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Archive for ‘Speech & Presentation Coaching’

Shifting from Speaker-Judge to Speaker-Coach

by Claudia W. Brogan

One of the finest ways for us to keep polishing our speaking skills and learning new lessons is to pay very close attention to public speakers, wherever and whenever we happen upon them. Whether watching a keynote speech at a large conference or hearing a newly-published author at a forum, whether hearing a motivational speech or even a pastor delivering a sermon, there is a bounty of public-speaking for us to observe.

Each of these presentations offers a learning opportunity for us to refresh and polish our own speaking …

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Wise, Witty Ways to Begin Your Presentations Well

By Claudia Brogan

Rather than “limp” in to your next presentation, pay attention to boldly choose a good Attention-Getting introduction. Grab the audience by the lapels so to speak, make them say a quiet thoughtful “ahh,’ or tickle their funny bone. The next time you have the opportunity to deliver a speech, training session or presentation, give special thought to how you can start off vividly.

These specific methods may help you get unstuck, or may spark a new idea for creating your next good speech-beginning.

Deftly use humor or an opening quote.

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The Importance of Rehearsal

By Kelly Vandever
Toastmasters Speech Contests
I was once obsessed with Toastmasters speech contests. I have the picture to prove it!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Toastmasters, it’s a non-profit organization formed at the local level into clubs, and people have the opportunity to grow their public speaking skills.

Twice a year, there are speech contests which start at the club level, followed by additional levels. Those who win at the club go on to compete against winners from other clubs in their area. Then the winners in an area …

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Strategies for Improving Physical Movements During Presentations

by Natalie Gallagher

One of the best scenes from an otherwise mediocre movie was when Will Farrell’s character in “Talladega Nights” couldn’t figure out what to do with his hands while he was speaking in front of a large crowd. While he spoke, his arms slowly kept rising next to him, as if possessed by their own will. The humor stems from the commonality of this issue. All presenters have wondered at one time or another, “What on earth do I do with my hands?” The uncertainty often leads to awkward, distracting, …

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Don’t Let Your Slides Tie You Down

by Tom Nixon
Long ago I would start my PowerPoint presentations standing next to the screen so that the audience could see both my slides and me.
A trusted coach suggested that was the weakest spot I could stand in – in the shadows, back and to the side, away from my audience. This is where I would begin my presentations! Not good.
Presenters often have great difficulty avoiding the beam of light from their projectors. The projection device is often on a table or hanging from a low ceiling in a conference room or …

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Overcoming Nerves While Speaking Publically

by Natalie Gallagher

Public speaking continues to be one of the biggest fears many people have, and it’s largely because of the incredible anxiety that comes with standing in front of a crowd, with all eyes and ears focusing on you. “What if” questions roil around in our brains: What if I say something dumb? What if I look bad? What if, what if, what if???

After twenty-one years of being a public speaker, including in front of audiences large and small, I’m here to tell you that the nerves never fully go …

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“What do I do with these hands?” Smart Tips for Using Effective Gestures in Your Presentations

by Claudia W. Brogan

Recently, I was helping a woman improve her presentation skills—in particular, hand gestures. Even though it’s good to add hand gestures to speeches, not all gesture-additions are created equal. Over-gesturing can be a problem, as can under-gesturing. Adopting hand motions from other speakers which don’t naturally suit you make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious and will certainly be distracting to your listeners. Then the gestures are self-defeating.

As noted in a recent TED-talk research project, some intriguing techniques were yielded. This observational study at the Science of People researched …

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Chop, Chop: Tips for Ruthless Speech Editing

By Natalie Gallagher

Dear Fellow Speakers,

It’s time for some tough love about how we spend our time on the stage. Too often we get so wrapped up in thinking we are saying the most important thing ever, that we abuse the time allotted and end up boring our audience; or worse, we speak for so long that they become agitated and even feel trapped.

Consider this: The worst speech I ever had the displeasure of being in the audience for was given by an experienced, vibrant, energetic speaker. She was a leader in …

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The Most Common Public Speaking Question Is …

by Bob Goodyear

Over the last month I’ve had the chance to speak to several groups on the topic of public speaking. Before two of the sessions, the host asked the attendees to submit questions for me to answer during my time with them. While I received many great questions, the most common one was a variation of, “What can I do about being nervous before and during my speech?”

Let me share with you three of the techniques I suggested.
Nervousness is Natural
First, remember that nervousness is something that naturally happens …

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Just Say No

by Claudia Brogan

Not long ago I served as a speaking-coach for a highly intelligent scientist as he prepared to deliver an upcoming presentation. I can still remember our first meeting as we began the speech preparation process. For a 45-minute presentation timeslot, he brought 10 pages of script, double-spaced, lengthy, and dense. In a sense, he couldn’t resist the temptation to tell the audience everything he knew about his topic. We set those voluminous notes aside and created a brief list of the most crucial and timely ideas that …

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