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Public Speaking Tips : 10 Strategies to Wow and Win Audiences

10 Strategies to Wow and Win Audiences

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Speaking in public provides you the opportunity to promote your brand, your company and yourself. It enables you to expand your circle of influence. Yet many people are reluctant to speak before an audience. Here are ten strategies to help you wow and win over audiences, and become a better speaker.

Practice is the key to helping you improve in public speaking.

Join Toastmasters and find a club that you like to practise your speeches in a friendly environment. You are welcome to visit our Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club if you are living in Singapore.

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Power Speaking – 10 Strategies to Wow and Win Audiences
By Dawne Simmons

You know the feeling. Your mouth dries. Your palms moisten. Your heartbeat pounds in your ears. Butterflies swoop and soar in your stomach. What’s the cause? You’re about to give a speech. Several studies report that public speaking ranks top among people’s fears. Yet, public speaking also affords you the opportunity to promote your brand, your company and yourself. It enables you to expand your circle of influence. More importantly, public speaking remains a powerful communication tool for your strategic business messages. Here are 10 tips to help you wow and win your audiences, and become a better public speaker.

1. Have something to say. Sounds simple enough. Yet too many speakers merely present encyclopedic reports of facts and figures. Take a stand. Express an opinion. Put your facts in context.

2. Use gentle humor. No, this is not the time to practice your stand-up routine. Try instead to use humorous stories and anecdotes. They can evoke smiles that relax your audience and make them more receptive to your message.

3. Share your personal experiences. You’ve been invited to speak because of your knowledge about a subject. Your experiences – both the successes and stumbles, as well as what you’ve learned from each – add an important human touch.

4. Stay within your allotted time – or even shorter. On the subject of making speeches, Franklin Roosevelt once advised, “Be sincere; be brief; be seated.” Your audience will appreciate your consideration of their time.

5. Allow your personality to shine. Everyone has a personal style – especially you. Allow your manner of speaking to reflect the real you. Are you soft spoken with understated wit? Then don’t try to emulate Carol Burnett or Eddie Murphy. Are you an extrovert with lots of pizzazz? Then it’s a mistake to take on the persona of Queen Elizabeth or Mother Teresa. Make sure it’s your personality that shines in the limelight.

6. Engage your entire body. Use hand gestures, eye contact and facial expressions to get your point across. Whenever possible, move around the stage. Vary your voice with stage whispers or muted yells. Your speech must be more than a dry recitation of facts and opinions. Effective public speaking is a performance that engages the audience. They will appreciate your efforts to keep them entertained.

7. Research your audience. Why is your subject important to them? How will the issue affect their lives? Knowing the answer to those questions enables you to tailor your presentation to the audience’s specific needs.

8. Understand your goals. How do you want your audience to feel after your conclusion? Speeches have the power to persuade, inform, inspire, entertain or move your audience to action. Tailor your remarks to meet both your goals and the audiences’.

9. Practice, practice, practice. Whether you use a full written text, talking points or brief notes, rehearse your remarks. Mark Twain explained that it took him more than three weeks to prepare an impromptu speech. Don’t just read it silently. Speak it aloud. This gives you the opportunity to time your talk and to change words or phrases that trip you up. An added bonus: Practice enables you to transform your anxiety into a poised high-energy performance.

10. Enjoy yourself. Your attitude determines whether public speaking presents stumbling blocks or stepping-stones. Have fun. The more speaking opportunities you accept, the better you’ll become. Like any roller coaster ride, public speaking provides both chills and thrills. Climb aboard. The experience is worth the trip.

© 2009 WordStorm Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Dawne Y. Simmons is president and founder of WordStorm Communications, Inc. With more than 20 years of experience in all areas of corporate communications, she assists company leaders develop and promote their strategic messages. For the last 10 years, she has written speeches, presentations, scripts and other business materials for high-level executives in the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors. An award-winning speaker, Ms. Simmons assists executives improve their on-stage presence. She provides confidential, private coaching sessions that help business leaders quickly improve their presentation skills.

Be sure to visit her website at http://www.wordstormcom.com

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90 Public Speaking Tips from Toastmasters International

Looking for some quick tips for public speaking? Here is the extract of 90 Public Speaking Tips from Toastmasters International:

1. Know your material.
2. Make it personal.
3. Practice makes permanent.
4. Time yourself.
5. Pace yourself.
6. Arrive early.
7. Relax.
8. Visualize your success.
9. Trust your audience.
10. Don’t apologize.
11. Use humor when things go wrong.
12. Gain experience.
13. Eliminate filler words.
14. Ditch distracting mannerisms.
15. Keep your notes in check.
16. Test your volume.
17. Enter contests.
18. Enjoy yourself.
19. Use visuals.
20. Embrace your unique style.
21. Fuel your mental engine.
22. Burn off anxiety.
23. Be prepared for the worst.
24. Pause.
25. Ask a thought-provoking question.
26. Share a startling fact.
27. Don’t overload your slides.
28. Repeat the audience’s questions.
29. Give your audience an immediate action item.
30. Push the envelope.
31. Seek opportunities everywhere.
32. Be specific.
33. Be the expert.
34. Speak to groups as individuals.
35. Learn about your personal leadership style.
36. Find your strengths.
37. Be passionate.
38. Have a positive attitude.
39. Practice impromptu speaking.
40. Encourage honest evaluation.
41. Use quotes, stories and anecdotes.
42. Use “you” and “we”.
43. Don’t take things personally.
44. Trust your instincts.
45. Distinguish your goals and targets.
46. Learn from your mistakes.
47. Know when to lose your script.
48. Know the dress code.
49. Use slang with caution.
50. Breathe out.

YMCA, Santa Ana, California, home of the first Toastmasters Club

YMCA, Santa Ana, California, home of the first Toastmasters Club

51. Be patient.
52. Treat your speech like fine dining.
53. Start your career off on the right note.
54. Own your worth.
55. When you disagree with someone, rebut their ideas, not them.
56. Stand. Settle. Smile.
57. Speak your needs.
58. Get rest.
59. Avoid negative topics.
60. Smile and introduce yourself.
61. Practice eye contact.
62. Limit caffeine.
63. Don’t hide from your audience.
64. Use color.
65. Don’t alienate your audience.
66. Know your audience.
67. Avoid speaking in monotone.
68. Free your hands.
69. Be succinct.
70. Be open to evaluation.
71. Give evaluations.
72. Use blue note cards.
73. Join the online conversation.
74. Share the wealth.
75. Start your journey.
76. Accept accolades.
77. Step up.
78. Chat with ease.
79. Manage your time.
80. Make them laugh.
81. Speak your case.
82. Keep the peace.
83. PREP (Point, Reason, Example, Point).
84. Give a top-notch toast.
85. Tap into the past.
86. Use common language.
87. Don’t get lost in translation.
88. Take jokes for a test drive.
89. Use people’s names.
90. Keep a journal.

Since 1924 Toastmasters International has helped more than four million people gain the confidence to communicate.  Join Toastmasters and find a club that you like to practise your speaking skills. You are welcome to visit our Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club if you are living in Singapore.

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