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Archive for ‘Annoying Public Speaking Habits’

Old Habits Die Hard

by Claudia W. Brogan

Several years ago, I joined a local Toastmasters club in order to improve and become more practiced in my speaking skills. In the first club that I visited, I noticed an odd method that they used: each time that a speaker would say “um” in a presentation, a member would ring a little silver bell. Apparently, the intention was to quickly get the speaker’s attention so that he or she would notice they said “um” and correct that action. This technique is apparently based on Pavlov’s experiments in classical …

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Five Sure-fire Ways to Improve Your Presentation Delivery

 

By Pam Leinmiller

How you say something is every bit as important as what you say. When we begin delivering our great presentation, we want the audience to hear what we say. Perfecting how we are delivering the information can go a long way towards helping our audience take in the information. There is nothing better than practice. Instead of leaving that important presentation to chance, practice actually doing it ahead of time. And video yourself! I know, I know. You don’t like to see yourself on video, you don’t like how …

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Fast Talkers and Valley Girls: How a Message is Delivered Matters Just as Much as the What of It

By Claudia W. Brogan

One infamous quirk of the popular TV series “Gilmore Girls” was the quick pace of the dialogue between the two leading characters, the mother Lorelai Gilmore and her spunky daughter Rory.

The lead actress herself, Lauren Graham, even titled her autobiography “Talking as Fast as I Can.”

Being notorious for speaking quickly is one thing when used as a comic device in a TV show; it is altogether a different matter—and not a laughing matter—when used by public speakers.

Those who speak quickly when delivering presentations are often doing so for various …

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It’s You or The PowerPoint

By Tom Nixon

Recently I got the chance to see a video of Elaine, the vice-president of the company I was beginning to work with, present to a room of prospective clients. Slide after slide went by, each filled with 5-10 bullets. Elaine read the full text on every one to her audience. I am sure those possible clients sitting in that room were neither impressed with Elaine nor with her message about her company.

Too much (bad) PowerPoint — not enough Elaine.

It is easy to create a mediocre presentation in PowerPoint. Simply take …

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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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“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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3 Common Mistakes of Technical Presenters

By Bob Goodyear

Presentations are given for all kinds of reasons and technical subjects are no exception. While working with technical presenters from different fields, I encounter various problems they face when presenting a technical topic. Here are 3 of the most common mistakes I see.

“Let me tell you everything I know about this”

Many times in technical situations, the presenters are experts in the subject being discussed. In fact, they are so knowledgeable that they want to share everything they know. There is no detail left unexplained. The problem is that …

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If You Show It, They Will (Try to) Read It

By Tom Nixon

Watching a presentation lately I was reminded of a principle that is fundamental to how audiences experience a presentation. The presenter projected an image of an historical plaque. The text on the plaque was only slightly relevant to the subject. I, and I assume most members of the audience, read the first line or two and then gave up. It was too much and it really didn’t add to any deeper understanding of the subject matter.

The principle: If you put text on the screen, any text, in …

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3 Reasons to Perfect Your Pause

by Natalie Gallagher

When we are scared, anxious, or excessively nervous, our body kicks into fight-or-flight mode, a natural survival instinct.

Because public speaking can be a terrifying experience for many, the brain can trigger the “flight” response, and cause us to speak as quickly as possible in order to get off the stage as soon as possible. For me, speaking incredibly fast was one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome to improve my speaking. On stage, my nerves combined with excitement over my topic made it sound like …

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