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Public Speaking Dilemma: What To Do When You Don’t Have Enough Time

Do you have a standard hour-length presentation, but your host can only spare a half hour? Are you in the middle of a presentation when you realize that, due to a late start or abundant questions, you are running out of time?

No matter what your topic, always be flexible and ready to cut short your session (or ready to lengthen, as the case may be). Here are some ways to make sure your presentation always fits the time slot.

<b>Pointer #1: Use a timed outline</b>

When you create your presentation outline, include time estimates next to each section (I like to add mine in red to make them easier to spot on the page).

A brief, one-page bulleted outline (or two pages double-sided) will be easier to time than a long, rambling novel written in paragraphs.

Practice your presentation and jot down time estimates as you go (two minutes for opening, five minutes for section I, seven minutes for section II, etc.) When you get to the end, add up all the time and determine whether you should add to or subtract from any sections to make it all fit into the allotted time slot.

If you have to edit severely to fit into a different time frame and your presentation will be adversely affected, you might want to develop separate self-contained presentations for short, medium and long time slots.

(If you are a PowerPoint user, see the book “Beyond Bullet Points” for instruction on creating a PowerPoint that serves different timing needs.)

<b>Pointer #2: Shift information depending on its priority</b>

If you notice that you are running out of time while in the middle of a presentation, you may have to shift some of your content around. If you have important points at the end of the presentation, now is the time to bring them forward. As soon as you notice the time crunch, start changing the order of your sections.

When creating and practicing your presentation, it’s always a good idea to think ahead about how you would handle this situation. The layout of your bulleted outline should make it easy to see which sections to leave out, move up or move down.

If you have to leave out something that you feel is important, gather business cards from the audience and offer to e-mail them additional content.

<b>Pointer #3: Supplement with handouts</b>

There’s usually some information that we want to share, but that we don’t necessarily want to include in our live presentation. You might have some relevant articles to supplement your workshop, or you might have charts and graphs that you didn’t have time for or the technology to project.

Use handouts wisely. If the material does not need to be reviewed during your presentation, then leave handouts at the back of the room for the audience to pick up on the way out. If you choose to put them on seats before you begin, be aware that your audience may spend half the time reading and not listening to you.

Your handouts should always include your contact information and a link to your website, if you have one. Make sure all resources and references are clear and easy to read; use graphics if appropriate and leave a lot of white space on the page. Don’t overload handouts with text; make them concise and relevant to your presentation. Otherwise, they will end up in the recycling bin!

Follow these suggestions, and you will always be prepared, no matter how much (or little) time you have.

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Microphone Technique

Although it sounds strange to you, to hear your own voice over the P.A, in fact it doesn’t sound any different to the audience than if you were talking to them in normal conversation.

The trick here is to be Yourself, if you haven’t got the skill to project a warm friendly personality at the functions where ice breaking is required then being an entertainer isn’t for you. The trick is to find a balance, most people would simply hire the gear – saving around 50% of a D.J’s booking fee and throw a NOW Cd on – if human input and personality wasn’t important to them. At some functions, if they pay for an entertainer and get a human jukebox who doesn’t own a mic and just sits there playing music then they occasionally feel cheated!.

I can’t stress the ìBE YOURSELFî, advice enough, don’t put on a radio style zany DJ voice – that will sound false and doesn’t fool anybody. If you are lucky enough to have a D.J training you, or are a young person helping an older mentor D.J then DON’T be tempted to become a clone of him or her. Adopt your own mic style (not a false voice), use your own tag lines but don’t rely on the same cliche’s 20 or 30 times a night – this becomes boring and predictable.

Don’t rely on ìthat wasî, ìThis isî introductions all night. At some functions going out with a Radio Mic and creating banter with your audience is a great way to break the ice at the beginning of difficult, non formal functions – and a good way of enouraging them onto the dancefloor early on. You can relax the mic work and the frquency of them – once the dancefloor is filling.

Of course there are always going to be functions where you need more mic work than the last, and other functions where it is going to be little mic use, but the key is to develop a style and strength and confidence in your mic working ability and not to rely on non stop music alone to do the work for you.

Just be yourself, and talk normally into the microphone. The thing to work on is to speak confidentally and clearly and try to pace yourself. Speaking too fast will make what you are saying sound garbled, speaking too slow will make you sound like you are addressing a bunch of village idiots . Pretty soon, with a little time and practice you’ll develop your own individual skill and style and that is the most important aspect, don’t try to copy anybody else or put on a different voice, it will sound false and make learning and maintaining the technique a lot more difficult.

If being a comedian is not you, then avoid the jokes unless you are good at this sort of thing , forced comedy can sound false and you may find yourself laughing alone, after all the Client has booked a Mobile Disco and not a stand up comedian!. One of the best pieces of advice I was given my the D.J who trained me, was to ìStick at doing what you are good at and have been booked for, and if in any doubt then leave it outî.

Spontaneous one liners are another matter, if something amusing happens, then share it – use the mic to get requests, make a fuss over other people celebrating birthdays / anniversaries – people like to have their 30 seconds of glory and hearing their name mentioned, over the mic

My advice to those nervous about public speaking for the first time, is not to be frightened of the mic or avoid using one – its your closest and most useful ally, at all functions. Don’t talk all over the track, learn to pace yourself over the outro of the previous track and any intro of the next track – don’t gabble – talk clearly into the microphone as if you were talking to a friend. With time you should be able to familiarise yourself with how themore popular tracks end and finish, this way you can talk upto the vocal, similar to how they do on the radio – stopping your banter at the moment the vocal on the next track starts. Don’t rush to perfect this or gabble to do so, it all comes with time and practice. Keep it simple to start off with.

Start with the easy stuff first, just introducing tracks, and buffet announcements. Once you’ve built up a bit of confidence, you’ll move on from the ëThat wasÖ.. this isÖ.’ routine. Try and include your audience, invite requests, make them feel welcome. Even if you are having a difficult gig don’t take it out on the audience and try and look like you are enjoying yourself, even if it’s not going to plan. Don’t worry about making mistakes on the Mic, we all do from time to time, but don’t draw attention to it, or dwell on it it’ll just make it worse – besides making mistakes shows that you are human and not a pre-programmed jukebox

Keep key information on the gig, such as the Bride & Grooms’ names, Best Man Name etc on a piece of paper on the mixer, so that you can casually glance down if you have a sudden memory blank, but don’t write your links down as a speech, otherwise it will sound like you are reading from a script and less natural.

Remember that once the dancefloor is full, you can ease off the mic a little, but keep doing the requests and don’t forget that it exists. Learn to find the balance, too much talking can bore the pants of your audience, too little mic work can make people think that you aren’t earning your keep!. There are functions where you have a full Dancefloor and it would be obtrusive to chat all over the music when people want to dance, equally there are more formal functions where there isn’t the room or inclination to dance, and so a bit of light hearted banter to break the ice and the empathsis on the entertainment side of being a DJ is required rather than just continuous music

All of this will take some time, don’t expect to develop a mic technique overnight just take it one gig at a time.

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Profit From Effective Public Speaking

Developing and utilizing presentation skills can result in increased income for you. Here are a few ways that you can turn your public speaking experience into business profits.

1. Free Speeches to Promote Your Business

A lawyer might make a speech to a group of business persons, free of charge, about the advantages of incorporating their businesses. This could result in obtaining new clients. It could also cause existing clients to purchase additional services, such as incorporations, minute book work, income tax election filings, and so on.

2. Paid Seminars, Workshops and Teleclasses

You could charge admission fees to attend a seminar entitled “How To Incorporate Yourself Without a Lawyer”. This seminar could detail the considerations and mechanics of incorporating your own private corporation.

3. Sell Information Products

The information presented during a speech or seminar could form the basis for information products such as books, courses, special reports or folios, audios, videos, DVDs, electronic books, and so forth. For example, you could write a book entitled “How To Incorporate Yourself Without a Lawyer”.

Including such products as handouts at your seminar would increase the value for the attendees (which you could charge for). Even if you gave a free speech to a group, you could still receive back-end income from the sale of such information products.

Obviously, your public speaking skills will be especially important when producing an audio or video cassette. Your listeners and viewers will make certain judgments based on your personal appearance, poise, audience contact, use of gestures, enthusiasm, how informative the material is, and many other factors.

Your information products establish your credibility as an expert, resulting in even more business. As well, you can market those same information products through mail order, direct mail, Internet marketing, and other methods.

4. Consulting and Other Opportunities

As your reputation as an expert in your specialized field grows, you will become more in demand. Clients may seek you out for lucrative speaking engagements. You may be invited to write magazine articles, consult for large corporations, act as an expert trial witness, become a syndicated columnist, et cetera.

Therefore, whether you are a novice or an experienced public speaker, it pays to increase and utilize your public speaking skills.

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How to be a Great Speaker Without Using PowerPoint

This article gives 10 tips on how presenters can be highly effective without using PowerPoint.

RESEARCH YOUR AUDIENCE It amazes me how some speakers will show up for a speaking engagement and really not know anything about the audience they are speaking to. Many speakers just get lazy and feel that their message is so important that anyone would want to hear it. They couldn’t be more wrong. Your core message may be about the same for everyone, but knowing your audience will allow you to slant the information so that the audience feels it was prepared just for them. They will relate much better to the information and think much more highly of you for creating something specifically for them. Of course, in many cases you were only slanting your information, but I won’t tell if you won’t.

PRACTICE The only way to look polished while speaking is to practice. This is one skill you cannot delegate to anyone else. It is you that is on stage with the microphone and it is you who will look either great or terrible. You are sadly mistaken and egotistical if you think the PowerPoint slides that either you or someone else created will make you a dynamic speaker. There are specific techniques used to practice that don’t take much time and make you look extremely polished. One of these techniques is called bits. You practice a short piece of material over and over again. You don’t practice it word for word, but just talk your way through it. This way you won’t blank out when a distraction happens while you are on stage.

TAKE CARE OF HECKLERS The following is my famous asterisk technique; I use it to make sure hecklers don’t interrupt my presentation. I get people in the group to identify potential troublemakers BEFORE I get to the event. I phone these people and interview them to give them the attention they are craving. I then mention their names during the speech. This virtually eliminates the chance they will give me a hard time because I am praising one of their opinions. This works really well but don’t mention their names exclusively or the rest of the audience that knows these people are trouble may think that you are just as bad. Mention a wide variety of people in the audience. Just make sure the bad ones are included which normally keeps them at bay.

USE EMOTIONAL LANGUAGE Boring old facts rarely move people to action. Learning to use words that evoke emotions in people will make a much greater impact when you speak. There are many emotions you can trigger in the audience just by your choice of words. Happiness, anger, sadness, nostalgia are just a few. Knowing your purpose for being in front of the group helps you to pick which emotions you want to tap. When your purpose is known, choosing words to get the desired emotional response is much easier. For instance, if you wanted to take someone back to a childhood experience you might say, “Do you remember when someone did something bad at school and the teacher smacked the yardstick on her desk?” The word Phrase “smacked the yardstick” would evoke an emotional response that many adults can relate to. A younger group may not relate to this phrase since corporal punishment has all but disappeared from schools. You must pick the words that would mean something to your audience.

REVEAL YOURSELF Often people have trouble implementing this idea because they like to remain aloof and private. This will hurt their chances of making a good connection with people in the audience. You certainly don’t have to reveal your deepest darkest secrets when on stage, but you certainly could tell someone how much you like horses, or how you love to cook . . .anything that will give them a glimpse into the real you will give you a better chance of connecting with them and getting them to listen to you.

USE PROPS A prop is worth a thousand words. People can really anchor a thought in their minds when it is connected to an object that relates to the point you are trying to make. You could use large, small, funny or serious props. Always relate the prop to the point you are trying to make and make sure the audience can see it. Sometimes you’ll want to hide the prop so people don’t wonder what it is until you are ready to present it.

USE HUMOR Even Shakespeare used humor in the middle of the tragedies he wrote. Humor is a powerful and effective tool that gives the audience’s mind a chance to breath in the face of heavy material. It also makes you more likable and fun to listen to. Humor is also much more likely to make your information more memorable. You don’t have to be a stand up comedian to use humor in speeches and presentations, and you don’t have to tell jokes either. There are many ways to add humor that don’t require any skill at all. You can show funny visuals, tell stories, or read from books or periodicals. Just like with props, make sue your humor relates to the point you are trying to make and you will be much more successful. Each issue of “Great Speaking” has about 20 pieces of humor you can use during speeches.

MOVE ‘EM TO ACTION If you are going to bother taking up people’s time to speak to them, don’t you think it would be a good idea to get them to do something positive because of your presentation? Even if they do something negative, it’s still better than doing nothing because they will at least get a chance to learn something from their mistake. Regardless of the size of your ego, the reality is that you are there for them, not the other way around. I’m all for you building up your reputation, but if you go into your speech thinking it’s all for you, it will show and you probably won’t do as well as you would have had you concentrated on the needs of the audience more.

BRING SOLUTIONS One of the best ways to make sure the audience loves you is to bring solutions to their problems. If you have done a thorough job of researching your audience, you already know what their problems are. It’s your job to bring ideas for them to try. In modern day thinking this is what motivational speaking is all about. No longer is it good enough to get people all fired up where they are bouncing off the walls without a clue as to what they will do with this new found excitement and motivation. Modern professional motivational speakers bring solutions and a plan of action to achieve them. Now those are motivating.

PAY ATTENTION TO LOGISTICS The best preparation, practice, and audience research could be ruined if you forget to pay attention to all the details surrounding a presentation. You want to know what is happening before you speak, and what is happening after you speak: How are the people seated? Are they at round tables where half of them are facing away from you, or are there no tables at all? What kind of microphone is appropriate? How big is the screen in the room? Will the people be drinking alcohol? What is the lighting like? All these items and many more affect the overall effectiveness of a presentation. The same exact words delivered with significantly different logistics could be received in entirely different ways. You could even go from a fantastic evaluation to a bomb just because of the way people are seated. It’s up to you to know the differences and how they affect a presentation.

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History of Public Speaking

There never has been in the history of the world a time when the spoken word has been equaled in value and importance by any other means of communication. If one traces the development of mankind from what he considers its earliest stage he will find that the wandering family of savages depended entirely upon what its members said to one another. A little later when a group of families made a clan or tribe the individuals still heard the commands of the leader, or in tribal council voiced their own opinions. The beginnings of poetry show us the bard who recited to his audiences. Drama, in all primitive societies a valuable spreader of knowledge, entertainment, and religion, is entirely oral. In so late and well organized communities as the city republics of Greece all matters were discussed in open assemblies of the rather small populations.

Every great epoch of the world’s progress shows the supreme importance of speech upon human action individual and collective. In the Roman Forum were made speeches that affected the entire ancient world. Renaissance Italy, imperial Spain, unwieldy Russia, freedom loving England, revolutionary France, all experienced periods when the power of certain men to speak stirred other men into tempestuous action.

The history of the United States might almost be written as the continuous record of the influence of great speakers upon others. The colonists were led to concerted action by persuasive speeches. The Colonial Congresses and Constitutional Convention were dominated by powerful orators. The history of the slavery problem is mainly the story of famous speeches and debates. Most of the active representative Americans have been leaders because of their ability to impress their fellows by their power of expressing sentiments and enthusiasms which all would voice if they could. Presidents have been nominated and candidates elected because of this equipment.

During the Great War the millions of the world were as much concerned with what some of their leaders were saying as with what their other leaders were doing.

There is no aspect of modern life in which the spoken work is not supreme in importance. Representatives of the nations of the world deciding upon a peace treaty and deliberating upon a League of Nations sway and are swayed by speech. National assemblies from the strangely named new ones of infant nations to the century old organizations speak, and listen to speeches. In state legislatures, municipal councils, law courts, religious organizations, theaters, lodges, societies, boards of directors, stockholders’ meetings, business discussions, classrooms, dinner parties, social functions, friendly calls in every human relationship where two people meet there is communication by means of speech.

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Four Different Ways People Process Your Information

How do others process your information during presentations? There are four different physiological pathways that they use.

Four Different Ways People Process Your Information

There are four different ways that audience members assimilate information. They are: visual, auditory, auditory digital, and kinesthetic. While all members of the audience will process information utilizing all four of these approaches at different times, each audience member will individually tend to rely on one of these approaches more than the other three.

Visual: These people memorize and learn by seeing pictures and are less distracted by noise than others. They often have difficulty remembering and are bored by long, verbal presentations because their minds will wander. They are interested in how your presentation looks. They like it when you use words like ìsee, look, envision, imagine, and picture’ in your presentation as these words encourage them to make pictures in their minds.

Auditory: These people are easily distracted by any noises occurring during your presentation. Typically these audience members learn by listening, Your vocal tone and vocal quality will be very important with these people. Words that work well with people in this category include ìhear, listen, sound, resonate, and harmonize.’

Auditory Digital: These audience members spend a fair amount of time in their heads talking to themselves. They memorize and learn by steps, procedures, and sequences.
They want to know that your presentation makes sense. Words that are effective with these people include ìsense, experience, understand, think, motivate, and decide.’

Kinesthetic: These audience embers often speak very slowly. They are much more oriented towards their feelings than people in the other three categories. They learn by actively doing something and getting the actual feeling of it. They are interested in a presentation that ìfeels right’ or gives them a ìgut feeling.’ Words that are effective with these audience members include ìfeel, touch, grasp, concrete, get hold of, and solid.’

Approximately 40% of the population are primarily visual, approximately 40% are primarily kinesthetic, and the remaining 20% are primarily auditory and auditory digital in how they process information.

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