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Whether you want to be a part-time, full-time or big-time speaker, you must speak, speak, speak. At first, deliver 25- to 30-minute free talks to service clubs and community organizations.† Consider it to be your off-Broadway tryout. A great opportunity to FINE-TUNE your program and, maybe, get some future paid business! Do the following to put yourself at ease when delivering a speech:
TELL A COMPLETE STORY
Your speech needs a beginning, middle and end. You must grab your audienceís attention in the FIRST minute; so, begin with a starting comment, question, story or humor. End your speech on a STRONG note by asking a question, providing a quote, tell a story or leave them laughing.
PUNCTUATE WITH ANECDOTES
Every five to seven minutes, back up your facts with SIGNATURE stories (about you or others). Stories are out there everywhere. Find them in the stores, at restaurants, on the airplane, at home. People retain information better when hearing a story.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Practice your speech out loud. RECORD it with a tape recorder or video camera. Also do this when giving a program to an audience. Do it every time!
Practice pausing before and after important points. Donít be afraid to leave open SPACE. The use of silence is a key requirement to becoming an effective speaker.
LOOK THEM IN THE EYE
Use direct eye contact. You can focus on ONE person when making a point, and all your audience members will think you are speaking to them, also.
USE YOUR BODY
Donít just stand behind the lectern. Move around, gesture. Be ANIMATED. (Fifty-five percent of how people perceive you is by body language; 38 percent by your voice; 7 percent by your words.)
Smile a lot. Be ENTHUSIASTIC about what you are saying. And, have fun.†
Sandra Schrift, former national speaker-bureau owner, is now a career telecoach to emerging and experienced professional speakers. You may visit her website at www.schrift.com/.htm.
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