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Archive for ‘Speech & Presentation Coaching’

Handling Questions & Answers Like a Real Pro!

by Claudia W. Brogan

When coaching public speakers who want to polish their skills, one subject comes up without fail: What can I do to get ready to handle questions after my presentation?

Even the most seasoned, well-prepared speakers fear that audience members will try to trip us up. Or that an audience member will stand up to deliver his or her very own monologue at the end, explaining how our content or delivery — or both — were just less than satisfactory. Or a nagging thought comes to a speaker, that, “There …

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Who Are You Speaking To, Anyway?

By Claudia Brogan

Back when I was in high school speech class, little did I guess that my life’s journey would be focused upon ways to improve speaking skills and communication in the workplace. All I knew back then, as a junior in high school, was how fascinated I was to learn the principles of public speaking…and survive my next assigned speech for Mrs. Witmer’s class.

One day, she really got our attention with a provocative question, and her words that day have stayed with me all my life.

“There are three most important …

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Spit and polish: Trimming your speech will win you big points

By Claudia Brogan

I once worked as speaker-coach for a highly-educated scientist who was invited to make a presentation on the topic of his professional research. He brought to our first planning meeting a script of 11 double-spaced pages. With a greeting and a straight face, he placed them on the desk. I read through the pages with great respect, then set them down with care, and asked him, “Dr. C, what are the three most essential points you want to make in this presentation?”

Silence. Finally he pointed to the 11 pages …

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A Simple Strategy for Maintaining Eye-Contact During Presentations

By Natalie Gallagher

I was recently speaking to a friend who has had to give various types of speeches throughout the past year, and he was stumped about how to maintain eye-contact with the audience in a meaningful, effective manner. He was especially curious about an old tip he learned (which involves choosing one or two people in the audience to focus on throughout the speech), but he was having trouble implementing it in a natural way. While focusing on only a few specific people in the audience does work well for …

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A Rhyme is Sublime

By Bob Goodyear

Several years ago, I sat in a conference where Craig Valentine (www.craigvalentine.com) spoke. While I don’t remember everything he said, he used a phrase that has stuck with me. While talking about goals and achieving them, he said “If you can view it, you can do it.” His point was that you have to visualize the goal, see yourself actually doing what you want, and then you will accomplish it.

I’ve studied with Craig since then and today I realize that he used a couple of …

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Speakers “Stand and Deliver” to Stay on their Toes

By Claudia Brogan

I recently talked with my high school-age nephew about a public speaking class he is taking. He seemed puzzled about how or why people might ever consider doing public speaking, or taking on speaking assignments on purpose. Like many people, my nephew Sam finds speech making to be difficult and uncomfortable. My response to him was “I really think you’ll find that the more you do it, the more natural you’ll find it to be. The more you can be yourself, the more you’ll enjoy public speaking.”

One of my …

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A Lesson on Presentation from the Beatles

By Bob Goodyear

Last month my wife and I took a 24-hour trip to Las Vegas. We went just to see the Cirque du Soleil show called The Beatles LOVE. It’s a show that we both really enjoy. As a matter of fact, this was my fourth time in 10 years to see it.

While the acts in the show have changed over the years, the one constant theme is the Beatles’ music. This time while watching the show, I noticed something about the music that I had not paid …

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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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