There's no such thing as a dry topic, only a dry speaker

Speak Schmeak

The other day someone commented on a post I wrote, saying, "Public speaking is easy if you love what you're speaking about and know it thoroughly. But sadly, not everyone feels passionate about their speaking topic. What DO you enjoy about your job or this topic?

Topics 174

There is no such thing as a dry topic

Speak Schmeak

I've heard from my clients who are engineers, finance people, doctors and scientists that their topics are dry and boring, that their audiences want tons of data, and that there's no way to make their presentations interesting. A topic is dry when the writer or speaker makes it that way. The interaction of these two characters was just one example of the kind of humor and engagement that the book used. As a speaker, what stereotypes about your topic are you clinging to?

Topics 122
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5 ways to improve your micro-presentations

Speak Schmeak

One of my clients told me about speaking at an event where there were ten speakers in a hour. If you're going to use a poll, breakout rooms, a handout, a game or another kind of engagement activity, time it. Have you noticed presentations getting shorter? I have!

2020 179

There is no such thing as a dry topic

Speak Schmeak

I've heard from my clients who are engineers, finance people, doctors and scientists that their topics are dry and boring, that their audiences want tons of data, and that there's no way to make their presentations interesting. A topic is dry when the writer or speaker makes it that way. The interaction of these two characters was just one example of the kind of humor and engagement that the book used. As a speaker, what stereotypes about your topic are you clinging to?

Topics 100

Does Tom Brady even eat bread?

Speak Schmeak

When you give a presentation, there will likely ALWAYS be someone in your audience who is critical of your message, who doesn't believe you, who has some concern about your topic. Most of the time, the people who object to your message or ideas won't speak up.

Curling with kisses: How a teacher engages the audience

Speak Schmeak

She named the lesson 'Curling With Kisses.'" ~ Daily Sound Remember your junior high school science teacher, toiling away to come up with activities and experiments every day to make science fun and engaging? The topic: Which is more damaging, fire or water? Couturier) who, when our class was scheduled before lunchtime, would go with us to the dining hall and have us all sit together speaking Spanish for the duration of the period. Was it a powerful and engaging activity?

Curling with kisses: How a teacher engages the audience

Speak Schmeak

She named the lesson 'Curling With Kisses.'" ~ Daily Sound Remember your junior high school science teacher, toiling away to come up with activities and experiments every day to make science fun and engaging? The topic: Which is more damaging, fire or water? Couturier) who, when our class was scheduled before lunchtime, would go with us to the dining hall and have us all sit together speaking Spanish for the duration of the period. Was it a powerful and engaging activity?

I dare you to be expressive

Speak Schmeak

My client is passionate about her cause, and when she speaks about it, her passion comes out. When I hear her speak, I get excited too! And also, as a speaker, you must engage your audience emotionally in order to be persuasive. But digging into your own emotions about your topic and taking your audience on a journey with you so they feel something is how change happens.

2019 109

How many goofs are in your presentation?

Speak Schmeak

I met with a client recently who will be speaking at a prestigious conference in his industry. When we started working together, I discovered that we have a similar approach to audience engagement. At the expense of audience engagement, I might add. We''re talking about using graphs as an opening quiz for the audience to get into the topic. Engaging the Audience Fun Stuff Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Speakers

2014 144

Information doesn't excite your audience

Speak Schmeak

And he recognizes that this is a problem when he speaks. What excites people is your own emotional engagement with the topic. If you do your job, and the audience is engaged, intrigued and inspired, they will seek you out for more. Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Research Photo Credit: Dan Harrelson via Compfight cc A client told me the other day that his wife says he never knows when to shut up.

2014 152

10 reasons to join the Presenting for Humans Success Circle

Speak Schmeak

Making connections with your fellow program members: A shared love of reading is already a great connection point among you, but your shared interest in speaking adds another level of depth to your connections. Want to make a pic collage or Pinterest board with public speaking memes? You will learn to be a better speaker: There's just one book and one topic here. We will be 100% laser-focused on speaking. You can gain some new perspective on public speaking.

2018 118

Your presentation needs osteoclasts

Speak Schmeak

It's rare when I see a client who doesn't have enough to say about their topic. They put too many bullets on slides, they leave out interaction and engagement activities, they talk too fast, and they run over time. Analogies Preparation Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies

2020 130

Create a safe space for group interaction

Speak Schmeak

She didn't realize her topic was going to be so divisive and contentious and hadn't planned for how to deal with the few troublemakers who dominated the meeting. Afterward, she discovered that quite a few people in the room had wanted to speak up, but were not comfortable doing so. Here are a few tips on how to create a safe space for your audience that encourages everyone to feel comfortable enough to speak up and share their feelings, experiences, and ideas.

2015 141

Drowning your audience? Try these 3 livesavers.

Speak Schmeak

We speak over our audiences'' heads, we give far too much detail, and we pack our presentations so full of information that our audiences leave numb and slack-jawed from the mental barrage. Because some of us are so convinced that we need to use every minute to speak that we forget about interaction and engagement. Don''t just expect your audience to approach your topic with beginner''s mind and to be open to new ideas, but approach it yourself with beginner''s mind.

2014 151

How food tastes in space

Speak Schmeak

Also see Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's engaging way of talking astrophysics.) Which interview would you rather watch: A boring, dry, pompous scientist who can't connect with the audience and spews nothing but statistics and data, or an engaging, approachable, unpretentious scientist who's passionate about her topic and wants everyone else to feel the same way? Speakers Engaging the Audience Science and Scientists Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Fun Stuff

2013 138

If it matters to you, it can matter to your audience

Speak Schmeak

A client recently told me that part of her problem around creating an engaging presentation about the work she does is that "It's just a job." She will be introducing her company as a sponsor at an industry networking event soon, and she has no real motivation to speak. We talk a lot in the public speaking world about "What's in it for the audience," but in this case, I think it's critical that my client ask, "What's in it for me?"

2011 152

Are you answering your audience's #1 question?

Speak Schmeak

So while I was listening to this very convincing and persuasive presentation, I also wondered how this topic could be made more personal. I can't say I have the answer, as I'm not informed enough about the topic to necessarily know what the personal impacts are besides saving money (which we all enjoy!) Have you thought about how your topic affects the individuals in the room? How are you showing your audiences the personal impact of your topic on their lives?

2013 152

I can't believe I've never taught this.

Speak Schmeak

I just realized something yesterday when going through the surveys I've sent to my peeps about what kind of help they need with their public speaking. What do you think shows up higher on the list than building confidence, reducing anxiety and engaging the audience? Guess who has never offered support around this topic, except to my individual coaching clients! How to make it ENGAGING 5. Products Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Resources Specials and Sales

2019 100

9 ways to use props for maximum impact in your presentations

Speak Schmeak

I have a lot of clients who come to me from fields like finance, insurance and engineering, who tell me that their topic is boring. Hans Rosling is my favorite example of a speaker whose topics should be boring but aren''t because of his creativity. Engaging the Audience Humor Preparation Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Science and Scientists

2014 155

"We don't deal with emotion"

Speak Schmeak

Santa Barbara Independent, 3/29/12 Don't think that, just because you're not speaking to a group as heated as this one, you're off the hook regarding emotion in your presentation. Always understand that your audience, while listening to your facts and figures, are experiencing feelings about your topic. Also understand that you have feelings about your topic, and your feelings can be brought forth to influence the feelings of the audience.

2012 136

Why your audience isn't participating

Speak Schmeak

I love to know how they respond to my topic and my ideas, and I'm constantly asking for their experiences and their thoughts. In a recent presentation, I asked my audience if they've ever regretting not speaking up when they had something to say. Maybe someone puts her foot in her mouth all the time and is trying to speak up less. Speakers Quick Fixes Engaging the Audience Pet Peeves Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Resources Communication

If it matters to you, it can matter to your audience

Speak Schmeak

A client recently told me that part of her problem around creating an engaging presentation about the work she does is that "It's just a job." She will be introducing her company as a sponsor at an industry networking event soon, and she has no real motivation to speak. We talk a lot in the public speaking world about "What's in it for the audience," but in this case, I think it's critical that my client ask, "What's in it for me?"

2011 122

Fear isn't the reason you avoid speaking.

Speak Schmeak

And yes, this is a metaphor for public speaking. And here's what I say to that: You don't HAVE to do public speaking. You GET to do public speaking! And then I might argue: What if you learned to like public speaking, or even love it? My friends, colleagues and clients do a lot of avoiding of public speaking. And by "avoiding," I mean either not pursuing speaking opportunities or saying no when opportunities are presented. Not Alex Honnold.

2019 100

Do you have a memorable one-liner?

Speak Schmeak

One of my regular networking groups gives several opportunities to practice speaking each month. But I'm happy to say that most of the people in the group do make the effort to engage the rest of us with creative descriptions of what they do and how it benefits their clients and customers. Speakers Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Made to Stick

2011 149

Be the one with the surprises

Speak Schmeak

Typically, attendance at these internal presentations is mandatory, and they cover topics like compliance, sexual harassment, health benefits, and so forth. I asked her how she could find a way to make her time in meetings more engaging, both for herself and for her audience. And they all relate to the meeting topic, the company's mission and history, or to employee bonding and morale -- all worthwhile focus areas.

2011 138

Are you giving the audience tools they can use?

Speak Schmeak

First, I'll share my thoughts on why Jason's presentation was effective from a public speaking perspective. He mentioned one domain that points to a blog post about a particular topic, that then leads to a PDF download. Speakers Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies The Business of Speaking Resources AnalogiesOne of the things I find lacking in many presentations is the useful take-home tool.

2012 155

What's best for the audience?

Speak Schmeak

While discussing audience engagement strategies the other day, a client suggested that these strategies might not work for her kinds of audiences, especially at scientific conferences, where there are standard protocols. We were speaking specifically about opening a presentation with something other than the obligatory five minutes of thank yous and credentials, instead using perhaps a question or a story to kick things off.

Training vs. experience

Speak Schmeak

Each student gave a five- to ten-minute speech on the same topic. While the speakers demonstrated some real feeling and occasional humor, I didn't experience much emotional response to the speeches or the speakers, even though the topic was somewhat "loaded" and controversial. You must learn to engage emotionally with your material in order to engage emotionally with your audience. You must make opportunities to speak in front of a wide variety of audiences.

2011 151

Stop making excuses for your data dump

Speak Schmeak

For those of you who insist that data cannot (or worse -- shouldn't) be presented in an interesting and engaging way, I will once again point you to Hans Rosling. Rosling does it all: He delivers meaningful content, making it engaging and easy to understand for everyone in the audience. I want you to rethink the way you perceive your topic.

2010 136

Relating to the audience, TEDxWomen-style

Speak Schmeak

How often do you get to hear one amazing woman after another speak on critical issues that affect us every day as individuals and as a global community? There were a couple of common threads that tied many of these presentations together and made them compelling and powerful, and I don't mean topic-wise. Emotion that's too real , too raw, or too personal has no place in public speaking for many people.

2011 143

The best comedy comes from real life

Speak Schmeak

The easiest way to make less-than-engaging topics more palatable for the audience is to insert some humor from real life. What if, like Robert Schimmel in his quote above, you are discussing a topic like cancer (his son's and his own) or epilepsy or eating disorders -- a topic that makes an audience uncomfortable at best. More than any other topic, humor is critical here to lighten up what can be a very heavy and distressing topic for your audience.

2010 146

TEDxUCLA: The good and the great

Speak Schmeak

DO: Encourage audience interaction From the stretch breaks with "the wave" and flying beach balls to the Michael Newman introduction which included "Get out your smart phones," the most engaging presentations of the day were those which included the audience. DO: Use humor Many of the speakers incorporated humor into their talks, but one stood out for his well-thought-out enhancement of a technical topic: Leonard Rome. I had the privilege of attending TEDxUCLA this past weekend.

2011 149

5 public speaking lessons from a Vitamix demo

Speak Schmeak

I was obviously impressed enough with the demo to finally buy my Vitamix; however, from a public speaking perspective, I was also impressed. How well do you know your topic? Next time you have the opportunity to watch a product demo, take a few minutes to see what you can learn from a speaking (and marketing) pro! Speakers Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and StrategiesOn Saturday, I paid a visit to my local Costco.

2011 161

"We don't deal with emotion"

Speak Schmeak

Santa Barbara Independent, 3/29/12 Don't think that, just because you're not speaking to a group as heated as this one, you're off the hook regarding emotion in your presentation. Always understand that your audience, while listening to your facts and figures, are experiencing feelings about your topic. Also understand that you have feelings about your topic, and your feelings can be brought forth to influence the feelings of the audience.

2012 100

Be the guy no one wants to speak after

Speak Schmeak

We've all been in that position, feeling intimidated because we don't think we can possibly live up to the audience's standards of great presenting after THAT GUY speaks. Be the one that no one wants to speak after. get the audience emotionally involved Build a relationship with the audience by understanding them, their needs and their wants Practice, practice, practice Care about your topic Care about your audience Be accessible and understandable Find your passion Hire a coach!

2010 138

Stop making excuses for your data dump

Speak Schmeak

For those of you who insist that data cannot (or worse -- shouldn't) be presented in an interesting and engaging way, I will once again point you to Hans Rosling. Rosling does it all: He delivers meaningful content, making it engaging and easy to understand for everyone in the audience. I want you to rethink the way you perceive your topic.

2010 122

Be the one with the surprises

Speak Schmeak

Typically, attendance at these internal presentations is mandatory, and they cover topics like compliance, sexual harassment, health benefits, and so forth. I asked her how she could find a way to make her time in meetings more engaging, both for herself and for her audience. And they all relate to the meeting topic, the company's mission and history, or to employee bonding and morale -- all worthwhile focus areas.

2011 109

5 public speaking lessons from a Vitamix demo

Speak Schmeak

I was obviously impressed enough with the demo to finally buy my Vitamix; however, from a public speaking perspective, I was also impressed. How well do you know your topic? Next time you have the opportunity to watch a product demo, take a few minutes to see what you can learn from a speaking (and marketing) pro! Speakers Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and StrategiesOn Saturday, I paid a visit to my local Costco.

2011 147

Are some presentations less important than others?

Speak Schmeak

You might think that your two-minute introduction of a speaker at an event is less critical than your one-hour training presentation on your topic at a conference. Your goals for speaking might include the following: 1. Build confidence on stage And many more -- we each have our own reasons for making and accepting speaking engagements. Whether you speak for two minutes or for two hours, your goals should always be foremost in your mind.

2012 140

Training vs. experience

Speak Schmeak

Each student gave a five- to ten-minute speech on the same topic. While the speakers demonstrated some real feeling and occasional humor, I didn't experience much emotional response to the speeches or the speakers, even though the topic was somewhat "loaded" and controversial. You must learn to engage emotionally with your material in order to engage emotionally with your audience. You must make opportunities to speak in front of a wide variety of audiences.

2011 122

More fun with 30-second commercials

Speak Schmeak

If we notice a solitaire, rather than a plain band, we might ask the person if they've recently gotten engaged. And Ginny Milhoan, chiropractor, used a little topical humor when she suggested that our necks might be hurting because we're worried about whether we can pay our taxes -- and that she could take away that stress with her non-force adjustment technique. Tags: Engaging the Audience Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies

2010 122

Why your audience isn't participating

Speak Schmeak

I love to know how they respond to my topic and my ideas, and I'm constantly asking for their experiences and their thoughts. In a recent presentation, I asked my audience if they've ever regretting not speaking up when they had something to say. Maybe someone puts her foot in her mouth all the time and is trying to speak up less. Speakers Quick Fixes Engaging the Audience Pet Peeves Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Resources Communication

I'm in Toastmaster Magazine!

Speak Schmeak

Can the audience tweet and chat and still be engaged? Scott Berkun and Denise Graveline ( familiar faces on this blog ) weigh in on the topic, as well as yours truly. Speakers Public Speaking Techniques and Strategies Resources InterviewsIn the July issue of Toastmaster Magazine, look for " Dealing With a Distracted Audience ," by Tim Cigelske (the online version isn't yet available to non-members, so I've linked to the PDF on my site).

2012 122