101 tips-for-successful-public-speaking-ns

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  • 1. 101 Tips for SuccessfulPublicSpeaking by Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE President,Sanborn & Associates, Inc. DevelopingLeaders in Business and Life 303.683.0714303.683.0825 fax10463 Park Meadows Dr.Suite 213Lone Tree CO, 80124www.marksanborn.com

2. 101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking Few things will advance your career or improve your leadership more than the ability to speak successfully. Having good ideas is of little value if you cant effectively communicate them. Successful public speaking means the difference between action and inaction, between understanding and misunderstanding. Whenever you give a speech, your goal should be for your audience to hear and understand what you say and then take the appropriate action. The following 101 tips will help you achieve that goal. 1. Have some confidence in yourself. Being a good public speaker does not require magic or genius. It does require a desire to communicate well. Do you feel comfortable with the way you communicate with yourfriends, coworkers, and family? If so, think of public speaking as an extensionof the communicating you do every single day. Youre simply speaking to aslightly larger group. The ease and confidence with which you talk every day isthe same manner that you need when you are speaking in front of a room fullof people. So just remember: even if youve never given a speech, youve donethis before! 2. Relax! Dont get overwhelmed. Learning about public speaking does not mean you have to master every type of speech with passion and perfection. Chances are your needs for public speaking are prettyspecific. Once you identify what type of public speaking you need to utilize,you can focus on that and leave the rest to the Bill Clintons of the world. Thereare many kinds of public speaking, and you do not need to be good at all ofthem. Remembering this will help you narrow down your task and make it alittle less daunting. 3. Keep it simpleand short. There was a time when people would listen attentively to speeches that were literally hours long. Those times, as you know, have passed. Now that there are so many ways to getinformationTV, radio, print media, the Internetlive speeches need to beshort, simple, and memorable. Take a look at the Gettysburg Address. It isabout 270 words long. The address also uses simple, single-syllable words,and short sentences. Youll find this simplicity makes your speech easier todigest and harder to forget. 4.Dont just say it: mean it! An audience will know if you dont believe inor care about what youre saying. Plus, you have to ask yourself: if youdont believe what youre saying, why should your audience believe it?If you what youre saying isnt important to you, then how can you expect youraudience to care about it? 5. Forget the technical stuff. If your goal is to just make simple speeches, at work, or in your community, then worrying about technical vocal tips will probably not be necessary. In fact, it might hurt you more thanhelp you. If you havent had trouble with your voice in the past, then youll bebetter off just continuing to speak like you always have. Consulting a book Copyright 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights ReservedPage 2 of 18 3. 101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking about vocal inflection, articulation, and breathing might just distract you from the most important thing: communicating. 6. Just do it! Remember the difference between reading about it and actually doing it. You can study all you want. Read books, make notes on this very article youre reading now, ask for advice from friends, watch great speakers in action. But remember that, eventually, youre going to have to get up there and just do it. Its easy to get stuck in the mire of all those facts and tips piling up in your brain. At some point, you have to start practicing and finding your own style and way of working. 7. Take a class. Keeping in mind the advice to just do it, you have a couple of options. The most straightforward step towards getting comfortable with public speaking would be to take a class. There you will be surrounded by other people who are learning the same things you are. You will have specific assignments, which can help calm your mind and narrow things down, and you will have deadlines, which will help you just get down to work. Before you know it, the homework will be done and youll be up there in front of the class, giving your first speech. For beginning speakers, or experienced speakers who want to get better, I recommend Toastmasters International (www.toastmasters.org). You wont find a better value for your investment in becoming a better speaker. For experienced speakers who are interested in professional speaking, I recommend the National Speakers Association (www.nsaspeaker.org). 8.Organize your own practice group. For some reason, you may not beable to take a class in public speaking. Logistical things like money,schedules, and availability could rule out that option. If so, do it yourself! Get together with a group of people who share your interest in public speaking and your goal to improve. You can meet once a week and practice with each other. This is another was to get up and just do it. 9.Run for public office. It may sound extreme, and definitely dont dothis just for practice. But if you care deeply about the world around youand are willing to devote time to improving it, you can make a positive difference in public office. There is no doubt, though, that the amount of public speaking youll have to do during a campaign will teach you all you need to know about the skill. 10. Repeat, repeat, repeat! The only way to get better at public speaking is to practice. If you have a tough time on one speech, try it again with a different group. Or tweak it a little. Just get back up there and try again. The more you repeat the experience, the more control youll have over yourself and your skills. Dont get discouragedjust get back on the horse and try again! Copyright 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights ReservedPage 3 of 18 4. 101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking 11.Know and believe you will succeed eventually. It may take time, butyou can eventually become a good, solid public speaker. Rememberwhen you learned to tie your shoe, or learned to drive? You didnt get it right away. It was hard and perhaps scary at first, and maybe you felt youd never get it. But you kept at it because you knew everyone eventually learns to drive, and that eventually you would master it. Its the same with public speakingyou cant expect to be good at it right away. Remember the learning curve, and just keep moving forward. 12.Find your strengths and use them. It is important to be self awarein any endeavor. To improve as a public speaker, you will helpyourself a lot by learning to identify your strengths, and then not being afraid to use them. Always start by building on your strengths. If you are a naturally gregarious person, then use your natural charm to appeal to your audience. If you study really hard and have really prepared, be confident in that knowledge... 13.Find your weaknesses and improve upon them. Understandingwhat your goals need to be is half the battle. If you are able torecognize that you have low confidence, for example, then you can admit that that weakness is affecting your public speakingand you can do something about it! Dont try to address all your possible weaknesses at once. Start with the biggest barrier to speaking better. Once youve overcome that, focus on the next weakness you need to address. 14.Figure out why youre scared: vocabulary. If you identify yourproblem as a lack of confidence, chances are the real culprit issomething else. Do you feel insecure about your vocabulary? This is an understandable reason for fearing to speak in public. If you cant use words to your advantage, of course you will feel scared. Perhaps tutoring could help, or flashcards. Either way, some study is in your future. 15. Figure out why youre scared: lack of research. You cant just whip out a great speech with too little preparation, even if you are Prince Charming. If you have not adequately researched your facts, or not adequately prepared them for your speech, you will rightly suffer from fear. No one wants to look like an idiot, and if you dont have your facts straight and your speech practiced, theres a good chance thats just what youll look like. 16.Calm down! So youve prepared, researched, and practiced. Theresno reason for you to mess up. Unless you psych yourself out rightbefore you go up. If you get too excited, you will lose a good amount of control and ruin your chances of success. Before you go up, come up with a way to remain calm and composed, whether its recited song lyrics, thinking about something else, or even doing a centering physical warm-up. Copyright 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 4 of 18 5. 101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking 17.Be prepared! I believe this is the single most important key tosuccessful public speaking. No matter how exciting your topic is,you must remember that you are not going to be able to give a lengthy talk on it without being prepared. As much as it sounds easier to just get up there and let inspiration do the work, the truth is unprepared speeches tend to be confusing, boring, and ultimately pointless. You need to spend time writing, rewriting, and practicing. Then when you finally get up there, youll have the confidence to fly. Remember: professionals prepare. Amateurs wing it. 18. Identify the purpose of this speech. When you start preparing, it will help to figure out what the point of your specific speech is. (A few different speech purposes will be covered in the next few tips.) Once you know what your goal is, it will be much easier to create a structure and a flow and an attitude for your speech. Its just another way to focus you so you can get down to work and feel purposef