Common Speaker Pitfalls

Originally published in Toastmasters Magazine, November 2012 By Craig Valentine  a speaker, you may have the greatest content in the world, but if you do not connect with your audience, it can all go to waste. It’s like being on the phone and having something important to say, but there is static on the line and you can’t hear the other person. No matter what you have to say, your message won’t get through. By understanding what stands in the way of connecting with an audience, you can make small adjustments that will lead to deeper and greater connections. Below are …

Michael Mescon

The best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you're talking about.

Lighten Up Your Speech

Originally published in Toastmasters Magazine, November 2012 By Judy Carter How to use stand-up comedy techniques to get laughs. I recently got a call from a humorist who wanted coaching on his speech for the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest. I listened as he presented his material, which was a collection of jokes, half-baked comedy ideas and funny stories about himself. I knew immediately he had three major problems: One, his jokes were funny but they weren’t his; he’d lifted them off the Internet. Two, his funny stories were about an audience’s least favorite topic — the speaker. And three, his …

Dionysius

Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.

How Intriguing is Your Speech Title?

Originally published in Toastmasters Magazine, September 2012 By Howard Scott Why you should name your speech with care. What’s in a name? Plenty, if it is the title of a speech. If speakers took more care in crafting their speech titles, they would deliver better talks. First, a good title creates anticipation. For example, let’s say these three speeches were on the club meeting agenda: “My Mailman Career,” “Russian Kettle Bells” and “The Tax That Will Be the Death of Me.” Which title is exciting and piques your interest? You’re more likely to be curious about the third one, despite …

Give Yourself a Hand

Originally published in Toastmasters Magazine, September 2013 By Matt Abrahams “What do I do with my hands?” This is the question I am most often asked by my students at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. I jokingly respond that the only time we’re not sure where to put our hands is when we’re giving a presentation or when we’re on a first date. More seriously, the simple answer is: Put your hands where they will help you connect to your audience and avoid making you appear distracted or nervous. Yet effective gesturing is far more complex and nuanced. In …