How To Get Started
This multi-media course, The Secrets of Successful Speech Making for the first time presenter, offers a comprehensive, flexible set of course materials. You may wish to watch the entire videos first, and then watch it again with your online Workbook.
Wear comfortable clothes, and have paper and pencil ready, so that you can pause the video and work on the exercises at your own pace. Each topic is clearly explained and demonstrated on the videos, and accompanied in the online Workbook with suggested exercises, practice tips, and checklists.
The course is filled with practical information about conducting a sound check, voice warm-ups, and reminders that will help you avoid common public-speaking missteps. As you gain more experience, jot down observations about what worked, what didn’t, and what ideas you may have for future presentations. As you look at your earlier notes, you’ll be amazed at the obstacles you’ve overcome!
Designed so you can study at your own pace, implementing these methods and practices will help you achieve a more confident level of speaking.
I want to congratulate you for taking the first step towards improving your public-speaking skills. As a child I was extremely shy and intimidated. Every time my father would try to take my picture, I would storm off into a corner and start to cry. I've come a long way since then, and I'm confident that you too will make great strides with your public speaking.
I’ve been a professional actor and improvisor for more than two decades, and I know becoming a better presenter takes time and practice. I developed the IMproSolutions™ process in 1999 to help you discover the true colors of your unique presentation style. My method is effective for anyone who trembles at the thought of speaking in public.
Think of this course as a combination of Basic Theatre 101 and Introduction to Improvisation. We will be focusing primarily on preparation and delivery of a speech and on boosting your confidence and stimulating your creativity.
I know you are seeking results for your personal speaking challenges, and we're here to help! Public speaking can be fun... actually, really fun, if you want it to be! Stage fright, better known as public-speaking anxiety, or performance anxiety, is considered the number one fear among adults. You can overcome this common source of stress. I want to help you learn to deal with your fear directly, by empowering you with the right tools so you can feel secure in front of an audience. You're on the right track! Our course is fun, simple, and highly effective.
Table of Contents
HOW TO GET STARTED
PART 1: HARMONIZE BODY AND MIND
PART 2: BE PREPARED
PART 3: WRITING YOUR SPEECH
PART 4: PRESENTING YOUR SPEECH
Challenges: What Not to Do
Reminders: What to Do
How To Get Started
This multi-media home course, The Secrets of Successful Speech Making, offers a comprehensive, flexible set of course materials. You may wish to watch the entire DVD first, and then watch it again with this Workbook in hand. Wear comfortable clothes, and have a pen or pencil and your remote control in hand so that you can pause the DVD and work on the exercises at your own pace.
As professional actor and speaker Scott Topper guides you step-by-step through the fundamentals of effective, powerful presentations, you’ll explore improvisation, warm-up exercises, visualization, vocalization, body movement, and stage technique while learning how to develop your most effective delivery style.
Each topic is clearly explained and demonstrated on the DVD, and accompanied in the Workbook by suggested exercises, practice tips, checklists, and room for recording your own notes.
So compact that you can easily tuck it into a briefcase or purse, the Workbook serves as an invaluable last-minute review just before you give your speech. It’s filled with practical information about conducting a sound check, voice warm-ups, and reminders that will help you avoid common public-speaking missteps. As you gain more experience, jot down observations about what worked, what didn’t, and what ideas you may have for future presentations. As you look at your earlier notes, you’ll be amazed at the obstacles you’ve overcome!
Harmonize Body and Mind
A good speech begins several weeks in advance. Incorporate physical fitness as a part of your daily pre-performance practice. Walking or exercising three days a week can make a big difference in how you feel on speech day.
In addition, begin to master the breathing, visualization, vocalization, and body warm-up exercises below. Practice several times a day, focusing on each exercise until it becomes almost effortless.
SECTION A: BREATHING
Calm yourself with slow, deep breathing before and during your talk. Not only does shallow breathing deprive your body of oxygen, it actually increases anxiety and results in strained speech. Breathe deeply from your belly or diaphragm. Breathe in through your nose and then out from your mouth, filling your lungs and then gradually exhaling.
·Stand comfortably, with knees unlocked and shoulders relaxed. Breathe in through your nose while counting slowly to five. Breathe out through your mouth, counting slowly to five. Repeat five times.
SECTION B: VISUALIZATION
Take a seat on a chair or the floor in a quiet, secluded place. Now relax. Close your eyes. Free your mind and body. Remain in the moment and be aware of a growing sense of confidence. Now take note of how you feel, because you will recall this composed, peaceful state of mind just before giving your speech.
·Say this phrase aloud: “I will control the butterflies and begin to visualize.” Take a deep breath, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Repeat mantra three times.
·Practice transforming those pre-speech butterflies into a calm, centered energy. Smile. Say aloud: “I am confident.” Say it again with even more emphasis. Repeat one final time.
·Picture yourself remaining calm, taking a deep breath, and pausing to collect your thoughts or glance at your notes. You then continue with your speech, cool and unflustered. Practice this visualization until you’ve conditioned yourself to rise above occasional missteps.
SECTION C: VOCALIZATION
Warning: this bit of preparation just before your talk requires that you act silly and make funny faces! Find a quiet room to warm up your vocal cords. These four exercises will help you achieve a natural and comfortable tonality using your chest voice, not your head voice.
·Yawn. Yawn again but bigger. As you yawn, formulate a word like ma or pa. M-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a. Now try P-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a. Repeat three times.
·Modulate the sound as if you were singing ma or pa up and down a musical scale. Remember to open your mouth wide. Going up the scale, Ma-aa-ah-ah-ah, now down the scale, ah-ah-ah-a!
·Okay, let’s have some fun. Wiggle your lip. Do that Elvis Presley move and say, “Thankyou very much!” Pretend you’re Elvis andyou really mean it. Try again, with evenmore feeling. Did you move your nose, yourlips, and your teeth? Repeat once more.
·Make the sound of m-m-m-m-m, as if you’d just tasted something wonderful, like ice cream. Crinkle your nose. Try again, feeling the vibration in your face and nose: M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m.
SECTION D: BODY
Now that your voice is prepared, it's time to warm up your body.
·Deep Bend Plié
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, and your feet turned slightly outward. Take a deep breath in through your nose. In a continuous movement, slowly bend your knees and raise both your arms up over your head. Exhale slowly through your mouth while lowering your arms to your side and straighten your legs. Repeat twice.
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, and your feet straight forward. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and reach up with your left arm toward the ceiling. Hold that position, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Feel the stretch. Lower your left arm. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and reach up with your right arm toward the ceiling. Hold that position, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Alternate left and right reaches four times.
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, and your feet straight forward. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and, with a slight bend in the knees, slowly roll your body down toward the ground one vertebra at a time, while exhaling slowly through your mouth. If able, place both hands on the ground and slowly straighten your legs until you feel a hamstring stretch. Slowly roll back up to standing, stacking one vertebra on top of the next. Repeat.
No matter what type of speech you are about to deliver, preparation is paramount to your success. Try not to memorize but rather familiarize yourself with the copy. Have an emotional connection to the written word. When practicing your speech, think of how you will focus your eyes on one member of the audience at a time in order to feel the human connection. The more you connect with people in the audience, the less you will focus on your fear.
SECTION A: DISCOVER YOUR THEME SONG
Find your personal pre-speech theme song, one with an emotional trigger of empowerment that will keep you relaxed, yet energized. Scott’s is “Gonna Fly Now,” by Bill Conti,from the movie “Rocky.” Hear the song play in your head before you begin your speech.
·What is your pre-speech song?
·How do you feel when you hear the song or play it in your head? Inspired? Energized? Focused?
SECTION B: HAVE PASSION FOR YOUR SUBJECT
Become extremely familiar with your subject matter, and remain focused and passionate during your speech. Your enthusiasm is contagious: the more you care, the stronger the impact of your message.
·Practice delivering your presentation as if you were having a one-on-one conversation with your best friend. Can you persuasively communicate your own experiment about the subject?
SECTION C: THINK AND ACT CONFIDENT
Even though you may be nervous, the audience does not know how you are feeling. If your hands are shaking or you have butterflies in your stomach, you are the only one who knows that. Take a deep breath. Smile. Pause. Refocus yourenergy and have a strong voice to regainyour confidence. Be as prepared as possible but don’t overdo it!
·Rehearse your speech in a mirror, looking up as often as possible from your notes.
Your objective is to connect with the audience so that your information is well received and understood. Who is the intended audience? When writing a speech, try to use words that you truly understand and terms that are intended for your audience.
SECTION A: ORGANIZE AND ARRANGE THE SPEECH
Research shows that most people come away from a speech with only two to three key points. First, you’ll need to determine your main idea. Then decide what you want your audience to discover from your speech. Have a clear goal in mind. There are usually three basic components of a speech:an introduction, the main body of the talk, and the conclusion.
·What are the key points you want to convey to your audience?
·How will you use your introduction so summarize those points?
·What example will you use to illustrate your subject matter?
·How will you use your conclusion to help the audience remember your key points?
An alternate approach that often works well for beginning speakers is to organize the presentation in a QUESTION-AND-ANSWER FORMAT. What are the most frequently asked questions you receive from your friends,family members, and business associates about your topic?For example, a financial planner may choose to begin her speech like this: “The top three questions that most people ask me about financial planning are ‘why did I become a financial planner,’ ‘why are individuals afraid of using a financial planner,’ and ‘what is my commission?’”
·With what three questions would you structure a speech given this way?
SECTION B: THE PURPOSE OF THE SPEECH
It is vital to identify both the objective and the intended outcome of your presentation. Is your speech designed to inform, to entertain, to call to action, or to persuade? Your message is extremely important and valuable to your audience, and if you can define your purpose strongly and clearly, it will help you to focus the content.
·Why are you delivering this speech?
·What message do you want to convey?
SECTION C: THE TONE OF THE SPEECH
Determine the tone of your presentation, and tailor your delivery accordingly. People will relate to your story and remember what you had to say if you share personal stories or your own weaknesses. The more honest you are, the better connection you’ll have with the audience.
·Is your speech happy, serious, motivational, or funny?
·What personal experiences that relate to your topic might you want to share with the audience?
Time For Performance/Presentation:
* Remember to breathe
* Body language is important: First impressions matter
Ideas to keep in mind while addressing the audience:
·Smile: Feel the connection between you and the audience
·Recall the calm from the previous visualization exercise, mentally switch on your sense of peace and well-being prior to stepping up to the microphone
SECTION A: AUDIO/VIDEO CHECKLIST
o Arrive early to familiarize yourself with the room, stage, podium, and lighting.
o Ask the sound technician or engineer whether your microphone is wireless or built into the podium? Is it hand-held or does it pin to your lapel?
o Keep your mouth within six inches from the microphone. Try the microphone. During this sound check, project your voice at the same level as if you were actually addressing the audience.
o Read through the first page of your note cards or script. Does the sound carry well to the back of the room? Is there an annoying hum or reverberation in the sound system? If so, ask the sound technician for adjustments.
o Have a friend or co-worker stand in the back of the room and let you know if the volume level should be louder or lower.
o Are the bass and treble balanced? Is it tin-can sounding, indicating too much treble, or is there too much low-end bass vibrating the speakers? Have the audio engineer make the necessary adjustments.
o Will you be walking around the room with a wireless hand-held microphone? If so, make sure not to point the top of the microphone directly in front of a speaker, as this will cause very loud screeching known as feedback. Be careful to stay within range of the transmitter and microphone signal range to avoid interference noise.
o Check to ensure that any visual equipment is also running smoothly (laptop, projector, etc.) and that you understand how to use the accompanying remote devices.
o Decide whether you will sit or stand when presenting your speech. Most speakers find that they are more energized and engaged if they stand. Sitting tends to lower your enthusiasm, weaken your vocal delivery, and lessen your overall impact.
o If an audience member asks you a question during your presentation, remember to repeat the question into your microphone, and then respond into the microphone with your answer so that everyone in the room can participate in the discussion.
Note: Not only will conducting a preliminary sound and image check enhance the professionalism of your presentation, it will also strongly increase your public-speaking confidence.
SECTION B: MAKE YOUR SPEECH FUN!
It’s now time for your performance or presentation. Remember to breathe. Your body language is very important. First impressions do count. Smile. Feel the connection between you and the audience.
Earlier we practiced visualizing a relaxed, peaceful state of mind. Now recall that feeling as you mentally switch on your sense of calm wellbeing prior to saying hello at the microphone.
Grab their attention right away. You will gain confidence if you can start strong and end strong. If you aren’t a funny person or if the subject matter is serious, it may be best to avoid humor in your opening remarks. Luckily there are a number of other effective ways to break the ice.
* Begin your speech with either a startling statistical fact, a compelling personal story, a poignant quotation, or by revealing the answer to the most frequently asked business question.
* Sometimes it’s fun to reward a few audience members with a prize for answering questions correctly about your topic. Or ask for a show of hands about an issue related to your talk.
* Offer a seventh-inning stretch toward the end of your speech so that the audience can welcome a little circulation in their lower extremities.
How will you open your speech?
How will you engage the audience?
Can you introduce elements of audience participation, and if so, how?
SECTION C: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Your confidence will become stronger and stronger with every speaking engagement. Remember, public speaking is a learned skill that develops over time with patience, practice, and a desire to succeed. Maintain your own unique delivery style by presenting your material with a natural, conversational flow. Your goal is to create energy through the spoken word and hold the audience’s attention.
·Practice your speech with friends and family members. Can you hold their attention? Ask them for honest feedback.
·Videotape or tape record your presentation and evaluate your delivery, articulation, and speed of speaking.
SECTION D: COMMON SPEAKING CHALLENGES AND REMINDERS
Challenges: What Not To Do
A great speech can be easily derailed by a few poor presentation choices. By avoiding these “What Not
To Do” moments, you will become a much more effective speaker.
·Do not leave your cell phone on. Turn the phone off completely, as any vibration or ringtone can be a distraction from a great speech.
·Do not mumble. Take your hands away from your mouth and speak clearly with confidence. Articulate your words clearly.
·Do not look down the entire time you are speaking. It makes you look as if you don’t care about the audience. Practice keeping your head up.
·Don’t trail off at the end of a sentence. Maintain a steady voice at the beginning and at the end of each sentence so that your voice can be heard clearly at the conclusion of each thought.
·Don’t overstay your welcome. If you are given ten minutes to speak, stay on schedule. Always leave the audience wanting more, not less.
·Do not read your script to the audience, especially if your public reading skills are not strong. Instead, try to speak from personal experiences and follow a note card outline with bullet points. Glance down, see your topic, and then focus your attention back to your audience.
·Do not fall into the “uh”, “umm” and “er” trap of filler words. This stall technique makes you sound hesitant and unsure. Take a deep breath. Smile. Now move to the next thought.
Reminders: What To Do
The night before your speech:
·Avoid alcohol and its resulting dehydration and dry mouth.
·Get a good seven to eight hours of sleep. Remember, rest is best!
On the day of your speech:
·Avoid caffeine and dairy products prior to presenting—your adrenaline will already be in high gear.
·Have a glass of water waiting at the podium.
·Shake a few hands and talk to your audience members one-on-one before taking to the stage. Building rapport with your audience helps you focus on them, not yourself.
·Take your time when delivering your material. Make small pauses to emphasize a point and take in some air.
·Don’t apologize to your audience if you make a mistake. They want you to succeed, so relax and speak to them slowly and effectively. Remember to breathe and smile.
·Make eye contact with your audience. Focus on individuals in different areas of the room, looking them directly in the eyes for five to ten seconds.
·Use gestures convincingly. Rather than locking your elbows at your side, make hand gestures from your shoulder. Half-hearted gestures, crossed arms, and putting your hands into a pocket or behind your back distract your audience from your message.
·Breathe, visualize, and relax. It’s your message; it’s your day. Make it memorable and have fun!
Congratulations, now it’s your turn to step up to the mic! You’re now on yourway to successful, effective public speaking. Remember to keep it simple. Your goal is to make sure your message is received and understood. Always know the purpose of your speech and be prepared. Keep your presentation alive by connecting with the audience and by remaining positive and confident. And most of all, practice, smile, and enjoy your speech.
Scott Topper, three-time Emmy-nominated television show host, is a professional actor and speaker who has dedicated his life to helping others develop their speaking skills and become passionate public speakers. Scott is the founder and creator of IMproSolutions™, an Interactive Public-Speaking System developed in 1999, and Public Speaking Secrets 101: Overcome Fear of Public Speaking Tips Course. With over two decades of public speaking, improvisation, and acting experience, Scott offers public-speaking seminars to corporate executives, business owners, entrepreneurs, college and university students, middle schools, high schools, and various organizations worldwide, including China, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Scott is a public speaking classes online instructor and presentation skills training expert.
Scott’s goal is to empower people to achieve success in their personal and professional lives by discovering and exploring the true colors of one’s own unique personality. Scott strives to increase individual confidence and creativity by providing useful and practical public-speaking tools and techniques. As an entertainment industry expert, Scott is a member of Meeting Professionals International, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and International Special Events Society.
A consummate entertainer, Scott co-hosted “The Local Show” with Cheryl Ladd from “Charlie’s Angels,” hosted “Way Back Weekends” radio program for Cumulus Broadcasting, played an alien “Kantare” guard for Paramount TV’s “Star Trek: DS9,” and co-starred in “Hypnotalk” on E! Entertainment TV. Scott was recruited by Twentieth Century Fox in Hollywood, CA to play the United States touring role of “Night Guard Scott,” promoting the DVD release of the movie Night at the Museum, starring Mickey Rooney, Robin Williams, and Ben Stiller.
Scott also hosted “American Top-40 On-tour,” a two-year, 50-city U.S. excursion for ABC Radio Networks. He served as reality field producer for MTV’s “Taildaters,” and later became show runner for MTV’s “Burned.” Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Theatre Arts. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, CA and he enjoys cycling, singing, dancing, playing guitar, fundraising for charity events, and performing improvisational comedy.