Archive for the ‘public speaking’ Category

Should I use notes?

December 7, 2008

notesThere’s always a debate as to whether you should use notes or not. For me, it depends on how long my presentation is going to be.

If I’m speaking for longer than an hour, I like to have a brief outline of what I will be covering, I don’t have everything written out word for word, just a few dot points on one single note card.

When you’re speaking you want to convey confidence, enthusiasm and sincerity and this can be achieved more easily if you aren’t relying on notes.

You can make eye contact more easily with your audience if you don’t have notes and it also avoids the problem of what to do with your notes if you do decide to use them and there’s no lectern.

If you do need to use notes, look at them occasionally to refresh your memory don’t read from them as if you were reading a story. Think about what would happen if you have your notes written out word for word and you lose your place during your presentation.

Keep your notes brief, dot points are a great idea.

For your next presentation, try not to use any notes.

Keep speaking – Carrol

Your Business through Storytelling

November 29, 2008

storytellingYesterday I read an article by Dominique Antarakis, about Branding your business through storytelling.

She was talking about “if you remember anything about a small business brand, it’s because you’ve heard a story about it.”

We all know the Richard Branson story or the Bill Gates story – they’ve used storytelling to brand their business. Even the smaller companies are now using stories to brand their business.

Dominique used two examples of small companies here in Australia that have used stories to brand their business – Carolyn Cresswell from Carman’s muesli has her story about how she got into the muesli business while being a student at University on the back of the muesli boxes “One day I was told that I was going to lose my job as the business was to be sold. I immediately thought, “You could buy this little business! You love the muesli and you make it already!” My offer of $1,000 was eventually accepted and Carman’s was born. It was a life changing decision.”

Tim Pethic from Nudie Fruit drinks also uses a story to tell how he got into the fruit drink business “Tall Tim would dream of fruit juices”

We all love a good story, it helps us to remember things and we can relate better to other people when we hear their stories. As speakers, we can use a story to tell our tale or to make a point so our audience will remember what we talked about.

Think about what story you can use in your next presentation or to explain who you are and why you’re talking on your topic.

Keep speaking – Carrol

The Public Speaking Royal Flush

November 22, 2008

royal-flushRecently I had a go at poker. In the game of poker a royal flush is the highest ranking standard poker hand.

So I thought why couldn’t we have our own public speaking royal flush? It would be great to have your own highest ranking standards that would help you to win.

The Ten:

The ten represents the outcome, fulfillment, attainment and completion. What do you want your audience to achieve from your presentation? What is your take home message for them? Keep this in mind when putting together your presentation so that you don’t end up wandering all over the place and having your audience not knowing what it is you’re talking about.

The Jack:

The French representation of the Jack is the Warrior or hero. You can be the hero of your presentation by understanding your audience; who they are, where do they come from, what do they do and what do they already know? By thinking about your audience you can tailor your presentation to suit them.

The Queen:

When ever I see the Queen of hearts I instantly think of Alice in Wonderland “Off with his head.” This was a Queen not afraid to show her emotions, and when you’re presenting you shouldn’t be scared to show your emotions either. If you’re talking about something confusing, look confused, if you’re talking about something happy, look happy. Being able to portray your emotions during a presentation will help people relate to you more easily.

The King:

The King is the ruler and you must rule the stage. When moving around the stage move with purpose, don’t wander around as this can be very distracting to your audience. If you’re making an important point, step towards the audience, this will command attention. Own the stage.

The Ace:

In some countries the Ace is the highest ranking card and you must ensure that your presentations are of the highest standard that you can give. Don’t think you can wing your presentations or put little thought or effort into them. Would you like to attend a presentation that looked and felt like it had been put together half an hour before the presenter came on stage? Remember your audience deserves the best that you can give them.

A public speaking royal flush will help you to win by keeping you to your highest standards.

Keep speaking – Carrol

Three Grades of material

November 14, 2008


“There are three grades of speech material: Fair, good, and great. The fair material is what connects the pieces of the story together and makes it coherent. The good material grabs the attention of the audience. The great material creates the payoff. These are the only three grades of material that should be left in your speech after the final draft is written. Everything else should be edited out.” Bill Gove

6 Books to help with your presentations

October 31, 2008

When it comes to books that can help with your public speaking and presentations skills which books come to mind?

Today I thought I would share with you 3 of my favorite books and 3 books from Craig Valentine – 1999 World Champion of public speaking.

Carrol’s Books

  1. The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking (Dale Carnegie) – Great introduction to public speaking
  2. The Comic Toolbox (John Vorhaus) – Looks at how to be funny, even when your not
  3. Metaphorically Selling (Anne Miller) – how to use Metaphors to sell, persuade & explain anything to anyone

Craig’s Books

  1. Influence (Robert Cialdini) – Provides principles for influencing others
  2. Never Be Boring Again (Doug Stevenson) – Outlines Storytelling tools for your presentations
  3. Made to Stick (Chip and Dan Heath) – Provides 6 tools to make your message memorable.

Sometimes the best books to help with your public speaking or presentation skills have nothing to do with the subject. What books do you use/recommend to help with your presentations?

Keep speaking – Carrol

That sense of achievement

October 28, 2008

At some stage in your life you might have to give a presentation or speech. For many people the thought of speaking in public can be very intimidating. But for those who push through the fear and speak in front of a group, the sense of achievement is great.




Tips for pushing through your fear of speaking:


  1. Understand that most people feel a little nervous about public speaking
  2. Concentrate on the speech, not the fear.
  3. Quitting is not an option, make the decision to move forward not backwards


At the end of your presentation you’ll feel this buzz, this huge sense of accomplishment. You’ll know that you’ve conquered your fear, stomped on something that previously held you back.


Stand tall and acknowledge what you’ve done.


You must do the thing you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Keep speaking – Carrol

When humor goes wrong

October 17, 2008

Sometimes a joke or story may not go over the way you’d planned. Oh no, you just want to die or, at the very least have a big hole open up and you can just disappear into the centre of the earth!

Humor doesn’t always go the way you thought it would. The delivery didn’t work, the audience is inattentive or a heckler yells out the punch line. 

My most important tip is – not to show the disappointment on your face.

If it’s obvious that your joke or story didn’t work then you can always say “I thought that was going to be funny………..but obviously I was wrong” this can sometime elicit a laugh on its own, as it helps to release the tension that was built up from the failed attempt.

Every speaker will experience a “dud”, it’s how you handle the experience that separates the good speakers from the less experienced ones. 

My second most important tip is – be confident and continue on with your presentation as if nothing had gone wrong.

Humor can take a little bit of time to get right, but when things go well, you’ll feel on top of the world.

Keep speaking – Carrol

Humorously Speaking

October 11, 2008

Have you tried adding a little bit of humor to your presentations?

A little bit of humor goes a long, long way. People love to laugh and it’s a great way to connect with your audience.

One of the reasons that people don’t include humor is that they think they have to write it themselves or they don’t have anything funny to say. You don’t have to turn into a comedian to have amusing parts in your speech.

* Keep a file on things that you’ve found amusing. Chances are, if you found it funny then your audience will too.

* You can borrow material from other speakers. Re-write it and put it in your own words, this will make it more believable

* Collect jokes and stories from newspapers or magazines

* Look for humor everywhere, things that are weird, silly or ironic

If you look at your speech you’ll see some great opportunities to add something amusing. Remember, it doesn’t have to be rip roaringly funny, slightly amusing will work.

Whenever possible, put yourself in the story or make fun of yourself. Audiences like to hear about your personal experiences or that you don’t take yourself too seriously.

People love to laugh, it makes that special connection, why not try a little humor in your next presentation.

Keep speaking – Carrol

Exercise Design

October 4, 2008

I sat there totally confused.

I was in a seminar, we’d been given an exercise to do and I was at a loss as to where to start and what I needed to do.

Many presenters incorporate an exercise into their seminar or presentation because an exercise is the “how to” of the learning curve. You give your audience some information, then you get them to complete an exercise so they can put what they have learnt into practice – they learn by doing.

If your exercise isn’t explained clearly and concisely you end up with someone like me, someone who was sitting there not knowing what to do or how to do it.

You need to design your exercises so that everyone knows what they need to do and how they are going to achieve it.

1. Why – Explain why the audience is partaking in the exercise, the reason for doing it.

2. What – Explain what the exercise is, what they’ll be doing, the intended outcomes and how it relates to what you’ve been talking about.

3. How – Explain how they perform the exercise step by step, do a demonstration or provide handouts.

Your audience will learn quicker by doing; an exercise is a great way to reinforce their learning experience.

Keep speaking – Carrol

What is a Toast?

September 19, 2008

Today toasts are offered for a variety of occasions: engagements, weddings, birthdays, going away parties, anniversaries, retirements and dinner parties.


A toast is a mini speech and therefore should have an opening, body and conclusion.



  • Introduce yourself – how are you connected to the person or event. 
  • You may want to have a quote next.
  • Thank everyone for attending
  • Mention how happy you are to be attending the occasion 


Give some information about the person/people or occasion.

Try not to ramble.



Wrap up with a wish, traditional toast or blessing.

Raise your glass and finish with “congratulations” “best wishes” or “cheers”


Toasts don’t have to involve alcohol, you can toast with water, tea, coffee, juice or another type of beverage.


Keep your toast short, no more than 2 – 3 minutes.


This is a special occasion, but don’t forget to relax and enjoy yourself while giving the toast!


Keep speaking – Carrol