Handouts from hell

There are two critical things you need to know about handouts. Or maybe I should say, there are two criticial DON’Ts: DON’Tpass them out while you’re speaking. It will distract audience members and, since speakers generally speak while passing out these materials, it...
Read More →

Should you start off with a question? Do you have to ask?

Some speakers begin their presentations by asking the audience questions related to the audience, or to the audience’s perception of relevant topics. Beginning with a few questions can work well, if you avoid the problems. One advantage of starting in this way is to immediately...
Read More →

Deliver a dramatic intro

The most effective way to deliver your introduction is to make eye contact with your audience for the entire duration of your introduction. This is both the most terrifying and most thrilling part of a speech before a live audience. But before we get into that, let’s talk about...
Read More →

Get your story straight

Grabbing your audience at the beginning is of primary importance to any speaker. If you decide to start with a story you will, naturally, want to present something compelling and interesting, something that will resonate with your audience. Keep your story brief and to the point;...
Read More →

Start off strong … with a statistic(?)

Shocking statistics wake people up and grab people’s attention in a way that few other speaking tools do. Shocking statistics make people think. And sometimes, when used properly, they make people feel. Use shocking statistics for effect and deliver them with impact. Why are...
Read More →

Image matters more than ever

I will never forget the day I went to a continuing legal education presentation and a respected female attorney took off her sandals, sat barefoot in a seat right in front of the first audience member, and gave her presentation. Oh, and she wasn’t wearing a suit either – just a...
Read More →

How to procrastinate before your presentation

How do you get ready for a speech? Do you get right to it, or does that library errand or long-neglected household chore suddenly seem like it just won’t wait? You’re not alone. I just read this in The Onion, a satirical publication that makes fun of all sorts of...
Read More →

Outline for success

Creating an outline can help you in several ways, but perhaps the most importantis this: A well-crafted outline is all you need at the lectern to deliver a winning presentation. A truly well organized outline will allow you to sail through your speech without a hitch. There are...
Read More →

4 classic ways to organize your speech

Simply put, there are many ways to organize thoughts, ideas and themes.  Pick an organizational pattern that is right for your presentation.  Here are a few choices:  Sequential/chronological: Does your presentation move through a series of points that can be organized in a...
Read More →

Review: The makings of a great speech

This month we’ve been going over the raw materials that you will build a speech or presentation from. These are the elements that you will bring together, like the ingredients in a recipe, and so I’ve been talking about some basic guidelines to consider when you’re beginning to...
Read More →