Weekend Feb 23 2013
One story about the famous Senator Daniel Webster follows.
Senator Webster had delivered a stirring speech on the Missouri Compromise of 1850. One listener in the Gallery hurried to the Senate floor after the speech. He exclaimed to Webster, 'that was the best speech I ever heard, how long did you prepare?' Without a moment's hesitation Webster replied
'All my life sir, all my life.'
Whatever it is that you are doing, Mike Phelps in the swim pool, the Hurley Sisters on the Olympic Fencing Team, or Valdimir Horowitz at the keyboard, the trick is continuous practice until it becomes routine. Public Speaking is no different. I started when I was in High School As I mentioned in class, mvoing from an also ran high school to the cream of the crop my senior year taught me what it took to win a debate tournament, which I did on my first entry that fall, what a difference.
You goodle how to deliver an effective speech but here are some thoughts.
I recently heard several students deliver short talks on their chosen topics. I found that if I had not known the topic myself, I would have had a hard time following the narrative. So first thinkg
Tell em what you are going to tell em, Tell em, Tell em what you told them.
The idea is to repeat the main message three times so that repetition makes your message clear.
Yes you have researched your topic, I hope, and know what you mean. Do not assume they audience has even the vaguest Idea of what you are describing. So,
KISS Keep it simple silly
Short sentences triumph over long sentences. Say what you mean, avoid flowery language.
Eye contact is imperative, never read your speech.
Power point slides should be limited to three or four short phrases. If the audience can read your speech off the power point, you could have e mailed it to them, what are you up there for anyway?
Your rehearsal should be so comprehensive that you can proceed without looking at a note or power point. Eye contact with your audience is imperative, that is the only way you can judge the effectiveness of your presentation. If you see rolling eyes, watches being examined, cell phones being scanned, you are losing the audience. Change course, do something.
Know Your Audience
Remember Dale Carnegie's advice (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
You will make more friends in two months taking an interest in Other People
than you will in two years trying to get them interested in you.
Your opening line then should champion the cause of your audience. If you are speaking to teachers, lead off with a story about your favorite teacher. If you are talking to mechanics, lead off with a story about how you trust your car mechanic to get you wehre you are going, it's the mechanic not the car you see!
I recently attended another event where students were told to dress in business casual. What a failure to communicate. Some of them looked more like Homeless Shelter Casual. Mark Zuckerburg is filthy stinking rich, if he wants to wear a hoody I guess he can but I would avoid that at school at all times quite frankly. You never know who might come to class and speak. You do not want to look like you are wearing the hand me down wardrobe from your older sibling.
Richard Jenkins is organizing a Toastmasters Club for Brooks City Base Campus. Check it out, this is a great organization.