Friday, March 10, 2017

Public Speaking Skills Strategy - Your Notes

As with anything that we do in life, in order to get good at it you have to practice. Practice takes preparation, planning. This is one of the biggest reasons why so many people build up nervousness when it comes to speaking to people on a public platform.

Knowing what to say because you have prepared yourself is so important. Do you sometimes feel fearful of public speech? What comes over you when this happens?

If you're anything like me I used to have all sorts of thoughts pop up in my head before a presentation.

What if I forget my information on stage? What if people don't like what I have to say? What if I can't answer their questions correctly?

The best advice I can give to combat these feelings of failure is to work on your notes. It's one of the BEST training you can get to become a better public speaker.

What I want to do is talk about two different formats that many often use. Only one of them is the TRUE ANSWER to what you should be doing. The other will definitely cause you to stumble and make your life on stage worse than it should be.

Speaking from a Manuscript Kills Presentations

There I said it. If you definitely want to have some serious issues and anxiety during your speech, go ahead and write out everything that you want to say word for word on paper. Then take this paper on stage and try to read and talk saying every word on the paper. 

That's what a manuscript is. It's basically a written out speech. Every word, every idea you had at the time of developing your material will be written on the cards or paper you're using. This is not the way to go. I'll be the first to tell you that. 

For many years this is how I would put together my speeches. It was my only form of communication to my audience. Of course no one could see what I had written down on paper, but they literally heard every word from it. At least most of it anyway. 

Do you know why this is a death sentence to overcoming fear of speaking in public and delivering a great presentation? It ruins your overall concentration. 

You'll be too focused on trying to get every word out from paper till you completely lose track of what your main objective is. For most people that objective is to win over the crowd and make a point. 

Here's an example of a manuscript paragraph that I just made up for the point of this teaching. 

"So there I was standing with my hands up waiting on Jim to show up. But do you know what, Jim never showed up. This is the importance of being on time. You can actually lose out on a great business opportunity. Because Jim didn't show up, his sales and commissions were blown for the month of July."

Imagine trying to say all of this in front of an audience without messing up. You're already nervous, so that's going to really throw you off. Plus your speech may sound really made up like you're reading directly from your notes, since that's what you're doing anyway. 

Is there any real need to write out a story that you want to tell your audience? If it really happened then you shouldn't even need to write it out word for word. It should be a real life experience that you can tell anyone anytime. 

Here's a better way to write out the notes for an effective speech involving the same story. 

- Talk about how Jim was late. - Stress the importance of being on time. 

That's it! I know what you're probably thinking. How on earth am I going to remember what to say with just those two few things. Simple. Remember at the beginning of this post I talked about preparation. You have to know your material and the rest will fall through successfully. Now let's look at how you can use an outline to help boost your communication with the audience. 

Boost Your Skill of Public Speaking Using an Outline

If those two little sentences look like something that's not enough to work with for a presentation, then I'm sorry for you. You can stick writing out manuscripts and hoping that you will be able to cover everything without messing up. 

I can tell you right now, the odds will be against you. It's so much better to use an outline. Hey take it from me, I know it may seem like a big life change to you. Trust me though, it'll be very well worth it. 

Basically an outline is just a few structures of sentences to express ideas. That's it. It's like a personal cue to you to remember to mention something. Let's do some quick exercises using outlines as notes for some presentation ideas. 

What I've listed below are two examples of how I would personally make these paragraphs in the forms of outlines so that I can effectively get my message across to an audience. Here goes. 

"One of the benefits to owning an LED flat panel TV is space. Most of these televisions are no more than an inch and a half maybe two inches in width. They are so much lighter than the old tube TVs from the 2000s era. My favorite is Brand X with it's ergonomical five inch remote and touch sensitive buttons. You can preset the TV to play your favorite show at 12:00 pm every day"

Outline version on my notes:

- Talk about benefits of LED flat panels (size, space, etc). - Mention Brand X's remote features. - Talk about presetting channels with Brand X. 

Do you see how writing an outline literally forces you to be yourself when doing public speaking? It definitely helps you to be more focused on the whole idea, rather than remembering what to say. You can see that if you know your material, an outline is basically just a hint at what you should be saying. You'll be a lot more relaxed and calm. Plus save yourself a ton of writing on note cards. 

Okay, let's do one more. I'll try to make this one a bit more exciting and relevant. 

"One of my biggest fears was public speaking. I always wanted to become a better speaker but I had tremendous amounts of stage fright. I worried about what to say and how to say it. I was totally focused on what people would think about me while I was talking. My legs would shake, hands get sweaty and my breathing would cut off somewhat. Then I learned how to write my notes from an outline. This was a lifesaver to me and made me the speaker I am today"

Outline version on my notes: 

- Talk about your fears from public speaking. - Mention how an outline helped you. 

Hopefully you can kind of get the point by now. An outline is nothing but a shortened summary of what you need to say. The rest lies in how well you know your material. 

It does take some practice but eventually you'll really start relying on the use of outlines and wonder why you ever did things differently. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

What Does Having Good Public Speaking Skills Mean to You?

Make no mistake about it, people will judge you not just by how you look, but by what comes out of your mouth. Ever been out shopping somewhere and you hear someone's conversation with another person and can't believe the language coming out of their mouths?  Did it make you feel a certain way about that person? Were you moved to like them, or despise them?

Pretty much when you're delivering a conversation, whether it be in your career or just in front of friends and family, people judge your character by what you say. Not just what you say, but how you say it matters as well.

I can remember one day I was just sitting at home minding my own business, when I heard a knock at the door. I was really enjoying a great movie at the time. It was a movie that I hadn't seen in a very long time.

Here I was with my feet propped up on the foot rest, bag of my favorite Lays potato chips in my hand, and the Blu Ray player turned on. I had just sat down and the movie had just started. Then I heard a knock at the door which was an annoyance to me. So I quickly put the movie on pause, walked over to look through the peep hole, and noticed two well-dressed females standing at the door.

Now don't get me wrong I am a guy, so don't think just because these were two attractive chicks that I was happy to see them. By no means. I had a long day at the office and needed to unwind. They broke this peace I had.

As I opened the door they could tell by my facial expression that I was not in the happiest of moods. Here I was with the bag of chips still in my hand and the remote cupped under my arm. "Good evening hope we didn't disturb you" one of them said. Of course I replied back, "no not at all, how can I help you".

The same one that greeted me began her speech presentation with such confidence that I almost immediately forgot about my movie. She stood up nice and tall, looked me in the eyes and asked me a captivating question. "What would you do with a years' FREE subscription to your favorite magazine?"

Boom! Right then and there I was put on the spot. I said, "I guess I would try to read every issue since they would be free." The woman then quickly went on to say how much of a savings it would be compared to buying these magazines in the store.

Again this lady had superb confidence. Her public speaking was stellar. She used her hands very often explaining how I could go about getting a free magazine subscription if I made a purchase for a product. Needless to say I ended up buying that product after standing in the doorway for 15 minutes.

She accomplished her job for the day. I really don't feel like I would've made the purchase with her and her teammate if her speaking skills weren't so up to par.

What Are the Advantages of Being Able to Communicate Clearly and Effectively? 

As you can see from my personal life example, it can mean making some sweet commission on the job. Or it could mean getting that needed promotion at work. Whatever the case in your life, you can really benefit from being a good speaker. 

Right now you're probably struggling with several things. Maybe you're trying to overcome the nervousness of standing in front of large amounts of people. Do you worry that you'll forget what to say? All of these things happen to everyone, but you can defeat them. 

Imagine being able to read your audience and make adjustments to your speech based on how they react? It'll impact your overall public discourse making you appear the expert in your field.

So what are some things that can get in the way? Number one for most people is usually nervousness. That overall fear of messing up and secretly getting laughed at. Nothing's worse than being embarrassed in front of hundreds or even thousands of people.

Secondly a lot of folks worry about their minds going blank at the wrong time. I reveal in one of my articles some strategies to help you build your notes in a way so that this almost never happens.