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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Public Speaking Lessons Learned from The Tick

Public Speaking Lessons Learned from The Tick

From 1994 to 1997 there was an animated show called The Tick about an unlikely superhero with the brawn and intelligence of, well, a tick. In one episode, excerpts from which are shown below, The Tick and his sidekick Arthur are teaching future superheroes the tricks of the trade.   […]

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Types of Speeches: The Interpretive Reading

If you decide to become a professional speaker or use speaking as an integral part of your marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various types of speeches you might be asked to give. In this series of posts, I’ll give you the basics on a variety of types of presentations you can prepare. At the end of this post, I’ve listed previous articles in this series.


When I was competing in speech in high school and didn’t make it to final rounds (yes, it happened on occasion), I would always sit in on the finals of the dramatic reading. There was this one young man who competed with his interpretation of The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. He was amazing. I saw him perform this several times and it was always entertaining.

When done well, an interpretive reading can be as entertaining as any skit, play or musical performance. In fact, you can often catch a version of the interpretive reading on PBS … they periodically air “concert” versions of musicals. No costumes, no acting … just the performers reading and singing their lines standing in front of a conductor stand and microphone.

If you are a fiction author or poet, mastering this type of speech can really help you sell more of your work. If, when you do live readings, you can dramatize your selection and make it entertaining beyond the words, you will engage the audience and inspire them to open their pocket books to buy a copy of their own.

Even if you are not an author, it is possible that you may be asked to do an interpretive reading of someone else’s work. In fact, most interpretive readings are just that … interpreting a story, essay, speech or other work written by someone else.
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Shorten Your Speech in a Pinch? Arg!

Lily IatridisBy Featured Speaker Lily Iatridis

We’ve all been there. You’ve prepared a 45-minute presentation, and you’re ready to go. Then, before you get up to present, there’s a change in schedule, and your host, boss, or whomever suddenly tells you that you only have 20 minutes to deliver your speech!

What do you do?! How do you edit your entire presentation in one minute or less and still make maximum impact?

10 Things to Do if You Have to Shorten Your Speech Drastically on the Spot:

  1. Take a deep breath. Calm yourself. Pretend that your fine with it.
     
  2. Throw out your Powerpoint. As we say in New Jersey, just “fahgeddaboutit!”
     
  3. Make a no-frills opening. Introduce yourself, and make your purpose or thesis statement immediately. Drop any interesting lead-ins.
     
  4. Focus the content on the one or two points that make the crux of your talk. In other words, what main points are vital to making an effective and relevant call to action? Focus on introducing those. Use one example for each to illustrate and better explain each main point. Forget the longer explanations and illustrative details.
     
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Where do you find inspiration?

This weekend my Toastmasters group had a special “marathon” Table Topics meeting. I volunteered for the last question, “Where do you find inspiration?” Apparently, I did a good job because I took home the ribbon for Best Table Topics that day!

Anyway, I liked what I had to say, as well, and thought that I’d share with you the video of the speech for two reasons:

  1. So you can learn and be inspired by what I said, and
  2. So you can get some ideas of how to handle an off-the-cuff presentation.

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Types of Speeches: The Roast

If you decide to become a professional speaker or use speaking as an integral part of your marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various types of speeches you might be asked to give. In this series of posts, I’ll give you the basics on a variety of types of presentations you can prepare. At the end of this post, I’ve listed previous articles in this series.


What is a roast?
A roast is a lot like a toast, except it pokes fun at the honoree. Roasts are often performed at birthday parties, retirement parties and other occasions where someone with a sense of humor is being honored.

Although the roast got its name from the verbal skewering the honoree gets, not all jokes need be negative. Yes, insults are common … but they shouldn’t be hurtful. They should be said in loving good fun.

Basically, a roast teases the honoree while still showing respect.

Tips for effective roasting
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Supercompetent Key 1: Activity – Activity Demonstrates Value and Reflects Importance

Laura StackBy Featured Speaker Laura Stack

In this competitive economy, just being able to do your job is no longer enough.

Competence is simply expected in today’s workplaces. But you can’t be simply competent; you have to be SuperCompetent to get an edge.

When the rubber hits the road, the difference between merely having ability and being exceptional may be the difference between losing your job and keeping it. The best workers possess a constant, expansive ability to be good at everything they do, no matter how general or specific. In this next series of six articles, I’ll show you how to master the six universal Keys to workplace success. In this first article, we’ll cover the first key: Activity.

SuperCompetent people have an acute sense of direction, in which the nature of their activities reflects their relative priorities. They’re particularly aware of one thing that escapes most of their colleagues: that being busy and being productive are two very different things.
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3 Things You Can Do to Improve Any Presentation

You’ve got the perfect speech … on paper. You may have even presented it a few times with decent results. But you want more. What can you do to take this presentation to the next level?

I’ve been there before. When I was competing in high school with my earthquake speech it was good enough for me to get into the finals and place 5th most of the time. But I was never able to take it higher. I wish I had known these three things then!

1. Know your audience.
In order to connect with your audience, to get them to truly engage with your presentation, you need to know and understand them. If I’d had a better handle on what the judges where looking for, as well as who they were as people, I might have been able to tweak my earthquake speech to better meet their needs and earned more points in the process.

Before you give a presentation, do your homework on your audience. What makes them a group? What are they looking to gain from your presentation? What are their “hot topics” and “hot buttons”? Do they have inside jokes? What things do they have in common that you can pull from to create meaningful illustrative anecdotes?
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