You’ve Been Invited to Present, Now What? Part 1: Four things you should know about your audience before giving a speech

Being invited to speak or present is an incredible professional compliment and opportunity. While the content of your speech is of course key, so is being relatable to your audience in an engaging way. A one-size-fits-all speech is never as effective as one tailored to your audience. Engaging your audience is extremely hard to do if you do not do your research. You wouldn’t present on a topic you know nothing about, so why should you treat your audience any differently? While it isn’t realistic to believe that you can know everything about your audience members beforehand, here are four general questions you should ask the event host before developing your content so you can plan a presentation that will better connect with your audience:

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Web Conferences, Meetings and Interviews

Web Conferences, Meetings and Interviews

How to look and sound your best in the virtual world

As seen in Commpro.bizTechnology has fueled the “connected” employee and has empowered the workforce to transition from physical to remote offices without skipping a beat. Even though instant communication such as email and internal messaging systems is the new way of “walking to someone’s cube,” for quick exchanges of information, talking “face-to-face” via WebEx and Skype has become a lot more common for more in-depth discussions and even job interviews.

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Fear of public speaking?

Seven easy steps to help get you on the road to recovery

Recently I’ve come across several articles about communication skills in early education settings. One that stood out to me was by Erik Palmer in EdWeek titled “Why Schools Need to Do a Better Job of Teaching Speaking Skills,”  which surmised that if there was more of an emphasis on oral communication skills during formal education years (K-12), the fear of public speaking would be lessened as an adult. The second article by Stacey Roshan, titled “How One Teacher Champions Student Reflection with Technology and Public Speaking” appears in EdSurge. Roshan discusses how Zaption, the video-based, interactive learning tool, can be used to help students improve public speaking skills.

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Speaking from a position of power when you are the lowest person on the totem pole

Whenever I have a client who struggles with confidence, I encourage them to watch a wonderful TED talk about “Power Posing.” Amy Cuddy gives scientific reasoning about how certain postures can impact the perception others have of you, and how you feel about yourself in a blog post from last week, I outlined what type of skills we should be investing into our junior staff. I would include using Cuddy’s Power Posing techniques to enhance those skills.

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Investing in your team: why communication skills will pay big dividends

With all eyes on the unsettling news from Wall Street these days, decisions on where to invest to get the greatest return on your investment have become complicated. To invest your money wisely, analysts generally recommend doing research then investing in companies that show promise in order to get the most return on your investment.

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How’s that New Year’s Resolution Going?

Did you know that only 8% of the American population will stick with their New Year’s resolution for the entire year? New Year’s resolutions have become the motivation for goal setting and typically include dieting & exercising more or dropping a bad habit like smoking. But what about setting a professional development goal like learning a new skill or overcoming a fear like public speaking?

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Engaging your audience thru silence

We’ve all been there: Stuck in a meeting where the presenter has drifted-off on a tangent, and seems to be rambling on for hours. They have completely lost your attention, and the following thoughts have crossed your mind:

  1. Why are they still talking?
  2. What is the point? Just get to it!
  3. I could have spent this time better!
  4. Could someone please pull the fire alarm so we can get out of here?
  5. You’ve tuned out, and no one can blame you.

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The pressures on: Three tips to deliver a presentation to a large audience cooly, credibly and without boring everyone

While watching the President’s State of the Union address a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of the many times I have worked with CEOs to deliver their annual “State of the Company” addresses. In both cases, there is an exorbitant amount of pressure to deliver often complex and substantive information in a way that everyone listening can understand and relate. All attention is on you: eyes and ears eager to hear your perspective on the organization. If you fail to inspire, you could negatively impact future business, sales opportunities, and investor confidence. Or, if you ignore the elephant in the room, or overpromise and under deliver, you run the risk of losing employee loyalty. No pressure, right?

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Bubba brings home $65M

Hillary isn’t the only one bringing home the bacon. Since 2001, Bill Clinton has raked in $65 million from speeches, CNN reported yesterday.

Based on figures from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s financial disclosure report, the former president raked in $7.5 million from 36 speeches in 2009, up from the $5.7 million he earned for 25 appearances in 2008.

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Yale’s Environmental Students Get a Lesson in Public Speaking from a Pro

WASHINGTON, DC (May 4, 2010) – Twelve graduate students in Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies visited ten of Washington, DC’s top executives and government officials in the field of environmental issues this week. Their goal was simple: To learn more about the real-world skills necessary to be effective environmental leaders.

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Can You Deliver Bad News Without Leaving Bad Feelings?

We’ve all heard the cliché, “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but….” Face it; unless you are some kind of heartless cad, no one enjoys delivering bad news.

As we kick off another year filled with headlines about job losses, business closings, cutbacks, and home foreclosures, the grim reality is that more and more of us will be put in the painful position of delivering some kind of bad news to someone.

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Carmie McCook featured in Smart CEO Magazine

Single Biggest Public Speaking Tip: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
“CEOs often don’t view preparing for a speech as a top priority. So when opportunities come up, they don’t dedicate enough time to customize the content, and certainly not enough time to properly rehearse. When they spend little or no time practicing the delivery, they end up reciting their speech, and you know how exciting that is.

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