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The King’s Speech: Best Nervousness Tip
January 30, 2011 – 9:07 pm | Comments Off on The King’s Speech: Best Nervousness Tip

Wow! I loved the movie, The King’s Speech. The characters were rich and the story was terrific. Most of all, it reminded me of my jobs, both past and present. My degree is in Speech Therapy, and I began my career as an elementary school speech therapist. I remember working with a few stutterers, and they were always a puzzle. Some improved, and some did not. There is no known cure for stuttering.

The thing that struck me the most in the movie, however, relates to my current position – helping nervous speakers. Lionel, the speech therapist in the movie, gave the king my #1 tip on overcoming nervousness during a speech. When the King was standing by the microphone, ready to give his coronation address, Lionel gently reminded him, “Say it to me as a friend.”
Bingo! That’s it – one of the best ways to overcome nervousness in a presentation. Imagine that you are talking to a friend – in your living room or at lunch. It will help to keep you relaxed and conversational.

So the next time you are faced with a burst of anxiety, take Lionel’s advice. It really works.

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Obama Tucson Speech: 5 Tips for You
January 14, 2011 – 9:56 am | Comments Off on Obama Tucson Speech: 5 Tips for You

President Obama’s memorial speech for the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shootings received a standing ovation, not only from the crowd in attendance, but also by the media and political commentators. It was rousing and perfect. As I listened to his speech, I extracted these five tips that will help make your next speech or presentation outstanding:

1. Show Emotion. You could tell with every word and every expression that President Obama really cared. He looked serious when speaking of the tragedy; he smiled when telling the story of victim Phyllis Schneck who sewed aprons with Jets and Giants logos to give to her friends, his voice rose as he was beckoning Americans to become more civil.

2. Highlight a Theme. Two days after his speech the theme has emerged: “…talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” This is what is being repeated over and over again by the media. What one phrase or sentence do you want your listeners to remember for the long term? It should be memorable and repeatable.

3. Personalize with Stories. This was a terrific part of the speech. President Obama shared a story about each one of the victims – the couple with the RV, the husband who shielded his wife from the gunman, the brave woman who wrestled the ammunition away from the shooter, the little girl who wanted to be a professional ball player. He named them by name and by story one by one.

4. Use the Magic of 3. Obama told the crowd that he had just come from the hospital where he saw Representative Gabrielle Giffords. He remarked to the crowd: ” and then Gabby opened her eyes (the crowd cheered), she opened her eyes (the crowd cheered again) … she opened her eyes (and again the crowd cheered). This was a spontaneous addition to the speech. It was not in the text. Obama used the moment and the power of 3 to create a memory. You can too. Repeat something important three times in a row when you want to create a memorable moment.

5. Lift Them Up at the End. This was a sad time. It was a memorial. The tragedy ran deep. Obama lifted that spirit up, especially toward the end of the speech. He called for Americans to unite in spirit and peace and to imagine the youngest victim, Christina Taylor Green jumping through rain puddles in Heaven. Even if your presentation is about job layoffs, find a way to be uplifting at the end.

This was an amazing speech with a heartfelt message and it was delivered with passion. It was written by Obama’s speechwriter, Cody Kennan, a Chicago native.

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Presentation Secrets of Ted Williams
January 7, 2011 – 9:04 pm | Comments Off on Presentation Secrets of Ted Williams

His image and story are everywhere. Ted Williams – homeless man – has suddenly found stardom. What are the secrets of his sudden rise to fame, and how can presenters enhance their own skills using these secrets?

1. The Voice. Of course Ted’s low, mellow, golden voice is his ticket to fame. Low is gold in the world of business and selling. I’ve worked with many people who have high abrasive voices. Anytime you want to exert authority or interest, concentrate on lowering your voice (a deeper sound). If you are really serious about improving the vocal quality, use a tape recorder and listen to yourself speaking at various levels – high, medium, and low.

2. The Smile. He has a Tiger Woods million dollar smile. Most presenters do not smile enough. It’s really hard to do when you are nervous. Think about showing the enthusiasm for your subject in your facial expressions.

3. The Story. Ted’s story of potential success makes him unique. Everyone has one or two signature stories – sometimes you have to dig deep to find yours. In our advanced SpeakersTrainingCamp® we actually spend a half day extracting each person’s signature story. It should be meaningful and memorable.

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Planting Seeds for the New Year
December 20, 2010 – 2:59 pm | Comments Off on Planting Seeds for the New Year

“Keep planting seeds.” That’s one of the things I always say to new SpeakersTrainingCamp® Certified Instructors. Any business needs to keep planting opportunities for future growth. Here are some ways to do it:

1. Keep in contact with clients – old and new. This year as I was going through my list of client addresses for Christmas card, I came across a client that I have not seen for over 7 years. I sent her a card, received an email a few days later, and now we have a contract for a training date later in the year.

2. Seek out new clients by attending one or two business functions each month.

3. Speak for free. Organizations are always looking for speakers. Volunteer as a guest presenter. Trade your time for a one-time use of their mailing list, or hand out a brochure after the program.

Flowers wilt and so will your business, unless you constantly spread the seeds for new opportunities. Nurture your current clients and search for new ones.

Wishing you a great harvest!

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How do you see your Audience? Guest blog: Javier Bernad
December 19, 2010 – 5:39 pm | Comments Off on How do you see your Audience? Guest blog: Javier Bernad

I am very excited to have a guest blog by SpeakersTrainingCamp® Instructor, Javier Bernad, from Madrid. He is a Law and Business Administration graduate, has 12 years of experience teaching public speaking, and is currently a University Professor at Universidad Europa de Madrid. You can contact him through his website: http://www.speakandspan.com/

Surely someone has suggested that you imagine your audience naked in your next presentation. Remember, the audience frightens you because, if you believe you did poorly, you will think they think you did horrendously, and that might destroy your self-esteem.

And of course, if you imagine them bare-skinned, you will be a lot less nervous, since they will appear ludicrous – and thus inferior – to you, so you will not perceive your audience as imposing, and your nervousness will just evaporate.

Fun, but it does not work. If you have not tried it yet, do it the next time around and let me know if you agree with this:

First, you get distracted from the message you want to convey to the audience. You will focus on yourself, trying to carry out a complicated exercise of imagination. It is already difficult to try it while you are bored at the beach, watching people walk by, go figure while you are facing a whole bunch of people staring at you. You won’t have enough time! All right, that guy at the back surely has a fat hairy belly, the lady in the corner is a tanning bead freak, the blonde in the first row has had her cellulite removed, and Mr. Straight-Face here must be wearing his army cammo underwear. Too much work when you are engaged in something as intense as public speaking, which occupies your mind fully.

Also, you disconnect from your audience. You are fantasizing, instead of thinking about them as the receivers of your message. You need to connect with each one of them, to talk to them as individuals, and to make sure they understand your message and find it relevant. If you detach yourself from the situation, you lose the opportunity to convince them

And, how do you think your face looks like when you are eyeing someone while imagining him or her naked? You will surely have problems in maintaining visual contact!

Instead of imagining them naked, imagine how much they are enjoying your presentation. Imagine yourself bowing to a standing ovation. It is in that precise moment, if you really have that perversion, that maybe you can imagine them all naked.

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