How to Avoid Public Speaking Excuses

Public Speaking Excuses
Public Speaking Excuses
I love to hear the excuses my clients give for why they did not do well at their last speaking engagement. Whatever the excuse, in most cases, the real reason for this problem is lack of preparation. I cannot tell you how many people tell me that they went over their material several times and they still did not do well giving their speech or presentation.
I then ask them how they practiced and they proceed to explain that they went over it in their mind on numerous occasions. Do you know the mistake in that scenario? They went over it in their mind.
If professional athletes, musicians, singers, actors, and other performers went over their material in their mind, there would be no professional athletics, no concerts, and no Broadway!
Practicing your material - whether it is for a musical event or a stage production - requires that you physically rehearse out loud. For the athlete, it means you exercise and you practice. A LOT! What makes these actors and performers professional is that they have done their due diligence. They have practiced and will continue to do.
I do not know how you could possibly believe you will do a good job in public speaking if you have not practiced your material orally. I suggest placing some stuffed animals in several chairs in your living room and talking to the animals, pretending that they are your audience.
Recording yourself is also part of the process. Today's technology is so advanced and so available to most people, that there really is no excuse for not recording yourself. If you plan a career in public speaking or are required by your company to present material often, it is to your advantage to invest in some form of recording equipment, preferably video. To be able to see and hear yourself is a fantastic tool to hone your presentation skills.
While I do not advocate memorization of the body of your material, I do suggest that you memorize your opening: getting through the beginning of your speech or presentation without a mistake is a tremendous confidence booster. Then, as you move into the body or development of your script, talk around your bullet points, just as if you were having a conversation with friends or family in your living room.
Will you be nervous if you practice diligently? I certainly hope so. All great athletes and performers experience nervousness but they trust in themselves because they have prepared themselves to do the best job possible.
Prepare and practice for your next speaking engagement and you can avoid the excuses!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. For more information on upcoming workshops, visit Nancy's Voice Training Workshops.

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Public Speaking - You Will Experience Breathlessness If You Talk Too Fast

Public Speaking Talk Fast
Public Speaking Talk Fast

Breathlessness is not just a problem for those who are involved in some form of strenuous activity. It is also a problem for many novice public speakers. Add nervousness to the picture and you have the perfect recipe for losing control of your delivery: as you try to catch up on your diminishing air supply, you probably notice that your pitch is rising higher and higher and your speed is getting faster and faster.
One of the most important things you should do when speaking (or exercising) is to breathe with the support of your diaphragm, also known as deep breathing. For the athlete, breathing deeply oxygenates the muscles so they can work harder, stronger and faster. For the public speaker, diaphragmatic breathing oxygenates the brain, allowing for the elimination of toxins in the blood. The result is a decrease in your panic or stress. Essentially, breathing with support gives you control over that wonderful rush of adrenaline.
Nervousness in public speaking is actually a good thing because your adrenaline makes you sharper, more alert, and more focused. Without control over it, however, you are unable to place yourself in this 'fight mode.' Instead, you resort to the status of fleeing or freezing! Neither is beneficial at the lectern.
It is this controlling of your nervous energy which enables you to harness your speed. When I work with my clients, they are able to control their speed as well as their voice because of the breathing. Have you ever noticed a quiver in your voice when you are nervous? By using your chest cavity in talking, you will find that your voice no longer shakes and no longer rises in pitch.
The reason these two factors - your breathing and the use of your chest cavity - will eliminate these speech and voice difficulties is because you will be relying less on your throat and vocal cords to produce your sound. If you are typical of 99% of the population, you have depended on your throat and voice box as your primary resonators. Of course your mouth and nasal cavities also play an important role in the production of voiced sound but there is no doubt that the pharynx and larynx bear the brunt of the work. By implementing your chest cavity as your primary resonator, you will immediately reduce the stress on the vocal cords, thereby eliminating the quiver and the rise in pitch.
Breathlessness will no longer be a problem because you will learn to supplement your balloon of air before you run out of it. There is no secret to the idea of supplementing your air supply. You do it in normal conversation all the time and it looks like this:
  1. talk;
  2. pause;
  3. take a quick breath;
  4. and continue on.
Learn to control your voice and you will have the upper hand over your speed, your breathlessness, and your nervousness.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, group and corporate training in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Nancy's Voice Training Website and watch as she describes the best means of controlling nervousness in any form of public speaking.

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Public Speaking - 3 Steps for Adding More Color to Your Delivery

Public Speaking
Public Speaking

When it comes to speaking with more emotion, more life, more color, many people think it is just the voice with which they need to be concerned. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your facial expression and body language are just as important as your vocal variety.

Think of what you do with your hands when you are talking to your friends, family or colleagues for example. If you're standing, are they hanging loose at your sides? I would think not. More than likely you move them in some fashion. Also, you probably don't stand perfectly still in this situation.

What about your facial expression? Do you smile, frown, or show some form of expression or emotion when you are in conversation? Perhaps you raise your eyebrows or shake your head from side to side if you are in disagreement.

If you are aware that you are using some form of color in your body language and facial expression when in conversation, then I want you to do the same when addressing an audience because it will look and feel more natural than standing immobile on a stage like a robot.

On the other hand, should you find your delivery skills lacking in expression both in conversation and at the lectern, try the following exercises, using a video recorder if at all possible. Even accessing the recording capabilities on you iPhone will work. For this exercise, it will be easier if you are standing.

1. Record yourself saying, I couldn't possibly do that using force on the word possibly. Keep the other four words relatively flat. Play it back. Were you able to accomplish the goal? Did you notice a difference? If you didn't, keep practicing until the word possibly stands out from the others.

2. Record yourself again and, this time, shake your head in a negative manner. Watch yourself on the recording. Did it look natural? If not, practice it again and again until it does.

3. Assuming you have accomplished the above 2 steps, when you record yourself this time, move back slightly with one foot as you say it and use one of your hands to emphasize the word possibly.
This exercise will be most effective if you are alone when you record yourself so that you do not feel self-conscious. You also need to 'allow' yourself or to give yourself permission to express your emotion.

Admittedly, in the beginning this is easier said than done. You have spent your entire lifetime keeping your emotions inside of you. What I am asking you to do will require the freedom to express.
Remember, speaking with emotion and allowing your listeners to see your expression is normal. Speaking in a monotone voice with no emotion is not.

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and discover the best means of adding some life to your voice and your delivery.

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Public Speakers Know That They Have To Color Their Presentations

Public Speakers Presentations
Public Speakers Presentations
Congratulations, you've been asked to give a speech. Were you thinking about using some PowerPoint or Keynote slides with that presentation? OK, we all know about the importance of public speaking and so that sounds like a good idea. One quick question about those slides that you're going to be making - do you know how to make the data that you are going to be presenting memorable or is it just going to be forgettable?

The Power Of Color

When we are putting together our slide decks, what do we spend our time thinking about? More often than not it's about how many slides we are going to be creating and what cool clip art we can use (or even worse: what cool animation we can add).

It turns out that we might be overlooking one of the most important factors that can cause our audiences to remember what we show them. What we've been skipping is color. Oh, I don't mean that we don't use color in our slides - no B&W decks here. However, if you are like most speakers then what color something is can almost be an afterthought.

This means that we've been missing the boat. Often times what we have is a lot of data that we want our audience to see. However, the real meaning of that data is hidden and it's up to us to tease it out and make sure that our audience understands it. This is where color can help us out.

If you've ever watched one of those fancy fashion shows, then you understand just how powerful color can be in conveying information. Your audience is going to be drawing conclusions from the images that you present to them in your slides. The colors that you use to do this is going to play a critical role in how effective this all is.

The color experts have studied how we process colors and they've learned a few things. One of the most important things is that when we can name a color, then we are better able to both understand and communicate the information that it contains. That's why using "ice" blue when you are talking about climate change will boost your audience's understanding of your message.

Problems That Using Color Can Cause

As powerful as spending extra time picking the correct colors to use in your next presentation can be, it does come with its own set of challenges. What we need to keep in mind as presenters is that the way that our deck of slides looks to us may not be the way that it looks to our audience.
We need to be aware that in our audiences, there will probably be people who have partial sight and color deficiencies. Since we want our message to connect with them just as much as with everyone else, we need to adjust how we use colors in order to meet their special needs.

This means that we need to not use colors of similar lightness next to each other. Simple steps like this will help the 285 million people world-wide who are visually impaired and the 246 million people who have low vision.

What All Of This Means For You

As public speakers we are always looking for ways to improve our ability to connect with our audiences. It turns out that we may have been overlooking a simple way to improve how we do this by using colors more effectively.
The experts who study such things tell us that our audience will always be using our images to reach conclusions and by using colors we can help steer them towards the conclusions that we want them to reach. We do need to be careful in how we use our colors and keep in mind that some of the members of our audience may have partial sight or color deficiencies issues.

Moving the selection of what colors we are going to use in our next presentation from being an afterthought to being one of our first decisions is easy enough to do - making these kinds of simple changes is one of the benefits of public speaking. Now all we need to do is to make sure that the colors that we select help us to do a better job of telling our audience the story that we want them to hear.

Dr. Jim Anderson
"America's #1 Unforgettable Business Communication Skills Coach"
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Do you give speeches today, but want to learn how be more effective? Dr. Jim Anderson believes that great business skills are no substitute for poor presentation skills. Dr. Anderson will share with you the knowledge that he has gained while working to improve the speaking ability of both individuals and teams of speakers for over 20 years. Learn the secrets of effective speakers and really connect with your audience during your next speech.

If you want to follow Dr. Anderson on Twitter, he can be found at:

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How to Free Your Body and Speak From the Source of Your Talent

Free Your Body
Free Your Body

Speakers who are comfortable in their bodies have a lovely natural flow in the way they use them. If you have been wondering what to do to be more engaging and more effective in your public speaking or in one-on-one situations, I've got a suggestion that works every time. "Put it in neutral!" Let me explain.

Neutral Position: This is the place from which all presentations originate and to which they all return. Think of this position as the source of your talent. We have neutral position in our cars - now we have one for our bodies. When the body is in a comfortable neutral, just as in cars, we are free to transition to any of our other gears - such as emotional gears.

Standing in front of a mirror, plant your feet six to eight inches apart, in line with your legs and hips. Bring your hands to your sides and let them hang freely. WARNING - if you have previously been stuck in the fig leaf position, or other similar versions of holding on to yourself, then standing with your hands at your side will feel very strange at first. You may feel as if your hands are on the floor, much like a Gorilla. You might be asking yourself, "What do I do with my hands?" You probably will not love this position at first, but this is quite normal for those not used to standing in this way, and it is just fine! Let it in and let it start to work for you.

Neutral is open and receptive; it says, "I am ready." Instead of a place of being stuck, it is a place that provides a sense of flow. Think of yourself as a tree. As you stand there, imagine that your feet are rooted in and supported by the earth. You are not just floating on some surface - you are rooted, grounded and connected. It is very important that you feel this connection with the earth. It has everything to do with your success!

You must practice neutral position. Begin by standing still - let the position sink in. Walk around and start to talk about something, a prepared speech, for instance. Are you starting to feel a connection between the words you are saying and your body's response to them? Allow the meaning of the words to extend through your body, especially your arms and hands. If you want to walk, do it - just don't pace.

  • Return to neutral
  • Take a step
  • Return to neutral
  • Repeat as necessary

Before long, you will be comfortably flowing in your personally engaging style of communication, welcoming the audience in and keeping them hanging on every word that your body is saying. You will be flowing in the gift of you and your message.

Summary: Remember, if you are not in charge - tension will be. Tension will be speaking, instead of your talent, and the gift of your message will not be received, disappointing both you and your audience. Take control, instead. From the neutral position, let your body transition from gear to gear, emotion to emotion, taking your audience along for the ride.

Laurie Burton wants you to master the art of communicating. In fact, she wants you to master the art of YOU - so she wrote the book on it! Grab your FREE chapter of Presenting You at and see for yourself why regardless of skill-level, business experience or leadership involvement, Laurie's techniques quickly and consistently generate dramatic results with immediate impact and effectiveness.

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Worse Than Death? A Guide to Beating Public Speaking Nerves

Public Speaking Nerves
Public Speaking Nerves
Just in time for Halloween, a poll commissioned for Ripley's Believe It or Not! London has found that a fear of public speaking ranks higher than a fear of death. The poll questioned 2,000 women and found that, although the top fears were losing family members and being buried alive, a close third place was speaking in public.

While the first two will strike a chord with anyone, a fear of public speaking may sound slightly less serious. That is, if you're not staring at a public speaking situation. It is perfectly understandable and, as the above poll shows, if you feel this way then you are not alone. However, it is an avoidable fear.
So for those who feel that way, here is my three point plan for beating the nerves and making sure that you have the confidence and courage to stand up and talk, whether it's at a function like a wedding, a presentation at work, or just in front of a large group of friends.

1 - Mental Preparation
First of all, make sure than you are ready for your speech or presentation. Practice, practice and then practice some more. Take every opportunity, whether it's in front of friends or family or on your own in your room, in the shower or when you're out walking.
There really is no substitute for practice. Done properly and consistently, it will give you the confidence that you know your material. As a result, you can strike off one reason why people get nervous: a fear of the unknown. If you know your material inside-out, then that is one less thing to worry about.
Another thing to remember is that how you are feeling is all in the mind. This may sound obvious but it's true. Fear can be a powerful thing, a terrible thing; but it is still just an emotional reaction.
So try to get a sense of perspective. Ask yourself: what is the worst that could happen? Then think about what you can do to counter that. For example:

  • You forget the words? Then make sure you have nice, clear notes available to you.

  • You will look as though you don't know what you're talking about? Then do your research, or have a friendly expert to hand to help, or (and this is the most important) don't be afraid to tell the questioner that you'll get back to them once you've had a chance to look up the answer.

  • Worried that everyone will laugh at you, or hate you, or not laugh at you (if your speech or presentation is a humorous one)? Don't worry. One of the big secrets of public speaking is that everyone will be on your side. Look back to the start of this article. You are not alone in being afraid of speaking out in public. You can guarantee that a fair proportion of your audience will be respecting you for standing up and speaking in front of them. They will want you to do well. It's human nature. If you don't believe me, just think back to the last time you saw someone speak, someone who appeared a bit nervous. Think about how you reacted. I bet you were willing them to do their best.

2 - Physical Preparation
There are a few little tricks you can do to calm the nerves and get yourself in the best possible position to do as well as you can when you stand up to speak:

  • Be rested. Try and get as good a night's sleep as possible the night before. To help you with this, make sure that you do no more practice after (say) 6pm - do something completely different to take your mind off it. If you spend all evening cramming you will just end up stressing yourself even more, leading to lack of sleep, leading to you being even less likely to remember your lines, leading to even more nerves on the day... You get the picture. So try to kick back and relax!

  • Speak to others. Don't bottle up how you feel - share it! Sometimes just sharing how you feel can be enough to lighten the load, if only a little. And if you share with the right person they may even come up with something to help you.

  • Think about what normally helps you relax. Exercise can be a great way to burn off all that nervous energy. On the other side of the spectrum, meditation and visualisation can be a great way to settle the nerves.

  • Take deep breaths. Every time you feel yourself starting to panic or get nervous, take a few long, deep breaths. Focus on filling your lungs completely and then emptying them. The oxygen will help to calm your nerves and feed your brain, and by breathing deeply you will stop yourself hyperventilating.

  • Just before you are about to speak, take a few really deep breaths. Concentrate on breathing in all the way and then out all the way. Again, this will help to calm your body and, just as importantly, give you the puff and energy to get you started with speaking.

3 - Just Do It!
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for standing up and starting to speak. This may sound daunting, but absolutely the hardest part is starting; once you're in your flow you'll find it so much easier than you feared.

To help you with this, make sure you have 100% memorised the opening couple of lines of what you are going to say, as well as having them written out in front of you - even if it's something as simple as "Good afternoon, my name is Pete and I'm going to speak to you today about... "
So that's it - sounds simple, doesn't it? A fear of public speaking is understandable, but it can be beaten very easily, by just focusing on a few key points.

Good luck!

Peter Oxley is the author of The Wedding Speech Manual, a complete, step-by-step guide to writing and performing your wedding speech. Aside from writing and willingly speaking in front of large crowds of strangers, Pete spends his spare time playing music badly, supporting football teams that play badly and writing about himself in the third person.
Also see his website:

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Overcoming Public Speaking Phobia, Step By Step

Overcoming Public Speaking Phobia
Overcoming Public Speaking Phobia

Today I would like to share with you about the topic of overcoming public speaking phobia. Now I know that it is common for people to be afraid to speak in public. Are you one of them? I hope that by the end of this article you will be able to overcome that fear and confidently speak in front of a crowd. You were called for greatness, so do not let this fear hold you back from achieving your destiny!
Well there may be several reasons why people are afraid to speak in front of a crowd. Firstly, it could be because they are introverts, so they may not be used to speaking in the first place. Or, it could be because they were bullied as a kid and so they are afraid to face people. Maybe it could just be a case of worrying how they will look on stage. Whatever the case is, you will need to trace the root cause for that fear. It could be one of the three reasons I mentioned, or it could be some other reasons. It could even be a combination of any of these reasons.
Once you have pointed out the root cause for your public speaking phobia, it is time to open up. Find someone you can trust and confide in him or her about that fear. When you open up and admit that you have those fears, that means you are facing your fears head on instead of hiding them and letting them consume you. You also end up getting motivated to overcome it. Plus, by telling someone you can trust, you ensure that you get the support of someone you can count on, even in the midst of hardships.
The next step to overcoming public speaking phobia would to step out of your comfort zone and start speaking to a crowd. Here, you can start by speaking to a crowd of small people. Now, you may feel nervous at the start, and you may even stutter, but with practice, that confidence should develop within you and you should eventually get the hang of it. Over time, you should progressively challenge yourself to speak to large crowds. During the entire journey, there may be times when you feel nervous or anxious. When that happens, remind yourself that you are above that fear, and you can overcome it calmly.
I hope you have a better understanding of how you can overcome your public speaking phobia. I wish you success in your journey to becoming a top class public speaker!
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