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10 Tips for Public Speaking

Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and even beneficial, but too much nervousness can be detrimental. Here are some proven tips on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations: 1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language ± that way you won¶t easily forget what to say. 2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected. 3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It¶s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers. 4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids. 5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. ("One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm. 6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping ± it will boost your confidence. 7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They¶re rooting for you. 8. Don¶t apologize for any nervousness or problem ± the audience probably never noticed it. 9. Concentrate on the message ± not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience. 10. Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you ² as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A

Humor is hard! Even experienced speakers struggle with knowing how to (appropriately!) tickle their audience¶s funny bones. that¶s why we have assembled a wide range of resource material on this topic. Think about what types of humor you appreciate. we typically don¶t think of ourselves as being funny speakers. Members of Toastmasters are no different. It can: y y y y y Help establish a bond with the audience Win over a hostile audience Keep the audience interested Emphasize or illustrate a point Help people remember you Here are some tips: y Be yourself. . We all enjoy listening to a funny speech ± the problem is. Don¶t like jokes? Try a humorous anecdote or a witty observation from your own life. Toastmasters exist to help your audience laugh with you. then create a library of such items. not at you! Humor has many benefits.Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment Mastering the Laugh You won¶t croak if you tell a joke! Let¶s face it.

and you haven¶t laughed .y y y y y y y y y y It¶s OK to be mildly amusing. But in case no one laughs. Work on your delivery. How to Tell a Joke Do it right. Chances are good others have already heard or seen them. Keep it clean! Humor is supposed to make people feel good ± not embarrassed. a one-armed fisherman. Self-effacing humor is safe ±a little of it goes a long way. and a Jesuit priest from Nantucket. Make it readily identifiable as humor. Timing is everything! Pause before the punch line. rather than eye-dabbingly funny. A quote or offhand observation can be a good icebreaker. or leave it out. try using a humorous opener to your speech. Keep it appropriate to the audience and the situation. By Larry Getlen You¶re at a party. Use humor sparingly. prepare a comment in advance or just move on. Keep it relevant to your speech topic. insulted or offended. At first. like a spice. The audience would rather hear about the time you fell on your face than when you won the race. Practice using vocal variety and gestures. Avoid retelling jokes found on the Internet. Your friend¶s sister¶s cousin from Montana tells a joke about a talking flounder.

at your nephew¶s wedding.this hard since your Uncle Mel accidentally turned the Thanksgiving turkey into a stew. The more you personalize the joke in your head. Get to know the joke . and that nerdy guy Jim from your office as the three guys? I mean. telling jokes to several of his fishing buddies and some ladies from the other side of the family. Hand out parts«in your head If the joke is about three city guys trying to corral a herd of bison. Repeating your jokes also helps you gauge their pace and their rhythm: where to pause. the more visual you make it for yourself. the computer geek who once got his tie caught in the copy machine? You get the point. . But if you can¶t find a pen. So print out your joke file. how do you ensure it stays in your memory? Write it down Excuse yourself. How to do it wrong.. dad trying to herd bison? He can¶t change his oil without ruining a shirt! And Jim.. If you can¶t find paper. One important tip ± if you¶re saying the joke out loud and you start to bore yourself. where to speed up and where to edit.. you may have forgotten the important points. the easier it is to remember. If you wait several weeks to tell it. pick up your cell phone and tell the joke to your voice mail. Repetition is key in memorizing anything. what if you imagine your dad. but this also gives you your first shot at telling the joke. and being comfortable with your jokes is key to being funny. and do it more than once.. making sure to include the important words. shorten the joke. Update it whenever you hear a joke you like. One last word on memorization and preparation: If you don¶t have a joke sufficiently memorized so that you¶re 100 percent sure you can tell it with confidence. if you hear a joke you love. keep a ³joke´ file on your computer. Not only can you write it down later. your brother. In fact. phrases and punch line. use a napkin or a matchbook cover. But your memory for jokes is not the best. Here¶s your chance. Figure out what can be cut without killing the laugh. as you learned that time you told your co-worker. ³Take my wife. Period.tonight?´ So. try to tell the joke to someone else in the next 24-48 hours. Remember: The shorter the joke. and it¶s your Uncle Jack. stand in front of your favorite mirror and speak as if you¶re talking to a good friend. So now here you are. You hear laughter from the other side of the room.ummm. hit every key piece of information and get the punch line exactly right ± don¶t tell it. Also. the easier it will be to recall at a later date.rehearse Repeating jokes out loud gets you used to the act of telling them and that¶s what will make you remember them. find a pen and jot it on a piece of paper.

close enough is not . ³Wait ± I¶ve got one more. If you¶re gonna tell a joke about an octopus. my turn. and in order. let¶s examine the many mistakes dear Uncle Jack has already made ± mistakes you¶ll want to avoid any time you¶re telling a joke: Don¶t tell racially sensitive jokes. Uncle Jack sounds Southern. he says. let¶s listen in on ole¶ Uncle Jack: ³Alright. µEye em in zee kitcheeeeen. and neither should you. for sexual material and profanity. leave it out. the rabbi says to the octopus. But before anyone can make a graceful exit.yeah. let¶s stick with him for a minute: Doing it wrong ± the sequel ³So there¶s this Frenchman..´ says Uncle Jack.. Several people glance at their watches. and they¶re afraid they have too much weight to land safely. Everyone knows octopi are afraid of heights.. waiting for deeees-ert. and racist jokes. So the rabbi says to the octopus. Don¶t do an accent unless you know you can do it perfectly ± which means keeping the exact same accent from the beginning of the joke to the end. Comedians don¶t come out on stage and tell the audience how funny they are..´ Suddenly and inexplicably. by the way. he launches into another one. and what may seem harmless to you may offend someone else. Unless you know your listeners well enough to know they¶re cool with it. but really looks like he has something in his eye. Unless you¶re absolutely sure that you know the sensibilities of the people involved. The three of them are starting to sink.. let¶s learn from his mistakes.´ Everyone in ear-shot fidgets. So.wait. that¶s it. this is painful enough.´ We¶ll stop here. don¶t put him in a hot-air balloon. The same goes.But before you wade in. Jacques. Once you have to double back and inter-rupt your momentum to give the audience information you forgot to give them in the first place. and let the listeners judge. And since he¶s such a good example of what not to do. The rabbi says to the octopus. my turn.. No one looks him in the eye. He has also scrunched up his face in what he thinks is a snobby French pose. So Uncle Jack gets through the horrible octopus joke and before anyone else can speak. Now. When telling jokes. I mean. So the priest says to the rabbi. but sounds more like he¶s gargling with glass. Just tell the joke. everyone has a different barometer for this.. This joke is the funniest joke you¶ve ever heard ± you¶re gonna die! Alright ± so a priest. a rabbi and an octopus are floating in a hot-air balloon over the Eiffel Tower. However. This is most important. ³Jacques tells his friend Pierre. Make sure you have the joke memorized. who then starts speaking in what is supposed to be a French accent. the joke¶s dead.hold on. Never start off by telling your audience how funny the joke is.. There is a difference between jokes involving race. err on the side of caution and keep race and religion out of it. There¶s no upside to it.

Your own laughter can break your momentum as much as any other interruption. then you¶re on your way to becoming the hit of any gathering. but not so fast that important words get garbled. Anything else to keep in mind before slaying your crowd with your blazing wit? Sure ± here are a few additional pointers: If something out of your control interrupts you in mid-joke. If you stop your own joke in the middle. but be sure to alter your eye contact so as not to focus on any one person. you¶ve killed your own momentum. . Pace and coherence are very important in the joke ± make sure you have both. Don¶t rush the joke. Of course. Do not ± under any circumstances except for maybe a fire ± interrupt your own joke in the middle. Speak at a reasonable pace ± not so slowly that you bore the crowd. Jokes require timing and momentum. Larry Getlen is the author of The Complete Idiot¶s Guide to Jokes. Believe in the joke and in your ability to tell it in a funny way.good enough. leave the funny faces and voices at home. and detract from the joke. Most importantly ± commit to the joke. if you¶ve followed the advice in this article and put your best foot forward. or leave it out. This involves each person as if you¶re talking directly to them. Make eye contact with the people you¶re telling the joke to. and what awful habits to avoid. Don¶t laugh at your own joke. if your antics are not perfect. but if your listeners return their attention to you hoping to hear the rest. Do it right. pick up where you left off. Do not make a big deal about the interruption. Almost ready« So. The momentum is probably dead. Excerpted from The Complete Idiot¶s Guide to Jokes. party or speaking engagement. take a minute to see what happens. Unless you graduated from mime school. What if they don¶t return their attention to you? Cut your losses and move on. Like the accent. now you know how to memorize and prepare your joke. and distribute it evenly. they¶ll merely call attention to how imperfect they are.

Not that laughter as good medicine is anything new.´ No question levity boosts resilience in the face of all manner of assault. ³drug companies would be knocking themselves out to get the patent.´ says Clifford Kuhn. Even Hippocrates took note of its salutary effect. puts distance between us and our pain. especially when directed at ourselves. Now. Kuhn. As Milton Berle put it.Why Laughter is Good For You Laughter reduces stress and perks up the immune system. ³Laughter is an instant vacation. though. M. Mirth.D. says yes and so do the scientists who have taken laughter into the lab and found that a walk on the funny side does a wondrous amount of good. That¶s the message from researchers investigating the physiology of mirth. By Kathryn Rose Gertz Warning: Laughter may be hazardous to what ails you. gives us perspective.. relieves tension.´ But can it really help heal? Send in the clowns and get better? Dr. ³If medicine could harness the proven health benefits of laughter. there are studies to prove in measurable ways that laughter does in fact soothe the mind and restore the body. author of The Fun Factor. imparts a sense of control. Their work shows that laughter: y y y y Reduces the level of stress hormones Perks up the immune system Relaxes muscles Clears the respiratory tract . professor of psychiatry at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. allows us to take a break.

M. He has been researching mirth for more than 40 years and is considered the grandfather of the field. In short. The next morning. as writer Daniel Goleman notes in his book Emotional Intelligence. Saranne went right to the video store and rented every comedy video on the shelves. which is why we feel ³enlivened. Indeed. of course.´ he hooks subjects up to IVs and angiocatheters and monitors them as they watch comedy tapes. with advanced breast cancer. and activates infection-fighting white blood cells. blood pressure settles down to below the norm. Dr. mobilizes cells that attack tumors and viruses.´ Immune Booster Another fine reason is the measurable impact of laughter on the immune system. including. Dr. she was struggling through a contentious divorce and had a 5-year-old daughter. professor emeritus at Stanford University. the brain. ³All mental stimulation expands brain function. as with any exercise. But laughter is not a subject that lends itself easily to scientific scrutiny. The Humor Cure A demonstration of laughter¶s splendid power lies in the experience of Saranne Rothberg. the study of how the brain and the immune system. feel-good endorphins flow. Would she have the strength to parent? Would she even survive? From the doctor¶s office. and increased oxygen to the brain revs up creativity. (They both rise when we¶re anxious and contribute to the recurrence of heart attacks. et al. It¶s a surprisingly complex physical response to the psychological tickle of humor. scientists can track the movement of merriment as it activates both left and right hemispheres. Lauriel.) He has also shown that laughing increases antibody immunoglobin A. Dr. Fry takes it a step further. at age 35.´ he says. conditioning requires repetition. ³laughter«seems to help people think more broadly and associate more freely.y y Increases circulation Eases perceived pain And at laugh¶s end.´ observes laugh researcher Lee Berk. thanks to Bill Cosby. associate professor of pathology at Loma Linda University in California. So unshakably passionate was Saranne about the goodness of laughter that . What¶s more. much as we do after an aerobic workout.. Fry should know. she put aside her considerable tears and enlisted her daughter and friends as ³humor buddies´ to tell her funny stories every day. a single mother from New Jersey who was diagnosed five years ago. according to psychiatrist William Fry. laughter really is a workout.´ Call is the ³ha-ha to aha!´ effect. he has found that levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine actually lower when we laugh. Using pinpoint imaging to eyeball the brain circuitry of volunteers as they laugh. the benefits build when you laugh often and regularly. laughter both stimulates and soothes. which fights upper-respiratory-tract infections.D. in effect. At the time. Taking blood samples at 10minute intervals. to keep safe and happy. Maybe this brain-wide involvement is why. Berk¶s field of interest is psychoneuroimmunology. In fact. ³It¶s a total body exercise. this seemingly simple act involves most of our body systems. talk to each other. To listen in on this ³conversation. refreshed and clear-headed.. ³which is a good reason to laugh a lot.´ he says.

In fact. Kuhn. We laugh at our mis-takes. but is also useful in the process of cardiac rehabilitation. cared for Lauriel and.´ Though not everyone experiences such a turnaround. and that we are able to take it so that we learn to have self humor.during the grueling course of three surgeries. suggests? Both of these theories may be true. laughter is so hard-wired in us that we would actually have to be taught not to. Saranne¶s triumph over illness hardly surprises Dr. for example. Kathryn Rose Gertz is a New York-based freelance writer. Academy Award winner Goldie Hawn explains. Saranne worked on the foundation. happily coexisting under the heading of endurance ± the endurance of mind and body. If you do this often. you let fresh air into your mind and sunshine into your soul. alternatively. Isn¶t it enough just to enjoy a good joke? Experts say it actually does matter because the knowledge gained may one day affect the medical treatment we receive and even eliminate the need for some of it.´ Why We Laugh Is this why human beings are blessed with the ability to laugh? Or. then. who runs humor-therapy groups for cancer patients and is himself a parttime stand-up comic. professor of psychology at the University of Maryland and author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation. ³Choosing to laugh puts you in control. We laughed and moved on. Through it all. It was as though my cancerous breast and I laughed and turned stress and disease on its head. Consider.´ she recalls. did laughter evolve to help us connect and bond with each other in order to ensure survival of the species. Laugh µtil the cows come home and don¶t worry if the joke is ³udder´ nonsense. Berk¶s study showing that mirthful laughter not only lowers the stress hormones that can induce arrhythmias. ³I learned that whatever happens.´ he says. Dr.. We make sure we laugh in a funny way at each other. Laughter Begins at Home We laugh instinctively. but why wait for science? Go ahead and laugh now. More research is needed. Our family laughs together. That in itself is so incredibly healing. you have a choice. to bring humor strategies to others. Of course there are those who wonder if it really matters why we laugh and what happens in the body when we do. ³Laughter is there precisely for the purpose of keeping our balance when we get knocked off. laughed. as Robert Provine. of course. You may even fix what¶s broken and live happily ever after. Ph. she founded a charity. ³but I never even got a cold. ³It helps counteract things we would otherwise have no control over. the ComedyCures Foundation.´ she says.D. are some tips from Joel Goodman of the HUMOR Project to help families jumpstart laughter at home: .´ Here. ³I was around illness all the time.´ Today she is cancer free. 44 radiation treatments and two years of immuneweakening chemotherapy. ³It starts from the beginning with how you build your family.

If you can find humor in anything. once a month. you can survive it. or even every day. lady. Cosby said: ³I think it¶s time for me to tell people that we have to laugh. ³Look.y y y y On a rotating basis. a balm for both physical and psychological wounds. with its saving way of shifting perspective. have a joke-around at the dinner table where everybody shares something that made them laugh. Inspirational speaker Steve Rizzo recalls a TV interview with an injured firefighter a few days after 9/11. was killed. the author of Becoming a Humor Being. and the reporter asked. When Dan Rather interviewed comedian Bill Cosby.´ Of course. ³If there¶s anything we learned from 9/11.´ 10 Biggest Public Speaking Mistakes . Laughter gives you that couple of seconds. Everyone was crying. You can turn painful situations around through laughter. Encourage your kids to keep their own humor journals by suggesting they write stories and draw pictures about things that have tickled their funny bones that day. Tears and Cheers It may seem futile to laugh in the face of pain and fear.´ Call it a flashlight for dark times: Laughter just seems to adjust attitude better than anything else. Take funny photos and. I¶m from New York and I¶m a firefighter. you¶re going to be OK.´ says Rizzo. just one week after his son. but studies show that laughter. there¶s a difference between laughing off a serious situation and laughing off the fear that results. ³We have to send a message that our spirit won¶t die. One important thing that unites us is our ability to laugh.´ he says. and the message is: If you can still laugh even a little amid the pain and chaos. silly photos. have each family member be responsible for a ³humor bulletin board´ on the refrigerator. Each week a different person puts up cartoons. that¶s all you need to know. ³How is it that you¶ve come out of this alive?´ He looked at her and without missing a beat. compile them in a family-fun photo album. states Rizzo. The firefighter was doing the latter. and so should we. Periodically reread these stories with your kids to re-enjoy the humor. Ennis. Once a week. ³sometimes that¶s all you need to catch your second wind. humorous news stories.´ ³Everyone laughed and though the laughter was only a couple of seconds. Or take digital photos and put them on your family Web site. quirky quotes. is a broad-spectrum analgesic. it¶s how precious life really is. said. The man had fallen more than 30 stories in one of the towers and had a broken leg. You¶re sending a message to your brain.

This will put the audience to sleep. you are not looking hard enough. then speak. Your audience wants to meet you. If you think you don¶t have any interesting stories to tell. Don¶t start with ³Thank you for that kind introduction. shrugging your shoulders ± to relieve nervous tension. Ending a speech with questions and answers. says in an article in the Toastmaster magazine to avoid these mistakes: y y y y y y y y Starting with a whimper. Instead use a ³keyword´ outline: Look at the keyword to prompt your thoughts. Failing to use relaxation techniques. Using someone else¶s stories. Reading a speech word for word. tell . you lose an opportunity to enhance your credibility with your listeners. Speaking without passion. a news headline ± something powerful that will get their attention immediately. business-savvy people end up boring their audiences? They fail to recognize that public speaking is an acquired skill that improves with practice and honest feedback. Look into the eyes of the audience. an interesting quote. How come intelligent. Do whatever it takes ± listening to music. Ohio. but to connect with the audience. you must illustrate your most profound thoughts from your own life experiences. Attempting to imitate other speakers. Failing to ³work´ the room. The more passionate you are about your topic. breathing deeply. ³We will move to our closing point. Authenticity is lost when you aren¶t yourself. an attorney and public speaker in Columbus. the more likely your audience will act on your suggestions. Instead.Top executives often fall flat on their faces as speakers. Speaking for 20 minutes before the right group of people can do more for your career than spending a year behind a desk! Rob Sherman. tell the audience that you will take questions and then say. If you don¶t take time to mingle before the presentation. It¶s okay to use brief quotes from other sources.´ After the Q and A.´ Start with a bang! Give the audience a startling statistic.

. Conclude with a quote or call to action. or summarize your key points. Effective executives learn how to present in the same way they learn to use other tools to operate their businesses. Your reputation is at stake every time you face an audience ± so rehearse well enough to ensure you¶ll leave a good impression! Failing to recognize that speaking is an acquired skill.y y a story that ties in with your main theme. Failing to prepare.