Improve Your Speaking With This Simple Scoring Tool

Lily IatridisBy Featured Speaker Lily Iatridis

We all want to improve public speaking skills, don’t we? Toastmasters is fantastic for having a group of peers support one another as everyone works on their skills. But sometimes, there isn’t a toastmaster’s club chapter near you, or the timing of meetings doesn’t suit your work or personal schedule.

So what do you do? Videotape yourself! And then create a simple standardized scoring tool to assess yourself consistently. I’d also suggest getting a trusted friend or family member assess your video with the same scoring tool.

Below are directions for creating your own scoring tool that I regularly distribute to clients that helps them improve public speaking skills when they’re practicing largely on their own. When doing this, it’s important to remain as objective and consistent in your self-scoring as possible.

This is the kind of tool teachers create when faced with 150 projects or term papers to grade in a day or two. It sure beats throwing the stack of papers down the stairs and giving an A to whichever ones make it to the bottom!
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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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Be a “Public Speaker” Or Be Yourself

Lily IatridisBy Featured Speaker Lily Iatridis

So many people feel that they have to put on a different persona when they’re a “public speaker.” They have to act more gregarious, more out there, more polished, more professional, more perfect. As a result, they’re not being themselves at all, and their audiences feel it.

What defines “public speaker?” It’s simply a person that presents orally to a group. They don’t have to have any particular level of charisma or beauty. They simply need to use their voice to communicate clearly.

Some people feel that when they’re the public speaker, they have to become something or someone they’re not. As a “public speaker,” yes, you do have to extend your energy and be more focused upon the people around you. But losing or burying your unique self in the process causes will also make you less interesting to your audience. As a public speaker, you’ll lose your personality and try to present in a way that’s not natural to you. Therefore, your delivery will be awkward.
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Feedback to Make Them Love You

Lily IatridisBy Featured Speaker Lily Iatridis

Recently I wrote about using strategic questioning to get your audience creatively engaged during your speaking event. But what comes after they answer your questions? That’s also an integral part to relationship building with your audience, especially with public speaking. The answer is qualitative feedback.

Most of the time, when the audience responds to a seminar leader’s question, the feedback they get is something generic, like “That’s good,” “Good!” “Great!” and so on. With that type of feedback, opportunities for relationship building are lost. What does “good” really mean? It’s like attaching a moral value to the response: Good v. Bad. It doesn’t really mean anything. If that’s the only type of feedback that you ever give, it’ll slowly kill audience participation during your live event. You, the seminar leader, will soon come across as if you don’t really care or value the contributions.

You’ve got to vary your feedback and make it genuine. This will inspire trust and more participation from your audience.
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