is to your message. If you
talk too fast, you don‘t allow your audience to process what you‘re saying and you may
fail to effectively communicate to them. At the same time, you don‘t want to speak too
slowly because they‘ll begin to lose interest. The best speakers alter the pace of their
delivery. You can slow down to emphasize a certain point or pause before or after a
particular sentence then pick up the pace. Just remember that the pace of your speech
should reinforce your message not detract from it.

Using Visual Aids

Visual aids can add interest and clarity to your speech or presentation. However,
they can weaken your performance too. It‘s important to remember that visual aids
should only be used to supplement your words not replace or overshadow them. In public
speaking, your mission shouldn‘t be to wow your audience with fancy graphics but to |
choose words that effectively communicate your message. If you absolutely need
graphics to make your speech interesting then there is probably a problem with the

Here are some suggestions on how you can use illustrations to effectively
illustrate or enhance your content:

Ensure your visual aids are visible: As you develop your aids, assess them
from the audience‘s perspective. Ask yourself, if everyone will be able to see the
visual aid? If they can‘t, you should probably leave it out of your presentation.
The last thing you need is disgruntled audience members who have tuned out your
presentation because they can‘t see it.
Make your visual aid understandable: Your audience needs to be able to get
the main idea of your visual aid at first glance. Any slide or illustration that needs
extensive explanation will only detract from your speech and cause you to lose
your train of thought. For charts and graphs, use them to illustrate only one point.
For slides with text, have a limit of five to seven bullet points.
Use professional visual aids: In this case, professional doesn‘t mean fancy. But
you should ensure the aids you use are error-free and that the words you used are
correctly spelled. In most cases, stock photos have a more professional feel than
clipart. Also, you might want to stay away from the art used in Microsoft word or
the other popularly used sites because these overused illustations may be less
Use meaningful and relevant visual aids: An aid should illustrate a point, not
just echo what you‘re already saying in words. It should add something. In fact,
your words and visiual aids should complement each other.
Explain Your Visual Aid: Make sure you refer to every visual aid you use in
your presentation. Don‘t just assume they‘ll get it, bring the point home.
Refrain from using distracting Visual Aids: Just like your visual aids shouldn‘t
detract from your words, they shouldn‘t overshadow you either. As an example,
don‘t pass around handouts while you‘re talking because your audience will be
reading them instead of listening to you.
Use Visual Aids that are Relevant: Use the information you obtained about
your audience to determine what visual aids would be relevant to them. For
instance, using an illustration featuring a popular young rock band to drive home
a point may be a big hit with high schoolers but would provide no payoff for
senior citizens.
Ensure your visual aids are audience appropriate: Again, focus on the
listeners and their expectations. The last thing you want to do is offend them by
using illustrations that are offensive or just inappropriate. So put yourselves in
their shoes and come up with illustrations that will facilitate a connection. |
Talk to the audience not the illustration: Many speakers are so reliant on their
visual aids that they direct their presentations to the screen. Not good. The
audience didn‘t come to get the information from the visual aid—they came to
hear you.
Use Visual Aids with a Purpose: No matter how interesting, attractive, or
colorful your visual aids are, they will lose their impact if you use too many of
them. Don‘t use these elements as a show and tell exercise, save them to reinforce
or illustrate a particular point.

More Tips on Using Visual Aids:

Select templates carefully by trying to match up the style with the type of
presentation you‘re actually making.
Choose a color scheme that has distinct contrasting background and text. A black
background and white text is a good choice.
Use a format consistently.
Include one key concept per slide.
Use upper and lowercase letters for readability.
Check the font size.
Use bold and italics sparingly.
Be consistent in how you transition your slides
Include the source for copyrighted material.
Provide supplemental notes after you‘ve completed your presentation.
Preview your visual aids before your actual presentation.

Opening Your Speech with Style, Flair, and Impact

So when are you ready to decide on a powerful opener for your speech? You do it
when you‘ve finalized nearly everything else. You settle on the content—your objectives,
key elements, outline, body of the speech, and visual aids—then you decide on your
opening. Anything outside of that is putting the cart before the horse.

The most important thing you need to do when your selecting an opening is to
keep your main goals top of mind. You‘re on a mission to:

A) Grab Their Attention...

B) Establish Rapport...
C) Introduce the Topic. |
If you fail to accomplish any one of these elements then you‘re not going to
connect with your audience. For instance, let‘s say you manage to grab their attention and
establish a rapport but you never introduce the topic, then they‘ll stop listening after a
while because they‘re unclear on the topic. At the same time, if you grab their attention
and introduce the topic but never establish a rapport with your audience—in other words,
prove to them that you‘re the right person to deliver that particular message—they‘ll
eventually tune you out.

What you want to do is find an opener that will distinguish you from the other
people that they‘ve heard. So stay away from speech openers that simply thank the
audience for the invitation or recaps the event‘s activities (they have a program for that).
If you start with openings like these, you‘ll fade into the background in no time. You‘ll
have time to thank the group for the invite just don‘t do that as your opener.

Instead, jump into your presentation by grabbing their attention by using a

compelling statement or statistic, humor, shock, or a powerful image. More specifically,
consider these approaches:

A Powerful Quote: If you use this technique, it‘s important that you use a well-
known person because the name of the person who actually said the quote is
sometimes more attention grabbing than the actual quote that was said. When a
quotation is used, you‘re actually tapping into the credibility and likeability of the
person uttering those words. So choose a person that has significant relevance to
the audience. ―According to Winston Churchill, the short words are best, and the
old words are the best of all. If you really want to improve your written
communication, stick to the short words…‖
A Rhetorical Question: When you ask a question, you immediately engage the
minds of the attendees as they think of a response. ―Do you remember what you
had for breakfast this morning? Of course, you do. I‘m going to show you some
techniques that will allow you to remember things that you‘ve done twenty years
ago as easily as you recall a recent meal.‖ In most cases, you‘re not actually
waiting for a response from the audience; you just want to get their thinking juices
flowing. If you do want feedback, simply raise one hand as your asking the
question to indicate to the audience that you want a show of hands instead of a
verbal response.
A Bold Statement/Shocking Statistic: A bold claim or startling statistic can be a
powerful way to set the stage for an informational or educational talk. ―Every 7
seconds a woman is battered by an intimate partner in this country. That equates
to 9 women a minute or 4.4 million each year.‖ The jolting statistic is typically
followed a pause and then a source such as ―According to the National Center for
Women and Children.‖
An Anecdote/Story: Start your tale with the word ―imagine.‖ It‘s an engaging
word that will draw the audience in and compel them to develop a picture in their |
minds. Images are more memorable than words. ―Imagine racing down the
staircase to escape Tower 2 on the infamous September 11th. You‘re hot, sticky,
exhausted, and scared. As the building ferociously crumbles at your feet, you
conclude that death is inevitable until a staircase summons you. With lightening
speed, you and your co-workers follow the stairs down to the ground level where
you‘re able to escape only moments before the tower collapses. It‘s no wonder
why Patty Clark and her colleagues are on a mission to preserve the lifesaving
staircase.‖ Humorous stories can be good openers too as long as their based on
real-life relatable experiences and you don‘t fall into the trap of telling jokes.
Now that you have some options, pick an opener that‘s right for your
presentation. Keep your eyes peeled for interesting quotes, mind-blowing statistics, and
insightful anecdotes. Also, reread your old speeches too. You can breathe new life into an
old presentation by adding a bold new opener. And once you do that, don‘t forget a
powerful close.

More Tips on Developing Your Introduction:

After getting your audience‘s attention, provide a preview of what you‘re going to
talk about, and tell them why the information is important to them.
Select quotations that are appropriate for your audience.
Keep the sentence in your introduction short.
Use short sentences in your introduction.
Develop an outline that includes sentences and phrases to help you remember
important information.
Don‘t open your speech with an apology or excuse such as ―I‘m so nervous,‖ ―I
got this invite at the last minute,‖ that sets a poor tone. Take charge!
Dedicate only 30-seconds for your introduction for a 5-minute speech.
Relate your topic to your audience. ―Look to your left, look to your right. Do you
realize that one of those people will not be walking down the aisle at graduation

Closing Your Speech with a Memorable Kicker

Though people generally forget much of what they hear in a speech, you can
improve your odds with a powerful opener and a memorable close. As with the opener,
you need to close with a mission. The last 3 to 5 minutes are critical to how your speech
is perceived; so it‘s essential that you: 1) provide your audience with clues so they know
you‘re about to close; 2) CTA or Call to Action by telling listeners specifically what you
need them to do or what actions you want them to take right now—this is especially
important in a persuasive speech; and 3) make a lasting impression so your message
sticks in their brains. |
Whatever you do, don‘t run out of gas before you conclude your talk. Or worse
yet, don‘t blurt out those two meaningless words: ―Thank You.‖ It communicates to your
audience that you‘re really lost for words and didn‘t think enough of them to develop a
compelling close.

To give your close a little more pizzazz, consider any of these techniques:

Tie-in to the Opening: This type of closing circles back to the opening by
referring to something that was said in the beginning of the speech. So if you
began with an anecdote, for instance, you might close by telling how the story
turned out and hopefully relating that successful outcome to something you said
in your speech. ―Remember little Jessica, the girl born as a double amputee. She
no longer relies on her friends and neighbors to carry her to school every day.
Now, she can take the long walk herself with the help of the prosthetic leg that
was made possible by contributors like you.‖
Summarize Key Points or Bookend Your Speech: As you were developing
your speech, you wrote down the key points you wanted to cover. You can
summarize those points in the close to remind the audience of those important
elements. The 3-part speech outline is a particular approach that enables the
speaker to convey important information using three different occasions: 1) the
opening is when you tell them what you‘re going to tell them or provide a
preview; 2) the body that‘s where you actually educate the audience on the three
essential points; and 3) the Closing is when you tell them what you‘ve already
told them.
Personalize Your Message: If you really want to hit a homerun with your
speech, take it to home plate. Let your audience know how you personally relate
to the subject matter. That will help them see how the message can apply to them.
Have you been in an abusive relationship? Did you lose someone close on 9/11?
Did the information that you shared help you overcome a particular challenge?
It‘s not too late to provide your personal insight even if that reveal comes at the
Challenge Your Audience or Call to Action (CTA): Ask your audience to
apply what they heard in the speech to spur them to action. Also, be specific about
what you want them to do, whether it‘s cast their vote for a particular candidate,
go to the back of the room to buy a book, or sign up for the next seminar. Of
course, this approach requires that you do some advance thinking about what
action you want your audience to take but it‘s worth the extra effort. You should
never leave a captive audience without closing the deal.
Use Words that Echo or Repeat: Using words that echo or repeat can linger in
the minds of your listeners. This approach is great for motivational speeches.
―And miles to before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go
before I sleep.‖
Refer to back to the title: Use the provocative title to memorably shape your
message and unforgettably close it. By ending with a strong speech title, you‘ll |
get your audience to make the connection between the title and the speech and
think more fully about the speech they just heard. To come up with great title for
a speech, write the closing first.
Call and Response: Get the audience to repeat a phrase that you used in your
speech. When President Barack Obama ran his campaign trail, he got Americans
from coast to coast to call out ―Yes, we can!‖ as a way to get them excited about
his message and to remember it.
Refer to a popular movie or book: You can refer to a book or movie that you
believe is particularly meaningful to the audience and use examples or quotes
from it to support your claims. This helps you connect with the audience and will
get them to listen up as you illustrate the relevance of that book or production.
Use a quote from a well-known person. As with the opener, the person saying the
quote is at least as important as the actual quote you select because you‘re relying
on that person‘s popularity and credibility to drive your point home.

When it comes to bringing your speech to a close you‘re the only one who can
ensure that you leave your listeners with a lasting impression. So use any of these
suggestions to give your audience a speech they‘ll never forget.

More Tips on Developing Your Conclusion:

Your eye contact should be powerful at the close of your speech. Never read your
close verbatim, just refer to an outline for brief phrases.
Close your speech by summarizing the points that you covered in the body of
your speech—never introduce new information.
Leave your audience with something memorable.
Invest time in your final remarks because that‘s your last time to make an
impression on your audience.
If possible, tie your conclusion to your introduction. For example, if you opened
with an anecdote, mention that incident again when you close. Look for ways to
develop a cohesive unit within the three sections of your speech.

Bringing It All Together

This chapter focused on what you need to develop a compelling speech.
Essentially, we discussed three areas, the body of the speech or overall content, the
opening, and the close. To recap, here are 10 things you need to do to ensure your speech
rocks the room:

1. Be heartfelt: If you don‘t believe what you‘re saying in your speech you
shouldn‘t say it. Giving a speech is not like performing a monologue. Don‘t
approach it like you would an acting gig, talk from your heart. |
2. Clarify and cover at least two or three objectives for your speech: Think
about what you want your audience to know or do as a result of hearing you speak
and work toward that goal. More importantly, think about the things that you can
say to serve your listeners. Focus on your audience—not yourself.
3. Write it down: There are a couple of ways to approach your speech but you need
to at least have some form of it on paper or index cards. Some people write out
their speech word for word and others just put bullet points on 3x5 index cards.
No matter which method you use, you should rehearse your speech frequently so
you don‘t have to read your speech but have committed it to memory.
4. Stay in the moment: Whether you‘re crafting your speech, practicing it, or
actually delivering it, it‘s important that you completely focus on whatever
activity you‘re working on. When the pressure is on, it‘s easy to become
scattered, anxious, or frustrated but you have a better chance of success if you
stay on task.
5. Know your audience: Earlier we discussed the importance of understanding
your audience demographics but also know how they believe you can best service
them. Find out who will be sitting in your audience, the purpose for their
attendance, and what problems you can help them solve.
6. Evaluate room setup: Check out the room where you‘ll be presenting your
speech well in advance. Make sure the audio/visual equipment is in working
condition and determine whether the room temperature* needs to be adjusted.
*Room temperature for general human comfort ranges from 20°c (68°F) to 25°C (77°F).

7. Be natural: Don‘t try to imitate another person. You‘ll do a better job by being
yourself. Also, plan to direct your talk to the crowd not your visual aids or
anywhere else.
8. Nix the zero words: ―Ums‖ and ―ahs‖ provide no informational value to your
talk and they can keep your audience from really listening to what you have to
say. Instead of inserting these distractions in your speech, stop and pause, then
proceed to speak. This may help you improve. Also, practice saying your speech
in a mirror or with friends. And don‘t try to memorize your speech verbatim
because that will increase your anxiety and cause you more mistakes.
9. Get personal: By sharing your personal stories with your audience you show
them that you‘re like them and you can relate. People also learn from your
mistakes or mishaps and will feel more comfortable sharing their own tales. All of
this builds trust and will make it easier for you to speak to them. They‘ll also be
more eager to listen to you. |
10. Close your speech with a bang: Now that you‘ve reeled them in with a
powerful opening and maintained their interest during the bulk of your talk, you
need to reinforce your message and complete your mission by leaving with a
strong finish.

At first glance, it may be a little overwhelming to think about all the things you
need to do to prepare the speech and you haven‘t even delivered it yet. Take heart, you‘ve
completed much of the groundwork, now it‘s time to add the finishing touches. |
Chapter 4: Stand and Deliver

Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.

~Martin Fraquhar Tupper

It‘s time for you to take center stage. All eyes are on you. All ears are tuned in.
You‘ve got the audience‘s attention, what are you going to do with it?

When it comes to public speaking, your delivery is as important as your message.

If you‘re not able to present your information effectively, you‘re not going to connect
with your audience in a meaningful way. More importantly, you‘re not going to service
them and if you don‘t do that, you can kiss your chances of receiving another invitation

Your speech may be organized, well researched, and have great content but if
you‘re unable to effectively deliver it, you‘re doomed. Research studies have found that
your verbal delivery and body language can have a tremendous impact on your audience
and may even win them over even if the content is weak. The bottom line is that your
delivery emphasizes, enhances, and reinforces your message. In fact, you really don‘t
have all of the components of a compelling speech until you‘ve finalized the delivery as
well as the message.

This chapter examines the various elements involved in delivering an effective

speech. We‘ll look at verbal and nonverbal communication, external factors that may
affect your presentation, and what things you can do to develop your own speaking style.

Special Deliveries:
It‘s time for you to think about how you‘re going to deliver your speech. But first
you need to understand your options. Consider these four speech delivery alternatives:

Extemporaneous: These types of speeches have the look of a person speaking

spontaneously but are actually very well prepared, rehearsed speeches. Though,
you would use speaker notes or an outline to remind you of the elements of the
speech you‘re not reading it word-for-word. Extemporaneous speeches involve
researching your topic, organizing your findings, and writing your text. However,
as long as you maintain the essence of the speech, you can alter the actual spoken
words to keep the speech fresh and spontaneous. |
Manuscript: Reading from a manuscript is the most formal type of delivery. It
offers you the greatest control over the wording of your speech. This delivery
alternative is typically used when speaking on highly sensitive information or
during a crisis situation where using specific words and terms are important. Also,
you may want to read from a manuscript when you‘ve taken the time to embellish
your speech and want to ensure that you deliver it exactly as you wrote it. Just
don‘t rob this presentation of its spontaneity. Practice this speech as much as you
can so you sound natural and as you become more confident try adding a few
spontaneous changes at the time of delivery.

Memorized: These speeches can be the hardest to deliver because it requires a

word-for-word presentation without the use of any aids. Speakers can sometimes
confuse words, paragraphs, or phrases. Also, a memorized speech can sound
overly rehearsed or canned. People who memorize speeches frequently such as
politicians or actors say the best way to deliver these types of speeches is to just

Impromptu: If you think impromptu speeches sound the most natural, it‘s
because they are natural. The message you deliver is based on what you have in
your head. There‘s no time to prep, practice, write down your thoughts, or
preselect the right words you‘re going to use. Even with impromptu speeches, you
still need to be coherent, concise, clear, and organized if you want to deliver an
effective message. Even if you are asked to do a last minute speech or if you find
yourself on the spot, take some time to gather your thoughts so you can organize
them as much as you can. The good news here is that the more proficient you
become at delivering other types of speeches, the better you‘ll get at giving an
impromptu talk.

Sounding off about Verbal Communication

Your verbal communication skills are of particular importance when you‘re
delivering a speech. The voice has several elements that you can vary as a means to
enhance your speech, they include volume, pitch, tone, and rate. As a good speaker, it‘s
your responsibility to familiarize yourself with these areas so you can manipulate them
for greatest effectiveness.

Volume: This determines how loudly your voice is projected throughout your
presentation space. You should be loud enough so that everyone in the room
can hear you. At the same time, you shouldn‘t sound as if you‘re shouting. To
determine the appropriate volume and whether or not you‘ll need a
microphone, consider the size of the room and the amount of people that will |
be filling the space. If possible, try to rehearse your speech in your actual
presentation or in a room like it.

You should also consider altering your voice according to your speech. As
long as you don‘t overdo it, you can speak in a lower tone to draw the
audience in or raise your voice to underscore a particular point. Similarly,
consider whispering when talking about a secret or private conversation and
pump up the volume as you speak about a challenge or victory. Sprinkling
variety in your volume adds spice.

Pitch: The high or low notes you produce when you speak is referred to as
pitch. Your speech is your own personal music and you have your own
―natural register‖ and that‘s the notes on the musical scale that you speak most
comfortably. Generally, most people have a range of eight notes. In
conversation, you raise your voice at the conclusion of a question and lower
your voice at the end of statement. For your speech, you don‘t want to speak
in monotone or in one pitch because you‘ll be considered boring and your
audience with tune you out. At the same time, using excessive pitch (speaking
too high or too low) could be distracting. The key here is to ensure your pitch
varies enough to maintain your audiences‘ attention but only using those notes
that are pleasing to the ear.

Tone: It‘s not what you say, it‘s the way you say it. Your tone encompasses
all of the elements that put a particular spin on your speech. You can have a
tone that‘s positive, negative, sarcastic, pessimistic, hopeful, joyous, fearful,
panicked, confident, convincing, or inviting. Research shows that an audience
can better relate to positive tones than negative ones. They also prefer upbeat
or positive speeches over negative ones. As you determine your tone, strike a
balance by selecting the tone that feels most natural to you, the listener‘s
expectations, and the content. For example, a political speech should be more
forceful and demanding than a speech on a child‘s daycare facility which
should probably be pleasant and upbeat.

Pace: The rate or pace is the speed that your words are spoken. People
generally speak at a rate at 115 words per minute. A fast pace indicates a
sense of urgency or may seem pushy, jittery, or confusing. A slow speech may
be comforting or relaxing but can also be boring. As with other elements in
your speech, varying is key. During an exciting part of your speech, speed up
to draw attention to the point you‘re trying to make. You may also want to
slowdown when you‘re delivering a story. Slowdown if you have a strong
dialect or accent so people understand you. |
Pauses also influence the pace. A pause between words or phrases
adds emphasis. You can use pauses to highlight certain points, regulate your
pace (and prevent you from speaking too quickly), and add dramatic effect.

Nonfluencies Use: Whether it‘s from nervousness, excitement,

unpreparedness, or just inexperience, speakers often fill in the natural pauses
with ―zero words.‖ Nonfluencies such as like, ya know, um, eh, or ah are a
distraction and add nothing to your presentation. Instead of dropping in these
space fillers, settle for the silence, it‘s probably not as long as you think it is.
If you need help with this, record yourself delivering the speech and then
count the number of nonfluencies, then redo it as much as you need to
eliminate those unnecessary distractions.

Pronunciation and Enunciation: There is no excuse to mispronounce a

word during your speech. If you‘re unclear, look up the word in the dictionary
to view the phonetic spelling or use your thesaurus to locate a friendly
substitute. Enunciation has to do with how clearly you articulate each syllable
in a word. Mumbling is an enunciation issue that occurs when the speaker
closes his mouth and maintains a low pitch. As a remedy, the speaker should
open his mouth, increase his pitch, and move his lips.

Since pronunciation and enunciation are closely interrelated, problems arise when
the speaker utters one or more syllables incorrectly. Be sure to get a handle on these two
elements because errors in these areas can ruin your delivery. To ensure you pronounce
and enunciate the words in your speech accurately, always keep a dictionary and a
thesaurus handy, prepare your speech in advance, record your speech, then assess your
presentation for clarity.

Just in case you want to start improving your enunciation and pronunciation right
away, here is a list of suggestions:

Instead of Say
da Bronx The Bronx
dancin’ Dancing
dat fadda that father
Febuary February
Gazinto goes into
Gonna Going
How ya doin’ How are you doing?
meetcha at the store Meet you at the store
ta go To go
Whatcha doin’? What are you doing? |
Sometimes we aren‘t aware of the communication issues that we have because we
don‘t actually hear ourselves speak. To do that, cup your hand over your ear and pull that
ear slightly forward. Then cup your other hand over your mouth as you direct the sound
to your cupped ear. This will enable you to hear your voice in the same manner as other
people do. Or, you could just record yourself, play it back and analyze it for volume,
pitch, tone, pace, and the nonfluencies.

More Tips on Verbal Cues:

Vary your volume and rate to add spice to your speeches.

Pause for drama and emphasis.
Enhance your verbal delivery using inflection.
Pause instead of dropping in influencies throughout your speech.
Make sure you know how to enunciate and pronounce all of the words in your
speech. This increases your credibility with your audience.

Sharpening Your Nonverbal Cues

The nonverbal cues are the easiest skills to assess and improve. Once you review
a video of yourself, you‘ll be able to ensure your eye contact, posture, stance, gestures,
movement, facial expression, and appearance positively connects with your audience.

Eye Contact: This is extremely important when making a speech, because our
culture tends to rely on eye contact for clues on whether the person is being
honest or providing valid information. If you fail to look at a few choice audience
members in the eye, you may appear to be dishonest or not fully confident in the
information you are presenting.

When you look people in the eye during a speech, they feel as if you‘re
talking to them and them alone. To connect with people during your talk, scan the
room by making eye contact with people in different sections, such as in the front,
middle, and left. Look directly into people‘s eyes as you‘re talking to them and if
you can, call some people by name. Get your entire audience involved and don‘t
just focus on the people who appear interested or are taking notes.

Maintaining eye contact also allows you to gauge how you‘re doing? If
you‘re met by droopy eyes or puzzled faces, you know you need to pick up the
pace of the speech or clarify a few of your points so your audience can better
appreciate your content. This is a very effective way to get instant feedback.

Posture and Stance: If you‘re ready to deliver your speech, you need to stand
tall. Stand with your shoulders back, chest out, and stomach pulled in. Make sure |
your feet are shoulder length apart and that your weight is equally distributed on
both feet. According to research, an erect posture demonstrates confidence and
physically promotes an environment for a fuller voice.
Gestures and Movement: Use gestures to emphasize an opinion or idea or
express a thought. Gestures add expression and interest and help maintain the
audience‘s attention. If you‘re going to use gestures, they need to be natural
because your audience will be able to pick up on staged actions. You may be
―naturally‖ moved to show a demonstration, communicate the space of a
particular item using your hands, or use your fingers to coordinate the number
you‘re currently talking about if you‘re discussing a rundown. If you find your
hands are just getting in the way, hold onto the podium or keep your hands in
your pockets. Be sure to put only one coin in your pockets so it doesn‘t jingle and
so you can give your fingers something to hold onto while they wait for the
conclusion of your speech.

There are some gestures you should never do when delivering a speech, those
include scratching your head, twisting your hair, hitting the lectern, and doing
anything that will draw your audience‘s attention from you to the object you‘re
focusing on.

For speeches to an international audience, find out if there are any offensive
gestures to that particular culture. You‘d be surprised how many common
American gestures are insulting to other groups. For example, the ―Thumbs up‖
symbol means ―Up yours, pal!‖ in Middle Eastern countries. In Thailand, Iraq,
Sardinia, South America, and West Africa, the same symbol has the same
meaning as the middle finger does here in America.

Make sure your movements are purposeful whether it be a turn of the head or
a movement from a few steps from the lectern. As you move away from the
lectern and closer to the audience, you‘re removing the artificial barrier between
you and them. For smaller groups, coming from behind a podium helps you create
a personal relationship with them. If you can‘t move fully—maybe you have a
microphone attachment and you‘re being videotaped—you still can make a
connection from a podium by leaning forward from the waist and making a few
gestures with your hands. As long as you don‘t overdo it, hand gestures can add
interest and flair to your presentation.

Body Language: Your body language is key to giving a successful speech. Make
it a point to look at the audience and smile when appropriate. Use your body
language to underscore excitement and passion for your subject matter. Be
conscious of your movements and avoid random pacing because unnecessary
steps or sways just distract your audience. Other random gestures like clicking
your pen or crossing your arms can also interfere with your message. |
Facial Expression: Your facial expression should be natural. In most cases,
people appreciate a pleasant facial expression throughout a speech. But also,
ensure your expressions are appropriate for the content you‘re delivering.
Appearance: Clothing counts when it comes to public speaking. A Roper
Organization Study found that women notice the clothes that other women and
men wear, while men are more interested in checking out a woman‘s physique
than the attire. Men did notice clothing when it came to other men. For a great
impression, dress neat, clean, comfortable, as well as appropriate for the

More Tips on Nonverbal Cues:

Make eye contact with as many people as you can in the room.
Incorporate natural, unrehearsed, hand gestures in your speech to add interest and
Dress comfortably and appropriately.
Be sure your hand gestures aren‘t going to be offensive to your audience—
particularly you international attendees.
Don‘t try to spruce up your speech with contrived gestures.

Taking Care of External Factors:

Murphy‘s Law says everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It tells us that
there are certain things out of our control. Well, that‘s not exactly true. Though you can‘t
control every single factor that may affect the success of your speech, you can manage a
large majority of them.

So how do you keep external conditions in check? Stick to the plan, the following
guidelines may help:

Ensure the size of the room accommodates the number of attendees: If the
location is too crowded, the attendees will be distracted or cause a distraction due
to the lack of seats. On the other hand, if the room is too big for the group, the
attendees will feel disconnected and you‘ll spend a lot of your time trying to draw
them in. You should also ensure that the room accommodates other activities too.
For example, if you expect your audience to take notes, then there needs to be
appropriate desk space.
Ensure there is sufficient light for you and the audience: Even if the you‘re
going to be speaking in a room that only lights up the stage, you should still
ensure there is enough light for audience members to enter, exit, and find their
Deal with outside noises: If your speech gets drowned out by outside noises,
like a kid yelling down the hall, simply pause until the noise ceases. If the |
situation is getting too out of hand, it‘s okay to let your audience know you need
to take a minute or so to address the distraction.
Handle the disruption: As the speaker, you‘re in charge. If someone is making
noise, talking on a cell phone, or do anything else to throw you off your game, let
them know you‘d appreciate it if they reduced the noise or handled their business
Use a Microphone: If you‘re talking to more than 200 people you need a
microphone. Please check the amplification system to ensure it works. Conduct a
sound check to determine whether your equipment is functioning. Think about
how you plan to deliver your speech to determine the type of microphone you
plan to use. If you‘re going to be moving around, use a clip on microphone called
a lavalier. They‘re small and can allow you to move close to your audience. With
a standard microphone, maintain about six inches between your mouth and the
piece you hold in your hand or have on a stand.
Plan ahead: Take a look at where you‘re supposed to stand before your talk.
Also, be sure that the podium or lectern you requested is actually in place.

When it comes to external factors, you‘re responsible for ensuring that the
atmosphere will facilitate successful communication between you and your audience.

Can’t Miss Speech Delivery Tips

This chapter was chock full of information to help you tighten your speech
delivery skills so you can provide your audience with a powerful message and know that
it was well received. Here are some of the highlights:

Wear clothes that are flattering and appropriate but not distracting.
Pronounce and enunciate your words properly.
Adjust your voice so that it sounds pleasant to the human ear and so that everyone
in the room can hear you.
Make eye contact with as many people as you can in the room.
Pace your speech effectively, you want to speak at a rate that‘s slow enough to be
understood but fast enough to demonstrate your enthusiasm.
Pause in your speech to emphasize a point, set up an anecdote or humor, collect
your thoughts, or avoid using nonfluencies.
Eliminate fidgeting or other nervous gestures through practice.
Add hand gestures to your speech to emphasize points, visually illustrate pieces or
segments of information, and show space.
Let your personality shine during your speech and don‘t try to imitate anyone
else. |
Connect with your audience by ensuring your speech is 1) based on honest,
thorough research; 2) interesting and engaging; 3) relevant to your audience‘s
needs or interests; 4) timely; and 5) delivered using a means they can understand
and appreciate.

The rest is up to you. Now that you know what it takes to develop an effective
speech, take your place on the stage and deliver! |
Chapter 5: Click Here for Technology

Advances in computer technology and the Internet have changed

the way America works, learns, and communicates. The Internet
has become an integral part of America's economic, political, and
social life.
~Bill Clinton

For your next public speaking gig, you may be looking for technological solutions
to support your presentation. It‘s no wonder. Audiences are more sophisticated today than
they have been in the past. They‘ve raised the bar for the presenter and you need to walk
a fine line between content and entertainment. If your talk is bogged down with too much
information, you could bore them. At the same time, too many bells and whistles may
confuse them. As you incorporate technology into your speech, make sure those tools
don‘t outshine or overshadow the information you were charged to deliver.

As you think about what types of technological toys to add to your talk, consider
the audience. Ask yourself a few questions: What does your audience want? How should
you give the information to them? What do you want them to experience?

Your choices are endless. Technological toys range from the dinosaur-type ones
like overhead projectors, slides, and flip charts to more modern day tools that facilitate
conference calls, webinars, video productions, and online chats. Fortunately, you can go
online to find the most suitable media for any speaking occasion and you don‘t have to
break the bank to get it.

This chapter offers tips for incorporating technology into your next speech and
suggests a few tools you can use.

Why You Need Technology for Your Next Speech

If you want to revolutionize your next talk, consider adding any of the multimedia
choices that are available to you, including video, digitized sound, images, charts, and
other computer solutions. When used effectively, studies show that these tools help
audiences retain information, learn faster, and master content quickly. Studies also show
that interactive multimedia presentations provide audiences with a better understanding
of the material and this is particularly useful in training settings.

Computer technology has a wide range of uses and applications. As you explore
your options, think of ways that technology can complement your presentation. You can
use it to reinforce, review, highlight, or add material to your speech. Also, consider |
various types of media, including graphs, words, sounds, and visuals. As long as you use
these options in moderation, this strategy may help keep your audience interested and aid
in their comprehension. Sometimes people in your audience have a different way of
absorbing information and a varied approach could ensure you connect with as many
people as you can.

Technological tools can supplement your speech too. If you like, you can provide
your audience with prep materials in advance so they‘ll know what to expect, answer
certain preliminary questions, or become familiar with the subject matter before you
actually hit the stage. On the flip side, you can use technology to provide your audience
with leave behinds. As a bonus, you can give audience members a DVD or CD that
includes portions of your speech and send follow-up e-mails that include newsletters,
additional resources, or announcements of upcoming speaking engagements.

Bells and whistles will also make your speech more memorable. It‘s a dramatic
way to present new ideas or concepts. Your level of technology use also communicates
whether you‘re current with the latest trends. People like to be affiliated with and pay
attention to presenters that they believe are in the know. That‘s the way you want people
to perceive you.

Technology is fast becoming the standard for public speeches and oral
presentations. As this occurs, it behooves you to put your antiquated ideas aside and
make room for modern-day multimedia. You can expect audience members to be jotting
down notes on their laptop or Blackberry. Or, maybe they‘ll be recording your talk by
using their tape recorder or cell phone. If you don‘t start using technology, you‘re going
to lose touch with the people you‘re supposed to communicate with.

Another benefit of using technology is that you can use animation, graphs,
pictures, and simulations to illustrate complicated information. When compared to
traditional talks, multimedia can give life to complex concepts in a much more effective
way than traditional communication methods.

The time has passed for transparencies and chalkboards. These days, you need to
consider screen projection systems that interface with the computer and the Internet to
support your speech. The use of technology can facilitate active learning as well as
exciting communicating possibilities. Just don‘t get too carried away with technology
because you can‘t make the right statement if your tech tools are overstated.

Rules of Engagement
Ready to plug some technology tools into your presentation? Here are a few tips
for using audio-visual aids: |
Keep it Short and Simple: Limit the use of elements that don‘t
specifically relate to your content, including colors, logos, and pictures.
Also use the Excellence in Speaking Institute rule of 5s and 6s. It suggests
that you use no more than five lines on a slide with each line having no
more than six words.
Be Consistent: Ensure the pages have the look and feel of one cohesive
unit by featuring similar elements on each, such as a name, contact
information, or small logo.
Use Similar Styling: Each page on your presentation should essentially
include the same font type and font size. The only exception applies to
graphs or charts, which may require a font change for emphasis. Overall,
consider a sans serif font like Tahoma or Arial for easy on-screen reading.
Also, ensure the background colors are the same on every slide.
Match the Media to the Audience: As you‘re developing your media,
don‘t just think content think context. Some technology choices may be
overblown for a smaller intimate crowd and may be too overwhelming for
the room size.
Recheck handouts, flipcharts, and whiteboards: Ensure the
information on these items is clear, uncluttered, and readable.
Proofread Your Slides: Ensure your slides are error-free by eliminating
silly mistakes and typos. Once you review them, give them to someone
else for a second look. Also, remember the K.I.S.S. principle and strive to
keep your slides as simple and as brief as possible by eliminating extra or
unnecessary information.
Conduct a sound check: As you review your visuals, check the audio as
well. Make sure the sound coordinates properly with the slides or video
and ensure the volume and other controls are appropriately set.
Be Proactive: Avoid embarrassing or unpredictable situations by
ensuring your equipment properly works before it‘s time for you to
present. Also, think for your audience. Since people read from right to left,
place the screen to your left and your audience‘s right. Do you a dry run so
you can get comfortable with the presentation and identify any last minute
Take charge: Face the audience and not the screen. Adjust your laptop so
you can view it easily for clues but practice so you‘re not fully relying on
it. |
Remember, your multimedia presentation should complement your speech not
replace it. Your primary objective should be to connect to your audience with your
powerful message not with an overblown on-screen presentation.

Use Pecha Kucha to make PowerPoint Presentations Pop!

Pecha Kucha—pronounced pecha koocha—is a straightforward format where you
speak about 20 images for 20 seconds each. The entire talk runs for a total time of 6
minutes and 40 seconds. Pecha Kucha, which is a Japanese term that means ―chit chat,‖ is
a concept that was developed by architects Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein to help their
younger colleagues give punchier presentations. The business owners started
PechaKucha Nights in February 2003 in Tokyo as informal, fun gatherings where
attendees stuck to the PechKucha20x20 format.

Now PechaKucha Nights have gone global and are enjoyed by revelers in more
than 230 cities worldwide. The subject matter has expanded beyond the architectural field
and the social gatherings are beneficial for the listeners as well as the presenters.
Audience members enjoy concise punchy visually stimulating speeches on a variety of
subjects while the person delivering the message is forced to be organized, disciplined,
and on point. Gone are the days of long-winded, boring PowerPoint slideshows.

But how can you incorporate this new phenomenon in your upcoming
presentations? As you develop your speech and choose to incorporate PowerPoint slides,
remember that brief is better. Make every slide count. Also, rehearse your talk with
moving slides so that you stay focused and know the message you want to convey. In
addition, look for ways to be remarkable and different. In many cases, you may be one of
many speakers so you need to do something to standout. And if the situation allows it,
deliver your own 20X20 Pecha Kucha slide presentation. Your audience will probably
appreciate it and if they need more information, they can ask questions at the end.

For more information on Pecha Kucha, you can do a search on the web and watch
actual presentations on YouTube ( Or, you
can connect to the Pecha Kucha website (

Public Speaking Tech Tools You Can Use

So what are the types of technology tools (and toys) you can incorporate into your
public speaking engagements? If you think PowerPoint is your only alternative, you‘re
mistaken. Your choices are endless, but here are just a few options to consider:

Video Conferencing: Use this option to bring in an expert that may be

offsite or to connect you to a wider audience at another location. Sites |
such as Skype ( SightSpeed (,
ooVoo (, and Aim ( facilitate online
video and audio exchange for a nominal fee or for free.
Videos: There are several sites that feature free movies, videos,
documentaries as well as short films. Check them out to see if they have
any videos that include relevant material. Some sites to visit include
MySpace TV (, LiveLeak (,
Break (, Dailymotion (,
Metacafe (, and YouTube (
Webinars: Public speeches don‘t always have to take place in a brick-
and-mortar institutions. You can give your talk via the web using various
types of interactive software including DimDim (,
Goto Webinar (, and Free Conference
( This allows you to share your desktop with
others or host a talk via phone for free or a nominal fee depending on the
number of attendees.
Podcasts: Include relevant audio to underscore a point or supplement
your presentation. Sites like Podcast Alley (
feature a list of popular podcasts that may cover the topic of your speech.
There are also internet radio sites like blogtalkradio
( or ( that could
have relevant audio for use in your presentation.
Social Media: Use these sites to connect with other business
professionals, interview subject matter experts, or see relevant postings.
You can also publicize your event on these sites to attract attendees, but
this can be tricky since members are typically bombarded with
invitations—you should probably consult a social media expert to find out
which sites are most relevant for your field and uncover ways to promote
to that audience. In the meantime, you can conduct your own search on the
Internet or check out sites like Facebook (, LinkedIn
(, and Twitter ( as well as Stumble
Upon (, Yelp (, Ning
(, and Fast Pitch (
Online Event Management: Many of the options above will also help
you manage your event by sending out online invitations or allowing you
post announcements on your profile. If you still need additional online
event management help, web applications like Event Brite
(, Amiando (, Eventsbot |
(, Made It ( and others help you
track attendees as well as ticket sales.

Hop, Skip, Click

Now that you know how you can use technology to support your speeches as well
as the wide range of technological alternatives that are available—explore them! Internet
technical tools can greatly enhance your speech and help you become a better speaker.
How? An interesting, interactive visual can relieve some of your stress because it gives
the audience another focal point plus it frees you up from relying on your notes or index
cards as you take cues from your slides. More importantly, adding technology will help
you better serve your audience, and that, after all, should be the primary reason you take
the stage. |
Chapter 6: There’s More…

Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always

plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be
~William Penn

At this point it seems we‘ve covered everything but the kitchen sink. If you‘ve
followed the information outlined up until now, you‘re able to deliver a powerful,
compelling presentation that addresses your audience‘s needs and incorporates the most
appropriate, yet exciting, technological tools available. You appearance is stellar and
your deliver is so tight you couldn‘t unravel it if you tried. It‘s nearly perfect.

So what else is there? There are just a few extra tips that need to be covered to
make this everything public speaking guide complete. This chapter will look at the true
beginning of your speech (which is the part where someone else introduces you) and the
true closing of your speech (which is really the Q&A or question and answer session).

The focus here is the before and the after. What you need to know is that your
speech actually opens way before you hit the stage and there are really two presentations
you need to prepare when you‘re going to speak: your main speech and the question and
answer session.

Let‘s closely examine these areas so you can let your light shine as you enlighten
your audience.

Unlike Johnny Carson, you probably won‘t have the benefit of being introduced
by Ed McMahon who enthusiastically belted H-e-r-e-‗s Johnny! for more than 30 years.
Even still, there are a few things you can do to make it easy on the person who is going to
introduce you. Remember the 3ps—preparation, purpose, and performance—to keep your
introduction on point:

Preparation: Provide the person that will be introducing you with a one-
page biography at least a few days in advance. Your bio should include
points that are relevant to the listeners. Even though your children and pets
are important to you, don‘t mention them unless this will help you connect
with the audience. Try to keep it brief because people don‘t read long
biographies anyway and you want them to be able to scan it again quickly |
right before they introduce you. That brings us to the next tip, always
carry copies of your bio with you. Bios get misplaced all the time and you
want yours to be readily available. If your name is hard to pronounce,
include the phonetic spelling in brackets so the person knows how to
properly pronounce it. If you need to cut your bio down, just include facts
that demonstrate your credibility for the purposes of this talk. You can
always add more in your actual speech. When you meet the introducer,
state your name again as you greet them so they‘ll be able to connect the
bio with your face and so you‘re sure they know how to pronounce your
Purpose: Don‘t forget why you‘re at the event. Your job is to serve the
audience—not yourself. In your correspondence to the organization,
always reiterate the topic of your talk, why the information is important
and relevant to their audience, and why you have the expertise to
effectively deliver this message. Ensure the purpose is somehow
highlighted in your introduction.
Performance: Remember, the microphone is always hot and the camera
is always live. That means you need to be conscious of everything you say
and do as soon as you enter the premises. Even if the microphone isn‘t
officially attached, the audience members are watching you and taking
mental notes. When you‘re being introduced, know that eyes may be on
you and not the person making the introduction. Sit up in your chair, make
sure your hair and makeup are already in place, smile (if appropriate), and
look like you‘re ready for prime time before you even hit the stage.

Now that you‘ve been properly introduced, you need to remember to keep your
best face forward even after the audience thinks you‘ve officially closed. There‘s a
presentation after the presentation and you need to be ready for an action-packed Q&A

You’re Still On: Tips for Hosting the Q&A

Talk show queen, Oprah, has a segment of her show called ―After the Show‖
that‘s televised on her own network. Although the title gives the impression of a let-your-
hair-down segment, the truth is that Oprah is still dressed, made up, and working. The
show is still being zapped to viewers. Oprah is still on. The same is true for you during
the Q&A session of your speech, you can‘t afford to let get off your game just because
the main part of your speech has concluded. The Q&A session is a very important part of
your talk. It‘s the presentation after the presentation and you‘re still on! |
The Q&A session is key to your overall message because it affords benefits to
your audience as well as yourself. When audience members ask questions to clarify
certain points this minimizes the chances that anyone will leave confused or uncertain
about your presentation. For you, the Q&A session is another opportunity for you to
shine as it provides you with more time to reinforce your message, continue your sales
pitch, and calm your audience‘s concerns. For these reasons, the Q&A can be viewed as
another important presentation.

If you want to perform as well during this presentation as you did during the main
portion of your speech, use these suggestions:

Prep the Audience for the Q&A: People are more likely to save their
questions during your talk and then ask them, if they know that there will
be a Q&A at the end. During your speech, let them know that you plan to
take questions. Also, ask the person that introduces you to let the audience
know that you‘ll be available for questions.
Jumpstart the Q&A Session: When you‘re ready to take questions, ask
―Who has the first question?‖ If no one responds, ask a question yourself
and then answer it. Say something like, ―You might be wondering why…‖
or ―A question I‘m often asked is…‖ This should spark other questions.
The enthusiasm around your presentation sinks if no one appears to have a
question so you want to encourage audience inquiries during the Q&A.
Repeat the Questions: When you do get a question, repeat it to ensure
that the entire audience heard it. As you repeat the question, look at the
person who asked it to see if you properly understood it. When you‘re
ready to answer the question, address the entire audience so they don‘t feel
left out and make sure you include information that will benefit everyone
even if the question is a specific one. As you conclude your answer, look
at the person who asked the question again to make sure that you fully
answered the inquiry poised.
Stick to the point: Be concise and don‘t turn your answer into another
speech. If you take too long to respond to a question, the audience will get
bored. If you can keep your answer to a ―Yes‖ or ―No,‖ do that to keep the
session moving and to maintain the audience‘s attention.
Don’t respond to loaded questions: If a question is phrased to put you
on the defense, don‘t respond to it—at least directly. Instead, restate the
question to give yourself better footing. For example, if someone asks
―What is your company doing with the extra money you‘re getting from
the price hikes?‖ You respond by saying, ―I understand your concern |
regarding the price increase, I think you‘re asking why we found it
necessary to increase the prices?‖ The difference between the two
questions is subtle but the second option puts you in a better position to
respond. If the person is not happy with the way you rephrased the
question then suggest that you see them after the Q&A session. You don‘t
want to get into an argument with the person because you have more to
lose than they do.
Manage Audience Comments: If someone makes an extended comment
rather than asks a question, you need to politely cut them off. One
approach is to track their speaking rate and then when he or she pauses
say, ―Thanks for your comment…Next question, please‖ and turn your
attention to the opposite side of the room. At that point, the person won‘t
know if you cut them off or just thought that he or she was finished. It‘s
important to manage speeches or extended comments because audience
members sometimes use the Q&A as an opportunity to state their
company name or effort (a free commercial) but more importantly they
prevent other audience members from asking key questions.
Refrain from Praising Questions: When you say, ―good question‖ to
one person and not the other you may stifle some people‘s willingness to
speak because they feel you‘re placing a value judgment on the questions
asked. You should strive to make everyone feel good about asking
questions by saying ―Thanks for asking that question.‖
Have a Conclusion After the Q&A: You can either develop a separate
conclusion that you deliver after the Q&A or before ending your speech.
To do the latter, ask for questions by saying, ―Before I close, does anyone
have question?‖ By having a prepared closing, you can end the Q&A
session once you‘ve reached the time allotted. Also, it gives you a crisp,
professional way to end your talk versus ―okay, well if there are no more
questions, that‘s all.‖
Keep Your Cool: As much as you try to predict your audience‘s
questions, you should expect the unexpected. If someone asks something
that you can‘t answer, be honest. If you‘re able to get them an answer at a
later time, let them know when you will deliver the response and keep
your promise. In the meantime, move onto the next question as quickly as
possible. If a question isn‘t relevant, let the person know that the question
is ―outside of the context of our discussion.‖ The bottom line is that you
have to maintain your composure at all times and you can‘t get sidetracked
by a bad question. |
You Determine Your Success
When it comes to public speaking, the success of the presentation starts and ends
with you. Sure there are things you can‘t control, it happens to everyone. Just remember
that when your technology goes on an unexpected blitz, an audience member makes a
ridiculous comment, or some noisy high school students take an unplanned detour in
front of your room—these are occurrences you can‘t control but you can always control
your response to them and that may make all the difference. |
More Public Speaking Resources

Communication Websites
Kid‘s Turn Central – a list of public speaking resources for kids.

Harvard Kennedy School – a comprehensive list of public speaking resources for adults.

Links to Entertaining and Historical Speeches

Will Ferrell at Harvard

History Channel – Site contains audio/video clips of great speeches in modern history.

Kurt Vonnegut at Rice University

Kurt Vonnegut at Syracuse

Research Tools – Source for free online books. – A directory that feature searchable links to free online scholarly journals
on a variety of topics. – Contains dictionaries, newspaper searches, search engines,

encyclopedias, quotations, translators, and more on one site. – The Library of Congress website features on-line resources and materials
for various topics, including American history. – Links to free magazines that are available online. – Features links to the websites for thousands of local

newspapers nationwide – Find quotations by topic or author. – A little bit of everything: news, encyclopedias, and hundreds of

links. A good place to start if you are doing online research. |
55 – Almanacs, atlases, dictionaries, thesauruses, and more. – An archive of family jokes and humor that is searchable by


Style Websites – A kid-friendly free online PowerPoint tutorial. – Plug in your information in this free printable online

outline generator. – A website to help people overcome the fear of public speaking. The
site includes articles, resources, chat rooms and other resources. – This free site connects you to MLA and APA citations for your
bibliography and other referenced sources. – Site presents an interesting discussion and exercise on

how to eliminate clichés in your work. |
A popular former New York City mayor used to start his speeches with ―So, how
am I doin‘?‖ It was his way of finding out from his audience—the citizens of the big
Apple—how well he was serving them. If you want to be an effective public speaker, you
need to determine how well your message is connecting with the people you are charged
to inform, entertain, motivate, or persuade. You need to evaluate yourself and let others
assess you too. Then incorporate your finding into your next speech so that you‘ll
improve with every engagement.

To get constructive feedback, ask your audience to complete an evaluation form

that you provide to them prior to your presentation. As you read the responses, don‘t get
defensive. You should be grateful for all of the comments because they will ultimately
help you become a more effective communicator and speaker. Try your best to
understand the comments that you receive and make sure you leave space so that the
respondents can provide further commentary. Once you‘ve read all of the feedback forms
for a particular speech, file them. Then periodically review them to ensure that you‘ve
taken steps for improvement and that you‘ve noted your progress.

As you strive for public speaking perfection, keep these tips in mind:

Speak whenever you can and join public speaking groups to improve your skills;
Critique other people‘s speeches so you‘ll know what things you should avoid and
what techniques you need to incorporate into your own presentation;
Be open to criticism and know that the feedback your receive is only a reflection
of how you came across;
Conduct your own self-assessments for every speech. Audiotape and videotape
your speeches and record where and when they were given as well as the
audience‘s response so you can improve;
Maintain control and don‘t lose your cool when things go wrong. Remember, the
audience is often unaware or unconcerned about little mistakes or mishaps;
Sprinkle in some humor to reduce the stress for you and your audience.

At some point, you may start to believe that you‘ve hit your peak. Not so! You
should always look for ways to make your presentations more interesting, more exciting,
and more valuable for your audience. If you keep an open mind and constantly look for
courses and reading material to update your skills, you‘ll always discover new techniques
that will set your presentation apart from the rest of the pack. |