Archive for February, 2009

Public Speaking: Seven Tips to Using a Mic

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

In many cases, if a mic is available, and you have over forty people in your audience, use the mic.

Darwin Ortiz, a world-class card shark, affirms that when performing his stunningly visual skills “it is more important to be heard than seen”.  This comment  is from a man who makes his living with a deck of cards.  I’m sure he’s performed in every type of situation, and his experience is that volume is essential.

Granted, some shy people will prefer not to be heard when speaking, but this will KILL your presentation. You will lose your audience.  It is much better to use a mic.

Here are some suggestions:

1) Nobody will focus on a talking statue.  Take the mic off the stand so you can move around.

2) Avoid crowding the mic.  Adjust the volume so that you can keep the mic at least a few inches from your mouth.

3) Ideal amplifier volume is the point at which you are speaking fully, without straining.

4) A hand-held mic has some advantages over headsets and lavalieres.  You can have the audience comment into it, you can move it a bit closer or farther from your mouth for effect.  The benefit to the headset or lavaliere is that you are hands free.  Typically, a cheaper headset will still project, but a cheaper lavaliere may have trouble picking up your voice.  Of course, the negative to a headset is that it blocks your face a bit.

5) If you are wearing or holding a mic before or after your presentation MAKE SURE TO MUTE or TURN OFF.  Embarrassing stories abound about people who forgot to mute their mics and had their private remarks broadcast to a large audience.  Do you remember this happened to former President Bush?

6) Be careful with signal.  If you’re receiver is at the other end of the room, it will work perfectly when there is no audience.  However, on your big day, the bodies of your attendees can impede the signal; so your voice will randomly cut out.  This happened to me with a quality system.  I was forced to dump the mic and naturally project to a group of 300 people.  Not effective.

7) Have a member in the back of the audience use thumbs up/thumbs down to indicate “raise the volume/lower the volume”.

There you have it in a nutshell. Seven tips to using a mic.

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Speaking From the Heart

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

vmun-words-from-the-heart1262548916We just discussed a story about a woman who lost her Power Point notes.  Right after writing that blog . . .

My wife and I were invited to a baptism.  The priest opened her sermon by announcing: “In all the excitement about the baptism, I forgot my notes for today’s talk; so I’ll have to just speak from the heart”.

As a public-speaking instructor, I would be inclined to say that’s not a good opener. I would have coached someone in that situation to say nothing and proceed from memory. But in this case it thoroughly worked in her favor. She created a little bit of tension; people sat a bit taller.  We all wondered how well she would handle the circumstances.

It helped that she was likeable and sincere.  I think everyone was silently rooting for her to do a great job.  She did.  Few things resonate more to an audience than “speaking from the heart”.  Also, without the crutch of notes, all of the other wonderful connecting strategies naturally flourish: eye contact, pausing to think, facial expressions, movement and inflection.

Once again, if you tend to overuse your notes or Power Point, take a chance and see how well you can connect with an audience by “speaking form the heart”.

Speaking from the Heart II

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Don’t Use PowerPoint As A Crutch

Friday, February 20th, 2009

What an epiphany!  

If you want to learn how to improve public speaking watch other speakers AND observe their audience while they speak.  Consider the faces of the audience members and look at their eyes.  What you will see most of the time is polite interest at best and boredom at worst.  On occasion you will see an engaged audience – what is the speaker doing (or not doing) to get that reaction? Take mental notes.

I watched a woman bore her audience with a Power Point presentation. BUT then, her computer quit. She had no hard copy; so she completed the presentation with NO aids.  This created some tension, which awoke the audience from their mental slumber.  Because she stopped reading from her slides, she connected with the audience.  Their faces changed from exhibiting apathy to shining with interest.  Even though her organization and smooth pace suffered a bit, her ability to connect more than compensated.

What can we learn from this?  PowerPoint is great to make a visually powerful POINT, but not to deliver an entire presentation.  A slightly bumpy presentation without the crutch of Power Point is far more effected that a smooth presentation with it.

What do you think?

Add impact to your presentation using PowerPoint.

Speaking from the heart  & speaking from the heart II

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: is GREAT marketing

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Why should networkers engage in public speaking?  How can you start building your business through public speaking now?  Are there ways to feel more comfortable doing it?  Enjoy this video interview, hosted by the famous marketing expert Laura Briere, CEO of Vision Advertising.  A special thank you to Laura, whose team of experts not only designed our site but also developed our highly-effective social media strategy.  Also, thank you to Steve-O from Point Breeze for filming!

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Exhibit Confidence

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

In our previous blogs we spoke about veiling the nerves.  Once that is accomplished, we are ready to emulate what a confident person does, even though we may not feel confident from within.

Two “tricks” that we’ve discussed are pausing and moving at a moderate pace.  Here is another technique for exhibiting confidence.

In college, I was already an avid student of public speaking, and I made it a point to compare and contrast students’ public speaking performances with those of our professors. This is not to say that professors are necessarily great presenters, but they do tend to look comfortable and confident.  When students are asked to speak before the class, even though they might have a great presentation prepared, they usually appear nervous and awkward.

Of course the professors typically spoke at a much slower pace, but I also noticed that they tended to lean a great deal.  Later, when I began studying body language, my observation was confirmed by research: confident people will lean (when appropriate) and nervous people will not.  Professors would have one hand in the pocket and, on occasion, put the other hand on a table or desk.  This is a great telegraph of comfort and confidence if it is NOT a formal presentation.  Clearly you would not use this technique giving a eulogy or a presentation to the board of directors.

On a side note, in social situations, for example a house party, studies show that guests who are comfortable and confident will tend to lean as well.

There you  have it, the power of the lean, just make sure you don’t fall over!

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Fear – Nerves and Confidence

Monday, February 16th, 2009

To date, we have uncovered the secrets to veiling the fear of pubic speaking:

Fear of Public Speaking: Stop shaky hands
Fear of Public Speaking: Stop shaky voice
Fear of Public Speaking: Cure the dry throat
Fear of Public Speaking: Avoid freezing

Once you can successfully manage/veil your public speaking fear, you are ready discover how to emulate confidence, even when you are not feeling that confidence from within.

What are the common denominators of a confident speaker?  After years of studying presenters, both nervous and confident, I’ve uncovered the nuances that make the difference.

1) We have already discussed the first: pacing, which dictates that more confident speakers tend to do everything at a more moderate, purposeful pace.  Nervous speakers tend to race, both physically and verbally.  As as side note, research shows that people who talk too fast and bustle around the office are PERCEIVED as lower in the power chain than those who talk and move at a moderate pace.

2) Confident speakers PAUSE.  Without the pause, people cannot digest as swiftly as you speak.  Of equal importance your pauses clearly communicate that you are confident (irrespective of whether it is true). Always pause when you make a strong point.  Pause when you are searching what to say next.  As we discovered in the avoid freezing blog entry, pausing makes YOU feel awkward but it makes you LOOK confident. Conversely, “umms and ahhs” to fill the silence make YOU feel more comfortable, but they make you LOOK far more awkward.

Public speaking fear can be managed easily and effectively using these techniques.

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Fear – Avoid Freezing

Friday, February 13th, 2009

ice-cubes-nausea-lgIn learning to veil the fear of public speaking, we must address the common fear of freezing.  Here is a simple technique:

Memorize rote your opener and closer.  Why? Research shows that nerves spike in the first few moments of a presentation and in the last few moments.  When nerves spike you are more likely to freeze; so by memorizing, word-for-word, your power opener and power close, you will have more confidence when you need it most.

Clearly if you are using Power Point as a crutch, all you need to do is look up at the slide, but for the more effective presenters who chose not to read from their visuals, keep the following in mind:

1) Freezing to you is simply pausing to them.  Four seconds feels like an eternity for you, but it seems like a respectable pause to the audience.  It feels weak to you, but they interpret it as confidence.  It’s okay to “freeze” to allow your brain to catch up; then move on.  Avoid “Ums and ahs” and any filler. It is counterintuitive that filler makes YOU feel more comfortable, but it makes your audience think you are insecure.

2) Keep in mind that, in most cases, the audience does not know the layout of your presentation; so if you freeze on a point, just move to the next. You can address the missed point later in the presentation without anyone noticing.

3) If you’re using notes, avoid writing in sentence form or, even worse, paragraph form.  For a nervous speaker this can be deadly.  Once you lose your place, your eyes start to race through the text to find where you left off, and the panic snowballs as the seconds tick away.  Bullets in large font ensure that in just a glance you can get right back on track.

Freezing is simply a mind game with one player – you.  By employing the tips above you will be more confident that you will not freeze, which means that you’ll be less likely to freeze in the first place.

There you have it, yet another tip to manage your fear of public speaking.

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Fear – Dry Throat

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

dreamstime_11462314[1]Veiling your fear of public speaking is quite simple, once you know the quick-fix tricks.  We’ve already discussed how to stop the shaky hands and how to stop the shaky voice.  Now we’ll share a simple technique for handling the dry throat.  

Just do a search on the web, and you’ll find many people seeking a remedy for the dry throat when they become anxious.  Here it is:

1) Forget water because it quickly dissipates within a minute.  If, however, you do drink water before or during your presentation, make sure it is at room temperature because cold water constricts the throat making public speaking more difficult.

2) The best remedy: luke warm orange juice.  It will give your throat a silky coating that will LAST through your presentation.

3) If you’re caught off-guard and have nothing with you: Imagine eating Sour Patch Kids, which will get your saliva glands into action.

4) A teaspoon of honey will give you a lasting coating, and it may be more palatable for you than luke warm OJ.

The benefit to you of using one of these remedies is that you won’t have to swallow mid sentence when public speaking, which is a dead giveaway that your are nervous.  Now with one less thing to worry about, you can concentrate on your delivery.

Please share your comments on how to veil your fear of public speaking.

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Fear – Shaky Voice

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Does your voice shake when you are speaking in public?  Just like the shaky hand, your fear of public speaking triggers the release of excessive adrenaline, which causes your voice to shake.

What big mistake do most speakers make when their voice gets shaky?  They lower the volume.  It is natural to want to lower your volume when you hear the shakiness in your voice, but it is counterproductive.  It makes the shakiness more obvious.

The solution is to raise your volume when your voice is shaky.  The extra adrenaline in your body causes your vocal cords to have tiny vibrations that make that shaky sound.  When you speak loudly, the bigger movements of the vocal cords will veil the smaller vibrations caused by nerves.  In essence, you drown out the shakiness in your voice.

While counterintuitive, it is this simple: turn up the volume to overcome the “shakes”.

More to come on veiling your fear of public speaking.

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark

Public Speaking: Fear – Shaky Hands

Friday, February 6th, 2009

10180735As promised, first we will delve into the outside-in approach for veiling your fear of public speaking. Later we will uncover long-term methods to deal with your fear of presenting.

When we feel the fear of public speaking from within, what telegraphs that fear to our audience? One of clearest “tells” of our discomfort is the shaky hand.

Fear not . . . this one is easy to veil.

The problem:  Your fear of public speaking releases excessive adrenaline, which would be great if you were about to engage in a fight. However, since you’re just standing there, the energy has no release, and the result is that your hands begin to shake.

The solution: If you rely on notes, never hold a single piece of paper or index card.  Leverage dictates that a small shake in your hand will look huge by the time it reaches the tip of your paper.  Everyone will see your shakes magnified by this leverage.  You will see it too, and you will become even more nervous. If you need notes, hold something heavy underneath them.  It’s that simple.  By holding a leather padfolio beneath your notes, the sheer weight will flatten the shakes.

If you are not using notes, start your presentation with your hands held behind your back. Research shows that the beginning of the presentation is the most nerve-wracking.  Also, if it is not a formal presentation, you can then move to one hand in the pocket, and it is okay to hold a pen in the other hand as long as you do not fidget with it.

There you have the first tip towards veiling your fear of public speaking.  From this point forward, you will not telegraph your fear of presenting through your hands.

» Share this entry: bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark


Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

Copyright © 2008 Target Intellect. All rights reserved.