Here is a comprehensive program that will help turn anyone into a good public speaker.
Among the first things to consider is the venue where the speech will take place. As an example, say that you expect 50 people in a room that can hold 100 people. Do you put out 100 chairs and hope for the best? No, you put out 50 chairs. It is much easier to get more chairs from storage for late arrivals than to ask those sitting in the back to move forward (there is very little chance that they will do so). Get to the venue early, and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. If possible, talk with some of the attendees ahead of time, to get a feel for the audience.
Do not start your speech with a joke; it will probably bomb. If handouts are included, leave them for the end. If they are handed out at the beginning, the audience will read the handouts and ignore you. Tell a story with your speech; give your audience someone with whom they can identify. If possible, include some dialogue, too (to make the speech more "human"). If there is a PowerPoint presentation included, leave the slide up long enough to be read, then shut off the projector bulb, until it is time for the next slide. Otherwise, the attention of your audience will be on the slide, and not on you. Tailor your speech to your audience; a speech for senior citizens will not work before senior business executives.
People will remember the last 30 seconds of your speech, so that is the place for your conclusion or call to action. If you have Q&A, do it before the end of your speech; people should remember your conclusion, not the last question that was asked. Do not say "Are there any questions?" (you will probably get silence). Instead, you should say "What questions do you have?" Don't forget things like taking questions from all parts of the room. If the questions aren't coming, you can say something like "A question I get asked a lot is..."
The author has done a lot of research on the art of public speaking, and it shows. This is recommended for those with all levels of expertise in public speaking, from Beginner to Veteran.
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Paul Lappen (plappen)
I am in my early 50s, single and live in Connecticut. I am a lifelong very, very avid reader and am a freelance book reviewer with my ownblog (http://www.deadtreesreview.blogspot.com). Please visit. It … more
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