Public Speaking Tips – 4 Ways to Avoid Presentation Disasters

I once heard Jerry Seinfeld joke that, because the fear of public speaking outranks even that of death, the average person attending a funeral would rather be “the guy in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Put to you this way, you’d probably want to get over your fear of public speaking (if you have one) in a hurry. This is particularly true in the workplace where public speaking is frequently a part office life. For some people, the thought of leading meetings or making formal presentations can be terrifying. Some are so terrified their muscles tighten and throats gets so dry they can hardly speak when just having to introduce themselves to a group of their peers around the boardroom table.

So it really doesn’t surprise me when people are more concerned about their presentation skills than about their writing abilities. I remember talking with the president of an executive’s networking organization. He told me that many of the people he deals with are more concerned about looking good when they present than they are about their writing.

But in the “strange but true” department, I firmly believe that anyone wanting to improve their public speaking abilities needs to understand: good public speaking depends on writing. If you think that public speaking is all about the well-timed joke, the confident delivery and the ability to conceal the fact that sweat is trickling down your midriff- think again! Sure, these traits are an important part of a successful public speaker’s tool kit, (anti-perspirant too, perhaps!), but there’s more to it than that.

Sweat aside, some of that confidence and timing stems from writing, as I know from recent personal experience. I recently appeared as a panelist on a business news television show talking about why you should avoid using business jargon.

Once I was well acquainted with the topic, I began mulling over what I wanted to say. But just thinking about it wasn’t enough to help clarify my ideas. I needed to sit down at my computer, organize and write down my thoughts before rehearsing out loud. I found that writing out the ideas gave me clarity and focus about what I wanted to say and the order I’d ideally like to say it in. (I say “ideally” because of course on a TV panel you can’t entirely control the flow of things.) But the written preparation was key to my successful TV appearance.

The fact is, for most people good public speaking starts with good writing. I don’t necessarily mean writing everything out in carefully constructed sentences either. Notes can work just fine. In this context, good writing is about organizing your thoughts.

So here are a few things to write down when you prepare for almost any kind of public speaking.

1. The Hook: Start with a good hook, whether it’s a powerful anecdote or some compelling information. Write down a few options; use the one with the strongest hook.

2. The Key Points: Write down your key points. Make sure you can articulate them clearly. If you find using notes isn’t enough to enable you to get your ideas across clearly, write out your key points in full sentences.

3. The Sequence: Make sure your ideas are logically sequenced with a good flow from beginning to end. Jumping around will make it difficult for your audience to follow. (Just think of all those wedding speeches you’ve had to sit through where this is so true!)

4. The Language: Is the language you’re using appropriate for your intended audience? Unless you’re Jerry Seinfeld, you want to be very careful with your choice of words and tone, especially if you’re delivering a eulogy.

The interesting thing is, most people say when they write something down, they remember it more easily. So why wouldn’t you take the writing as seriously as being able to look out at a crowd without having your knees knocking?

No matter how great your eye contact, no matter how well your gestures underscore the points you want to make, if your ideas are not delivered in a clear, articulate, logical fashion, you won’t achieve that success you’re aiming for. And careful written preparation is what makes it more likely.

Bonus: Preparing in writing might even help with that nervous perspiration problem!

Dr. Sandra Folk is founder of the Language Lab, an organization specializing in improving the communication skills of business executives and employees worldwide. Sandra understands how poor communication skills can damage an organization’s reputation or diminish your professional image.

As an innovator in online training, the Language Lab offers a variety of business writing and presenting courses to meet the needs of second language learners (ESL) and native English speakers. Knowing how to communicate in Plain English is an important focus of these courses.

The LURES Of Negotiating

One of the most important skills each of us need to develop and enhance is to become a truly effective negotiator. In nearly every aspect of our lives, business, personal, organization, etc., we very often discover ourselves in a situation that rerquires negotiating skills. Since there are very few, if any, scenarios when there is total and complete agreement, we end up in some sort of negotiations if we wish to get things accomplished. Imagine family situations, especially either between siblings, between spouses, or between parent and children, and think about how often there is a need to negotiate? Most businesses need to make certain choices and/ or decisions on a daily basis, if they are to progress in a meaningful basis. Perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks that occur in politics is that there are a dearth of political leaders that are effective negotiators. Those desirous of becoming effective and meaningful negotiators should prioritize the LURE of negotiating: listen; understand; repeat; empathize; and seize control of the situation.

1. It all begins with being an effective listener. This means that you not only pay attention and hear what others say, but commit to acquiring all necessary facts and information that will make you have more clarity.

2. While listening is an essential first step, unless it is followed by understanding what is both being said, and what is left unsaid, there is little opportunity to communicate in a manner that accomplishes one’s goals and aspirations. This requires follow up questions that probe as deeply as possible, so as to realize the nuances and meanings that the other person is implying.

3. Once one feels that he has a clearer understanding of the needs, wants and position of the other person, there is a need to repeat what one believes is being said, doing so in the form of a question, in order to get agreement as to what needs to be discussed, and the issues involved.

4. While the first three steps are quite important, perhaps the most essential component and often overlooked one, is being empathetic. An individual must be empathetic without appearing sympathetic. Empathy may simply be considered as putting yourself in the other person’s place (so as to better understand both how they feel and the needs), while sympathy is merely feeling sorry for someone (which may be appropriate in short doses in certain scenarios, but almost never in negotiating situations).

5. All of these preliminary steps need to culminate in a position where an effective negotiator is able to seize control of the situation. It is important to understand, however, that gaining control is far different than trying to negate the other party’s needs. Rather, when you are able to maintain control, you can move the negotiation forward in progressive manner, striving for the goal of win – win results.

Since negotiating skills are so important, doesn’t it make sense for each of us to become better at them? Therefore, doesn’t it make sense to proceed in an orderly and organized manner, effectively utlizing these five steps?

Glass Beads – The Best Christmas Present Around!

Glass beads are the perfect remedy for anybody struggling with what to get their loved ones for Christmas this year. They are classy, stylish and best of all, if you know the right place to buy them, incredibly affordable, so if you have been wondering what yo get your friends and family, then worry no more and invest in some glass beads!

Glass beads can add class and style to any outfit, be it either complementing a sparkling new outfit or vamping up a tired one that needs a little life breathing into it; all in all, they are the perfect gift for anybody who has even the tiniest bit of style and taste in the way that they look… and even if they don’t, teach them to take a pride in their appearance and shower them with these great gifts!

So, this Christmas you can either be one of the people who every body secretly resents when they hand over a voucher to spend in a department store, or you can be that person that everybody secretly resents because they have got the greatest present around the Christmas tree… the choice seems pretty obvious!

Christmas is a time for giving, but it is also a time for reflection and looking at what one has in each others’ friendships; what better way to show your friends and family that you love them than with a set of glass beads that they will instantly love? Go on, treat your mates to some really great pieces of jewellery; they will thank you endlessly and it will certainly up the ante up for your next Christmas present!

Also, the real kicker is that these glass beads are not anywhere near as expensive as you may think that they should be; not, that is, if you shop for them online at one of the generous websites that offers such great bargains to those customers who use the internet to procure these items.

Well, it seems that you are running out of excuses not to buy these super pieces of jewellery for your friends this Christmas; plus, if you really are taken by them, which is very possible once you have seen the quality of them, then don’t be afraid to order a few sets for yourself, after all, Christmas is the time for giving, even if it is to yourself!