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Category Archives: Blog


Organising and opening a speech

In my last post, I offered some helpful tips on preparing to give a speech or presentation, plus some inspiration for deciding on a topic. This time around, I’m going to offer some expert guidance on organising and opening a speech in order to attract and retain your audience’s attention.

Organising your speech is more than just the order that you introduce your points – you also need to ensure that the words work together to keep your audience engaged and convey the importance of each point you make and how they relate to one another.

 

Organising and writing your speech

While many coaches use the ‘three T’s’ method:

Tell what you’re going to tell them.

Tell them.

Tell them what you’ve told them.

I favour the simpler model of SME:

Start
Middle
End

While it may seem to be common sense to start at the beginning, when developing your presentation, I actually advise starting with the end. What is it you want the audience to take away? What’s the end-result you want from the presentation or speech?

Start with the end in mind to define what you want the outcome to be, then develop three key points to make in the middle – your ‘Power of Three’.

 

Once you’ve made these points to engage your audience, try to focus on one main idea, backing it up with supporting material such as statistics or quotations. Using stories is a great tool, especially personal ones which can help you to emphasise and demonstrate what you mean.

After you’ve decided on the middle part of your speech, you can use the ending to summarise what you’ve just said – linking this back to the beginning if possible, to ‘close the loop’. Audiences like closure and it helps to show that you know what you’re talking about!

Finally, finish off with a ‘takeaway’, or put another way, a call to action. What would you like them to do? Learn more on your website? Check out some additional resources?

 

Ending with the opening

Once you’ve organised the main body of your speech, you have all the information you need to create an attention-grabbing opening.

Techniques for opening a speech vary, but here are some effective ideas you can try:

  • Ask a rhetorical question to get them thinking
  • Stress why the topic is important to them
  • Make a startling or intriguing statement
  • Arouse suspense or curiosity
  • Tell an amusing or dramatic story or anecdote
  • Begin with a powerful, relevant quotation
  • Refer to a specific historical event
  • Use audience participation
  • Perform a demonstration

Whatever technique you choose, ensure that it’s relevant to the topic, the audience and the event or occasion.

A well organised speech or presentation is much more effective than being unprepared – if you’re jumping around with no plan or direction, the audience will be too busy trying to create order in your words, instead of paying attention to the actual message.

Next time, we’ll take a look at ways of controlling your nerves and using body language to make your speech your presentation more engaging and effective. Better still why not give me a call and see how I can help you prepare and profit from your next presentation.

 

Phil Heath DTM

0791 700 4464

phil@philheath.com

www.philheath.com

Preparing a Speech or Presentation

Speaking or giving a presentation in front of an audience can be pretty daunting. Being well prepared will help you manage your nerves and ensure you’re delivering the right message in the right way.

With years of experience in helping people fine tune their speech-making skills, I’ve developed tips, tricks and techniques to help you overcome your fears. These proven methods will soon have your audience hanging on your every word…

 

Preparation – the basics

For anything to be a real success, preparation is key – so firstly, let’s take a quick look at some basic preparation tips that will help you to craft your speech and ensure an effective delivery:

  1. Organise your speech – follow the SME principle, breaking your speech down into a Start, Middle and End.
  2. Write your speech – creating a physical script gives you the opportunity to change things around, while also providing a solid reference for practicing your delivery.
  3. Clothing – it’s important to look professional, but make sure you feel comfortable too.
  4. Visual aids – these can help the audience to understand what’s being said and reinforce the points of a speech in unique and interesting ways. Make sure they fit well with the content of your speech, whether that’s funny, serious, or technical.
  5. Practice, practice, practice – rehearse your speech as much as you possibly can, either in front of friends or a mirror. Focus on the speed of delivery and use a timer to help you pace your speech.
  6. Familiarise yourself with the venue – once you get to the event, check the stage or the setting where the speech will take place, getting a sense of the size of the space, where any steps or obstacles might be, and where to enter and exit.

 

Selecting your topic

Two of the most common questions I hear from people I help are:

What subjects can I talk about in my speech?

How do I choose what I’m going to say?

There are two key places you can find material: personal experience or through reference material.

From a business owner point of view you should be passionate about what you do – use that passion. You’ll deliver your speech with more conviction and enthusiasm if you feel more connected to it – helping your audience to respond more positively.

Use stories to make your point for example you can draw on your interests: Sports, Hobbies, Travel,  Entertainment.

Or your career: Business processes, Ethics, Investments, Retirement

If you choose to use references from elsewhere, you have an unlimited number of ideas at your fingertips from the internet, or you can visit your local public library.

You’ll discover a great deal of inspira­tion from websites, Media sites, University research, Medical sites
Books: Reviews of various genres, Possible re-writes, Analysis, Theory
Magazines: Economic trends,  Human-interest stories, Scientific discoveries, Entertainment

As you can see there is a wide range of sources that you can get speech material from. Just be careful that you’re not infringing on anybody’s copyright.

Now you’ve got some ideas for finding inspiration for your speech subject and getting yourself well prepared for delivering your speech, in the next instalment, we’ll delve a little deeper into organising and opening your presentation. Better still why not give me a call and see how I can help you with your presentation.

 

Phil Heath DTM
0791 700 4464
phil@philheath.com
www.philheath.com

Here is a guest blog from one of our fantastic subject matter experts – Phil Heath!

What is public Speaking?

Standing in front of an audience? Addressing a huge crowd? Speaking to a few people on the bus?

Yes to all of the above. Mention this to individuals like you and me and suddenly those two words create a picture in our mind:
Martin Luther King addressing the crowds
Mahatma Gandhi speaking to His followers
Adolf Hitler rousing his troops.

All these speakers had one thing in common – passion – in abundance.

And yet, as we gaze upon these great orators of our time the voice in the back of our mind tells us ‘I could never do that’.

In the majority of cases, you would probably be correct. But why would you want to do that? Do you ever have the need to rally your troops? Shout out the words of peace and freedom so that others will follow? Ha! Probably not.

There are times though when we might need to raise our voice to be heard. What about speaking in the Parish Council Meeting? How about standing in front of the office or your boss to deliver a presentation? Or speaking to a group of people with something you have a passion about?

That’s Public Speaking.

The words give us the impression that we are standing outside speaking to the public, but it can be any occasion where you might need to address an audience.

Some years ago, a survey was conducted amongst the business community where they were asked ‘what fears do you have?

Amongst the answers were fears from bugs, snakes, and animals, drowning, heights. At the top of the list – public speaking. The majority of respondents would rather die drowning than stand in front of an audience to tell us why!

These are among the findings of the Chapman University Survey on American Fears, which gave us these surprising results.

How ridiculous is that? I’m sure a lot of it was tongue in cheek and lots of Press inches probably put a spin on it however, it still highlights one thing. People don’t like standing in front of an audience and opening their mouths.

Why do you think this is? The mind plays tricks and tells us we are scared. What will people think of me? Will I dry up and forget what I was going to say?

Let me put your mind at rest.

Of course, you may be a little scared but what’s the actual worst thing that can happen to you? Certainly not death!

If you ever hear a speaker say that they are never nervous when they address an audience then I’ll show you a liar. Everyone gets nervous but nerves can be controlled. In fact, nerves can be a good thing. Nerves can keep us on our toes. They can focus the nervous energy and direct it to your enthusiasm.

Let me share with you a couple of tips to help you overcome your fear of public speaking.

First and probably the most important – Breathe!

I have seen speakers start a speech from their chair when they are introduced, and they forget to take a breath when they are at the front.

Tip – Just pause, think, and breathe deeply – then speak.

Second tip I can give would be to make sure you know what you are going to speak about. Write it down, practice, practice the beginning, practice the ending so you can make sure you have a powerful finish.

Some coaches tell you to imagine the audience naked, but my advice is don’t do this as it can be an unwelcome distraction. Rather better to go on and speak. Bear in mind that only you know what you are going to say. The audience doesn’t. Say it with passion and if you forget something never apologise – the audience didn’t know what you were going to say anyway.

Final tip to remember is that the whole audience is willing you to do well and they want to hear you speak. Take comfort and strength in that. No-one ever went to see a speaker and thought ‘I hope the next speaker is rubbish’ See – they want you to do well.

If you really want to practice the art of Public speaking then why not book a call with philthefunnel.
Helping you with your presentation, speech, delivery all to increase your chance of making a sale and get more business.

Be the best speaker you can be and use your voice with the Power of Public Speaking.

 

Phil Heath DTM
0791 700 4464
phil@philheath.com
www.philheath.com

First up with our Starter for ten is Phil Heath, a world-class speaking coach, BuBul expert and secret tap dancer who’d like to have dinner with Fred Astaire and Doris Day. He lives by the motto Just Do It. Find out more about the weird and wonderful things that make him tick, when he’s not teaching people to speak in public:

 

BuBul and business

  • Why did you want to be a BuBul expert?

I was asked by Nigel to take part and it offered me the chance to be able to help others.

  • Best piece of business advice and who was it from?

Just Do It – nicked from NIKE. Sometimes we hesitate and the best thing is to get out of your comfort zone

  • Biggest compliment you’ve ever received from a customer?

“I never thought that I would be able to present to an audience and now I have just pitched the biggest sale of my life and won the business – and my boss loved it and congratulated me” Thanks for all your help

  • Business achievement you’re most proud of?

Surviving and doing something I love

 

The personal stuff

  • Favourite film – and why?

Saving Private Ryan – the story of a reluctant leader who becomes a real true hero. Tom Hanks in one of his best roles. Tear-jerker every time!

  • Which five famous people (dead or alive) would you invite over for dinner?

Winston Churchill, Fred Astaire, Victor Kiam, Judy Garland, Doris Day

  • What’s your hidden talent?

Tap dancing

 

Either/Or

  • Seaside or countryside?

Seaside

  • A talker or a listener?

Listener

  • Golf or Motorsport?

Motorsport

When you start your own business, you are full of different emotions such as excitement (this is going to be brilliant!) mixed with trepidation (maybe no-one will buy!) and, on occasion, a nagging internal voice that says maybe this isn’t the right thing to do!

As your business gets off the ground, every waking hour gets filled with spending time working on the business – networking, social media, arranging meetings, building and improving websites, sending quotes and making sales. And still you have those same feelings.

And then you become established, but still those feelings persist. You celebrate every sale, you mourn every lost lead or customer, you start to recruit staff, which only gives you more things to worry about.

Before you know it, you are losing sleep, you can’t switch off even at weekends or when on holiday. Your enthusiasm starts to wane, results start to slip and you’ve lost that attention to detail you once had.

The good news is that there are thousands of others just like you – owners of small businesses throughout the UK. The bad news is that 1,400 such businesses close every week. Many are just like you – trying to do everything, learning by their mistakes and sometimes having to close as a result.

Only 1 in 4 small business owners ask other people for advice, even though research shows it increases the chances of success by 49%. If you haven’t had external advice for your business yet, get it now!