Three Steps to Good Presentation Skills and Public Speaking

Good presentation skills and public speaking begin with preparation. Like any other written or visual communication the key here is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

There are a lot of good books available. It is a good idea to join a public speaking practice group like the International Toastmasters for example. Doing it is the best way to learn.

Here are three keys to preparing your presentations and public speeches which I find have worked best for me.

1. Identify and organize what you will be presenting on a sheet of paper.

2. Break it down into 3 major headings with 3 sub-headings under each.

3. Write the content of your sub-headings then edit to fit on 3×5 or 4×6 cards as needed.

1. Identify and organize what you are presenting on a sheet of paper:

Identify your topic and give it a name, a title, ex.: Four Steps to Good Presentation Skills and public Speaking.

Identify the time frame you will have for your presentation or speech — let’s use 45 minutes for easy sub-dividing.

2. Break it down into 3 major headings with 3 sub-headings under each:

Your 45 minutes will give you 15 minutes for each of your 3 major topic headings.

So under each of the 3 major headings and 3 sub-headings write what you want to tell your audience to fit within the 15 minutes for each major headings.

For example, your three major headings will be sub-titles and will only take a few seconds to mention as you move to your sub-headings content.

Then your 3 sub-headings will have the actual content that you want to deliver to your audience. Time these to be about 4-5 minutes each (3 x 5=15 minutes).

3. Write the content of your sub-headings, then edit to fit on 3×5 or 4×6 cards as needed:

Once you have this organized, re-write them on your cards. You might have 1 card per 3 sub-headings if you only use key words that you will elaborate verbally.

Or you might need 3 cards, 1 for each sub-headings, if you write more information to guide your verbal delivery. Do what works best for you.

Personally, I usually write everything down that I will be saying, and highlight the key points I want to make sure not to miss, with a yellow highlighter; then I just glance at the overall content as I move from one sub-headings to the next. So I end up with 1 card for each of my 3 sub-headings.

Do not read from your card. Highlight the important words that will trigger your memory to speak to your audience.

Then practice your delivery beforehand as many times as you need to, timing the whole to fit within your 45 minutes (or whatever the case may be). If you are going to use transparencies or power-point, make sure to use them in your practice run also. You might need to trade a couple of minutes of your verbal content for the handling of the equipment.

When you do the real thing, simply follow your cards, moving each one to the back as you deliver your material. Don’t focus only on the cards, use the cards to keep you on track. Look at your audience, scanning through every one from left to right, front to back. Don’t stare in one area longer than in another, unless you are answering a specific person’s question.

There are many good books on presentations, with samples. A good one is Leading Workshops, Seminars, and Training Sessions; by Helen Angus, Self-Counsel Press, which includes models of room arrangements and other technical information on equipment, etc.

Often our competition can be a good source of the latest examples of what’s in at the time. Check out what the top companies are doing, and better it! For example financial institutions who give free seminars on their service offerings are a good place to get ideas on presentation skills, while getting some education on financial investment!

Give free seminars to friends, co-workers and family members to sharpen your presentation skills and public speaking. Tape yourself and listen or watch yourself back, making notes of habits you might want to omit or change, etc.

Always be prepared, you never know when you might be asked to do a presentation at work, at church or in a community group!/dmh

Special Delivery – Giving Talks, Presentations And Speeches With Awesome Delivery – Part 1 Of 2

It can be so frustrating. You hear a comedian tell the absolute funniest joke in the world. It’s so funny that you’re on the floor for ten minutes, shrieking hysterically. The next day you tell the same joke to your friends and their reactions are, to say the least, more subdued.

Now you’re devastated. “Don’t you get it?” you ask. They tell you they did get it, but it just wasn’t all that funny. “I guess you had to be there,” you mutter.

You know, often it’s not so much the joke itself that puts you on the floor, but the way it’s told. Comedians are masters of expression, voice-tone, timing, and all the subliminal little things they do that makes their renditions sparkle. Without these, yours will most likely fall flat.

It’s the same with any form of public speaking. It’s not just the words you say, but how you say them and how you send them to your listeners.

In short, it’s all in your delivery.

Delivery is everything in a talk or presentation. Okay, maybe not everything. Of course its content matters greatly as well.

But … if you want to really WOW your audience, keep in mind that your content – your words – need to impact the listener.

Now, the word, “impact” may seem to suggest a ranting and raving not unlike a pep rally or a political speech a-la Martin Luther King, Jr. Yes, certain talks call for this sort of highly-charged, impassioned delivery. But even if your talk is of the lower-key sort – a business meeting or a class, for instance – you certainly don’t want to bore your listener.

Great delivery is, above all, a matter of:

1. Intensity

2. Expression

Today we’ll cover intensity. By this I mean, first of all, to speak intensely. Keep your voice strong and clear. Speak up! Don’t say you can’t. Of course you can! What would you do if your child just doused the cat with half a bottle of your $60 cologne? Mumble? Whisper? I don’t think so. No, you would use those lungs of yours! Do the same in your talks. Push, push, push! Belt those words out! Listeners love it.

Second, speak as if you are very interested in your subject. It would help if you could find your way toward becoming very interested in it. But even if you can’t … fake it! Like the saying goes, “fake it ’til you feel it!”

A good speaker can get an audience fired up about nearly anything. Even the most mundane subjects can, if delivered with intensity, come alive. Think of the announcer on a commercial for a “New!” tortilla chip. How does he talk? Pretty intensely, right? We’re talking about a bag of salty, greasy fried corn here. But the way this person is speaking, you’d think they’d found a cure for cancer.

So I don’t care if you’re presenting a quarterly sales report, or giving a lecture on upholstery repair. Present that information with as much intensity as you possibly can! Make the subject interesting. Make the content stick in the listener’s mind. Make an impact upon your listener. Make them glad they came.
Conjure up as much infectious enthusiasm for your subject as you possibly can. And let it show on your face.

In fact, exaggerate. By that I mean, whatever mood you’re trying to express, exaggerate it. Don’t just sound interested, sound very interested. Don’t just sound encouraging, sound very encouraging.

You see, more often than not, the intensity with which we speak arrives at the listener in a weakened state. I don’t mean just the volume. It’s as if traveling through twenty-five feet of airspace simply dilutes half the energy right out of it. So, to compensate: Put more intensity, interest, and energy than you think you need.

Don’t worry that you might go too far with this. I’ve never seen a speaker who I thought was too “into it” – with the exception of a few over-the-top politicians, perhaps. More often than not, the opposite is true.

Ask yourself: How many speakers have I heard who were too excited? Or who made me feel too excited? Then ask: How many speakers have I heard who weren’t interesting enough? (i.e., bo-o-ring!)

To be interesting, be interested!

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In Part Two of “Special Delivery” we’ll look at the truly fun component of great delivery: Expression. Until then, I wish you the best with your public speaking endeavors!

Use the Stars as Your Guide To Finding Great Birthday Presents

Having trouble deciding which birthday presents to get for friends and family? Never fear, astrology is here! You can be sure that the recipient will love the birthday presents that you give him or her if you follow his or her astrological sign.

Here are some great ideas for birthday presents for people of particular signs:

· Aries – March 21 – April 20. An Aries loves both challenges and oppositions. Because of this, a good board game makes an excellent birthday present for an Aries. Try to get one that is especially challenging and competitive like Scrabble or Settlers.

· Taurus – April 21 – May 20. A Taurus, on the other hand, does not appreciate challenges or oppositions and naturally gets along well with others. A Taurus loves peace and harmony. A great gift for a Taurus is a day at the spa or a yoga class. A Taurus is always helping other people – give him or her a chance to relax and be helped by others.

· Gemini – May 21 – June 20. Gemini are very analytical and yet still easy going. They are also very attracted to all things modern. Because of this attraction to modern things, Gemini tend to like gadgets. A great birthday present for a Gemini is a new gadget like an mp3 player (or any mp3 player accessories), a unique travel alarm clock, or even a kitchen gadget like an fancy electric can opener.

· Cancer – June 21 – July 20. Cancers have a very deep sense of humanitarian values. Because of this, you can get away with giving one a donation in his or her name to a favorite charity of his or hers. This is not necessarily a good idea for other people, but a Cancer would truly appreciate the thought.

· Leo – June 21 – July 20. Leos are born leaders. One of the main downfalls of Leos, though, is that they are not always good with money matters – they are very willing to share their wealth. In fact, a Leo is very likely to give money to charity. A great birthday present for a Leo is a gift certificate to a restaurant or a store… it is much harder to simply give away, so you know that the Leo will have to use it to treat himself or herself!

· Virgo – August 22 – September 2. Virgos are very observant and can be described as perfectionists. Virgos also have a keen interest in the arts. Give a Virgo two tickets to a play or opera. Take a Virgo to a museum. Give a Virgo a book on art!

· Libra – September 23 – October 22. Libras have a very high sense of Justice and they often take the side of the wronged. They have a natural affinity to the Arts. Because of this affinity to the arts, a great gift for a Libra is an art set. Give a Libra some paint or colored pencils, etc.

· Scorpio – October 23 – November 22. Scorpios are always willing to accept something new. Therefore, you can take a Scorpio out to a new restaurant and to try some unusual food for his or her birthday.

· Sagittarius – November 23 – December 20. Sagittarius people love sports and are happiest when out of doors. Get a Sagittarius a new golf club, a Frisbee, or a ball. Take a Sagittarius on a picnic or on a hike, etc. All of these things make great birthday presents for a Sagittarius.

· Capricorn – December 21 – January 19. Capricorns are generally very hard workers. Give a Capricorn a break and give him or her a gift certificate for a massage or make dinner for him or her. Give a Capricorn a relaxing novel and a bath set.

· Aquarius – January 20 – February 18. Aquarius or both honest and tolerant. A game like Balderdash is very fun to play with an Aquarius because it requires him or her to lie! Of course, Aquarius are always thinking ahead, so they end up being quite good at board and card games. Any sort of game makes a great birthday present for an Aquarius.

· Pisces – February 19 – March 20. Pisces are talented in music and or fine arts. Give a Pisces concert tickets or some sheet music or a guitar. Sign him or her up for a pottery class!

These are just a few ideas for birthday presents to help you out. It is amazing how accurately astrology can often describe a person. It only makes sense to pick out birthday presents for that person based on his or her sign!