Free resources from Udemy

The folk at Udemy have put together good collection of youtube videos focusing on public speaking. The videos are short, and give good examples and advice on become a better speaker.

Udemy also has a several online public speaking courses for sale. But like many learning sites you may have to look around to find the one that best suits you (hint: click on the courses and check out the table of contents).

They gave me a enrollment of one of the courses, and I got video, downloadable PDF supplementary material and external links.

Personally I think that nothing can compare to getting up and giving a speech in a safe environment (such as at a Toastmasters meeting), but if you are looking for some fast-track information or want to supplement your training,  there is some good stuff to be found.

On a side note I have used Udemy for technical training as well, and they have lots of very good courses on a variety of topics. They are worth checking out.

10 steps to creating a really strong story

Guest post by Jim Harvey

It sounds like a presentation trainer’s cliche, but it’s not. In business presentations, the story is the thing. There’s a skill and a structure to creating interesting and compelling narratives. A craft started in the verbal tradition by prehistoric man, developed by the ancient Greeks, sharpened by the French, the Italians, Spanish and British over centuries, is now made into a global, multi billion dollar industry by the Americans. Telling stories with a message is what people have always sought to do. And those who are good at it have real value in the places they live and work.

Children are brought up on stories with a beginning, middle and end. Adults expect a point, a message, interesting characters, love, laughter, joy, tears and pity, and are disappointed if they don’t get them. Then we go to school, university, college and work and all of the joy seems to disappear. And we get talked at. Why? Because people don’t apply the simplest of the story-telling crafts to the most important parts of their life. Story structure? Ignore it at your peril or understand that when you’ve got a strong story, everything else will follow. How do we do it then? Here’s a few thoughts:

  1. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask ‘if I were them what would be interesting, useful and relevant to know and understand about this subject?’
  2. Brainstorm everything you could say on the subject onto a single piece of paper.
  3. Consult with key members of the audience about what it is they want to know, don’t want to know. Then decide what you absolutely have to tell them.
  4. Go back to your brainstorm and highlight those things that now will feature in your presentation and write your presentation objectives- In this presentation I will show X, Y and Z, and explain how we came to this decision. Then I will tell them exactly what I think they need to do and by when, to make the most of their investment.
  5. Build the storyboard- Act by act (See a classic 3-act structure) and keep on grinding until there’s a real rational, logical path through the presentation.
  6. Create a storyboard that tells the story with key scenes & content from each part.
  7. Create the visuals to support the storyboard.
  8. Add a high impact prologue (introduction) and epilogue (conclusion).
  9. Build your ‘script’ through rehearsal and repetition out loud rather than writing it out.
  10.  Write your script to the level you require (bullet points are best but in some very important or sensitive presentations you have to be scripted word for word).

Jim Harvey is the MD of Allcow Communications, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.

Five Tips to Deliver Exciting Speeches

I received this article in Patricia Fripp’s email newsletter, and I have reposted it with her permission.

Five Tips to Deliver Exciting Speeches

1. Open Hot, Close Hotter.

To grab audience attention and be remembered, start the presentation with a bang, not a limp “Thanks, it’s nice to be here.” The first (and last) 30 seconds have the most impact on the audience. Save any greetings and gratitude until they’ve already grabbed the audience with a powerful opening. And don’t end with a whimper. Remember your last words linger. Unfortunately, many speakers close with, “Are there any questions?” Wrong! Instead, say, “Before my closing remarks, what are your specific questions?” Answer them. Then close on a high note.

2. Get the Inside Scoop.

Attendees at one of my seminars, “How to Be a Coach to Your Client,” wanted to know how they can personalize and add excitement and color to the speeches they craft for others. How, they ask, can they get those invaluable inside stories? I suggested they do what I do—interview the client’s colleagues and family members. These people are familiar with the “stories” the speaker often tells, stories that have already been honed to what I call the “Hollywood model” (characters, dialogue, dramatic lesson learned). What insights and amusing stories do you share with family and friends? Your audiences will enjoy them.

3. Try Inside-Out Speaking.

Don’t write speeches to read. I ask my coaching clients questions. My goal is to pull out of them their ideas, stories, life experiences, philosophies, and examples through questions. Then my job is to help them organize, wordsmith, and deliver these comments with more drama. Although the client and I often end up with a script that can then be edited and tightened, the words grow out of our conversations. I call this “inside-out” speaking. My work represents a cleaned-up conversation; one the speaker is going to have with the audience. Of course, a script is not a conversation, but if it sounds conversational, it is far more appealing and much easier to deliver directly to the audience without reading it word for word. Emotional contact is impossible without eye contact.

4. Provide Five Magic Moments.

How are great speeches like classic Hollywood movies? Movie promoters say that a successful film has to have five magic moments for each viewer, though not necessarily the same five. When it does, people will talk about it and add enough energy to a paid advertising campaign to make it a hit.

Be sure each presentation has five great moments—dramatic, humorous, profound, or poignant—that the audience can relive in their minds later and repeat to their friends.

5. Avoid Borrowed Stories.

I urge you to create vivid, personal stories for your presentations. Imagine how I once felt, sitting in an audience of 18,000 people, listening to Barbara Bush describe a great story she had read in Chicken Soup for the Soul—my own story which made the point, “What you do speaks louder than what you say.” (Yes, I know Ralph Waldo Emerson said it first.) Did Barbara Bush mention it was my story? No.

But even if she had mentioned my name, I think she missed a huge opportunity with her speech. Back then; I imagined her sitting in bed going through stacks of books with a highlighter pen. Since then, I’ve realized that a speechwriter did the research and wrote her words. My point? I’m not upset she didn’t credit me. Just disappointed that someone with Barbara Bush’s incredible life experiences did not share them. I am sure she has more interesting topics and perceptions than reporting on a conversation I had with Bobby Lewis. That’s how audiences will feel if you repeat old stories.

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

A Speaker for All Reasons™
527 Hugo Street
San Francisco, CA 94122 USA

Telephone: (415) 753-6556 (USA)
Fax: (415) 753-0914
Email: pfripp(at)ix.netcom.com

Just get out there

Two of my interests are photography and public speaking, which is why I follow the blogs of Both Darren LaCroix, who won the world champion of public speaking in 2001, and Jared Polin (aka the Fro), who is the most amazing photographer and teacher out of Philadelphia. They both have a lot in common:

  • Both are passionate about their respective professions
  • Both have excelled in their profession
  • Both give out there knowledge freely

And they both believe that the best way to improve is to immerse yourself and practise what you want to get better at!

Darren LaCroixIn the case of Darren:

 The more you work on your ‘talent,’ the more talent you’ll be given. What you have now is more than enough. Do you bury your talents or invest them? Want to speak in front of an audience of one thousand? Knock ‘em dead at a local service club and more will be given. In my early days of comedy, I had to perform better than those around me at the open mic nights to deserve the right to perform at a professional comedy show.

Darren is well known in the speaking circles for his mantra “stage time stage time stage time “.

And now from the froFro:

Do we ever reach a point where we can be satisfied with our work and don’t need to keep pushing ourselves to learn?…there’s always something more we can learn and I believe that deep down we all know that we should keep learning, studying and progressing as photographers and as people. It’s our own work that teaches us the most. “First, KEEP SHOOTING. If you don’t shoot, you will have a tougher time learning.

There is a clear message here. Stop thinking about getting better, take action! If you want to be a better speaker, speak at every opportunity. Record yourself, evaluate and improve on your speeches. It you want to be a great photographer, take photos. Examine them with a critical eye. See what really works, and what doesn’t.

What are your passions, and what are you doing to get better? Are you sitting at home, or getting out there?

You know that you are an “old” Toastmaster when…

A tongue in cheek look at some of the changes in the Toastmasters organisation over the last few years.

You have been a member for more than a few years if:

  1. You achieved a CTM award. Do you remember the Able Toastmaster award?
  2. Your CTM manual had 15 speeches in it
  3. As VP Education, you had to fax programmes to members, and if you were a member the programme was faxed to you by the VPE
  4. You remember carbon-copied area visit reports which needed to be mailed to the district governor
  5. Club and district performance reports were mailed to clubs and district on a quarterly basis. You could not view them online
  6. Membership application forms needed to be mailed or faxed to WHQ
  7. Educational awards needed to be mailed or faxed to WHQ
  8. You were not admitted to a club meeting unless you were wearing a jacket and tie (ok some clubs still enforce this, but very few)
  9. New membership dues was $16, and renewals $18 (or even less)

While this list is in jest, it shows how the organisation has progressed over the last several years, and how it continues to be a dynamic and growing organisation. Now we have:

  1. A very strong communication and leadership track
  2. Programmes are placed on club websites and emailed to members
  3. Area visit reports are electronically processed and automatically emailed to relevant people
  4. All club and district reports (as well as archives) are available online
  5. Most forms can now be processed online, including new membership applications, dues payment and  educational awards
  6. It is far less formal than in the past, and clubs have adapted their formality to suit their markets
  7. We now have a podcast, and online training
  8. Yes dues are now $20 and $27 respectively, but still astonishingly good value

What should be added to the list?

Grow your Voice to Speak with Confidence

Grow your Voice to Speak with Confidence

Dr Petro Janse van Vuuren

This book discusses aspects of public speaking that we often neglect, and that is using your voice as an effective tool to get your message across.  Instead of telling you how to structure your presentation, how to use the stage or to use body language, she focuses understanding, developing and using the core muscles required to have an effective speaking voice.

It is a little like a Pilates or Yoga course for developing your speaking voice. It is written in 6 chapters, each building on the previous chapter to help you to develop your speaking voice. The accompanying CD takes you through the physical and vocal exercise in the book. While the exercise are good for developing the core muscles (hence my Pilates comment), they are also good for general warm-up (thinking about it they remind me of choir warm-up exercises from high school).

Dr van Vuuren has plenty of experience in the theatre, and many case studies to backup her approach. The book is for sale on her website for R190. You can find out more about her book and workshops on her website.

This is a good book to compliment traditional public speaking training, and I see a place in my bookshelf for it.

10 Delivery Guidelines for Speaking with Impact

Craig Valentine offers 10 simple guidelines for adding impact to your speech. Included are:

1. Don’t move all the time. If you are always moving then no movement will be meaningful. Your audience will never know what’s most important. Move with a purpose. When there is no reason to move, don’t.

6. Don’t use the same gesture over and over again. This is evidence of a habit and most likely distracts from your presentation.

Read the full list with more details and audio-examples here.

A freebee from the best

I have listened to Darren LaCroix’s “Get Paid to Speak by Next Week” CD’s several times, and they provide great insight into the business and art of public speaking.

Darren has now gone a step further by offering offering 52 weekly modules (IE 1 year) via email for free. You can signup or find out more here.

Ben Zander – tickets still available for JHB

Yesterday, I saw Ben Zander speaking in Cape Town. He and his wife Ros were here for the launch of the Alive With Possibility DVD, a DVD celebrating the possibility in South Africa. Ben is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and one of the most transformational speakers that I have ever heard.

He speaks about downward spiral thinking, and radiating possibility speaking, and leaves us with the challenge of looking for possibility in our thoughts and our actions. This is the third time that I have seen him, and every time is a transformational experience.

If you are in Johannesburg, there are still a few tickets available for Friday’s presentation. Speak to [email protected] about tickets, or visit www.benjaminzander.com to find out more about Ben.

We are alive with Possibility

Ben Zander in Cape Town

If you want to see a brilliant and inspirational speaker, you have to get tickets to see Ben speak. I have been twice, an it is an incredible inspiring presentation! He will be in Cape Town and Johannesburg in Jan 2011. It is worth every cent.

For details, email [email protected], or goto www.symphonia.net.

Benjamin Zander, world renowned conductor and speaker on leadership, captivates and inspires with his unique style.

Benjamin Zander

Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, is a world renowned speaker on leadership. He has presented at the World Economic Forum many times, and was the opening keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2009.

Benjamin Zander’s presentation takes an audience on a journey that offers a startling new perspective on leadership. Through stories, music and concepts it causes a radical shift in perception. This is not a speech, it is an experience!

In this new model of leadership, the conductor sees his job as awakening possibility in others. The orchestra is a group of highly trained individuals poised to coalesce into an effective whole. Passion, creativity and the desire to contribute are basic human instincts to be released.

World famous conductor, Benjamin Zander uses the metaphor of the orchestra and a life-time of experience conducting, coaching and teaching musicians to work his magic to overcome barriers to corporate productivity. This presentation sources fundamental changes in organizations.

For more information see www.benjaminzander.com.

CAPE TOWN

Dates: Tues, 25 January 2011
Registration: 08:30 – 09:00
Time: 09:00 – 13:00
Venue: TBC

JOHANNESBURG

Dates: Fri, 28 January 2011
Registration: 08:30 – 09:00
Time: 09:00 – 13:00
Venue: Vodaworld, Midrand