First, public speaking in Dallas is as important as public speaking in Dubai or public speaking in Djibouti. Location doesn’t matter. Interviews are a given in life, interviews certainly qualify as public speaking events, and how you communicate in that interview is crucial. Whether interviewing or speaking in Dallas or Dubai, or anywhere else in the world, every person is going to have an interview.
You are often the preeminent expert in the topic of the interview – YOU! There is no one on the planet that knows you better than you know yourself. That does not mean you don’t need to prepare. It means you actually need to prepare more – you know yourself better than anyone, and that means you know every extraneous detail while forgetting other important ones. Preparation is key. There is no replacement.
What else can you do to prepare more effectively? We have you covered. From the days leading up to the interview, to minutes before the interview, to the interview and the days following, this graphic will help guide you through the interview process. For more information, please contact Princeton Public Speaking, headquartered in Princeton, NJ with offices in Dallas and other locations.
Public speaking expert is a title that carries tremendous weight. Demosthenes, public speaking expert of the 4th century BC, is one of the legendary Greek orators. Some of his most famous (and my favorite) addresses of his relate to his opposition to King Phillip II of Macedon. Although he passed away in 322 BC, Demosthenes is relevant to 21st century orators because of his dedication to practice and preparation.
Demosthenes’ dream was to be a great orator, but he had speech impediments. He was ridiculed early and often for his deficiencies, but he never quit. Here are just a few of the things he is rumored to have done to attain his goal:
Corrected his defective elocution by speaking with pebbles in his mouth.
Prepared himself to overcome noise by speaking in stormy weather on the seashore.
Recited verses while running to improve his breathing and cadence.
Passed two or three months in an underground cave, practicing his oratory. While there, he would shave half of his head to prevent himself from leaving the cave.
Hung a sword just above shoulder level, so that when his shoulder rose to create an awkward physical posture, the sword would prick him, triggering him to lower it.
While I would never advocate living in a cave or practicing with pebbles in your mouth to improve oratorical skill, there are modern equivalents of Demosthenes’ methods that everyone can use to improve. Here are a few:
1) Write it Out – I always write out every speech I will deliver. I then edit it and re-write it. I do this four of five times. It is at this point that I begin the process of shortening the speech to bullet points, then shortening the bullet points until there is nothing left to eliminate. All that’s left are key words and key phrases. You don’t have to confine yourself in a cave to do this! Find a quiet place and just write.
2) Videotape yourself – I have a studio that I use, although before I used my garage. Set up a video camera, adjust the settings, and begin. This is an extremely effective way to get a feel for not only messaging and verbal delivery, but also paralanguage, expressions, and gestures. No need for a hanging sword.
3) Record Your Voice – I often complement the use of a video camera with the use of a Dictaphone so that I can focus entirely on my verbal delivery. This way, you can improve your verbal fluency without putting pebbles in your mouth.
4) Practice in Front of People – In addition to solitary preparation, it’s essential to practice in front of an actual person. My wife is my biggest fan and sharpest critic. For nine years I have practiced every speech or presentation I have ever delivered in front of her multiple times, and she always gives me very astute commentary. This works with co-workers, siblings, and anyone else who you trust and whose opinion you respect.
5) Exercise and Deliver – This is a Demosthenes method that still works to this day. I often run a few 100-yard sprints, and then immediately retreat to my garage, winded, to practice and get my posture and breathing right (breathing from the diaphragm.) You do not have to run sprints – any exercise that gets your heart rate up and adrenaline pumping can subtly mimic what your body feels when beginning an address.
What lengths would you go to in order to become a master orator, or to take your public speaking to the next level? The point of highlighting Demosthenes in this post is not to drive one to try anything potentially dangerous to improve presentation skills; it’s to drive home the point that the majority of those who are considered to be public speaking experts worked very, very hard to get there.
Remember that the next time a presentation is coming up and the urge to just “wing it” arrives.
“The only thing we have to fear is… fear itself.”
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Sweating. Rapid heart rate. Dry mouth. Faster breathing. The “jitters.”
Most of us have experienced some, or all of these prior to speaking or presenting publicly. Whether in Princeton or Phuket, Dallas for Dubai, anxiety surrounding public speaking is nothing new.
Every presenter has a rush of adrenaline prior to presenting. Having worked with thousands of speakers, I can attest to this. This angst seems to be independent of position or job title. Nervous energy affects all of us.
This is a good thing.
That’s right, it is a good thing.
Contrary to popular wisdom, “nervous” energy, properly channeled, and the physiological responses that follow will make for a more impactful presenter, and presentation.
One of the keys to successfully channeling this “nervous energy” is to understand what is actually happening when our acute stress response, or “fight or flight” response, kicks in. And why many of the reactions from this response actually help you. This graphic will show you what is happening when your acute stress response kicks in. For more information, please contact Princeton Public Speaking, headquartered in Princeton, NJ with offices in Dallas and other locations.
“I know they are watching me tremble and sweat!
“Can they see me shake?”
“I get so blotchy when I am nervous and I know that the audience can tell!”
I hear these questions and statements on a regular basis. Fear and anxiety before speaking publicly is nearly universal – it targets all of us, at different times and to varying degrees.
Most individuals experience some degree of anxiety and/or nervousness prior to presenting. Two of the greatest orators of the past two centuries, Sir Winston Churchill and President Abraham Lincoln, were both reported to have some degree of anxiety before speaking publicly.
So the next time you are about to present, do yourself a favor and take a deep breath and picture Sir Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln. Two of the greatest orates ever, both suffered from a fear of public speaking. Also, think about major Hollywood actors and actresses, many of whom also suffer from Glossophobia (the fear of public speaking).
You are not alone! Keep this graphic nearby, and utilize these tips weeks, days, hours and minutes before your next presentation. You will be glad that you did!
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You’ve engaged your audience from the beginning of your presentation. They nodded as you delivered your message. Their eyes were locked as you wove through a carefully crafted medley of stories, anecdotes and analogies, all supporting your message. There’s no question; the majority of your audience agrees with what you’re saying.
Empowered, the time has come to bring your speech to a close, at which point you exclaim:
“In conclusion, I appreciate the time you spent listening about __________. Thank you.”
…and then nothing happens. Everyone quietly claps, or just nods, and leaves the conference room. What just happened? How did your audience go from edge-of-your-seat to almost asleep?
Whether you’re taking a company public, introducing a new product to market or delivering a lecture, the conclusion of the presentation is crucial to its success. It’s the final impression you leave with your audience. How you use those last few words will determine the kind of energy you leave in the room.
There are many effective ways to close a speech. In fact, many of the tips I’ve shared for opening a presentation will also work for the closing. One of my favorites techniques, however, is using a call to action because the closing of a speech is your chance to motivate your audience. Here are three ways to use it:
1. A Direct Call to Action. A speech or presentation without a call to action is a speech or presentation probably not worth giving. The close of your speech should clearly spell out what you want your audience to do next. Here are some examples:
“In order to guarantee that we save __________ tomorrow, we need to __________ today! Let’s get to work.”
“If every person in this room leaves and immediately __________, I guarantee you’ll enjoy __________ next year!”
“We can have __________ or we can have __________. The choice is ours, and is based entirely on the decision we each individually make today. __________ or __________. I know I’m choosing __________.”
2. A Call to Vision. You can also motivate your audience by sharing your vision. Create a mental picture for your listeners of what could happen as a result of your call to action . Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. illustrated this beautifully with the final words of his epic “I Have a Dream” speech:
“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
3. A Call to Question. Finally, end with a rhetorical question that captures your message and leaves the audience thinking. One that directly ties into your call to action can be very effective. Here are two examples:
“What choice will you make when you leave here today? Will go about your normal routine or will you __________?”
“Ultimately, the future of __________ lies in your hands. When will you be ready to do something about it?”
What’s your favorite way to close a speech? Please share it in the comments below.