• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

preparation

Wow! That’s impressive!

Wow! That’s impressive! 1920 2560 I Need A Speaker

In Dale Carnegie’s famous book, Public Speaking for Success, he shares tactics on how to make figures more impressive.

We agree with his advice, and we know it makes figures more memorable, too.

Consider the example he gives in chapter 13:

The Vatican has fifteen thousand rooms.

The Vatican has so many rooms that one might occupy a different one every day for forty years without having lived in them all.

Make it relatable.

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Answer questions before they can be asked

Answer questions before they can be asked 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

When your presentation content raises questions, your audience will begin thinking more about the questions and less about what you’re saying.

Anticipate what questions your audience will have, and answer them in your presentation. Don’t wait for someone to raise a hand.

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Be your virtual best

Be your virtual best 1707 2560 I Need A Speaker

The current business and academic landscape has proven to be far different over the past two years than what we have been accustomed to previously. Whether you’re a student, teacher, employee, business owner, or any position in between, we have ridden the wave of challenges and changes that come with shifting our processes to socially distance ourselves and implement an unforeseen set of precautions. 

One major implication and struggle of this process is learning flexibility when it comes to presenting, teaching, or even daily communication. Many of us can relate to changing our meeting space from a formal room/table to a virtual setting. While this can be a more comfortable atmosphere for some, we need to be aware of the challenges this new structure can have, and how to overcome them. 

While some may relate “virtual meetings” to comforts such as comfy clothes, little to no commute, and the privacy of our own home, it’s important to maintain a professional and credible image during even the most seemingly informal interactions. Regardless of your position, taking the appropriate preparatory steps can make or break your image to your audience. 

Your friends at I Need A Speaker are dedicated to helping speakers put their best foot forward, and being presentation rockstars. That commitment remains steadfast, regardless of if you are using a virtual or physical stage. We would like to share this opportunity to share some tips to help your adjustment to a virtual space be as seamless and successful as possible. 

For starters, be prepared to be seen on camera. While some presenters opt for no video, this may be requested by your audience (or professor, for students). Your first impression is lasting, your audience will notice your appearance, including your attire and level of polish. Make sure your visible appearance is professional and approachable, meaning details like pressed clothes, posture, a well-groomed appearance, and your facial expressions are going to be not only noticed, but interpreted by the audience. 

Next, set yourself up for success by making sure your background is ready for your presentation. Your audience doesn’t want to see, but will notice, if your shared screen shows the hamper of laundry, an unmade bed, etc. By keeping a clean background, your presentation avoids visual distractions. You may also opt for a platform such as Zoom, which allows the presenter to select a custom virtual backdrop (they’re really cool!), if you like. 

Your background should also be free of audible noise. Make arrangements ahead of time to set yourself up in a place that is as quiet as possible. This will also help you be free from potential distraction, as well as your audience. Make sure your background doesn’t have audible disturbances. Sounds like a no-brainer, but this is a surprising pain point we see in virtual presentations. 

Before presenting, give your systems a test run. Do you have to complete a “Forgot your password?” process before accessing your platform? Is the camera working on your computer? How do you look on screen? Address these items ahead of time, it may save you from a frantic panic before presenting. One strategy may be to run a test call with a friend, asking for their feedback on your presence. 

Go through a mental checklist of the items we shared for presenting. Give yourself ample time to address any obstructions to a great presentation, and put your hard work on the appropriate pedestal for appreciation from your audience. We’re sure your presentation is fabulous, so don’t let it fall apart by missing the small details. They have a large and lasting impression.

 

Photo credit: Photo by Marcus Aurelius at Pexels

Ways to wow during class presentations

Ways to wow during class presentations 2560 1709 I Need A Speaker

Whether you’re preparing a presentation in the first couple weeks of school (yes, it happens), or giving a quick self introduction, we’re here to help you nail your image and give the best possible impression when addressing your group. 

Be confident, but maintain likability and friendliness throughout your presentation. It’s doubtful to hold the attention of an audience if you appear frightened or unsure of the information you’re providing. Even if you are well versed in a subject, adjust your tone to ensure you aren’t giving your audience a condescending vibe. 

  1. Be prepared. In some classes or groups, the instructor may ask you to share some details about yourself. Why not take this opportunity to prepare a short description of what you want to be known for? Think outside the box – talking about what excites you, what you like to do, what accomplishments you have, and other personal traits that define you can make you a more engaging speaker.
  2. If you’re giving a thorough discussion or presentation on a specific topic, be sure you are establishing credibility throughout your presentation. Cite reputable sources, and be prepared to answer questions. Using fascinating and creative sources can engage your audience to take interest in your presentation.
  3. Be engaged in your own topic. Sounds like a no-brainer, but always show excitement and interest in your subject area. Use impactful slides to share your content (but don’t read them to the audience), and use positive body language to reinforce your excitement on the topic. Nobody would give much credence to a speaker who has their hands in their pockets, or one who doesn’t appear to care about their own presentation.
  4. Bring a professional image. Your appearance and image are important to delivering a notable and authentic presentation experience. This includes maintaining a polished appearance, appropriate clothing (see our previous blog post about dressing for presentations). Dressing well is a good way to show your audience that you care about your subject matter, and that you value their time in your presentation. 

While this is not an all-inclusive list for presenters, it’s a great foundation to start with for building your presentation skills. Building presentation and communication skills is a great practice to start now, and continue to develop throughout your academic, and soon-to-come professional career. 

I Need A Speaker sincerely wishes all students, parents, and educators a safe and successful academic year. 

 

Photo credit: Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels 

Hey, students! You can benefit from our class presentation tips!

Hey, students! You can benefit from our class presentation tips! 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

It’s time to buy notebooks and load backpacks for the academic year. As a student, your preparation should go beyond that. To succeed in your classes, you may want to give thought to how you will present when you’re called upon to do so.

Your remarks could be from your seat as you answer questions, or it could be in front of a class or auditorium. Regardless of how many people are in the room, you’ll want to demonstrate strong presentation skills. These include:

  • Having a clear objective for what you want to share.
  • Researching when necessary.
  • Collecting and organizing your thoughts.
  • Sharing stories or examples.
  • Speaking with confidence.
  • Being open to questions and alternative views.

For the next two weeks, we’ll be delivering student-focused content to help you succeed. Do you have a question about class presentations? Ask us! Drop a note to info@ineedaspeaker.com.

 

Photo credit: Photo by Stanley Morales from Pexels 

Presentation lessons from Disney’s Jungle Cruise

Presentation lessons from Disney’s Jungle Cruise 1707 2560 I Need A Speaker

Some things just make summer feel more like … well, summer. Sprinklers. Bike riding. Shore taffy. One of my favorites is the drive-in.

Our local drive-in was showing Jungle Cruise, so we invited our daughter and her friends to enjoy the show outdoors. The opening scene featured Jack Whitehall as MacGregor Houghton, delivering a speech to an unfriendly crowd.

Playing the brother of lead Emily Blunt, Whitehall was requesting that his theatrical sister be granted access to a valued and protected archive.

Nervous, he read aloud from the notecards the requestor had provided. At one point, he read every word on the card, including “Pause for dramatic effect.” Blushing, he continued on, but the audience wasn’t amused.

Another notecard said, “If it goes sideways, go to plan B.”

As the kids munched popcorn, I reflected on the scene’s lessons:

  • Be prepared for your presentations.
  • Practice. Practice. Practice.
  • Yes, pause for dramatic effect, but don’t read the directive.
  • Have a plan B if plan A isn’t working.
  • Know your audience.

How would you handle a not-so-friendly crowd?

 

 

Photo credit: John Cheathem from Pexels

I’m registering! What should I charge?

I’m registering! What should I charge? 2560 1810 I Need A Speaker

I Need A Speaker welcomes speakers of all experience levels, so it’s not uncommon for us to be asked how speakers should set fees. While we know the speakers are hoping for a more specific answer, we give everyone the same response: “Well, it depends on a lot of factors.”

Here are some things to consider when determining your fee:

  • How much preparation time does the presentation involve?
  • Will you be allowed to sell or promote your products or services?
  • How frequently do you present? A speaker who is in demand can reasonably charge more than someone who presents only a few times per year. As you increase the number of presentations you deliver, your skills will continue to improve over time.
  • Are you addressing a for-profit or non-profit group?
  • Is this a topic or cause close to your heart? If you have a personal story or passionate message to share, being paid may not be important to you.
  • Are you sharing printed or tangible materials as part of your presentation? If so, you’ll need to cover the cost of those items.
  • If you are delivering specific value to the audience/event organizers, don’t be afraid to set a fee that is commensurate with your credentials/credibility and value.

It’s a complicated decision, we know. Because situations are different, we’ve included the option of “negotiable” fee in your profile.

Public speaking can be public service, too

Public speaking can be public service, too 2560 1440 I Need A Speaker

A little more than two years ago, I attended a presentation at a science center. The speaker was a man who worked at the center for most of his professional career and had volunteered to greet visitors and share his excitement about the center’s work.

Our host was smiling when he entered the room, and he greeted the crowd by hinting at the wonderful things we would see and learn that day. Throughout the entire session, his smile remained in place, and his enthusiasm never waned. At the conclusion of the event, he said goodbye as though we were cherished visitors in his home, and he thanked everyone for coming.

When I Need A Speaker launched, some people blushed and said, “I’m not a celebrity or a professional speaker.” Neither was our science center tour guide. And he was fantastic.

We celebrate speakers who commit to public speaking as part of their personal mission – it becomes one way that they can celebrate and advance the topics and causes that mean the most to them.

Have you considered public speaking as a public service? Regardless of your areas of expertise … regardless of your motivational message … regardless of your personal story, there are classes, community groups, organizations, and employee groups who would benefit from hearing from you.

Great speakers are defined by these two things

Great speakers are defined by these two things 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

People hear about I Need A Speaker, and they sometimes say, “I love to talk about [insert your topic here], but I’m not a professional speaker or an expert.” Our response is, “That’s okay!”

Of course we welcome professional speakers. We welcome speakers of all experience levels and subject matter expertise.

So what makes a great speaker? Audiences will tell you it’s a speaker who has passion and purpose. It’s someone who has a story or a message to share. It’s someone who wants to make a connection with others through a common interest. It’s someone who wants to make a difference.

Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s not.

If you are someone who has passion and purpose, we’d love to hear your message. Better yet, we would be privileged to help you share it with other people.

What is your core idea?

What is your core idea? 2200 1529 I Need A Speaker

Great speakers know that they can inform, persuade, entertain, motivate, and inspire … and they can do it most effectively when they center their remarks on one core idea.

Your audience is expected to absorb a lot of information during your talk. What is the one thing you want them to remember when you’ve finished speaking? That one thing – that core idea – is the center around which every element of your presentation should be focused.

Think about the speeches you’ve heard. What one thing do you recall about each? If you remember it vividly, the speaker was effective.

What’s your core idea?

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