Archive for April, 2008

Words of inspiration

April 30, 2008

Today I thought I would share some Proverbs with you about public speaking.

I always find Proverbs inspiring.

Nothing is ever difficult once you get use to it.

Speech must be as bold as a lion, soft as a gentle hare, impressive as a serpent, pointed as an arrow, and evenly balanced like a scepter held in the middle.

He who speaks well, fights well.

 Happy speaking – Carrol

30 Million Powerpoint presentations!!

April 25, 2008


Did you know it’s estimated that over 30 million powerpoint presentations are delivered daily around the world???

What an attention grabber!

Recently I attended a workshop by Bill Farman, a fellow Toastmaster, and this was one of the stats that he used to capture our attention. This made me sit up and listen to the information that Bill was going to share with us on powerpoint.  

Today, I’d like to share with you some of the nuggets of information that Bill talked about, to help ensure that if you are using powerpoint, you’re using it differently to the majority.

  1. We like to place a lot of facts on our powerpoint presentations because facts make us look smart
  2. Think of powerpoint as a story, have images not facts
  3. The details of your presentation should be in your handouts not on the slide
  4. Don’t use clip art – overdone on so many levels
  5. Make your own images, very easy to do with todays technology
  6. Don’t use 3D images
  7. Have lots of white space
  8. Use a remote control for powerpoint presentations
  9. Keep the lights on while you’re giving your powerpoint presentation so that people can see YOU
  10. Put you logo on the first and last slide, not on every slide

If there are 30 Million powerpoint presentations being given on a daily basis, makes you wonder how many are wasted opportunitites to get it right!

Keep speaking – Carrol

Horton hears a what?

April 20, 2008

I have just seen Horton Hears a Who, and loved the film, but what I loved even more was the language.

Dr Seuss, or Theodore Seuss Geisel, frequently used alliterations and rhymes in his books and stories to help capture the attention of the reader and the listener.

As speakers, we can use these same techniques to capture the attention of our audience and keep their minds and ears active and interested in what we’re talking about without them even knowing what we’re doing.

So here are my speech tactics:

Alliterations: is the repetition of a leading consonant sound in a phrase – Horton hears a Who (all H sounds). Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers (all P sounds)

Rhyme: is a repetition of identical or similar sounds in two or more different words. I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam-I-am.

Onomatopoeia: is a type of word that sounds like the thing it is describing. “Oink, quack, meow” all  animal sounds. “Hiss, squeak, clang” again are onomatopoeia words.

Hyperbole: is a figure of speech in where statements are exaggerated. “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse”

Similes: are comparisons, you compare two nouns that are unlike with “like” or “as”. He walked as quiet as a mouse” “Her eyes shone like diamonds”

Next time you’re putting together a speech, think about the words and language that you’re using, can you use a couple of the tactics above to help keep the interest of your audience?

    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.” Quote from Dr Seuss.

Keep speaking, Carrol


Are you a student of speaking?

April 17, 2008

Yesterday I was listening to a CD from Jim Key, who was the 2003 World Champion of Public Speaking. He was asking the question “are you a student of public speaking?”

This made me think. When I listen to my clients speak I’m listening to how they use their voice and watching to see if they are using gestures etc. When I’m at a Toastmaster meeting and evaluating a speech, I am looking at what someone has done well and what they can do to improve, but was I actually looking at what worked and trying to figure out why it worked well – if someone was giving a motivational speech, was I motivated. If someone was giving a humorous speech, did I laugh. Was I actually breaking the speech apart and looking at why the speech worked or didn’t work and if it worked, why did it work, was it the words they had used, was it the timing, was it the emotion. I came to the realisation that I wasn’t a student but a listener.

This was a great eye opener, here I was, watching all of these speeches and I wasn’t looking to see why things had worked and could I incorporate something similar into my speeches. I have decided to change the way I participate when I watch someone else give a speech so that I can grow even further myself.

So my question to you is “Are you a student of speaking?”

Definately something to think about

Keep speaking – Carrol

Presenters checklist

April 9, 2008

I am a very organised person, annoyingly so sometimes, but this is who I am. I love to know that I have covered all the bases, especially when it comes to my presentations and so I have created a presenters checklist.

Your speech:

  1. Can I state the objective or purpose of my presentation in one sentence
  2. What do I want my audience to take-away from my presentation
  3. Do I know who my audience is and what their expectations are from my presentation
  4. Do I have an opening that will capture the audiences attention
  5. Does my presentation flow well, do I have transitions from one point to another
  6. Have I summarise my main points in my conclusion


  • Are my notes organised
  • Have I paced my speech to fit the time allocated
  • If I’m using visual aids, are they working properly
  • Have I checked out the venue before I speak
  • Can people hear me
  • Have I grounded myself and am I in a comfortable stance
  • Are my gestures big enough for everyone to see
  • Am I moving with purpose
  • Am I making definite eye contact with individuals
  • Am I varying my pitch, pace and volume
  • Have I planned for the unexpected

If you have any items that you put on your own checklist, please let me know what they are so that I can add them to my list.


What to do when your mind goes blank

April 6, 2008

I had a question recently about what to do when your mind goes blank and you can’t remember what you were going to say next. So I thought I would write a couple of suggestions to help you overcome this if it happens to you.

  1. Remember that you are in control. The audience doesn’t know what you are going to say next and so won’t know that your mind has gone blank unless you tell them. This is where the pause can be a very useful tool, pause for a moment, take a breath think about what you have just been talking about and usually what you were going to say next will come back to you. When you are taking a pause it may seem like a lifetime to you, but for your audience it will just seem like a normal break in your presentation.
  2. Keep your notes handy just in case you need to refer to them. Have a quick look, find where you are up to and then move on. Don’t continue to hold onto your notes as this can make you look nervous.
  3. If you don’t have your notes with you and you can’t remember your next point but do remember another point, then continue on with the one that you can remember. Once you continue talking, chances are that you will remember the point you forgot and can say “Oh, I forgot to mention……………”
  4. One of the most common things speakers do, is to have a drink of water. Again it looks like you are taking a legitimate break. Hold up your hand in the stop gesture and take a drink, this will give you time to think about what you were going to say next.
  5. There is nothing wrong with being honest and saying “Oops I forgot what I was talking about” This will make you appear human and that you make mistakes just like your audience members, although you don’t want to say this too often as it will make you look unprepared.

Having a strategy in place will give you the time you need to collect your thoughts and then you will be able to continue on.

Hope this helps


Building Rapport – Match and Mirror

April 2, 2008

Today I am going to deviate slightly from the public speaking arena and venture straight into everyday communication.

Let me start by asking you a question.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you could feel there was a real connection between the two of you?

You may have felt like the person you were talking to was so familiar and yet you may not have met them before.

You may be matching and mirroring each other subconsciously!

What is matching and mirroring? This is a way of building rapport with someone without them even being aware of it and is a technique often used by salespeople.

Matching: Is doing something the other person is doing, but you are doing it in the reverse image. They move their right hand, you move your right hand.

Mirroring: Is being the mirror image of someone. So if they move their right hand, you mirror them and move your left hand.

Matching is a very subtle form of rapport and mirroring creates a deeper, unconscious level of rapport.

As presenters we need to be able to build rapport quickly with our audience so that we can take them on our journey. Your audience will be more open to listening if they feel that special connection with you.