• Connecting Speakers with Audiences™

public speaking

Wonder Woman and Batman do this before they go out. Do you?

Wonder Woman and Batman do this before they go out. Do you? 2560 1567 I Need A Speaker

Years ago, someone gifted me with a bold red blazer that I adored. Cherry red with shiny brass buttons, this double-breasted masterpiece was more than I could afford. I really, really wanted it. My desire went beyond the color. It was the feeling I had when I slid in one arm, then two. The blazer made me feel bolder and more confident, like I could do anything. I was delighted to receive it as a gift.

Aside from the dark hair and sassy attitude, choosing a power outfit for work is one more thing I have in common with Wonder Woman. Even Batman has a go-to outfit for fighting crime.

These outfits are more than clothing. They’re a form of non-verbal communication, making a statement about who you are. They’re a psychological boost – a reason to stand a little taller. They’re part of your personal brand.

Earlier this week, I overheard a conversation about the most appropriate clothing to wear when giving a presentation. Discussion followed about suits versus jeans, and there was debate about business casual being “in the middle.”

Had anyone asked me, I would say, “It depends.”

Consider the event/occasion and the audience. Think about how you want to present yourself: Authoritative. Approachable. Relaxed. And give thought to your topic. Yoga pants might be okay if you’re talking about how to meditate and demonstrating techniques. Creative disciplines may welcome flow dresses and jean jackets.

There is no right answer that will suit everyone (get the pun?), but I do recommend that you find your proverbial red blazer. Choose something that makes you feel confident and sends the right message.

 

Photo credit: DepositPhotos

Check. Check again. And check again.

Check. Check again. And check again. 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Twice in the last week, I was in meetings where a speaker’s camera wasn’t working. Ouch. That makes it difficult to engage with audiences.

During the pandemic and the meteoric rise in video conferences, many people upgraded their home office equipment to include lighting, cameras, and microphones.

If you’re a speaker for an upcoming conference, class, or meeting, be sure to check your equipment in the space where you plan to use it.

  • Ensure that anything requiring power can be plugged into a power source.
  • Be certain that your settings are where you want them to be.
  • Remove virtual backgrounds that may not be appropriate for the event and audience.
  • Test microphones.

This sounds like common sense advice (and it is), but it always helps to reinforce these practices so your message will be heard as intended.

 

Photo credit: DepositPhotos

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

What does pasta have to do with public speaking?

What does pasta have to do with public speaking? 1707 2560 I Need A Speaker

My husband and I often have conversations when one or both of us might be distracted. It’s easy to do.

We’ll be putting groceries away and mention a few items that were just unpacked from a bag. Then one of us might say something like, “Leave that out. It’s for dinner tonight.” Inevitably, the other person says, “Which one? We just named three items.”

With interpersonal communication, we are not always focused on the words we’re using and the clarity we’re able to achieve. We may be interrupted by a barking dog, giggling children, a phone call, or even our own thoughts.

When we focus on communicating with clarity all the time, we learn to say things like, “Keep the pasta handy. We’re having that for dinner tonight.” This time, there is no confusion as to which item shouldn’t be put away.

Getting into the habit of speaking with intention and clarity makes you more skilled at interpersonal communication and public presentation. (And the pasta is right where you need it.)

 

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Make sure time is on your side

Make sure time is on your side 2560 1930 I Need A Speaker

Event planners juggle many responsibilities. They want to be sure that everything works well for the events they plan.

One crucial element in planning is time. Speakers are typically booked for a set time frame. In the planning stages, event planners will review the length of time allocated for each speaker.

Speakers who complete their presentations with time to spare may cause a problem, because they will affect the schedule for the remainder of the event. The same is true when they speak too long.

When practicing, speakers need to time themselves. It’s important to respect the time frame they have been given and do their part to help make the event run smoothly.

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Yes, we do recommend practicing with distractions

Yes, we do recommend practicing with distractions 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Most public presentation coaches will emphasize the need to practice before speaking in front of a live audience.

Some speakers will claim that it’s difficult for them to find a quiet place to practice their speech without interruption.

Surprise! You may be better suited to a space with distraction.

Why? Practicing amidst noise and movement may actually prepare you better for the live gigs. While you’re speaking at an event, there may be background noice during virtual presentations. At live talks, there may be cell phones ringing or doors opening and closing as people come and go.

Knowing how to stay focus amidst distraction will help when you’re speaking live. Try it.

 

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Booking an international speaker? Here’s what you need to know.

Booking an international speaker? Here’s what you need to know. 2560 1696 I Need A Speaker

We are thrilled to welcome international speakers to our directory!

If you’re considering booking someone from another country, keep these tips in mind:

  • Plan around the time difference. A great meeting time in the United States might mean your speaker joins the event at midnight in his or her home country. Choose a time that’s most convenient for everyone in attendance.
  • Realize there may be additional fees for currency exchange, depending on your payment method. Compensate accordingly.
  • Know and maintain cultural practices from the speaker’s home country.
  • Avoid using slang. People who speak a non-native language well may not know current slang terminology from other places.
  • Don’t reference stereotypes about the speaker’s home country. These stereotypes may be hurtful.
  • Use active listening to ensure the proper messages are heard.
  • If you have a bilingual or multilingual presentation, use interpreters as needed.
  • Help your speaker be as comfortable as possible. Ensure that he or she has a clear understanding of the event, the talk, the audience, and your expectations.
  • Enjoy the experience of getting to know someone from another part of the world!

 

Photo credit: Pexels

What do you want to know about public speaking or event planning?

What do you want to know about public speaking or event planning? 2560 1550 I Need A Speaker

I Need A Speaker is here to serve! We want you to have your best possible speaker event or make the stage your happy place.

Help us help you! Tell us what you want to know. E-mail info@ineedaspeaker.com with your questions or comments about

  • event planning
  • how to choose the right speaker for your event
  • engaging with audiences
  • how to get started in speaking
  • what to consider when setting your price
  • building confidence
  • public presentation training

or anything else you’d like to know! We are happy to answer your questions.

Thanks for being part of I Need A Speaker’s international community!

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Taking the stage can boost your career

Taking the stage can boost your career 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

Most employers are happy when their employees deliver public presentations. The companies enjoy the benefit of increased visibility and credibility, and the speakers get a reputational boost as well.

When you deliver speeches, you demonstrate strong communication and organizational skills. Also, you demonstrate subject matter expertise. Companies value and seek these qualifications.

Your presentation highlights many desirable skills, which can help get you hired or promoted. Go beyond the traditional resume or CV. Show off your expertise and skills on stage! I Need A Speaker can help you get started.

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Hats off for inspirational graduation speeches

Hats off for inspirational graduation speeches 2560 1707 I Need A Speaker

It’s time to celebrate this year’s graduates. Whether they have successfully completed eighth grade or medical school, these graduates are likely reflecting on their past achievements and planning their future ones.

As we honor scholars at ceremonies and parties, it can be difficult to find the right words. I Need A Speaker’s team discovered NPR’s fantastic compilation of graduation speeches that will inspire and motivate all of us. Click here for examples of some of the best graduation speeches.

Now that you’ve seen and heard from great speakers, it’s time to write your own remarks for the occasion. Here are some tips to make the task easier:

  • Get your ideas on paper. Write out everything you’d like to include. You can edit later.
  • Decide if you’ll use a theme (discovery, journey, gratitude, encouragement, etc.).
  • Use an attention-grabbing introduction.
  • Consider using a relevant story.
  • Think about what makes this individual or class unique.
  • Be positive.
  • Keep your comments brief and impactful.
  • Remember to introduce yourself.
  • Thank the people who supported the graduate(s) and made the event memorable.
  • Take a moment to mention the people who could not be there.
  • Use appropriate humor.
  • Speak at a relatively slow pace, emphasizing key words. Pause when you want to add drama.
  • Talk about lessons learned and the endless possibilities that lie ahead.
  • Remember there is more to school than academics. Acknowledge the relationships formed in school, on teams, and through clubs that graduates will cherish for years.
  • Practice!

After you’ve written out your thoughts, string them together in a way that creates a natural flow. Add and subtract … then subtract some more.

Make it short. Make it powerful. Make it inspiring.

 

Congratulations to graduates of all ages!

 

Photo credit: Pexels

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