Tuesday, May 19, 2015

7 Things to do when you give a short speech

7 Things to do when you give a short speech

(source: Inc. Magazine article by Bill Murphy Jr., published May 14, 2014)
  1. Decide to present 3 main points.
    An effective 5-7 minute speech allows you to present 3 messages-build your speech around only 3. And 3 is a good number-not too few or too many.
  2. Prepare and practice.
    Try out your speech in front of others, time your speech, and rewrite it; “polishing” will improve your message.
  3. Know when to quit.
    Once you’ve made you point, finish and sit down. And be sure to time your speech so that you stay within 5-7 minutes.
  4. Plot out the course of your speech.
    Plan on a minute for the opening and closing and a minute for each point. The extra two minutes will allow you to run over as you move through your speech. You may want to tell the audience things like, “that was my first point, here is my second”, etc.
  5. Give them something to look at while you’re talking.
    It gives them something to look at while you speak, something to visually remember to reinforce your message. It can be a prop, photograph, etc.
  6. Share a part of yourself
    Connect your personal experience, feeling, emotion, belief, etc. with your message. And let them hear it in your voice, facial expressions and body language.
  7. Make sure you are heard
    The best speeches are as much about making sure everyone can hear you and enunciating clearly as they are about preparing, organizing and practicing. Make sure where you are presenting allows everyone to hear, change your position in the audience or get audio equipment if necessary.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Table Topics - Lose the Fear and Have Fun!

Photo Courtesy Robbie Grubs
We all know that suddenly being asked to speak in front of a group can be a bit nerve wracking and to some even scary. That is exactly what the Table Topics portion of a standard Toastmasters meeting is designed to help.

During this section of the meeting the Topics Master will pose questions, based on the theme, to people at random. Chosen participants, usually those not speaking or performing another role, will then give a one-to-two minute off-the-cuff or extemporaneous speech.

In the May 7th meeting, Toastmaster Chip Vann shared these suggestions to help us prepare for the occasion.
  1.  One way to prepare early for a table topics is to build an outline in your head as soon as you find out the theme. Tonight's theme was Mother's Day. Identify your point and a couple of references to support that - keep it brief. Also draft a way to conclude it. Then, whatever the question is, adapt your TT speech to fit the thought you already prepared.
  2. It is best to come to the front, but if you are a guest, you may just stand where you are. Members and any others who are comfortable do come to the front to gain more experience in the speaking space.
  3. Remember, you have almost no time to prepare and everyone knows that. So don't worry about your speech, we generally have low expectations.
  4. Have fun with it, it's a great way to participate in the meeting as a guest.
Lastly, you might just win a ribbon!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Add Power Pose to Your Speech Prep

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman
Have you ever had to psych yourself up before you give a speech? Do you sit up with your chest open wide ready to run on stage or do you sit in your chair with your arms crossed, head slightly dipped, awaiting the Toastmaster to introduce you so you can get it over with? I used to fall into the latter category until I listened to Amy Cuddy's presentation on the Power of Posture and Non-Verbal Communication.

Amy Cuddy, Harvard Business School professor, and her colleagues conducted a study about the relationship between posture and confidence to better understand why some students participate more than others in class - participation being  a significant portion of the student's grade.

One of the findings of the study showed a direct correlation between posture and the levels of cortisol and testosterone. Cortisol is the hormone related to anxiety and testosterone is known as the dominance hormone. The test showed that participants who held a power pose - one that opens the chest and makes the person "bigger" - for just two minutes had marked increases in testosterone and therefore confidence. The reverse was also shown in participants who held a low power pose - making oneself smaller by slouching or holding arms closer to the body - by higher levels of cortisol physiologically increasing anxiety.

The helpful hint from these findings is to add holding a power position for two minutes before you deliver your next speech and you will not only FEEL, but will actually BE more confident in your delivery.