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Public Speaking with Self Confidence

Public speaking can be a rewarding experience that allows individuals to showcase their skills or knowledge in a public forum. Public speaking opportunities can allow an individual to help enrich the lives of anyone in the audience by impressing experiences or information that can have life changing qualities. That being said, many individuals suffer extreme shyness or nervousness when faced with public speaking situations. These situations can range from large audiences of hundreds or thousands of participants to rooms with a few people present. Regardless of the situation, ensuring you have the proper level of public speaking self confidence will aid you remarkably in this foray.

When it comes to public speaking, possessing self confidence is a must. If you find your self confidence low or nonexistent, the best way to boost it up is to practice, practice, practice. Individuals with high self confidence have an ingrained sense that they can handle any and all situations, regardless who is watching or listening. These individuals are well versed in their specific subject matter and have a good idea of how they are going to present the information so that the audience will have the greatest understanding. Additionally, these individuals are capable of fielding questions on their particular subject and can explain the topic on several different levels. If you find yourself unable to do this, begin preparing for your public speaking opportunity at once. Ensure your knowledge in the topic is high and seek out to learn as much as you can. This knowledge will help you indefinitely in both planning your speech and delivering the speech to an audience of individuals who may or may not be familiar with it. Furthermore, in depth knowledge of your subject will aid you immensely when dealing with question and answer sessions that most likely will follow any public speaking opportunity. If necessary, ask other individuals about your topic and be able to explain the topic to individuals of all levels.

When writing your speech, take care to analyze your audience. If you are speaking to individuals who have a great understanding of the topic, you can clearly use a more in depth approach, more acronyms, and more jargon than if speaking to an audience unfamiliar with the subject. Furthermore, know the average age and educational extent of your audience in order to create a speech that will speak directly to these individuals. After you have written your speech, being making notes and prompts to that use can use when giving your speech in public. Knowing your speech is written to the best of your ability will boost your self confidence, as will having the necessary notes and prompts that you can rely on while giving your speech.

When preparing for your speech, take care to not memorize the content. This may seem like a good idea, but can lead to disasterous results. If you find yourself to be nervous before you present any project or speech to a public audience, you might forget the content of your speech and be forced to pull it together from memory. Additionally, if you leave out a specific idea or topic from your speech, your audience may not clearly understand the topic of point of your presentation. The best way to prepare for your speech is to make notes that allow cues or special points you should make in your speech. Have a general idea of what you plan to say and ensure the content covers these points. Also, have any visual materials carefully arranged in the order of presentation so that you will remember to include all items seamlessly in your presentation. Public speaking should not produce a crisis, and ensuring your self confidence is high in yourself and your capabilities will make all the difference in the quality of your presentation.

Speech Tips

Nearly as dreaded as snakes and spiders, public speaking ranks high in causing fear in many of us.
Whether your motivation is a desire to learn or simple necessity, here is a really simple guide to writing and giving a speech.

Topic:

A great speech starts with a great topic. It is so important that you select a topic that interests you, and you believe will interest your audience. Is this speech about something already know? Then take a blank piece of paper and write down as many facts as you can think about this subject. Put them randomly around the page with circles or boxes drawn around each thought. Then draw lines to link the thoughts together in a meaningful way. An excellent website for this type of brainstorming can be found at www.mindmap.com.

Careful consideration of each kind of audience analysis will help you gain a better understanding of your audience so that you can select a topic and prepare a speech that will appeal to your listeners’ interests while still respecting their uniqueness and diversity.

Introduction:

Now take your sheet of ideas and write a 3-sentence introduction. If you were going to describe this to me over a cup of coffee what would you say? A key to giving a speech is a conversational tone. In the introduction tell your audience what you’re about to say.

The first thirty seconds of your speech are probably the most important. In that period of time you must grab the attention of the audience, and engage their interest in what you have to say in your speech.
Once you have won the attention of the audience, your speech should move seamlessly to the middle of your speech.

Body:

In three subsections (A, B, C or I, II, III) expand on your introduction. What is the first most important thing you want your audience to know? The second most important? The third? Make each section about 2 or 3 paragraphs long. Keep referring back to your brainstorm page.

Most good writing, we are told over and over again, must have structure. A good speech is no exception. By providing your speech with a beginning, middle, and an end, you will have laid the foundations for a successful speech that fulfils all of your aspirations.

Conclusion:

In the introduction you told them what you were going to say. In the body, you told them again in detail. In the conclusion now tell them again. Tell them what you’re going to say, tell them, and then tell them what you said. Make the conclusion about 2 times as long as your introduction.

Do you want action with that? A speech is made to inform, to persuade, or to move to action. Finish off your speech with a statement that meets one of those purposes.

Along with the opening two minutes of a speech, the final part of a speech, known as a ‘closer’ is equally important. Research shows most people remember the closing remarks most.

Nick Morgan in his book ‘Working the Room’ believes ‘the only reason to give a speech is to change the world’.
He’s right as the essence of speech making is to move people to action.

So how can you have a closer that moves people to action?

To help you get started here are my Top 5 ‘Closers’ from US history and Culture that Inspire Others To Take Action.

1. JOHN F. KENNEDY, INAUGURAL ADDRESS.
“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

2. MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr. “I HAVE A DREAM” SPEECH.
“Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

3. RICHARD NIXON, “AU REVOIR” SPEECH
“But the greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”

4. EDWARD KENNEDY, WITHDRAWAL SPEECH AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION.
“For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”

5. HOPPERS SPEECH TO HIS GRASSHOPPER SWARM IN THE DISNEY/PIXAR CLASSIC “A BUG’S LIFE”.
“You let one ant stand up to us – then they all might stand up. Those puny little ants outnumber us a 100 to one. And if they ever figure that out, they’re goes our way of life. It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line. That’s why we’re going back – does anyone want to stay? Let’s ride.”

Good Practice:

Do NOT read your speech to your audience; either from 5X8 cards or from a typed sheet. To give a good speech you must sound familiar with the material; to become familiar with the material requires repetition. Repetition means reading the material aloud up to 50 times if necessary until you are totally familiar with it.
A good speech also involves feedback. During practice sessions you must recruit family or friends or coworkers to listen to you. Don’t ask them if it’s “good” or not; rather ask if it sounds conversational. Rewrite as needed to make your sentences sound like a normal conversation.

Fear:

Since speech making often causes fear it must be dealt with beforehand. First, familiarity with your content will reduce fear. Repetition causes familiarity so practice, practice, practice. Ultimately, if you need notes for fear you’ll forget, you are not familiar enough with the material. If you MUST use notes, keep them to a minimum – perhaps your outline points (introduction, ABC, conclusion).

While giving the speech do not READ, do not look down, do not go too fast. Some tricks – if you wear glasses, take them off. You’ll be less nervous if you can’t see the audience so clearly. Instead of making eye contact, look at each individual’s forehead. To your audience it looks as if you are making eye contact without actually having to.

One of the pressures of giving a speech is thinking that you have to write it word for word and rehearse it that way. Only very formal speeches such as the State of the Union address have to be prepared in this fashion. If you’ll think out and organize what you want to say, if you’ll practice until you sound conversational, and if you’ll deal with fear up front, then you’re speech will be well received.

As a final incentive, remember that your audience is not out there to ridicule or belittle you. They are actually rooting for you to give an interesting talk.

Improving your Presentation Skills

Have you had this feeling before? Rest assured you are not alone. You might be one of the many who would rate your fear of public speaking alongside or ahead of death! Your fear may translate itself to “FEAR” – Forget Everything And Run!!

Why do you want to improve your skills in this area? It might be to reduce the feelings of the nerves – or even panic. Maybe to reduce the risk of making yourself look a fool in front of the audience? Or you may want to be able to present yourself and your message with more confidence and conviction to win people over. Whatever your reasons, the principles we will cover here will help you.

You’ve been asked to give an important presentation. A lot is riding on how well you can deliver. The problem is, you’re not sure where to begin. The last class you took on presentation skills told you to tie your hands behind your back and blend in with everyone else. Is that really a good approach?

If you want to WOW your audience, you have to STAND UP and STAND OUT! Here are 5 Presentation principles designed to help you see an immediate and dramatic improvement in your presentation performance.

Manage Your Anxiety

Some nervousness when speaking in front of a group is not only inevitable, it’s also desirable. If it can be controlled, your nervousness can be translated into excitement or enthusiasm, and that makes for a presentation that is exciting and interesting to the audience. Excessive nervousness can take away any pleasure that doing the presentation may give you, but it may also have a negative effect on your performance.

Most of the nervous symptoms you experience before a presentation are exactly the same as those you feel when excited. To the body adrenaline is very simply—ENERGY. If we call it energy or excitement it is good, if we call it anxiety, it is bad. The first step toward successfully managing your anxiety is to remove the negative label and rename that feeling you have right before you step up to the podium, EXCITEMENT. Tell yourself that you are excited about the opportunity to speak in front of this group.

“Excitement” is a much more manageable and positive emotion than “anxiety.” Then use your excitement to energize you and help you communicate your enthusiasm to your audience.

Be More Of Who You Really Are!

Everyone has their own innate “style” of presenting. Your style is made up of many different aspects of your delivery, including your body, voice, face, the way you use language, level of formality, etc. The trick, within your style, is to be more of who you really are, which means knowing and then capitalizing on your greatest delivery strengths.

5 Toast Ideas for the Best Man

The best man traditionally offers the first toast at a wedding. His toast can offer a thought provoking look at married life, honor his friendship with the groom or reveal intimate and often embarrassing details of the couple’s courtship. The traditional toast is simply a short speech given verbally but best men are free to try other approaches to the toast such as a slideshow or a video presentation. The best man could also choose to give a verbal toast with a few new twists.

The traditional best man’s toast is a verbal speech that is given early in the reception. Although it is unoriginal, this type of toast is widely accepted and popular. If the best man is married himself, he may want to take this opportunity to offer the couple some sage advice for enjoying a happy and peaceful marriage. He may also wish to simply state why he admires the bride and the groom and offer his best wishes. Still another popular option for this traditional version of a best man’s toast is to regale the guests with a slew of stories from the groom’s wilder days. This, however, is not recommended at a wedding attended by mostly conservative guests as this can be embarrassing to both the couple and the guests.

A slideshow is on increasingly popular way for the best man to toast the new couple. You could take the opportunity to display various pictures of the bride and groom separately and as a couple. One option is to interview both parents prior to the wedding and ask them to contribute pictures of their child from when they were a baby until now. You would ask the parents a series of questions about the bride or grooms childhood, adolescence and adult life. Then you could take the pictures and arrange them in a slideshow presentation that you could narrate with information gleaned from your interviews. This type of toast is especially popular with the older generation in attendance at the wedding because many of them knew the bride or groom as children and will enjoy reminiscing about those times through the pictures and stories.

If the best man is linguistically inclined he may also wish to write a short poem or song about the couple. This poem or song could either be sweet and sentimental or funny and potentially embarrassing to the couple. Although the best man may be making the same points that he would in giving a traditional speech, the use of a poem or song to convey the sentiment makes it more original and amusing for the guests.

A video presentation is another unique way to make the best man’s toast. One way to do this is to arrange meetings with close friends and family members and ask them a series of questions about love and relationships and videotape their answers. You could then videotape yourself giving a short toast and introducing the other members on the tape. This is an excellent idea for the best man who is afraid that he will forget what he wants to say on the wedding day. The video allows him to practice his speech and record it over and over again until it is perfect.

Another original toast idea is the idea of memory boxes. The best man could talk to the parents of the bride and groom ahead of time and obtain a few objects from their pasts such a photos, childhood security blankets and special gifts from loved ones. The bet man would put each of these items into one of the boxes and leave the other one empty. When it comes time for the toast the best man could present the couple with the filled box. He would then open the box and explain the story behind each of the memory items. When he is done with the first box, he could present the couple with the second box and explain that this box is for the couple to fill up with keepsakes of the memories that they will share together.

There are a variety of toasting options available to the best man. Whether he chooses to speak from the heart with an unprepared speech or invest time prior to the wedding to put together an elaborate presentation, the toast is sure to be appreciated as long as the best man is speaking from his heart.

How to Speak at a Social Gathering

You are present at a social gathering at which a large number of people are present.

There is no formal list of speakers, nor is any one expected “to make a speech.”

Some reason or other brings it about that you are asked to address the assemblage.

You therefore have no topic on which to speak, and no particular purpose in speaking other than to make an announcement, or an explanation, or to fill time until preparations for something else are completed.

It is a most embarrassing moment.

Are there any rules that will be of service at such a time?

Imagine, for example, that there are to be amateur theatricals. One of the principal actors has not arrived. The audience is assembled, and has been entertained by music until the long wait becomes annoying. You are called upon to go before the audience and talk for a time to put it in good humor.

In all such eases, follow these suggestions:

1. Without in any way naming any person as blameworthy tell the general reason for your appearance.

“Ladies and Gentlemen: You have come to see a comedy. Most astonishing, you and I are all playing parts in a very comic comedy. The name of the comedy in which we are acting is ‘The Lost Actors, or the Play without Players.’ Some of our leading characters have not arrived.”

You have now satisfied the curiosity of the assemblage, and, by your words, have somewhat restored good humor. You have not even intimated that anyone is to blame.

2. Continue with fantastic or humorous explanations adapted to the occasion.

“Is it possible that the leading theatrical managers of the country have made a conspiracy and abducted our extraordinary amateurs? Has the love making of the play proved so effective that our characters have eloped ? Or has stage fright overcome our bashful ladies and gentlemen?” (Carry foolery of this sort to any length that you please, but do not blame anyone, and, above all, do not cast ridicule upon any one.

3. Tell whatever humorous anecdotes may be appropriate.

4. If you have to speak at length, in order to fill time, turn the subject to some theme that is in no sense controversial, and speak on that theme.

“Now you see why it is that we are playing parts in a comedy. We still have some minutes to wait. Let me take this time to speak of the work our people have done in the past year. (Follow with details that will compliment the audience.)

5. If you do not have to speak at length, end your speech with a simple announcement.

“In the meanwhile the orchestra has agreed to play some special music, to which I invite your attention.”

PROBLEM.

Think out the words of a speech in which you announce that the club dinner will be served after a delay of about fifteen minutes.