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This is an interview with professional speaker and trainer Renee Walkup -- teaching you how to give successful PRESENTATIONS of any kind.
Q: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TRAINING SERVICES.
A: We are a full service presentation SKILLS company. Our clients benefit from our training by learning new skills that can be implemented to increase sales and VISIBILITY -- whether for paid speaking engagements, media interviews, trade shows, or business presentations.
Q: HOW MUCH OF SPEAKING IS CONTENT VS. TECHNIQUE?
A: Most people who get up to speak know their subjects inside and out -- we work with professionals who generally want to speak within their field and have a pretty extensive knowledge of the subject at hand. Of course, if you are speaking on a new subject for the first time, you need to plan to do a lot of RESEARCH before you even consider getting on the stage - an audience can spot a speaker who doesn't know his or her stuff a mile away. But even among those "experts," we hear many inept speakers! That tells us that DELIVERY and technique are paramount to a speaker's success in front of an audience. Our programs take speakers who are a "4" and make them a "10", so that audiences will want to buy their product, their service, and their ideas.
Q: WHAT STEPS DO YOU TAKE TO PREPARE A TALK?
A: A speaker should know his or her material -- and practice, practice, practice! You can never PRACTICE too much. When you could give your talk at the drop of a hat to a stranger on the sidewalk -- that's when you really know your stuff. Speakers also need to learn about body language, voice, posture, and reading their audience. There is more to giving a successful presentation than just standing on a stage talking. You need to be able to combine interesting content with a DYNAMIC delivery if you ever hope to connect with your audience. Then, and only then, should someone get up to speak!
Q: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST SPEAKING MISTAKE YOU SEE?
A: Only one? Telling too much INFORMATION in a dry manner is the first sin -- it's better to give less information and keep it lively and entertaining. People come to hear you speak because they want to be motivated, not because they are looking for every scrap of knowledge about a subject. Focus on a smaller subject within your larger subject. You don't have to cram your entire career into an hour! Also new speakers tend to think only of themselves and how they're feeling. They lecture and present, rather than asking questions and involving the audience. They forget that AUDIENCE is the most important component of the speech.
Q: WHERE DO YOU FIND PLACES TO PRACTICE?
A: Joining TOASTMASTERS is a great start. It gives you a safe and supportive environment in which to develop your style, make mistakes, and hone your craft. Once you are comfortable, you need to make speaking a regular part of your business. VOLUNTEER to talk (for free) to civic groups, church meetings, professional associations, and any other opportunity you can find. The more you do it, the better you will get. Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to work with a professional presentation skills COACH if you plan to become a professional speaker or really want to improve your technique. A coach can observe your presentations one-on-one and give you specific, practical suggestions for polishing your act.
Q: HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR DIFFERENT TALKS?
A: Again, it goes back to the audience. A workshop, by definition, should be INTERACTIVE and full of interesting exercises and techniques to keep the audience involved. A speech is usually less interactive and shorter than a workshop -- it's more of an opportunity for you to GIVE information to the audience, rather than asking them to be a part of the show. At a public appearance, the speaker's biggest competition is TIME, so a real sensitivity to making the presentation compelling and brief, are the keys to success.
Q: ARE THERE ANY GOLDEN RULES ABOUT SPEAKING?
A: Be PREPARED. One of the scariest things you can do -- and the quickest way to kill a potentially successful presentation -- is to show up unprepared. That means you need to know your material and you need to have drilled it until you can give your presentation in your sleep. But you also need to know the layout of the room, have checked your equipment ahead of time, and have some idea of the makeup and interests of your audience. The more you know about what you are walking into, the better you will be able to handle UNEXPECTED situations when they arise.
Renee Walkup, professional speaker, trainer, author, and entrepreneur, works with business professionals on polishing their presentation skills so that they can enjoy more success. She can be reached at 770 220.0832 or . Visit her website at www.salespeak.com.
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