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Public Speaking : Hints & Tips

  • Thread starter Scottish Business Owner
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Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
We've spoken about public speaking on various threads on the forums but I thought it would be a good idea to maybe have one thread where people could leave tips on what they've found helpful.

I'm hoping 2010 will be a big year for SBF and which will hopefully mean we have a few events. This is an area I'm really going to have to study alot if i'm going to be the guy that really pushed SBF forward.

So any hints or tips are greatly appreciated :)
 
amestaper

amestaper

New Member
Very difficult . I still haven't mastered this fine art and it seemingly just takes practice to combat the butterflies. I have done it on 3 occasions to an audience of over 100 people and my best delivery, by miles, was when I turned my giveaway speech at my sisters wedding into a funny but well rehearsed Burns style poem where I imagined the audience had no clothes on, :scared: but hey, it worked and I could relax after that.

Unfortunately the other two times I choked and made a complete arse of it. It's definitely easier to do in front of people you know and are familiar with than in front of a group of strangers... but in 5 years time, who would remember anyway. Maybe keep 2 or 3 one liners handy with a glass of water for any awkward moments.

My tuppence worth, hope it helps.
 
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Canary Dwarf

Canary Dwarf

New Member
Good idea , this is something I've struggled with in the past, but something I have to overcome. I made several videos this year, and did voice overs for some of them. I will be making many more in 2010 and will be appearing in them.

I know it's not real public speaking, but it's something I still find difficult to get to grips with. However, I think it is also a good primer for public speaking.

So my tip is: make a video, even if you don't publish it.
 
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Gordon N

Gordon N

New Member
I don't have any tips to throw in to the pot yet, but I will be following this thread closely as I too am planning a couple of events for 2010. I have done some (rather poor) talks in the past but would like to appear slightly more professional at the events I am organising! :p
 
EmployEasily Legal Services

EmployEasily Legal Services

EmployEasily Legal Services
Speaking in front of a group of any size is certainly daunting and something that many people find challenging.

The good news is the more often you do it, the easier it becomes, but its certainly worth remembering that being nervous is completely normal and nothing at all to worry about.

A few tips I hope you find useful would include:

1) Know your audiance.......make sure the pitch is appropriate for the group you're speaking to........getting overly technical with non-technical people is pointless.

2) Know your subject........if you're speaking on something make sure you know your stuff inside out and be sure to have a clear 'objective' for the event. Knowledge is power and in public speaking scenarios it also give you confidence.......remember your audiance doesn't know what they don't know!

3) Prepare.......make sure the venue is ready, any props you're using (laptop/projector, microphone, video, etc) have been tested in advance and that you've done a final check just before you're due to start.........a last minute malfunction discovered during testing can be overcome but it could be less easy to get past a technical glitch mid presentation.

4) Practice........being a subject matter expert won't ensure your presentation runs smoothly so make sure you rehearse it, several times. By rehearsing it, you'll be able to iron out any wee problems with the flow of the content and the timings........there's nothing worse than being told an event is going to last 60 mins only to find it lasts 90mins

5) Always have a contingency plan.........once you've got your final presentation in place develop a back-up plan so you're covered in the event something goes wrong at the last minute. It could be something as simple as ensuring you have a second projector or spare seats or simply some 'non-technical' props that you could deploy in the event your projector fails.

There are a number of other things you can do to help ensure your event is as successful as possible but in my experience the five tips above are the most critical in ensuring the actual presentation bit goes well.

This is an area that I've got considerable experience in so if you'd like a hand in putting together an SBF event just let me know, I'd be happy to lend a hand! ;)
 
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Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
Thanks for the posts on this so far - all very helpful :)

I have a plan formulating that could involve SBF members in events for 2010 but let me just chew over that for a while :)

I guess what this comes down to in a big way is practising and doing it regularly enough to try and improve your skills. Is that how others did it? What about books or audio stuff was there anything in that area that helped you at all. Any recommendations?
 
P

profitxchange

New Member
There is nothing better than DIY. do you have a friend or family member that is willing to listen and critique you. Do scottish enterprise run any courses.
 
A

anned

New Member
I've been doing quite a bit of this over the last few months, speaking at schools conferences. One key thing I have picked up is there are very few truly dynamic speakers, so you don't have to compete with them. I was pleasantly surprised to find I am at least as good, if not better than many of the other speakers - maybe the schools sector is exceptionally dull.

I start by saying up front I am not a professional speaker, but rather a practitioner who has come to share my experience. This seems to go down well on 2 fronts. Firstly, they don't expect a slick talk and secondly (and in my view more importantly),I am sharing my real life experience and not preaching from a manual - unlike many from Govt agencies.

The feedback that I get from my talks is "very knowledgable,enthusiastic, approachable and informal". If you take this approach you won't go far wrong ( may be more formal depending on context). Encourage participation right from the outset and once you get into the flow it does get easier.

Practice timings. I never over-run, mainly because I start speaking faster when I'm nervous and that's something I have to work on.

If you want to practice speaking, I would recommend finding a local toastmasters club. Doesn't cost much and is great for confidence building. For various reason's I had to stop, but there are 2 clubs in Edinburgh and 1 in Linlithgow

And as others have said-the more you do it, the easier it gets. That's waht I'm hoping anyway
 
abs

abs

New Member
If you want to practice speaking, I would recommend finding a local toastmasters club. Doesn't cost much and is great for confidence building. For various reason's I had to stop, but there are 2 clubs in Edinburgh and 1 in Linlithgow
I agree, I have only been to a few Toastmasters meetings but already feel that my confidence and ability have improved.

Theresia
 
D

Dizzydiza

New Member
I have been invited by a couple of women's guilds again this year to do a talk on what I make. The first being this month. I need to contact the Secretary to find out what they are expecting again. It is very nerve wrecking but I have to admit I am starting to enjoy it ;)
 
M

Mark Lister

New Member
I've not tried Toastmasters yet, but my business partner raves about it. From what she's told me you get not only lots of practice, but plenty of very constructive criticism.

Also, a couple of thoughts from the limited experience I've had of doing it myself:

1. Prepare well. One thing I've tried is to:
a) write out the whole thing
b) read it plenty of times out loud (ideally to a mirror and then to a friend)
c) when doing it for real, have cards with the main bullet points on
The aim isn't to reproduce the talk you prepared; rather, by doing this you'll feel more confident that you've got a solid foundation, and the bullet points should be all you need.

2. Be really clear in your own mind what you want to get across to the audience. By this I mean a really simple core idea you can encapsulate in a short sentence - three words even. You might even want to use it as your opening sentence.

3. Jokes can be good - but they can also backfire. Use with caution. I saw someone using a jokey approach to explain something, and it really died - but the poor guy was committed to ploughing on, because it was a drawn-out metaphor. That sort of thing can be pretty confidence-rattling.

4. Tell them something personal - even be a little vulnerable. It can really create a closeness, which makes you feel the audience is on your side (because they will be).

Cheers

Mark
 
OurScots

OurScots

New Member
I'm joining my local Toastmasters - I need to be able to do a talk or presentation without being ill for days beforehand. I've checked out the website and it seems they're all folk like us who are terrified, so practice with others in the same boat and don't worry about making a Prat of yourself. Be a prat at Toastmasters and a professional when you do it for real :)
 
L

Lindsey Sharratt

New Member
I really like public speaking - I have done it from debating society from school through to presentations in the real world. One thing I always found useful was to rehearse the speech in my head and imagine giving it to the live audience - actually imagine that you are doing the speech. Imagine being really confident and the audience loving the speech. Your brain can't really tell the difference between rehearsing mentally and doing the real thing, so if you do this a few times beforehand you will give yourself a huge subconscious confidence boost.

It works for me anyway :)
 
OurScots

OurScots

New Member
Thanks Lindsey - your encouragement is... encouraging, as is the idea that you enjoy yourself :) I hadn't spoken to a group before so was relieved that I didn't dry up (or die!),and in fact I got through it well with Keyword Cards and plenty Ad Lib stories. I think folk are very forgiving about the Umms and Ahhs as long as you know your stuff. I've done a couple of talks now and am (hesitantly) looking forward to the next few as it is wonderful to share your knowledge of a subject about which you are passionate. I'll do a bit of visualisation of enthusiastic responses and try to remember to keep smiling! Thanks for your input :) Jo
 
L

Lindsey Sharratt

New Member
You're welcome Jo :) I wish you all the best with your next speech and would love to know how you get on.

Being passionate and knowledgeable about your subject are a great asset to you - your audience will pick up on both. Sometimes people are knowledgeable but dry, it's your enthusiasm and engagement with the audience that will really get people excited. So if you can build up your confidence too, you should be on a winning streak :)
 
D

DickW

New Member
I generally find that a couple of gin and tonics tends to improve the flow!
 
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