Successful speakers do not do all the right things all the time. They often take risks and risk bombing. But all top speakers take daily action, to move towards their goals with many adjustments.

Here are ten ways to be a highly effective speaker.

1. Have a passion for your subject(s). If you don’t care about your topic, who will? Make a list of five topics you love. Choose two and be willing to develop a program you are willing to stay with for at least two years.

2. Be persistent in your quest to be a speaker of excellence. You must be perceived as an expert with expertise. Demonstrate this through your life experiences, research and the way you customize your material for each audience. You are only as good as your last speech! 

3. Have the patience to succeed. Is persistence your middle name? Don’t expect to be a success over night. Get support, mentors, a coach to help you master your presentation(s). One speaker said, This is a hard business to make an easy living.

4. Speak from your heart. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Share your mishaps and idiosyncrasies. You won’t be perceived as real until you do this. When you are truthful, your audiences will trust what you are saying. Let your message provide hope for your audience.

5. Connect quickly with your audience. You only have 30 seconds to make your connection. So pay attention to your opening remarks. Don’t use jokes they may offend people in your audience. Do use short quotations, a funny story that is relevant to your message, a question or two to get their attention quickly.

6. Prepare 24/7 you don’t write speeches, you find them everywhere in hotels, from family experiences, in the supermarkets and restaurants. Retrieve them and retell them. Don’t lose out on great material because you didn’t have your note pad near you. Why not invest in a mini-taper recorder and record ideas as they occur throughout your day.

7. Speak to the ways people learn; auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Know your audience so that you can offer the right mix. Research suggests 40% are visual, 40% are kinesthetic, and only 20% are auditory. If you don’t use props or visuals, you will not reach 80% of your audience. Be inclusive and find ways/tools that will speak to 100% of the people in your audience.

8. Support your main points with stories most people delineate their thoughts visually. People learn best from your personal stories. They will also do a better job in retaining your message if you tell them a story. Remember when you were a kid. . .you said to your parents, “tell me a story.”  When an adult hears your story, they are only a step away from their own story. Become a good story teller and watch your referrals and repeat business increase.

9. Make it fun learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun your audience is having laughter is like internal jogging. Inject some humor along the way. The audience wants to lighten up even with serious matters. Reminder—mature adults do not take themselves too seriously.

10. Have a reverence for the work you do. It is a privilege to be on the platform. And with this comes an awesome responsibility to your audience. Speaking is an art and a skill. Tap in to your creativity, your wholesomeness, your playfulness.

The Coach sez . . . the key to connecting with your audiences is to live from the inside out.

(C)2012           www.schrift.com

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Many business professionals contact me about their fear of public speaking. Surveys suggest that more people are afraid of speaking in public than dying! We also know that speaking is the number one way to advance in your career or profession. Simply put, the only way to reduce your fear of public speaking is to speak often in public. And And remember to practice relaxation techniques (meditation, Yoga) and BREATHE ! Are you looking for ways to promote your business? Begin by offering a free presentation on a topic that would benefit your audience and establish you as an expert in your field. If you are a financial planner, you may wish to talk about what attendees could do with their investments at retirement . . . a cruise, cosmetic surgery, more traveling. Next, find some speaking venues. There are many groups who meet regularly and schedule speakers as part of their meetings. Service groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis, etc meet weekly and program speakers at each meeting. Speak for your local chamber of commerce, community college, adult learning centers (Learning Annex), online communities via webinars, podcasts and teleclasses. Over the years, I have been a guest speaker for many online groups. The host organization invites and enrolls the attendees – this is more preferable than promoting my own event. You can also do an audio or video podcast. Try the interview format with you as the guest expert responding to questions from your host. Make your podcast interview available as an MP3 download.

The Coach sez . . . Wouldn’t it be great to be able to stand in front of an audience of hundreds of people and hold them in complete captivation? Need a coach? Contact me at sandra@schrift.com

(C) 2012 www.schrift.com

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1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
2. Practice in front of a full-length mirror, for small groups. Join Toastmasters. www.toastmasters.org
3. Be positive. “I am a good/GREAT speaker/trainer.”
4. Expect to be nervous. [deep breathe, exercise by walking, stretch, visualize your success, meditate] Make anxiety your ally. Increase your energy ; heighten your awareness.
5. Focus on your audience. [It is NOT about you. You are there to help your audience]
6. Simplify. Use your time wisely and keep your presentation clear and simple so that your audience can understand what you are saying.
7. Connect with your audience. Look people in the eye, one at a time, as you speak to them. The audience wants you to succeed.
8. Act confident. Smile. Hold your chin up. Stick your chest out. When you do this, you will feel confident. Remember, YOU are the authority on the subject and they want to hear what you have to say.
9. Use humor wherever possible.
10. Offer the right message mix (inform, persuade, entertain, interact)
11. Establish credibility by use of facts, statistics, stories.
12. Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, said, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

The Coach sez . . . Learn from your mistakes. Making mistakes is part of your learning curve.

(C)2012 www.schrift.com

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Do you Fear Speaking to New People?

Do you fear meeting new people? Do you fear speaking to others? You are not alone. I am not sure why so many dread speaking in public, more than dying or paying their taxes. Some of the best professional speakers Im represented have admitted to feeling some anxiety before they speak to an audience. The pros know they need to breathe deeply and get over those beginning jitters so they can succeed on the platform. And they do! They want to be the best they can be. So they find speakers to be their role models. They listen to their speeches, watch their body language and observe their behaviors and their delivery style. Maybe adopt some of their techniques until they refine their own. They observe the audience reaction to the speaker’s content and delivery. What works and what does not. I urge my clients who are new to the speaking business to go out and practice in front of service clubs who typically book
speakers weekly for no fee. Find a safe, supportive environment, like Toastmasters.org who will help you get over any of your speaking fears. Over the years, many of my clients joined Toastmasters. Hire a coach, focus on your speaking intentions and then take action. Be persistent and patient. In time . . .if you want the success badly enough, it will happen.

The Coach sez . . . Nike said it best – “Just do it!”

(C)2012 www.schrift.com

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Are you a Visual Storyteller?

Motivational speaker?

Have you been watching some of the YouTube TED-style presentations?http://www.ted.com/ Catch some top notch speakers on interesting/timely topics. Many of the speakers use visuals to amplify meaning through simplification. A nice way to cut back on too many details. Most of us delineate our thoughts visually – we started in kindergarten with “show and tell.” Remember? Use lots of visuals and make sure they are big and bold! I cringe when I watch a presenter flash some small details on a screen that no one in the second row can see.

The Coach asks . . . are you willing to become a visual storyteller in your presentations?

(C)2012 www.schrift.com

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Are you a Story?

Everyone is a story. When a speaker tells his/her story it helps us tap into our own wisdom because in some way these stories are about us, too. Our deepest lessons are learned through life experiences. We don’t take much time to hear each others stories anymore because we are busy texting and/or watching the unreal stories portrayed in the movies and on television.

The Coach asks . . . do you know your own story? (who you are, not your achievements) And can you tell it?

(C) 2012 www.schrift.com

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Scrabble says it allThis is a good time of year to do a “baggage check.” What do you own that is dated and useless? What do you hang on to that is hurtful and defeating? Do you worry about future events that have or may no happen? Do you agonize over losses? Do you keep reliving past hurts and traumas? Dr. Lloyd Thomas suggests that to “let go” takes love. To “let go” is to acknowledge that which I cannot change, and pursue that which I can. To “let go” is not to care for, but to are about. To “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive. To“let go” is not to deny, but to accept.

The Coach sez . . . join me in fearing less and loving more in 2012.

(c)2012 www.schrift.com

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Here are a few things, in no random order, that every extraordinary speaker demonstrates:

Their presentation is great – they create a connection and experience for their audience.
They have technical competence
They return phone calls.
They keep their promises.
They sacrifice their time and effort . . . to go the extra mile.
They use a person’s name often.
They have the courage to take risks which often leads to making more money.
AND they have a sense of humor and lightness.

The Coach asks . . . what are you doing to create a terrific perception?

(c)2011 www.schrift.com

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I have been booking and coaching professional speakers since 1982. And here is what I have observed:

The best speakers do not fill the air with a lot of words-they make the space for their audienxce to tell them what they need to know.
The best speakers ask, “What do you need to really hear from me to give you what you came to hear?”
The best speakers are brief and clear and make the most of a short period of time.
The best speakers focus on observations, feelings, needs AND clear requests of their audience.
The best speakers demonstrate exuberance for their topic and engage their audience with that exuberance.
The best speakers have great insight and wit and use deprecating humor where appropriate.
The best speakers are great storytellers – highly entertaining and inspiring

The Coach believes . . . that the best speakers inspire their audiences to make some change . . . if they do, things will probably get better.

(C)2011 www.schrift.com

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Over the years, while listening to professional speakers, I noticed that the best story tellers deliver a speech with several stories that are accented by their points. They understand that it isn’t just providing content that impacts their audience, but their story. A way to inspire, motivate and get people to take some action, think differently. To make the emotional connection with your audience, try Pareto’s Principle: 80% story and 20% content. You must reach their hearts and their souls.

The Coach sez . . . people need to know as well as feel to be inspired to make a change.

(c)2011 www.schrift.com

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