You might call this an old-fashioned teaser, but I actually hope it whets your appetite and curiosity for some of our public speaking training.
In addition to the intensive, private coaching we offer for specific individual presentations, we have two skill-based programs that focus on public speaking. We have the 1-day program entitled The Speech Class Refresher, and the 2-day program that focuses on micro-skills, entitled Speak Up! Speak Out! Say it Well! We also have an hour-long presentation that describes best practices in delivery, but does not contain any skill development, “Ten Tips for Terrific Talks.”
We teach these inside companies and organizations, and also, typically have a public offering for each several times a year.
These are some of the delivery skills that we include in these programs:
Stories – these are wonderful tools to increase your extemporaneous delivery – tell a “case study” with elements such as when, where, who, what, reactions, and even monologue and dialogue. Try to put a story into each speech. Nothing is more memorable to an audience.
Planting – put equal weight on both legs, shoulder width apart, with your knees slightly bent. From this balanced and comfortable position, you will not rock or sway. Move all you want to, but when you “arrive,” replant.
Eye contact – divide the room into four quadrants, and look at one person in a quadrant for a single idea. Look directly at that people in your audience – not over or under them. Look them directly in the eye. When you finish, look at someone else in another quadrant. Do not go left to right across the room, making a “sprinkler effect” or a “lighthouse sweep.” Try not to “flutter” between two people – look at one, and then across the room, to someone else.
Gestures – these should be spontaneous and natural, never planned. Put your arms at your side, not in your pockets or locked behind or in front of you. Your body will tell you when to gesture. If nothing else, you can enumerate (count – “my second point is…”). Wait until you participate in Randy Mayeux‘s Velcro exercise to improve your gestures.
Podium – avoid speaking behind a podium or stand; instead, speak behind a table, where you can put your note cards down, and move around.
Conversational Delivery – work on what you want to say, rather than how. The focus is on ideas, and not on exact, pre-planned words. In this delivery style, your speech is organized, planned, and practiced, but does not rely upon any exact prepared wording that you want to use. Instead, the words you use are spontaneous and conversational. The speaker refers to key words on note cards or slides, and simply talks with the audience. This is the most popular delivery style today, because it is very efficient to prepare and practice.
In our Speech Class Refresher program class week, I taught a section on Vocal Skills. Due to time constraints, I omitted two sections on enunciation and pronunciation, that I have taught in previous offerings.
I first taught these topics to students and professional clients when I was at the University of Houston in 1976, working on my M.A. degree. So, they have a special place in instruction for me.
One of the most successful and impactful women in professional business is Jill Schiefelbein . She wrote the best-seller, Dynamic Communication (Entrepreneur, 2016). She is pictured with me below when we attended a meeting at Success North Dallas, where she presented the monthly program, as selected by its leader, Bill Wallace.
I thought you might be interested in what she says about these two topics. This is an excerpt from an article she wrote entitled “7 Delivery Skills for Public Speaking,” published in Entrepreneur.com on April 26, 2017. You can read the entire article by clicking HERE.
“How you articulate and pronounce words is important because people need to be able to understand you. But if you get a little nervous, you probably tend to speak faster and faster, until you’re not enunciating well and your clarity is going to suffer. Your audience won’t catch everything you’re saying and you’ll lack maximum effectiveness. Following are some ways to help with your enunciation and pronunciation.
“First, show your teeth! To get the sound out, the mouth needs to be open and the air pipes clear. So if you find yourself starting to speak too quickly, think about showing some of your teeth (in other words, open your mouth a little wider). If you’re not sure whether you do this, watch yourself speak in a mirror. Better yet, set up a camera and record yourself in conversation or during a video chat.
“The second tip has to do with pronunciation. In music class, I learned that the singers who have lyrics you can actually understand have something in common — they pronounce the consonants clearly, especially the final consonant of each word. Try it. Say “world” out loud without focusing on the final “d” in your pronunciation. Now say it while pronouncing the last “d” clearly. Practice this in your head (or even better, out loud) with other words. You’ll notice it makes a difference.”
Just like everything else that we taught in our recent program, you get better at a skill by practicing the skill. That is as true for enunciation and pronunciation, as it is for anything else about public speaking.
The new book by Chris Anderson, TED: Guide to Public Speaking (Houghton Mifflin, 2016), rocketed to the #3 position in its debut week on the Wall Street Journal best-selling hardcover business list, published on May 21-22 (p. C14).
We rely on the New York Times business best-seller list as our primary source for selecting books for the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. We will consider this book, as well as others, as soon as we see its listing there.
Other new books include The Ideal Team Player (Jossey-Bass, 2016) by Patrick Lencioni at #7. It debuted at #8 last week.
I look forward to some future month at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas for a presentation on a new best-seller, Talk Like TED: The Nine Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014), written by Carmine Gallo. The book debuted this week at #6 on The Wall Street Journal best-selling list, and is currently #3, #4, and #7 in three different Amazon.com business best-selling lists.
Who is Carmine Gallo? This is not his first book! Carmine also wrote The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, The Apple Experience, which was the first book about the the Apple Store and how other brands can elevate the customer experience, and Fire Them Up, which identifies the seven secrets of the world’s most inspiring leaders. You can find synopses of some of these books for sale on our 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com site. Interestingly, Gallo is not associated with TED talks.
Here is a summary of the book that I found on Amazon.com:
Ideas are the true currency of the twenty-first century. So, in order to succeed you need to be able to sell yourself and your ideas persuasively. The ability to sell yourself and your ideas is the single greatest skill that will help you accomplish your dreams. TED Talks have redefined the elements of a successful presentation and become the gold standard for public speaking. TED—which stands for technology, entertainment, and design—brings together the world’s leading innovators and thinkers. Their online presentations have been viewed more than a billion times. These are the presentations that set the world on fire, and the techniques that top TED speakers use are the same ones that will make any presentation more dynamic, fire up any team, and give anyone the confidence to overcome their fear of public speaking.
Have you never watched a TED talk? When I teach presentation skills at the University of Dallas in its College of Business MBA program, I require students to watch and critique five presentations from this site. It’s a goldmine. You can access the site here: http://www.ted.com. At Creative Communication Network, we teach a custom presentation skills program based upon intensive individual coaching. You can be sure that we will be updating the program with some of the techniques from this book, in order to offer our clients the newest possible information to help them be successful.
I do not know which month this will be at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. We only publish our schedule one month ahead. But, you will have ample notice of the session when we will present this one. The synopsis of the book will be presented by either Randy Mayeux or myself, depending upon our selections. However, I do know it will be coming up very soon. This is already a blockbuster best-seller.
I was reading this article, Is a Science Ph.D. a Waste of Time?: Don’t feel too sorry for graduate students. It’s worth it, by Daniel Lametti, and this grabbed my attention:
Even the Economist, despite its disdain for “pointless” Ph.D.s, likes to hire scientists. As the ad for their science-writing internship reads, “Our aim is more to discover writing talent in a science student or scientist than scientific aptitude in a budding journalist.”
Notice the formula: expertise 1st, then writing talent.
This says two things. Good communication skills without genuine expertise is just a little too short on substance. Genuine expertise without good communication skills is just a little too incomprehensible. Thus, the formula:
Expertise + Soft Skills (especially Communication Skills) = Path to Success.
Karl Krayer and I present training on Writing Skills and Presentation Skills (actually, we both provide the Presentation Skills sessions; Karl leads the Writing Skills sessions) for all kinds of professionals. Companies with engineers and scientists and “techies” hire us to help these folks become a little more “understandable.” The reason is obvious. Expertise that cannot be communicated is expertise that is not fully utilized.
I have no doubt that expertise is truly critical. But there is a reason that Literature and Speech are “required courses” in practically every college degree program. To be able to write clearly, and then to speak clearly, really is a job requirement, a “core competency,” in this hungry-for-good-information world. The problem is that most students promptly forget what they learned in these classes, when they are immersed in their “real jobs.” They tend to view their real jobs as the “work” they do, and they consider communicating their insight and findings as something of a “step-child,” kind of necessary “busy work,” but not critical to their job.
This is a mistake! Communicating well is part of every job. A failure to communicate leads to ripple effects that cause lost productivity, confusion… something close to “failure.”
Have you taken an inventory of your own skills? If you have genuine expertise, do you write clearly? Do you speak clearly? If not, it’s time to work on these “soft,” but absolutely necessary, skills.
There are some great messages – delivered, unfortunately, to the wrong audiences. Be sure to connect to your audience; this audience, the audience in front of your eyeballs.
In one of the great pieces of advice from a rhetorical theorist (he used a much more academic term), a speaker should always be very intentional about building a bridge to his/her audience, using stories, illustrations, examples, sources that both the speaker and the audience members understand and can relate to.
In other words, always speak to the audience in front of your eyeballs – not to some other audience.
We miss our audience when we speak to concerns the audience members do not share.
We miss our audience when we cite a source of authority that the audience does not respect.
We miss our audience when we simply are oblivious to the needs and concerns of this audience.
So, the communication tip of the day is one I read this past week. It came from a pundit, observing a politician who had failed to connect well to his immediate audience. The comment was “he still doesn’t know how to read a room.”
So, “he needs to learn to read his room.”
Don’t we all!?