WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY FIRST?

When you're preparing a speech, what should you say first?  What should your opening sentences be?  

      It all depends on a number of important variables, some of them obvious, none of them difficult to deal with.

      First of all, who is in the audience and how many people are you speaking to?  This is a key question to ask when you're creating your speech.  What kind of a group is it?  A fundraising event, or the monthly meeting of the local Chamber of Commerce?  A company conference or a roast, toast or retirement farewell party?  A wedding, sales meeting or something else?  Knowing who and how many you're speaking to is the first clue to what to say first.

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YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS: HOW ARE THEY WORKING OUT?

      Here we are at the end of the first month of 2018 already.  Doesn't time fly when we aren't looking?  Whether your New Year's Resolutions were a formal list of goals or just a couple of wishes tossed out over a convivial cocktail with friends, at the moment we made them, were sure we'd keep them. And some of them we actually do. But most of them, truth to tell, are probably left by the wayside or forgotten by the time February rolls around.

      Many folks came up to me last year who said they'd like to improve their speaking abilities, get over their fear, look for more opportunities to speak to groups, but... There's always a 'but'. What does that 'but' really mean?

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WHAT DO GIFT GIVING & PUBLIC SPEAKING HAVE IN COMMON?

     Question: What do overcoming the fear of speaking in public and holiday gift-giving have in common? 

      Answer: We use the same principles to give a speech or to give a gift!
 
      We've just spent a lot of time thinking of the folks on our holiday gift list.  We took into consideration their likes and dislikes and the financial limits we all agreed to observe. Then we tried to come up with something they'd appreciate that they didn't have before, that would make them feel we cared about them. And when they smiled and said, "Thanks, I love this, it's just what I need!", we knew really meant it.

      This is a great technique for overcoming the fear of speaking in public.

      If we break down the elements of our gift-giving technique, we find three simple principles:

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THE TRICK TO GIVING A HOLIDAY PARTY SPEECH

       The holidays are here and that means holiday parties.  Great!  We've worked hard all year and we deserve to eat our favorite foods, drink a tad too much and maybe say or do a few things we'll regret next year.  Or not.  It's really easy to forget that the folks we're celebrating with over the buffet and bar are the ones we'll be back to work with come January 2nd.

      One great opportunity arises at this time of year:  A chance to make a short speech offering a few well-chosen words of peace on earth, goodwill toward men and women.  Business parties are a chance to get to know associates and colleagues on a whole 'nother level.  The trick is to say just enough to keep the holiday spirit going but not go on so long that folks start looking longingly at the drink table.

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NO FEAR, JUST FOCUS

      People who aren't comfortable speaking in public have dozens of reasons why they can't or won't do it. For some it's a really debilitating fear; for others it's just laziness or a reluctance to work that little bit harder to achieve something that doesn't come easily. The fact is that no matter what your fear, it's possible to overcome it. The question to ask is, "How would my life be improved, if I weren't afraid?"

      Let's imagine a few typical scenarios.

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USE YOUR SEXY VOICE

      In this world of advancing technology where texting, emailing and keeping up with social media are the communication methods of choice for practically all of us, you'd think the need to contact each other the  old fashioned way, face-to-face, would be rapidly becoming obsolete. What a surprise to find that when sharing information, people still want to look each other in the eye and hear a real human voice. That explains why many people are discovering they really need to know the art of public speaking.

      Even though a blast email and a slide program may be more efficient ways of sharing information with large numbers of people, the need to know how to stand in front of the room and speak to people in groups is exploding like a mushroom cloud. Why is this?

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