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Using Body Language

Speaking on the Spot

How Mentoring Helps

Organizing a Speech

Preparing and practicing your speech

Creating a powerful introduction to your speech

Know your Audience

There will always be diversity among a group of individuals but a typical audience has several characteristics that distinguish it from other audiences. Consider Know Audiencethe following variables when tailoring a speech to the interests of an audience:

Age Range
When a speaker knows what kinds of events the audience has experienced, he or she is able to use statements that are meaningful to the audience. These statements help the speaker to establish why his or her ideas are relevant and of interest to the audience.

Male/female ratio
Depending on the organization or situation, an audience may be primarily or exclusively composed of one sex. If this is the case, select the language, examples, and line of reasoning accordingly. Effectively delivering a message means gearing the speech to the specific needs and interests of an audience.

Occupational and economic status
A speaker can assume that an audience comprised of persons sharing a specific occupation has a certain level of specialized knowledge. Using professional jargon with such an audience would be appropriate. Using jargon or referring to specialized knowledge that is unfamiliar to the audience can be confusing and could be perceived as arrogant.
Economic levels also help to define an audience. A speech topic that appeals to an affluent audience would be less likely to appeal to an audience of middle-class manual laborers.
Whatever the occupation or economic status of the audience, the speaker’s goal is to ensure his or her message is perceived as significant to the audience’s lives and experience.

Educational Background
The educational status of an audience can make a significant difference in a speaker’s approach, wording, and focus. Avoid being perceived as patronizing by keeping the speech level just a bit higher than that of listeners but be cautious of using language that exceeds that audience’s understanding.

Political orientation
Some groups pride themselves on being open-minded, but others take firm positions. Be aware of an audience’s general attitude when deciding whether the speech focuses on a topic or merely refers to it briefly.

Leisure activities
Awareness of an audience’s extracurricular hobbies and activities helps speakers further understand the audience’s interests and needs.

Keep the Audience’s Attention
Visit the venue in advance or talk to the event host to gather information about:

  • Room acoustics
  • Seating
  • Lighting
  • Temperature Control
  • Outside noise
  • Other possible distractions

When selecting the best way to hold your audience’s attention, also consider:

    • Time of day
    • Concurrent events/activities
    • Practicality of breaks for lengthy presentations

What does the audience want to know?
Discover what it is that the audience wants to know. Figure out which approaches have worked before and which have not by:

      • Asking the event host what the audience already knows
      • Scanning any publications specific to the audience
      • Contacting local officers
      • Consulting references on the Internet and in periodicals
      • Talking with someone who has either spoken to the group or is an actual member

Speech Objectives
A speaker must recognize what the audience’s goals are and fashion a presentation that meets those objectives. The most common speech objectives are to:

      • Inform
      • Inspire
      • Persuade
      • Entertain

A speaker does not need to adjust their own opinions or talk only about what the audience already agrees with in order to effectively send a message. But the more a speaker knows about the people in the audience – backgrounds, interests, preferences – the easier it will be to establish the best way to deliver a specific message to a particular group.

Evaluating Others

The more effective we are in evaluating each other, the more each one of us will profit from the experience, whether we are delivering a speech, evaluating, or Evaluating Otherssitting in the audience. For as audience members, we learn from the good example an effective evaluation presents. As evaluators, we learn to sharpen our listening and impromptu speaking skills. And as speakers, effective evaluations benefit us by:

    • Providing immediate feedback. Supportive commentary and helpful suggestions reinforce positive speaking behaviors as well as assist in focusing on areas that need work
    • Offering methods for improvement. An evaluator can offer a new perspective. This perspective will allow the presenter to recognize and then solve any difficulties within the presentation.
    • Building and maintaining self-esteem. As the presenter’s speaking improves from speech to speech, more self-esteem will be gained.

How to Evaluate Effectively
Giving an evaluation is an excellent way to demonstrate the skills you are learning as a Toastmaster. The following are five basic points to remember when offering an evaluation:

1. Before the speech.

      • Review and discuss the speech objectives
      • Ask about any concerns regarding the speech or the speaker’s speaking ability.

2. Show that you are interested.

      • Demonstrate that you are truly interested in the speech.
      • Exhibit your interest in the speaker’s ability to grow and improve.

3. Personalize your language.

        Put yourself in the position of the speaker before giving your evaluation.

      • Stay away from words like:
      • “You didn’t….”
      • “You should have…”
      • “You failed to…”

To stimulate improvement, use words like:

      • “I believe…”
      • “My reaction was…”
      • “I suggest that…”

Keep the evaluator’s mantra in mind to maximize your skills:

      • What I saw
      • What I heard
      • What I felt

4. Evaluate the speech – not the person!

      • Always keep your main purpose in mind: To support, help and encourage the speaker.
      • Pay attention to the speaker’s goals for self-improvement.
      • Watch for symptoms of fear or insecurity.
      • Evaluate what the speaker does – not what the speaker is!

5. Promote self-esteem

      • Encourage and inspire the speaker to participate again by giving:
      • Honest and sincere praise.
      • Positive reinforcement when improvements occur.
      • Helpful direction when necessary.
      • Always end your evaluation positively.

Avoid being Disingenuous
An evaluator can give evaluations that only praise the speaker. This may be flattering at first, but over time will demoralize the atmosphere of a club. Honest evaluators can and should be upbeat and encouraging, while still pointing out areas for improvement. Avoid covering up flaws for adulation.
Here are some guidelines:

    • Connect to your opening statement.
    • Summarize your key points.
    • If possible, give a personal story or example.
    • Encourage your listeners to apply what they heard and learned.

Concluding your Speech Properly

A conclusion is important to any speech. An excellent speech can lose its effectiveness because of a poor closing. If you want people to remember and be favorablyConcluding your Speech Properly impressed with your closing, you must strive to conclude your speech positively and forcefully. Many speakers end with “In conclusion”, “Let me end by saying” , or “In Summary”. Great endings make lasting impressions on your audience and will help them clue in when your speech is ending and don’t require such phrases. Make sure that you only allocate about five to ten percent of your entire speech time dedicated to your conclusion.
Closing Techniques
There are certain techniques, if applied with the criteria that will create a lasting impression with your audience. The following six techniques will help you create strong speech endings:

  1. Use a quotation: Used properly, a quotation can add authority to your closing, amuse your listeners, or dramatize your speech points. Whatever quote you choose, keep it short and related directly to your speech topic.Example: A presentation encouraging people to become concerned about the future environment could close with George Bernard Shaw’s words, “Some men see things as they are and ask, ‘Why?’ I dare to dream of things that never were and ask, ‘Why not?’
  2. Tell a short story or anecdote: A powerful story or anecdote can make a memorable close. It can be inspirational or funny, but it could be short, develop quickly, and be related to or reinforce your message. Personalize it if possible, too.
  3. Call for action: If your speech was intended to persuade or urge your listeners to take some kind of action, your closing statement should clearly explain what action they should take.
  4. Example: You could conclude a speech about drug abuse prevention by saying, “Educating our young people about drugs begins with you. After you leave here tonight, I urge you to go home and talk about your children. Tell them you love them and are concerned for them. Talk to them about drugs.”

  5. Ask a rhetorical question: End a speech by asking one question or series of questions that relate to your topic. The audience will think about an answer and thus your speech.
  6. Example: “You may ask, ‘Can we afford to do this?’ I ask, ‘Can we afford not to?'”

  7. Refer to the beginning of your speech: Tie your closing words to the beginning of your speech to reinforce your message.
  8. Example: “I began my remarks by reviewing the challenges our company must comfort if we are to continue to be successful. I believe these challenges provide opportunities for each of us to learn and grow as individuals. Let’s not be afraid of these challenges; let’s welcome them as opportunities and move forward.”

  9. Summarize your main points: Repeat the points presented in the body of the speech. Repetition reinforces your message and enhances your audience’s learning.
    Example: “Remember, please, the three keys to making this new program work: understanding, commitment, and teamwork. Only when we all know the program, commit to it, and work together will we achieve our goal.”

An excellent speech can lose its effectiveness because of a poor closing. Do not risk leaving your audience with a less-than-favorable impression. Make a lasting impact. Use some of the methods above to conclude your speech positively and forcefully.

Controlling your Fear of Public Speaking

It is common for speakers at all skill levels to be nervous about giving a speech. The difference between an experienced and inexperienced speaker is that the experienced speaker knows how to Nervous Speaker-Blog Postcontrol their nervousness and use it to enhance their speech. By understanding the causes and symptoms of the fear, a speaker can take that nervous energy and channel it towards a positive outcome. To obtain a confident appearance, a seasoned orator applies the proper methods and techniques for relaxation.

Anixety Triggers

  • New and unknown situations – New experiences are stressful. The inability to anticipate the unforeseen causes high level of anxiety.
  • Risk of failure – From childhood to adulthood, we dream of success, victory, and achievement. To not finish first or be the best often increases nervousness and anxiety.
  • Potential for appearing foolish – Beyond achieving goals, we all want to appear circumspect in the way we accomplish our goals. No one wants to suffer disgrace. The possibility of embarrassment causes great fear and panic.
  • Possibility of boring the audience – A speaker’s hope is to engage and enamor the audience. The fear of not connecting with the audience, of being considered boring, brings about insecurity, apprehension, and worry.

How to Manage your Anxiety
Studies have shown one of the best methods for reducing anxiety is practice. After speaking a few times, you can put your anxiety into perspective. Try these techniques to gain some experience:

    • Practice in front of a mirror.
    • Rehearse in front of family and friends.
    • Give presentations before other groups, anywhere you can.

Mentally rehearsing employs thought processes to achieve positive results. The brain can not tell the difference between memories and actual experiences. You can mentally walk yourself through the following scenario, vividly imagining each action:

      1. You are introduced to an audience.
      2. You walk up to the lectern confidently
      3. You take several deep breaths before you begin to speak
      4. You speak clearly and forcefully
      5. You captivate the audience with your words, gestures, and vocal variety.
      6. When you finish, the audience applauds in appreciation.

Repeat this visualization until your confidence has increased and your anxiety has decreased.

Relaxation and breathing techniques alleviate physical tensions and calm the mind. Practise these techniques to reduce tension:

      • Tighten your muscles, such as your shoulders, for a few seconds and then release
      • Stand, inhale and stretch your arms towards the ceiling. Then exhale as you bend to touch your toes, keeping your knees straight. Repeat this several times.
      • Hold your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor and rotate them in small circles, first forward 10 times, then backward 10 times.

The next time you are about to give a speech, as your heart pounds, you have butterflies in your stomach and your knees quiver, turn your anxiety into positive energy using the methods discussed. Your audience will be impressed with your confidence and listen to every word you say.