The secret to great public speaking

Public Speaking
Public speaking can be a joy when you know the secret.

I used to dread being asked to speak.  The bigger, the more unknown the audience the worse it was.  The fear would sit in my belly for weeks or days beforehand, a corrosive acid gradually spreading through me until the terrifying event.  One day however, I was able to make a major mind shift.  I came to a realization that banished my fear of public speaking for good.  Since then, I’ve become a well renowned speaker, in demand for my clarity and humor.  If there is one secret to becoming a confident, able public speaker it is this mind shift.

It happened to me once I started really listening to more and more speeches.  I went to seminars.  I joined my local Toastmasters.  I listened and watched speakers carefully.  And I realized that the vast majority of speakers do little more than impart information.  Most speeches are actually rather boring, especially in the context of the workplace.

Then I started thinking.  You know what?  It would take very little to ‘lift’ a speech.  To take it from merely imparting information to actually entertaining people – including yourself.  In this way, speech making could be fun.

Most people, especially when doing a speech take themselves far too seriously.  The secret of great public speaking is to see the job as not only sharing information but entertaining and delighting your audience.

The secret to transforming public speaking from a dull recount of information to something juicy and entertaining is to come up with a surprising and funny opening.  That’s really all you need.  Once you have that, tired, skeptical audiences completely change their view of you.  They realize, ‘at last, here is someone who is going to entertain us, charm us and have some fun!’  It’s very rare.

So, every public speaking task I’m now faced with – I start with one important job:  Finding a single story or remark to include at the start of my speech that will set this tone and gain the excitement of an audience.  From there, it’s so easy to build material on.  You find you actually look forward to giving the speech because the audience reaction can be so delicious.  You anticipate joy and fun rather than terror.

Well, I should give you an example.  I recall a speech given by the late David Lange (former Prime Minister of New Zealand).  His opponent (and then Prime Minister) had just spoken at a University gathering.  It was a strong but solely informative speech.  Lange stood up and said in response, “Well, that was all a bit like a wonder bra – very uplifting but didn’t fool anybody.”  From then, the student audience – not knowing what he would say next, were entertained, tickled and all ears for more!

The secret of great public speaking starts with a surprising and entertaining opening that turns the whole task from boredom to charm and delight.  Try it in your own public speaking tasks and material.  You’ll be surprised how it can transform things.

For more specific speech training, please join our online video public speaking course at SpeechSchool.TV.

Is persuasive speech manipulation of emotion?

Persuasive Speech
Persuasive speaking done well is powerful because it can draw our emotions and change the way we think and act.

The art of persuasive speaking involves taking an audience from a certain position (A) to a new position (B) in their thinking and ideally their actions.  Most modern persuasive speech is directed at us through the advertising industry and increasingly those persuasive messages need to be honed and reduced down to the smallest quantity of words in order to get our attention in a short space of time and cause us to desire something and take action to buy it!

Much like successful advertising, great persuasive speech should concentrate on the formula of persuasion: AIDA (create Attention, get Interest, achieve Desire in the audience, get Action taken – usually to buy the product being advertised).  In this way, persuasive speech is not so much manipulation of emotion but appeal and stimulation of emotion.  As human beings we are emotional beings and we want our emotions to be stimulated and allow our actions to be also directed by feeling.  If they were not, we would be robots.

Of course emotional control is important and we need to know when our emotions are being used to change the way we think, but by the same token emotions make us compassionate, human and allow us to enjoy our lives.  Buying things based on a degree of emotion is one of the simplest human pleasures.

Well, you are probably reading this blog because you are interested in learning how to use persuasion to foster emotional engagement in order to get your own message across.

In applying these techniques to your messages either in public speaking or presentations, you can dramatically increase the value of the outcomes achieved.  It also pays to be aware that a significant obstacle to persuasion these days is credibility.  With business rapidly moving online, the trust factor is vital.  In order to develop successful persuasive messages, we have put together the following checklist to go through as you prepare:

1. Does your opening get strong attention and break through inertia?

2. Do you then establish credibility by proving that you are the right person or company to be sending out this message?

3. Do you maintain interest throughout the message and build it and develop it toward a climax?

4. Is your overall intention good and noble and does it resonate with the better side of human emotions?

5. Do you generate a desire to do something?

6. Do you create a strong and immediate willingness to take action?

Here at SpeechSchool.TV we have developed the leading persuasive speaking course on the internet based on the presenter’s years of experience as a Creative Director in a top advertising agency:

Learn persuasive public speaking with SpeechSchool.TV

Effective communication courses

Great Speeches Kennedy
Great speakers like John F. Kennedy are emembered, even if they do not write their own speeches. Learning the principles of effective communication can help you construct powerful messages that are not forgotten.

President John F. Kennedy delivered his inaugural speech in Washington on January 20, 1961.  It is still quoted and used as a shining example of presidential speeches today.    The speech was effective in both its writing and presentation.  Experts say the speech was most effective because it sets up the ‘road map’ for a speech about renewal, while at the same time he also answers his audience’s concerns about his relative youthfulness by demonstrating a knowledgeable grasp of the global issues of the day.

The speech did two important things.  It understood his audience and it answered their concerns.  It not only said powerful things, it was designed and delivered to be powerful to the given audience of the day.

Everybody can learn the principles of effective communication, both in terms of what you say (construction) and how you say it (delivery).  One of the leading providers of online effective communication courses is SpeechSchool.TV, based at the ecentre at Massey University.

Not only does SpeechSchool.TV teach the principles of effective communication, it also offers an award winning accent and pronunciation course which is popular with second language students.  The School’s philosophy is that everyone speaking English, either as a native or second language, can become an engaging, clear and memorable speaker.  The classes are delivered via online video and offer the opportunity to send in assessments and work with voice coaches.

In particular, the School offers a Standard English Accent pronunciation course to develop clear English speech that is easily understood anywhere in the world along with a more advanced Master Communicator effective communication course which teaches the principles of effective speaking and persuasive communication:

From Speech to speech delivery

English Speech Writing
The late Steve Jobs was a legend in producing and delivering English speeches that compelled an audience while demonstrating different thinking.

You may not know, but the late Steve Jobs who helped create the iPhone was also renowned as an inspiring public speaker.

He possessed that most special ingredient – charisma, the ability to get people to follow him.  Charisma may seem like a mystical quality but psychologists have actually broken it down into forces such as confidence, optimism, an interest in others, a passion for your subject and an ability to express it.

These forces in fact result from being;

(1) relaxed and happy, (2) loving your subject, and (3) wanting to connect with others.

Connecting with others is the key.

A female journalist once interviewed two wealthy and eligible men in England for a magazine story.  After the interviews she was asked which of the men she liked better.  Both were successful and attractive.  But only one had real charisma.

“Well she said, the first gentleman made me feel like I was with the most important person in the world.  But the second gentleman made me feel like I was the most important person in the world.”

Good presentations gain their charisma from making your audience feel like they are the most important people in the world.

So what can we learn from the presentations of Steve Jobs?

In her book ‘The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs’, Carmine Gallo outlines some key techniques.  Let’s take a look in this blog at just a few of the key features:

1. The Power of 3

Analysis of his presentations suggest that Steve Jobs never tries to make more than 3 key main points.  Why is 3 magic right number?  It’s memorable for the human mind.  It was never Goldilocks and the seven bears was it, or the four stooges?

2. The villain and the conquering hero

Great presentations are ultimately built on sharing stories.  The best stories involve the conflict between good and evil, or a hero and a villain – the more treacherous the villain the better.

Steve Jobs would often begin with introducing the villain – for example, access to the internet never being truly mobile – and then he would reveal the hero, or the solution that would make your life easier and more enjoyable – the iPhone.

3. The care factor and the build-up

In the early part of his presentations Jobs seemed to focus on the key question, why should you care?   Once he got the response, “yes, I  care,” he’d then develop it to work towards a “wow, that’s amazing!” moment.

In the award-winning online Master Communicator TV course, by SpeechSchool.TV an entire lesson is devoted to more fully exploring the techniques as used by Steve Jobs.  Get more information about this English Public Speaking course.

Professional Communication Courses

Professional Development Course
Professional development is about learning to think and operate better and equips members of an organisation to improve productivity for years to come.

Every organisation wanting to lead its field is always looking for new ways to improve the way they do things.  While external consulting, improving systems or a raft of other measures can help, it must also be remembered that an organisation is only as good as its people.

The ability and potential of each person within the organisation can be expanded through professional development courses on a regular basis.  While many such P.D. courses, as they are known, are focused on hard skills such as retraining to use a new software suite for instance, in fact it is often those courses that focus on more personal skills that achieve the greatest overall improvements.

As anybody who has spent time in University and then experienced a successful and profitable career knows well, it is not so much what you study at the time but how your brain is trained to think from that study.  Indeed, analysis of The Sunday Times Rich List, indicates that while a majority of Britain’s wealthiest individuals are tertiary educated, they have often strayed far from their field of study to build successful businesses.

A good and typical example of this is Martha Lane Fox who read ancient and modern history at Oxford University but then went on to build lastminute.com, one of Europe’s most successful online travel businesses.  Ms. Fox has remarked in interviews it is the ability to think that is more important than undertaking a particular area of training.

Technology is also improving speed and availability for personal professional development courses.  An example of this is the speech development and communication courses offered by SpeechSchool.TV.  These courses make use of online video and an assessment system and have already been awarded internationally.  By undertaking speech training, organisation members can improve their communication skills and be better understood in the workplace, creating improved efficiencies and outcomes.

More about professional development

 

5 key public speaking tips

Public Speaking Course
Public speaking is a major fear for most people. Without knowledge of the tips and techniques of successful public speaking, you can feel naked on stage. A leading online course is helping put the clothes back on by going back to proven techniques.

The Master Communicator course at SpeechSchool.TV is one of the leading online video courses on the internet that teaches successful public speaking techniques through providing detailed examples and opportunities for assessment.  This week at the Speech Success blog we caught up with 5 key public speaking tips taught in this course:

1. Capture audience delight in your opening
The most important part of your speech that you will craft is your opening gambit.  This is powerful because it is from that opening that most of your audience will decide whether they want to go on listening to you!  This first impression is vital as the audience gains a sense of whether they will be entertained or bored.  Get a laugh or a little warm appreciation from your audience at this point and you’ll also gain the confidence you need to deliver the rest of the speech well.  Use your opening to get attention with a story, question, major promise or surprise.

2. Generate credibility immediately after your opening
Once you have relaxed, entertained and got your audience on your side right from the start, the question that then goes through people’s mind is “what do you have to do with this topic and why are you the best person to be sharing with us about that?”  Now that you have your audience’s attention you need to build credibility and provide your back story or credentials so they continue to trust you to tell them the rest of the story.

3. Build from points of lesser value to higher value, reaching a climax
Like a good story, the energy, intensity and power of your speech should build as you go.  For example if you were talking about your involvement with a fast growing business, you would begin with the simple, early days processing radio orders from a garage, then build up to the growth through TV advertising and the employment of hundreds of people – through to the terrible collapse and bankruptcy – and the remaking of your life.  The technique is that the points become more hard hitting as you build to the climax, building and intensifying audience interest as you go.

4. Ensure you come down from the climax with a denouement (explanation and unravelling of what happened)
Once you have built the climax toward the end of your speech, it is then important to unravel and explain what this means for you audience.  This is the part where they are hanging on your every word to gain the moral of the story and the key piece of ‘take home’ information.

5. Finish your speech by making it clear what action your audience should now take or what changes they should make
This is important.  The aim of any speech is to take an audience emotionally from their existing thinking about a subject (A) to new thinking (B) about that subject from your speech.  At the end you must explain what you need the audience to do to embrace thinking ‘B’.  It could be to take some action, or to change their mind on some issue.  This is the chance to capitalise on all the arguments and material you have made in your speech.

The SpeechSchool.TV Master Communicator course provides further online video training and demonstrations on how to use and implement these tips for more effective public speaking.

How to write a good public speech

public speaking school
The techniques of public speaking go back thousands of years to the teachings of Aristotle.  A little knowledge and appreciation of these techniques can go a long way in helping you structure a powerful speech.

Aristotle broke public speaking down to 3 key forces – ethos, pathos and logos.  According to SpeechSchool.TV, part of training your own mind to do successful public speaking can be greatly assisted by understanding and planning for the role of each of these in your presentations.

Ethos is who you are.  Ethos is how your character is revealed through your speech.  It’s important because the audience decides how they feel about you based on your ethos.  One of the main things holding back good ethos is fear, because it’s fear that stops you from being relaxed and being yourself.  Conquer fear by understanding your ethos and character and be comfortable in it.  Use your introduction to establish yourself, get your audience on your side and build credibility from your background for your subject.

Pathos is the audience reaction and feeling to your speech.  Remember, it is made up of the emotions felt, emotions you give rise to as you speak.  Pathos can change a lot depending on the type and mix of audience your speaking to.  Allowing for pathos in writing a speech, means being willing to change your material and stance as you sense the emotions of your audience changing.  For example this can be as simple as building on a powerful story that is clearly moving an audience rather than going to the next point.

Finally logos is the words you use as a speaker.  It’s what you say.  It’s the result of your verbal skill and artistry.  The ability to form interesting phrases from words and ideas can be developed through experience and wide reading.  That’s valuable because the right words are memorable.  Being able to come up with words that delight and express ideas clearly will keep your audience interested and help them remember what you say.  Spend some time developing interesting turns of phrases.  Wide reading on your subject can help.

These 3 key components each need to be considered in a successful presentation – ethos, pathos and logos – as devised by Aristotle.

Start considering these three components when you put together an effective speech: ethos – communicating your character, pathos – connecting emotionally with your audience (remember that’s a two way thing – output and input) and logos – the words that make the show.  It’s about – you (being a confident but likable character), them (caring about your audience and how they feel) plus the words that allow you to make the whole performance memorable!

Learn more about public speaking

Improve your sales skills by using tactical persuasive speech

Sales Presentation Training
In sales, the Pareto principle turns out to be very accurate, with 20% of salespeople producing 80% of the results. But this can be turned around by providing simple and effective speech training to the entire sales team.

A top advertising Creative Director has just stepped out of the SpeechSchool.TV studio where he presents a regular show.  “The beauty with the training provided here is that the videos and materials are online so students and companies can access them around the world 24/7,” says Simon Angelo.  “In developing my lessons for the Master Communicator program I was asked to condense everything I’d learnt about persuasive communication in over 15 years, not to mention many seven figure budgets in the direct response TV advertising industry.  This information for salespeople is potentially very, very powerful as it is what’s at the heart of persuasion.”

“Usually the difference between success and failure is what you know,” he goes on to explain.  “Those who succeed simply get there because they know, understand and use techniques the rest do not.  That is certainly true with television advertising and for salespeople giving sales presentations day in and day out.”

Simon would know a thing or two about persuasive presentations on TV as some of the long format direct response TV ads he has written have set industry records, successfully selling products for 7 years or more when most start to falter within a year.

“One of the first things I cover in the course which is of direct relevance in sales training is how to open a presentation.  This is the part that lets most people down.  They often feel they need to establish rapport first through greetings or personal remarks, not realising that in this fast paced world, rapport is best established by starting with The Big Idea.”

What is ‘The Big Idea’?  It’s the part of the message that is most powerful and will instantly get attention and interest.  In the Master Communicator course some graphic and detailed examples are given.  According to SpeechSchool.TV, a Sales Manager in the Magazines industry had his entire sales team trained online through the Master Communicator program.  During this time they pitched to an ad agency and using the techniques taught were able to sell in a deal that grew business for that year by 40%.

Start increasing your sales

Can persuasive speech be taught to people speaking with an accent?

Persuasive Speaking
Ever found yourself listening to a speaker who is trying to be convincing but a strong accent just keeps getting in the way?

Persuasive speaking can be extremely powerful when you believe in your message and have learnt to use the techniques.  It can sway audiences, close deals and get people on your side.  SpeechSchool.TV has been providing one of the leading online courses on the internet for many years in the form of their Master Communicator program, using many of the techniques from the presenter’s own career as a top Advertising Creative Director.  However, for many English speakers nowadays, English is not their first language and that can mean strong accents when speaking.

According to John Curtis, Course Director at SpeechSchool.TV, the first question is whether the accent impacts on the message and being understood.  “People have to be honest with themselves,” he says.  “You may think your accent is not that strong but in fact listeners may be struggling to understand your message, let alone be convinced by it.”

He gives the example of one particular presentation where a speaker with a strong Italian accent was trying to persuade an organisation to take an important and difficult decision.  “First, I looked around the room and could see that people were having to concentrate extra hard just to understand what was being said.  That means people can’t relax and enjoy the message initially as there is effort involved in processing it, which in turn reduces the persuasiveness of it,” Curtis says.  “Second, the main message wasn’t getting through.  As one of the other participants remarked in private afterwards – ‘I couldn’t really understand all of it and found myself sort of enjoying the Italian accent and thinking about Tuscany and Chianti rather than the subject at hand!'”

To help students like this, SpeechSchool.TV has developed an accent softening and pronunciation program to ensure students are speaking English as clearly as they can before going on to learn to become advanced and persuasive public speakers.

The School’s Master Speaker English Accent program teaches Standard English Pronunciation which works to give all speakers the clearest form of pronunciation possible so that they may then go on and achieve great results in their speeches and English communication.

All speakers of English, no matter their language background, can develop a style and mix that works for them and is persuasive.  Find out how

Improve accent by speaking publicly

Standard English Accent
The late actor, Edward Mulhare was known for playing cultivated English accents such as that used by Devon Miles in Knight Rider. Yet he grew up in Ireland and developed his accent through acting and practice.

In this multicultural world there are more people who speak English as their second language than their first.  A little accent helps add variety and celebrates different cultures.  However, many speakers find that a very strong accent can impede understanding and their ability to work or do business.  So how do you develop a natural English accent that works for you?

According to SpeechSchool.TV your accent is something that changes over time depending on how you develop and practice it when you speak English.  An excellent example of this comes from the acting world, where many actors start out with regional accents but develop more standard or sometimes prestigious accents through working on different characters.

The late Edward Mulhare for instance was Irish but through developing his accent in different roles he gained a reputation (and a career) playing debonair and sophisticated Englishmen.  In his role as Devon Miles in the highly successful TV series Knight Rider, his perfect English accent was rolled out in some 90 episodes.

Similarly Patrick Stewart, an actor originally from Yorkshire, managed to blend his native accent with Received Pronunciation through years of Shakespeare training.  He later played Captain Jean Luc Picard in the Star Trek series.

For those wanting to change the direction of their accents, SpeechSchool.TV recommends blending local accents with Standard English to create a clear, refined and unique voice that can be understood anywhere in the world.  One of the fastest ways to achieve this is to take a voice coaching course and then use the desired accent publicly wherever possible.

SpeechSchool.TV offers a Standard English accent course for this purpose and has found students who are able to combine practice of the exercises with the opportunity for public speaking are those most likely to develop their speech and voice successfully.