• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

audience

Aren’t we all speakers?

Aren’t we all speakers? 2560 1920 I Need A Speaker

I Need A Speaker is on Clubhouse! Hosted by Tricia Richards-Service and Christopher Pahoski, the room was open for people who want to learn more about getting started in public speaking.

Some people have said, “I’m not a speaker. In fact, I’m rarely in front of an audience.” We responded that the size of the audience isn’t as relevant as the opportunity to deliver value to people.

When you make a presentation in your department meeting … you’re a speaker. When you make a toast at a special occasion … you’re a speaker. When you respond to questions in a job interview … you’re a speaker. If you have a message to share … you’re a speaker.

You get the idea.

Whether we are involved in a one-on-one conversation, a small group meeting, or a conference, we all have the opportunity to collect our thoughts, consider our audience, and deliver value.

 

We’d love to hear examples of how information was powerful because it was shared. Send your stories to info@ineedaspeaker.com.

 

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Public speaking notes from Dale Carnegie

Public speaking notes from Dale Carnegie 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

“Thinking people want to be led, not driven. They want to have the facts presented and to draw their own conclusions. They like to be asked questions, not to have a ceaseless stream of direct statements poured at them.”

— Dale Carnegie, Public Speaking for Success

 

 

We want to lead, not drive. What topics do you want to read about in our blog? E-mail info@ineedaspeaker.com with your suggestions.

 

Photo credit: Pexels

If someone yells “bingo,” no one wins.

If someone yells “bingo,” no one wins. 2560 1920 I Need A Speaker

Recently, I attended a high school graduation. Many of the graduates were giddy with anticipation about the speeches that were scheduled. The students weren’t excited about how wonderful the speeches might be. Rather, they were playing a secret bingo game.

The proverbial winner was the audience member who could mentally cross off enough buzzwords or overused terms during the presentations to win the game.

I was familiar with the concept, because I knew about “corporate buzzword bingo” games during my days in corporations. Employees would anticipate terms like “low-hanging fruit” and “having a dialogue” and “sense of urgency.” Sadly, we knew exactly what to expect when someone stepped up to the podium.

The graduation bingo game happened for the same reason. Students were expecting some speakers to include boring, predictable elements and terms that are often used in graduation speeches. Here are some examples of what students used for their virtual bingo card squares:

  • Reference to 2020 as “unprecedented” (this one was the center square)
  • A dictionary definition
  • Famous quotes
  • “It’s been a crazy year”
  • Reference to homework
  • Inside jokes
  • Reading a poem
  • The idea that “this is not the end, it’s the beginning”
  • Acknowledgement of “each and every one of you.”

Students would snicker and laugh silently whenever one of these elements popped up in a speech. While I Need A Speaker never advocates finding fault with speakers, the fact that the bingo game occurred should be considered a warning to anyone who has a speech to deliver.

The warning is this: Don’t be predictable. Don’t be boring. Don’t say what’s expected. Don’t say what every other speaker says.

Flip that to the positive side, and the lessons here are:

  • Be original.
  • Be engaging.
  • Be clever.
  • Be unique.
  • Be attention-grabbing.
  • Be dynamic.

In short … be effective.

 

 

 

Photo credit: DepositPhotos

Check the link. An error can lock out your audience.

Check the link. An error can lock out your audience. 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Dafna Gold Melchior – one of our wonderful speakers – recently posted this on LinkedIn. With her permission we’re sharing this message:

“Check the link. Double check the link. Otherwise you could discover that your esteemed guests were sent somewhere else…

I delivered a workshop last night, on behalf of an organization. 150 people signed up via a production company, which sent them an invite with a link. I was in the Zoom room early, checked sound and share screen with the helpful tech person.

At a few minutes to the hour, we started wondering why no one was joining… Turned out the production company had mistakenly sent the wrong link…

By the time I too was sent the (wrong) link my audience had received, there were 8 people left (5 with cameras off). So three lucky people received my workshop, and I assure you I gave them my all, as I would have with 150 participants.

I’m sharing this to spare you the same frustrating experience. I beg you, have those who handle logistics on your behalf check and re-check the link.”

Follow her advice.

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Give thanks all year long.

Give thanks all year long. 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Even if you’re the only person who worked on your speech, many people contributed to its success.

Thank the event planner who selected and prepared you.

Thank the person who introduced you.

Thank fellow panelists and other speakers, if there are any.

Thank your sources for helping you collect relevant information.

Thank your audience members for their time and attention.

Thank everyone else who contributed.

Your acknowledgment of their efforts will be remembered.

What if I become emotional during my presentation?

What if I become emotional during my presentation? 1707 2560 I Need A Speaker

A recent speech by Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson was lauded for its authenticity and effectiveness. During the speech, which lasted less than six minutes, Sorenson detailed the impact that the pandemic has had on Marriott’s staff and business. This brief presentation earned praise and admiration for Sorenson not only as a leader and presenter. Why? Because he showed his human side. He demonstrated empathy and sincerity.

As a public speaking coach, I have asked people to tell very personal stories, forcing them to dig into their hearts and memories to share intimate pieces of their lives. And when they do, they absolutely shine. They succeed because what they’re saying is deeply important to them, and these speakers have the credibility of a lived experience.

Often, speakers worry that they’ll become emotional while presenting, as Sorenson does. To some, they feel they have failed as a presenter. They believe everything has to be perfect and that becoming too visibly emotional will make them vulnerable. I remind them that it’s okay.

Some topics are just harder to talk about than others. If you’re sharing an emotional story or presenting about a topic that makes you sad, wistful, angry, regretful, or any other emotion we don’t often share with a room full of strangers, remember this: Emotion connects us in powerful ways. Your audience will relate to you on a new, deeper level, and the people who hear your story will remember it.

These tips may help the next time you tackle an emotional topic:

  • Take a moment if you become too emotional while speaking. Breathe. Then keep going. Don’t let emotion cut your speech short.
  • Realize we all feel these emotions; it’s not just you. Your audience relates to what you’re saying.
  • Practice several times to prepare for the more emotional moments in your presentation, and work on delivering those messages powerfully and at a reasonable pace.
  • Bring tissues. You may not need them, but it’s good to be prepared.

You got this.

Three tips for working with a sign language interpreter

Three tips for working with a sign language interpreter 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

If there is any chance that some of your audience members require sign language interpretation, you should make arrangements to have an interpreter work with you.

Follow these guidelines to get the most benefit:

  1. Share your remarks with the interpreter before the speaking event, so he or she will be familiar with the terminology you’ll be using and will be less likely to make misinterpretations.
  2. Ask the interpreter to rehearse with you at least once to ensure that your presentation will run smoothly.
  3. Speak directly to your audience during the presentation, not to the interpreter. Both you and your interpreter should connect with the audience members using both eye contact and a coordinated message.

Know the importance of the debrief

Know the importance of the debrief 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

We’ve become accustomed to requesting and giving feedback all the time. Order a meal in a restaurant, and one of the wait staff will ask if everything was to your satisfaction. Walk to a register, and a clerk will ask if you found everything you wanted. Purchase something online and … you know what’s next … you’re asked to review the purchase.

Many speakers miss one of the most important parts of their presentation – the debrief. I’m referring to that quick, 15- to 30-minute meeting with the folks who booked you, usually conducted a day or two after your presentation. The debrief is important for a number of reasons:

  1. You’ll have another chance to personally thank the event planner for hiring you, and you have another opportunity to build and maintain a positive relationship with him or her.
  2. You’ll receive important feedback on your presentation that you can use to make the next one even better.
  3. You’ll obtain more insight into what’s most important to the event planner. Use that information to promote your services for future events, highlighting the priority areas.
  4. You’ll learn if anyone has requested follow-up information about you or your topic, which can lead to additional networking and possible future bookings.
  5. You’ll have a conversation which may reveal other goals the event planner or company would like to achieve.

I recently heard about one speaker who used a debrief successfully to learn more about the client company’s vision and next steps. The speaker, who also had expertise that could be helpful in the client’s progress, was approached about returning to the company for another speech.

The speaker asked a series of well-phrased questions, which determined that only one more presentation wouldn’t be in the client’s best interest. Rather, the speaker suggested three shorter sessions with “homework” assigned in between planned speaking dates. Those three sessions led to much stronger results for the company, and the speaker was booked for additional work whenever possible.

A great presentation will please your client. A great presentation with a thoughtful debrief may delight you and your client.

Refreshments for your online meeting? It’s a (virtual) piece of cake!

Refreshments for your online meeting? It’s a (virtual) piece of cake! 2560 1708 I Need A Speaker

Serving food and beverages virtually is a trend that’s been welcomed in the online meeting/event/speaking world. Attendees love the surprise of receiving refreshments, as it helps to re-create some of the in-person meeting experience.

While you can’t network at a communal table, the availability of online gift cards, food delivery, and quick-ship retailers means you can “serve” everything from a plain cup of coffee to an entire meal.

If you’re sending electronic gift cards for coffee or tea, be sure to choose a national brand, so your attendees will find it convenient to use the gift card. If you’re sending coffee or tea to be made at home, your options are limitless. For something more substantial, conduct an online search for businesses that ship or deliver food. There’s something for every taste and budget, ranging from bagged snacks to sandwiches to full meals.

Now, all you’re missing is a lanyard with your name on it – but that can be arranged, too!

What speaker testimonials and product reviews have in common

What speaker testimonials and product reviews have in common 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

I’m one of those people who shop for the holidays early, and packages have already been arriving on my front porch. While browsing, I’ve made it a habit to check product reviews before clicking on “add to cart” and completing my purchases.

Reviews tell us what people liked and what people would change about their product or service experience. Customer feedback, whether positive or negative, helps businesses adjust products, prices, policies, and practices to satisfy customers.

Speakers can also benefit from requesting testimonials from satisfied event organizers and audience members. Most attendees are happy to complete a quick online survey following a presentation.

To encourage future bookings, speakers can post testimonials on their website, social media accounts, informational materials, and other customer-facing materials. Event organizers will benefit from knowing about speakers’ past successes as they plan future ones.

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