Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why is good public speaking important to the business world?

Most people would generally agree that a great deal — probably most — of the presentations we have to sit through in the business world are awful. They are all too often passionless, boring, and dense with unreadable PowerPoint slides.

And that sorry state of affairs raises the question: if that’s the norm, why should things be any better? Maybe boring is OK. Why is good public speaking important to the business world?

I believe that good public speaking is important for several reasons.

Bad presentations are an opportunity lost.

It’s expensive and time-consuming to gather groups of employees, or shareholders, or customers, or the general public together. You should have a good reason for doing so. And you should make the most of the time spent together. Especially in this virtual age, gathering a group of people is an enormous opportunity to move them, to inspire them, to re-excite them about your company, your products, or your mission.

Bad presentations can hurt your organization.

If a leader of an organization gives a bad speech, some portion of the audience will conclude one of the following things:

    The company has lackluster leadership and therefore won’t do well in the future
    The organization is wasting my time; I should look elsewhere for another job
    This company is an embarrassment and it doesn’t deserve my best efforts.

You don’t want employees concluding these kinds of damaging things. You want them concluding the opposite of these notions, in fact. Make your presentations good.

Good presentations can turn around a bad situation.
Because of the public nature of a speech, it’s a great opportunity to right a wrong done to employees, or correct a misapprehension, or change a perception. Things said from the stage to an assembled majority of an organization have the force of corporate legislation. Words uttered by a chief executive in public can heal. Employees will act on what is proclaimed, and an organization headed in the wrong direction can be righted.

Good public speaking can create enormous opportunities for innovation and healthy competition amongst employees.

A good public speech can launch a decade-long quest for the moon, or inspire people to compete for a prize for the best new product, or find new ways to save money and make processes more efficient. A good public speech is a great way to throw down the gauntlet to the assembled people to find new solutions to difficult problems.

A good presentation can change the world.

Develop Your Leadership Potential

Most people say they’re above-average drivers, have above-average looks, above-average intelligence and are above-average in their professions. Psychologists call this self-enhancement. Mathematicians call it impossible. But it’s said to be at an all-time high today, particularly in the young-adult generation. A whopping 94 percent of college students think they have above-average leadership skills, according to David Brooks, from an interview with Fareed Zakaria.

This is problematic, because if you think you’re better at something than you really are, you’re less likely to work at it. You expect it to come easily to you. But that makes you less likely to succeed. Most men who play in the NBA will tell you it was really hard to get there – they’ll tell you of great coaches, years of strenuous practice sessions, grueling off-season training, special diets and more. The guys who thought it’d be easy, for the most part, they’re gone. 1

It applies to leadership in anything, not just basketball. Good intentions are never enough. To become a leader, you must first have some idea of what it means to be a leader, and then you need to do the hard work to get there. Whether you’re still in college or you’ve already launched your career, your current circumstances can be the training ground for future successes. If leadership is what you aspire to, what can you do today, regardless of your circumstances, to move in that direction? Let’s examine three characteristics of leaders and some practical ways to develop these qualities.

1. A leader must strive for excellence. On the one hand, God alone knows whether your aspirations for leadership will be realized – that is, whether the external circumstances of your life and work will be transformed in the way you hope. You might do everything “right” and still be overlooked. Our external circumstances are not necessarily a barometer of whether our lives are pleasing to God – sometimes the wicked prosper, while God’s best servants faithfully toil in obscurity, like Joseph in a jail cell in Egypt (see Psalm 73 and Genesis 40).

Remember that God’s timetable may be different from yours, and be faithful with what He’s given you right now, while also striving to be a wise steward of your current growth opportunities. The Bible says that whatever your hand finds to do, you should do with all our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). And that in everything you do, “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23–24). That means that in serving your “human masters” (your bosses or professors) you are actually serving Jesus Christ. So do it with excellence, as best you can.

Paul gives us an example of godly striving —

5 Reasons Why Public Speaking Training is Important

Public speaking training is important as there are various occasions in your professional or social life when you might be called on to speak publicly. You need to do it right and you need to do it effectively. If you are not confident about your own ability in this regard, then it makes sense to take public speaking training.

There are quite a few people who think that public speaking qualities are ingrained in a person and training won’t help matters at all. However, it is the confidence and ability that is a part of the person and not public speaking in general.

The 5 Reasons:

   1. Alleviating Your Fears

Many people have stage fright. They are fearful of speaking to a crowd of people. They are frightened of all the attention that would be on them and hence they are not comfortable with the aspect of public speaking.

An effective public speaking training course would help people allay those fears effectively. This is one of the most important components of any such course. Once the fear factor is minimized, persons can effectively give a speech without faltering or losing faith in their abilities.

    2.Help Build Confidence

The inherent lack of confidence is something that always acts as a deterrent to effective public speaking. Such courses, help in building up your confidence. This is done by enhancing a person’s specific skill sets to generate maximum impact.

A person is shown how to maintain eye contact with the audience, and the various aspects of voice modulation. This will go a long way in making the person confident about his/her abilities.

One of the more important aspects of confidence building is to have content that is relevant to the topic in question. Moreover, speakers should also be comfortable with the content and all that is asked from them.

    3.Will Help Develop an Individualistic Style

The best part about being a part of any public speaking training program is the fact that, your individual characteristics, abilities, and qualities will be used to create a unique public speaking style, which will suit your requirements.

A person’s own exclusive style will make, him/her a good orator. An effective training program, will not ask the participants to copy a style, but help them build a whole new distinctive style, which will be their own, and not borrowed from somebody else.

    4.Will Introduce You to the Intimate Facets

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The 23 Rules To Becoming An Excellent Public Speaker

 At our most recent Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in Miami, most of the speakers were loved by the audience. We received a slew of testimonials from conferees; but still, I am not satisfied until our show is 100 percent perfect, and it isn’t there yet. It won’t be perfect until we can change the ways many companies perceive speaking opportunities at trade shows. TMC shows routinely have the most objective speakers by far, because we tell them that if they commercialize, they will not be invited back. Conferees rate speakers, and if they don’t score near-perfect marks, they are disqualified from future events. This, by the way, is not a common industry practice.

You see, there are certain companies that haven’t a clue about what to discuss, and more importantly, what not to discuss in front of an audience. As a result, I decided to prepare a guide, as follows.

    1)Don’t say your company name or refer to your company more than once in a presentation. If you plan to, please don’t speak at any TMC shows. No one wants to hear a commercial. I don’t. I am sure conferees who spend thousands of dollars to be at a show don’t, either. By the way, we all expect you to be using your own products in your company. This is not a new concept; and not only is it not novel, it’s not interesting. Do you think there is a vendor somewhere that will admit they don’t use their own equipment in their own offices?

    2)Don’t use your own company template for a PowerPoint slide. Nobody wants to see your logo more than once. They really don’t. Believe it or not, anyone can log onto the Internet and look at your logo at any time they want. If they have an urge to stare at your logo while you speak, our attendees are very savvy. They will log onto the Web via a PDA and call up your site. If you have your logo on your Web site, you don’t need it on your slides.

    3)Don’t read your presentation, ever. If you read anything, you are a bad speaker. Please know this in advance. Again, 400 people paid an average of $1,700 each to hear you speak. Memorize your presentation or send someone else who can do this for you.

    4)Be funny. Look for jokes and comic approaches, and think of interesting and compelling stories. Download some great graphics or get someone to help you do this. If you don’t try to make the audience laugh at least once, you shouldn’t be on a stage; you should be in the lab and not let out in public with your company’s Polo shirt on.

    5)Don’t wait until the last minute to hand in your presentation to the trade show producer. Ninety-five percent of the people who hand in their presentations late are lousy speakers. We need to see your presentation in advance to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself or us on stage.

    6)You aren’t doing anyone a favor by speaking. If you think you are, you are likely a horrendous speaker. I speak at many non-TMC events myself. This is a privilege, and I always treat it as such. There is always a speaker with your title or better from a larger company who will gladly speak in your place. Show respect for the audience and the trade show producer.

    7)Dress professionally. This shows the audience respect. The audience really does deserve it.

    8)Ask questions of the audience before you begin the presentation. It is impossible to know who is in the room and what level they are at in terms of understanding the topic at hand. If you can tailor your presentation for the audience on-the-fly, it shows you must know your topic intimately well.

    9)Understand why you have been invited to speak. Speaking is not a marketing opportunity, so don’t treat it like one. If you do, you will get lousy feedback from the audience and you will alienate them, as well. Do you understand that these are prospective customers? You have been invited to speak (at least at our events) to educate the audience on a certain topic. You are there to educate objectively. If you can’t do this or you don’t understand what this means, please don’t ever speak at a TMC conference. We hope you speak at a competitive event. The speakers who get the most out of our events, including the best leads, are those who educate most objectively.

    10) If you have a video in your PowerPoint presentation, you are usually a bad speaker. Why? We all know your corporate colors, theme music and look and feel of your television ads. Your videos always look like your TV ads. This is implied commercialism even if your video is otherwise 100 percent objective.


[VIDEO] How to conquer your fear of public speaking

How to End a Persuasive Speech

What is a Persuasive Speech?

First, let’s review. A persuasive presentation is a speech that’s made in an effort to influence a specific outcome. Your goal is to persuade your audience to believe in your cause and to take action to support you. Political speeches and fundraising speeches are great examples of persuasive presentations. In a persuasive speech, your final words – your closing– are the most important.
Don’t Cut Your Conclusion Short
Before I show you how to craft a persuasive ending, you need to know what not to do. Speakers often work so hard on the introduction and body of the speech that the conclusion is an afterthought.

Have you ever heard a speaker say something like this?

“Well, it looks like I’m about out of time. If you want to know more, I’ll stick around for a few minutes.”

“Are there any questions? No, it doesn’t look like it. Thanks for coming.”

Your conclusion should signal the end, but it is not just a final sentence. As a general rule of thumb, it should be about 10% – 15% of your speech. In a persuasive speech, you use this time to summarize the benefits of taking a specific action. If you told stories in the body of the presentation, now is the time to remind the audience of the main stories you told.

If you choose to signal the end with the words “in conclusion” (and I don’t recommend this), make sure you mean it. Don’t ramble on for another 30 minutes or add new points to your talk.
A Call to Action and a Solution
In a persuasive presentation, the closing words are where you drive your point home. If the audience walks away with one thing, it should be your closing call to action. This is when you deliver the specifics of what it is that you want your audience to do—to be part of the solution. Be passionate. And carefully choose how aggressive you’d like to be.

Let’s say you’re making a speech to friends and donors of a non-profit organization you represent. This is your annual fundraising drive. Without generous donations, you won’t make your budget goals for the year. The intro and body of your talk described the ways your nonprofit has provided support and what your goals are for the future. Again, your closing is a specific call to action and a solution.  For example:

How Presentation Skills Influence Your Audience?

Presentation skills are highly essential to communicate your message to your listener. These skills refer to the way you express your thoughts. To gain the attraction of your listeners, the way your present should be pleasing and convincing. You many have a well-written material in your hands but the usefulness of the information can be understood only if you deliver it well. Many people fail to communicate well because of the lack of presentation skills.

The basic aspect of good presentation is talking in a clear voice. A person is said to have good presentation skills if his voice is audible and sounds confident. The verbal communication is an essential part of good presentation. The non verbal communication is also equally important. This type of communication refers to the gestures and the body language used by the speaker. Your body language actually shows your attitude. When you tremble and if you are afraid to speak in the public, it will be evident from your trembling legs and sweating palms. Essential presentation skills also include the way you walk and behave. Your dressing should also be appropriate depending on the occasion you speak. Wearing unmatched clothing is referred to as bad appearance.

The presentation skills do not end with your appearance and your behavior on stage. The visual aids you chose to use add beauty and professionalism to your presentation. Choosing the right type of visual aids that are suitable for the speech as well as the audience is also dependent on the speaker’s presentation skills. PowerPoint is the common visual aid that is used in most of the presentations. You can even use videos and photos when they match the topic you are actually presenting. Practice makes a presentation perfect. Before making the presentation, it is better to rehearse with all the visual aids. This will add on to your presentation skill and you can make corrections if there are any errors in them.

When the audience leaves the hall after listening to your presentation, they must remember the key points, which you focused. You have to show all your presentation skills so that your audience will not forget the key points. There are many speakers who speak well and present well but finally the audience will not remember what they had spoken. This means that the speaker lacks the presentation skill or he has overlooked the concept of preparation. 

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4 Easy Ways to Become a More Charismatic Speaker

Here are four simple yet powerful techniques to make your presentations enjoyable for audiences. They work for informative speeches, motivational speaking, and persuading listeners. Equally important, they'll help you shine in your audience's eyes:

1. Make eye contact. Simply put, no behavior is as fundamental to persuasion as looking at the person you’re talking to. When was the last time you trusted somebody who wouldn’t look you in the eye?

So actively look at and relate to your audience when you speak. (When I say actively, I mean let your gaze linger for a half-a-second to a second. Don’t “flick” your eyes at your listeners.) They’ll like you more. They’ll decide that you’re basically honest. Most important, they’ll be more willing to be influenced by you.

Avoid their gaze just because you’re nervous—or weakest of excuses, because you’re busy reading your manuscript out loud—and you’ll have virtually no chance of changing their thinking or behavior for the better.

2. Enjoy yourself. Now there’s a novel concept! Our culture has somehow invested public speaking with an aura of inconvenience, horror, and even torture—as if the entire experience belongs in an Edgar Allan Poe story.

But think about your own experiences as an audience member. Are you comfortable listening to a speaker who is clearly embarrassed or fearful?

A speaker who instead presents with verve broadcasts a completely different message. Audiences instinctively feel that this is a person who has something valuable to say. It must be good stuff, they think—look at how much he or she is enjoying talking about it! Pretty soon, we as the speaker are enjoying ourselves as well.

3. Smile. As public speakers we don’t smile enough, period. Smiling is another prerequisite to establishing trust with audiences (though it’s not as critical as eye contact). At the very least, it’s visual evidence of the speaker’s enjoyment I just mentioned in the last paragraph.

In speaking situations where you feel a smile is inappropriate, take one of two alternate paths: (a) “open” your countenance by assuming a pleasant expression; or (b) raise your cheekbones.

To explain what I mean by that last point, look at the famous painting American Gothic. That’s the one of the grim-faced farmer and his wife, complete with pitchfork. Now compare it to the Mona Lisa. There’s a lady with some raised cheekbones . . . and look how successful she’s been.

4. Energize your voice.