Archive for January 8, 2008

Proven Tips To Boost Your Public Speaking And Presentation Skills (Part 5)

January 8, 2008

At The National University of Singapore Toastmasters Club (NUSTMC) meeting tonight, we’ve had the wonderful showcase of 6 Prepared Speeches in addition to the Table Topics session. Each of the speakers displayed different skills and speaking potential. Of course, you can easily notice that everyone is in the midst of taking the enthusiastic steps towards becoming better speakers, presenters and even leaders.

As the Club’s Mentor, I am pleased that there are so many people who want to present their speech projects and their ardent display of speech competency. I also applaud their efforts and eagerness for their dedication, consistency and commitment. Keep it up, guys!

Hence, I have also made some recommendations to the various speakers to further boost their public speaking skills:

1. Avoid using examples for the sake of having examples. Some speakers decided to put in examples just because they feel there must be examples. The main point is this: you must focus and elaborate on the example’s meaning in conjunction to your message. Speeches do not simply consist of a series of examples; they must be made to come alive as a result of the appropriate examples.

(The artful use of examples is a component under “The Set Pieces of Crafting Your Speech”.)

2. Cut out the socially and culturally inappropriate words when speaking to public. It happens, yeah, words like, “damn, darn, Oh, God, screw up, blah blah blah, shit, etc”(You get the idea.) UNLESS it’s your PLANNED INTENTION to provoke the audience or make them uncomfortable, tease these words out of your speech and eliminate them.

I know it’s also an unconscious act sometimes, but that is still not an excuse for using such words. While they might serve a certain purpose, most people are not comfortable when they hear these utterances, especially from a credible speaker. I’m sure you can find better words and phrases to convey similar meanings.

Remember, you are speaking to the public. Leave such words for your private conversations, if you wish.

(Watch out for the words and phrases you use in “The Social and Cultural  Language of Public Speaking”)

3. Keep cynicism and skepticism to a minimum if your topic is solutions-based. If you want to provide solutions and advice to the audience, avoid being skeptical of what you say. The tone and appropriateness is shown most obviously through your mannerisms and attitudes. Avoid second-guessing your own “How to”s. If you are not even convinced by your own solutions, why should the audience?

(Learn to tie your speech themes and content together with the aim of “Speech Unity and Unconscious Congruence”. In this way, your audience will be much more receptive of your ideas and you will become a credible source of information.)

4. Have all parts of the speech structures well connected beforehand. There are speakers who know how to begin their speeches but do not know how to move on to the main points. On the other hand, there are those who do not know how to proceed from the main body towards concluding their speech. I’ve seen speakers jammed up on stage, at a loss of what to do when attempting to advance to the next structure.

You need “Linguistic Transitions”. You need to prepare them before you speak, unless you can think fast on your feet. Have transitional words and phrases ready in mind, so that you can easily connect the Introduction, Body and Conclusion with a smooth flow. Some of these starting transitions can be “let me first talk about…”, “as I share with you the first…”. Closing transitions include, “an overall picture of what I’ve shared looks like this..”, “Therefore, let me recap” or simply, “in conclusion”.

From the feedback of the speakers I’ve met, it’s heartening to know that many of you are finding these tips useful and practical. I’ve also noted marked improvement in your speaking abilities. I encourage you to continuously use these tips to power up your speeches.

Let’s Excel Beyond Excellence!