Are you ready to unleash your inner speaking super powers and communicate your message with confidence?

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Life Lessons Learned

Billy ArcementBy Featured Speaker Billy Arcement

When I published my first book, Searching for Success, it marked the completion of a personal milestone. For too many years, I had created mental obstacles that stopped me from realizing my dream of authoring a book. This powerful experience was life-changing. Shortly after publication, I was asked to present my thoughts on the process of completing this project to a local business group. As I began to recall events, I identified seven lessons I had learned. The more I thought about them, the more I saw how they might apply to anyone in their own personal quest for success. The reflection process is a practice everyone should undertake. To help, why not examine your personal performance in your career and in your personal undertakings against the seven points below? The use of questions is an excellent method to gauge performance and each point has challenging questions for your consideration.

(1) Face the things you fear. What events during the past months froze your progress? What fear did you avoid thus avoiding the experience of being successful? Many fears are the result of personal perceptions rather than actual circumstance. We believe we cannot do and we don’t. Search for reasons why you fear doing the things you should be doing. Squarely face them with a determination to overcome their growth stagnation.

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Handling Hecklers

Whenever you get up in front of an audience to speak, there’s a chance you’ll either get heckled or someone will attempt to hog the floor by asking too many questions. Here are some tips for maintaining control of the situation with poise and aplomb.

Manage your thoughts and emotions
You need to stay in a position of power. If you lose your cool in this situation, you lose … period. Therefore, you can’t let the heckler get under your skin and make you angry or upset. Stay calm so that you can respond, if necessary, without emotion.

Go with it
Believe it or not, letting the heckler have his or her say may actually be the best way to prevent the heckling throughout your presentation. Hecklers can be overly sensitive to being shut down. Let the heckler feel listened to and the heckling will stop. Just balance that with the needs of the audience … don’t let the heckler go on for way too long.

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Watch your language

When you are up on stage or at the front of the room giving a presentation, you need to be careful with the words you select to communicate your message. And you need to be selective in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. Let me explain …

Offensive language
What one audience will find offensive, another will be totally O.K. with. So, you really need to know your audience and the kinds of colorful words you can use in front of them. Sometimes saying something like, “Get your sh*t together” will shock them; other times they won’t even notice.

That said, the more professional your presentation, the less tolerant of cussing your audience will be … even if they don’t mind the language in a more casual setting. When in doubt … leave the vulgar language out.

You may know your stuff … but does your audience? When speaking to a highly savvy audience, you may be expected to use the jargon of the field, but if you speaking to a lay audience, you’ll need to speak plain language.

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Better Presentation Skills Through Improv Comedy

Avish ParasharBy Featured Speaker Avish Parashar

Do you want to improve your presentation skills and be a great speaker? Then you should consider learning improvisational comedy!

I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t improvise my speeches. I write them out and memorize them.”

That may be the case, but there are three reasons you should still learn improv comedy:

  1. You will definitely find yourself in situations where you have to give an unscripted speech. Maybe you get asked to speak on short notice, or for a presentation so small it is not wort scripting.
  2. Things will go wrong, and you may have to go “off-script” and improvise.
  3. Learning to improvise will absolutely 100% improve your scripted presentation skills!


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5 Ways You Can Fail as a Speaker

The funny thing is, no matter how skilled or professional a speaker is or becomes, they can still fail to get their message across. I remember one time hearing a very well known and respected inspirational speaker and leaving the talk wondering why people loved him so much. His presentation was stale and lacked passion … which was pretty much what is speech was about.

That said, you can be a mediocre speaker and still be very effective if you avoid these 5 pitfalls that even the pros sometime fall into.

Talking to Your Peers
Some speakers forget that the audience is not filled with their peers, people who know the topic on a deep level. Most of the time, your audience is going to be brand spanking new to your topic — or at least your take on it. To avoid this pitfall, get to know your audience’s level of knowledge on the topic before you give the speech so that you can tailor it to their level of understanding. This way, you’ll not only be able to hook them into the topic more effectively, but communicate your message using words, stories and imagery that they will respond to.

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How much preparation is enough?

How do you know if you’ve prepared enough for your next speaking gig? Is there such a thing as too much preparation?

If you want your speech to be a success, you need to prepare. This means determining your content and then practicing your presentation of that content. But how do you know if you’ve prepared enough?

The answer to that question depends on the presentation, and your knowledge of the subject. Some speeches need more preparation than others. But a basic rule of thumb would be to ask yourself “Do you feel confident enough in your ability to deliver the content that you can do it even if your pre-determined crutches all failed you?”

That means, if you were planning on using PowerPoint slides to help you along, would you still be able to give a meaningful presentation without them?

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