Articles in category: Speaker Habits

You probably don’t think there’s much of a comparison between you and Mickey Mouse.

Yet this cultural icon has many lessons for you to improve your effectiveness as a speaker.

In this article, we examine eight key speaking insights that speakers can learn from Disneyland and the entire Disney entertainment empire.

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Have you ever thought about the relationship between time and public speaking?

On the surface, you engage your audience second by second, stringing together words into sentences that, over the duration of your presentation, may last minutes or perhaps hours.

Yet, the impact of your speaking experiences may last days, weeks, months, or even years — for you and for those in your audiences.

In this article, we examine time scales ranging from a tenth of a second to hundreds of years, and consider how each of these scales is relevant to you as a speaker.

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The act of speaking in public and the process of improving one’s speaking skills are wrought with conflicting emotions, exhilarating highs, and frustrating lows.

There are times when applause makes you think you’re the greatest speaker in the world, and there are times when the silence of the audience makes you want to crawl into a hole.

In short, the mental game for speaking in public is a jumble of thoughts, experiences, and emotions.

In this article, we apply the wisdom of the Six Thinking Hats to provide a framework for sorting out this jumble and gaining useful perspectives which can help us improve.

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It’s the time of year for making — and breaking — resolutions.

Whether your resolutions are health-related (exercise more), family-related (spend more quality time together), or career-related (become a more effective speaker), there’s a proven way to set yourself up to succeed — make SMART resolutions.

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Most speakers approach their presentation as if they were the star actors in a theater play. They decide on the content, rehearse, and then deliver their impeccably prepared speech.

Giving a presentation however is different from playing Hamlet.  When watching a play, or a dance show, the audience wants to be entertained and emotionally engaged.  When attending a presentation, the audience expects to hear a relevant message and bring home something of value.  They will evaluate the speaker based on whether he or she can convey information that they can understand, digest, remember, and utilize.

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Runners train for months to prepare themselves for an important race, yet all they’re doing is simple, repetitive exercises. Does that make the exercises unimportant? Of course not!

Along the same lines, below are some simple yet powerful “exercises” for honing your confidence, credibility, and audience connection immediately before your next high-stakes presentation opportunity.

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When it comes to presenting, does practice make perfect?

In a word, no.

Practice makes permanent.

Your goal should be to practice perfectly, not just practice. The more you do something, the more comfortable it feels – whether right or wrong.

So, we need to do it right when we practice our presentations.

Knowing a subject doesn’t guarantee success. The ability to articulate the message and connect with audience members is what counts – and perfect practice can make this happen.

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Imagine… you’ve just been introduced.

In a few seconds, you’re going to deliver the speech of your life. Your opening hook is crisp. Your closing is powerful. Your stories are polished. Your attire is impeccable. You are confident.

And then the power goes out.

Or someone spills juice on you.

Or music starts blaring from outside the room.

Or the CEO leaves the room.

Or your key prop is missing.

Or a mild earthquake shakes the room.

Or your shirt ripped.

Or your computer freezes.

Or … (insert your worst nightmare here) .

There’s only one thing you can do — only one thing you must do.

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If you are an average speaker, you suck.

So do all of your colleagues with average presentation skills.

Let’s see why this is so…

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Your speaking ethos is critical to ensure that your audience is present, listening, and open to being persuaded by your ideas.

But, how do you maximize your ethos for a given speech and a given audience? Is ethos fixed before you open your mouth? Is there anything you can do during a speech that makes a difference?

This article shows you practical tactics you can employ to establish and increase your ethos.

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Confessions of a Public Speaker is a highly entertaining and insightful insider’s view of public speaking, with value for speakers of all levels.

This article is the latest of a series of public speaking book reviews here on Six Minutes.

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