You have to make a speech-nervous?

Preparing for Success in Speaking

The success of your speaking is determined primarily by the time you spend preparing before you step in front of your audience.  A good presentation requires careful planning and lack of planning is always apparent.  Sure clues are speeches that are too long, too detailed, confusing, vague, boring or off-track.  You can spend less time producing short, powerful presentations if you systematically prepare beforehand.

 

The often overlooked first and most critical step in preparation is understanding the “what” and the “why” of your presentation: its purpose.  Your purpose should be the broad general outcome you want the presentation to achieve.  Here are three questions you can ask yourself to clarify the objective of your presentation:

o  Why am I giving this presentation?

o  What do I want the audience to know or do at the end of the presentation?

o  How do I want the audience to feel?

It often helps us prepare for a presentation when we understand the different types of presentations.  Here are four basic types that differ primarily in the amount of detail presented and the level of persuasiveness required to meet the objective of the presentation:

 

            Sales —  Use the sales presentation to sell an idea or suggestion to clients, upper management, co-workers, or employees.  You may also use the sales presentation to persuade an audience to take a particular action or adopt a belief.  This type of presentation uses a lot of persuasive skills and seldom requires extensive detail.

            Explanatory — The explanatory presentation is best used to familiarize, give an overall perspective, or identify new developments.  It should rarely involve heavy detail, but should offer the audience new or renewed information and understanding.  It does not require extensive persuasive efforts.

            Instructional —  When you want to teach others how to use something, such as a new procedure or a piece of hardware, use the instructional presentation.  There is usually more audience participation and involvement with this presentation format.  It generally involves extensive detail.  This is a persuasive presentation because you are convincing your audience to use a new technique or to adopt a new method of doing something.

 

            Oral report— oral reports bring the audience up to date on something with which they are already familiar.  These generally focus on facts, figures and other details and involve little persuasive efforts.

Relax and try to enjoy it!

 

 

Know Your Audience

 

After you have a statement of purpose and understand the type of presentation you will be giving, you must consider the particular audience you have in mind and how to mold your presentation to fit the specific characteristics of that audience.  The more time you devote to analyzing your audience beforehand, the less you will have to do “on the spot.”

 

Here are some ways you can acquire information in advance regarding your audience:

 

o  Ask the presentation host for information about the audience.  Find out general demographics such as age, sex, professional level, specific interests and needs.  Also ask what the group has responded well to in the past.  What presentation styles were well received?

 

            o  Talk to members of the audience.  If possible, arrive early enough to survey one or more members of the audience to find out what they expect and what they would like to hear.

 

            o  Talk to other speakers.  If you know other speakers who have spoken to the same group, ask them what worked and what they would do differently with the group.

 

Here are some questions you should always ask yourself to help you to analyze the needs of each particular audience you will address.

 

-Why should they listen to you?

-How does what you say affect them?

-What’s in it for them to listen to you?

-Why is it important for the audience to hear what you have to say?

 

Communicate Effectively Through Your Wardrobe

Make your wardrobe work for you

Often we acquire our clothes haphazardly—a sale item or an impulse buy here, a Christmas gift there—without much thought as to how they fit our image, or even if they match each other. In fact, you’ve probably seen folks who’ve expanded their wardrobe only to hobble themselves by wearing a plaid shirt with a striped tie, or to go overboard with jewelry that clatters and clangs when they walk. In other words, unless you know how to put it all together, you can improve your wardrobe but still project a poor image and not be able to communicate effectively who you are. So make sure your colors, patterns, and accessories are complementary, not clashing.

Do you communicate who you are by the way you dress?

Most of us have at least one or two outfits that make us feel especially good when we’re wearing them. We tend to save those for special occasions. But why not try to increase that number to three, four, or more such outfits and, thus, try to make a particularly good impression every day? Communicate who you are!

If you’re vague about what you look best in, consult a friend or co-worker whose taste you admire, or go to a wardrobe consultant. They often spot things that you’d look good in but probably wouldn’t consider trying on.

A wardrobe consultant may sound like a costly luxury. But many times their advice is free if you buy clothes from them, and some will even shop for you at an hourly rate, which can save a lot of time. Combine that time savings with greater selection and the likelihood of a superb fit, and it all may add up to a terrific value.

Communicate effectively by dressing for success and you will stand out!

Do Clothes REALLY Make the Man?

Make your wardrobe work for you

 

Often we acquire our clothes haphazardly—a sale item or an impulse buy here, a Christmas gift there—without much thought as to how they fit our image, or even if they match each other. In fact, you’ve probably seen folks who’ve expanded their wardrobe only to hobble themselves by wearing a plaid shirt with a striped tie, or to go overboard with jewelry that clatters and clangs when they walk. In other words, unless you know how to put it all together, you can improve your wardrobe but still project a poor image. So make sure your colors, patterns, and accessories are complementary, not clashing.

Most of us have at least one or two outfits that make us feel especially good when we’re wearing them. We tend to save those for special occasions. But why not try to increase that number to three, four, or more such outfits and, thus, try to make a particularly good impression every day? 

If you’re vague about what you look best in, consult a friend or co-worker whose taste you admire, or go to a wardrobe consultant. They often spot things that you’d look good in but probably wouldn’t consider trying on.

A wardrobe consultant may sound like a costly luxury. But many times their advice is free if you buy clothes from them, and some will even shop for you at an hourly rate, which can save a lot of time. Combine that time savings with greater selection and the likelihood of a superb fit, and it all may add up to a terrific value.

Tell us if you have had a time when clothes, not necessarily the most expensive, but the right fit and look, have made a difference for you! Comment and let us know!


 

What is YOUR Silent Message? Are You Sending It During Work Hours?

Sending Out Your Best Silent Message

 

You make a statement about yourself even before you open your mouth. This is your “silent message,” and it can include everything from your posture to your positiveness. In short, it’s the way you carry yourself, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Such quiet signals profoundly affect people’s initial perception, or image, of you.

 

Of course, image isn’t everything-but it is important. As you know by now, doing well in life doesn’t hinge solely on merit and hard work. Image, especially when backed up by strong performance, is a powerful force. And a negative first impression-saying the wrong thing, wearing the wrong clothes, coming across as uncaring or inept-creates roadblocks that can cut off relationships before they get started.

 

When we meet people we immediately like, we tend to put a positive spin–at least, initially–on everything they say or do. Some call this favorable first impression presence. Others liken it to energy, or aura.

 

People with a presence, energy, or aura are able to maintain an excitement about themselves that starts with-but usually lasts far beyond-a favorable first impression. Thus, we admire them before we even know much about them, therefore, they possess an enormous advantage in establishing a bond with people.

 

Here are some other ideas on projecting a positive image:

 

1. A winning image starts with a good self-image. A good self-image doesn’t follow success-it precedes it, as Robert L. Shook says in his book Winning Images. Someone saddled with a poor self-image may fool some people some of the time, but eventually he’ll fail, unless he comes to grips with his basic self-image.

 

Get some photographs or videotapes taken of yourself when you feel you’re looking your best and study them carefully. What do you see that you like, or don’t like?

Then ask your best friends for their candid opinions on not only how you look, but how you carry yourself, how you come across verbally, how you come across in terms of knowledge, enthusiasm, sincerity, and integrity, and what your car or house or briefcase or other material goods say about you. Promise you won’t take offense–and don’t!

 

2. Avoid annoying or distracting habits or mannerisms. Marcia Grad, in her book Charisma: How to Get That Special Magic, calls these distracting habits or mannerisms “charisma  robbers” and includes among them:

¥          Tugging at clothing

¥          Drumming fingers on a table

¥          Tapping pencils or clicking pens

¥          Doodling

¥          Jangling keys or change

¥          Biting nails

¥          Cleaning teeth

 

Not only do these habits make it more difficult for the other person to hear you; they also detract from your image.

 

3. Seek winners, spurn losers. Attitudes are contagious! So nurture your emotional well being by choosing friends who genuinely want you to succeed and who encourage you. Also, ask yourself about your surroundings: How’s my house or apartment decorated? What about my office? Is it drab, or energizing?

 

Read some inspirational and motivational books. Or listen to happy music. (Have you ever heard a mournful banjo tune?) Or make it a point to go to funny movies or watch a TV sitcom that makes you laugh.

 

Consciously reduce your exposure to the negative, whether it’s gossip from co-workers, violence in the media, or pessimism in your own thoughts.

 

4. Practice treating everyone as if he or she is the most important person you’ll meet that day. This will mean seeking to replace arrogance with empathy-not an easy task for a lot of people. However, it’s a real test of character, and every once in a while, you’ll learn a big lesson from that “little” person.

 

5. Make fitness a lifestyle, not a chore. You don’t need an expensive club membership or a cross-country ski machine to maintain a body that exudes vitality. Forget the spandex, stopwatches, and ankle warmers, for instance, and just:

¥          Walk up and down the stairs to your high-rise office or apartment.

¥          Ride a bike to the neighborhood convenience store to pick up that quart of nonfat milk.

¥          Take a nature hike instead of watching a nature film on television.

Tell us, what do you do to project a positive self-image? What is your “silent message?”  Share with us and comment to this blog!

A Winning Image Starts With A Good Self-Image

I have a teacup poodle named Vito. Vito is the size of a toaster, but  every time I take him for a walk, he never fails to pick a fight with some dog ten times his size. It’s  become clear to me that Vito has an image problem – he’s a little dog who thinks he’s a lot bigger than he really is. (Blame me for naming him Vito!)

Many of us, like Vito, carry around a self-image that doesn’t really jive  with the facts. And that can be devastating  to our careers.   After all, how we look in our mind’s eye really determines how successful we can be in dealing with other people. For example, if you have an overly negative self-image –  you feel that you’re too tall, or overweight, or unattractive in some way – you’ll lack confidence, and others will easily catch on. On the other  hand, if you have an overly positive  image of yourself – you think you  look terrific, when in fact you’re a  sloppy dresser who’s badly in need of a haircut – you’ll be blinded by a false sense of confidence  and make decisions, actions, or statements about yourself that might lead  people to question your professionalism…and  even your sanity.

In either case, analysis by yourself – and perhaps by those closest to you – is needed, because your image is important. Luckily, it’s also something you can easily change! To find out how others see  you, get some photographs or videotapes taken of yourself when you feel you’re looking your best. Ask for close-ups  and study them carefully. What do  you see that you like, or don’t like?

Then ask your best friends for their  candid opinions on how you look, how you carry yourself, how you come across
verbally, and what your car or house or briefcase or other material goods say about you. Promise
you won’t take offense – and don’t! Then ask them to tell you about your image in terms of knowledge
and enthusiasm as well as sincerity and integrity.

Now you can use your own and others’ candid analyses to change  aspects of your image that give off  the wrong impression, and walk with your head  held high!