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Category Archives: The Power of Passion

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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What Public Speakers Can Learn from Lady Gaga

Every morning I take a 40-minute walk while listening to tunes on my iPod Shuffle. One of the artists who has several songs loaded on my iPod is Lady Gaga … a woman who knows how to brand herself very well. I’ve seen a few articles on what small business owners can learn from Lady Gaga, so I thought it would be a cool idea to share some of the things public speakers can learn from her, as well.

The Art of Fame
Like her music or not, you kind of have to admit that Lady Gaga knows how to become famous. She’s worked it … and worked it well. She studied what others before her had done to become well known and then planned every moment of her career to make use of what worked. Public speakers should be studying the marketing and business tactics of accomplished public speakers. What have they done right to get to the top? How can you adapt what they’ve done in their area of public speaking to help you achieve success in yours?

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Public Speaking Tip #5: Choose Content You’re Interested In

Back in 1994, I took a Television Production Workshop at Santa Rosa Junior College. To pass the class, I only needed to create one 7-minute video. I ended up producing a 27-minute introduction to Toastmasters, a quick skit video and a music video. What can I say, I think big!

Anyway, this week’s video tip … and the next two … is excerpted from For the Love of Public Speaking, the longest project I did in that class.

The information in this video is targeted to people who are just starting in Toastmasters, which is why I mention a short presentation time and a wide selection of topics. But the basis of what I’m saying applies to anyone who wants to make public speaking a part of their business, as well.

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The Speaker Sets the Message’s Tone

The Speaker Sets the Message's ToneAs a professional speaker, everything you do the minute you walk into the room sets the tone for your message. Without even speaking one word, you can determine just how many people you will reach because their engagement with your message depends on you; not on them. You can have a great topic and great presentation skills, but if you are not able to communicate the passion you have about your topic, none of it really matters.

Expect the Best
Go before your audience expecting to make an impact. People aren’t interested in what you know. They want your information for themselves and passion is the “grease” that lubricates that passage of information.

  • Do you expect your audience to receive what you have to say?
  • Do you communicate that you’re excited to be there and you’re excited that they are there as well?

Be Mindful of Your Audience

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