Posts Tagged ‘Presentation Skills’

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

“Someone’s sleeping in my presentation”

July 17, 2008

Do you remember the story of Goldilocks?

Baby Bear discovered that someone was sleeping in his bed; “Someone’s sleeping in my bed, and she’s still there.”

Could you be putting your audience to sleep in your presentation?

You start off with a bang, but somewhere in the middle you start to see the signals:

  • *People have a glazed look on their face
  • *Something, anything is more interesting to your audience members
  • *People are yawning
  • *Your audience is fidgeting
  • *Participants are laid back with their eyes closed

Oh no, someone’s sleeping in your presentation! What do you do?

Don’t panic, next week we’ll have a look at how to get back on track and re-connect with your audience.

Keep speaking – Carrol


March 17, 2008

We all know that first impressions are important, if you are the speaker, being introduced properly is vitally important.

The introduction that the emcee gives about you  can create a great first impression or leave people wondering why they are sitting there.

Ensure that you have your introduction prepared in advance so that the emcee doesn’t have to wing it on the day.

A proper introduction should be less than a minute and include the following:

  • Topic – What the speech is about – grab the audiences attention.
  • Importance – Why this topic is important to the audience and how they will benefit by listening – peak their interest.
  • Speaker – Who you are and why you are qualified to speak on this subject – have something personal about yourself as well, this helps the audience to connect with you as the speaker.

Having a well written introduction will make you look like a professional speaker and will go a long way to making that great first impression.

Metaphor Magic

March 10, 2008

 Metaphors in speeches are said to be Magical.

Using metaphors in your speech can help to lead your audience to an idea or conclusion they may not have thought about before.

Metaphors can be used to:

  1. Offer a broader perspective on a situation
  2. Lead your audience to a solution for a problem
  3. Leave them with a lesson

Metaphors allow you to compare two seemingly unrelated objects to get your message across. If you as the speaker just told your audience how to solve their problems, you could come across some resistance or road blocks, using the magical metaphor allows for that “aha” moment without the resistance.

Gary Bencivenga’s has some great examples on metaphors

Barriers to communication

February 28, 2008

There are many barriers to communication which will stop people from understanding and relating to your presentation, below I have listed just a few of the main ones.

  1. Boring presentation – Your presentation may bore your audience if you haven’t taken the time to understood your audiences needs and expectations.
  2. Using Long Words – Dont use long words, people will switch off if they find the language you are using difficult to understand.
  3. Jargon – If you are going to use jargon make sure you explain the meaning so that everyone understands what you are talking about and they don’t feel left out.
  4. How you express yourself – be careful how you say things as this can affect the meaning and understanding of what you are saying
  5. Agenda – Make sure everyone understands what the presentation is about, you can do this in your introduction.

Think about what barriers you may be putting up in your presentations.

How to protect your voice

January 25, 2008

If you are speaking on a regular basis, taking care of your voice will be a high priority. Today I thought I would share a couple of tips to help protect your voice.

1. Drink plenty of water – this will rehydrate your vocal chords

2. Warm up your voice before speaking – this can be done by humming or singing

3. Pause regularly during your speech

4. Breathe from the diaphragm

5. Maintain your posture

6. If speaking to a large group, use a microphone

7. Don’t clear your throat, instead take a sip of water or swallow

8. Rest your voice as much as possible.

These tips will help you to protect your voice, remember you don’t want an aching, scratchy throat when you have to make a presentation.

One Red Paperclip your way to confidence

December 20, 2007

Some of you may have heard the story about Kyle MacDonald who advertised to trade one red paperclip. Over a number of months and 13 trades later, he finally made his last trade for a house. If someone had told you that you could trade a paperclip for a house you probably would have laughed.

Why am I telling you this story?

I believe that people can become confident speakers. It won’t happen over night, but with practice and guidance it can be achieved. You need to actively work on your skills, challenge yourself with new and different environments until the day you reach your goal and achieve you own personal “red paperclip”

Always be looking for the next challenge, moving up, doing more and trying something new. If you can trade your way from a paperclip to a house, you just know amazing things can happen.

30 Second introduction

December 12, 2007

The New Year is when people start to think about applying for a new job – New Year, New Career. Job interviews are a great way to speak about yourself and tell a prospective employer what it is you can offer them. 

Advertisers spend a lot of time, thought and money on selling their product in the 30 second they have available to reach you via the television. You need to think about selling yourself the same way an advertiser would. Think about what you want to say in your own 30 second “MEommercial”.

People have short attention spans so you have to make your introduction memorable. The goal of the “Meommercial” is to engage the listener. You will be asked at some stage to “tell us a little bit about yourself” This is the question you have been waiting for because unlike the other candidates who will start to real off their resume, you will have your “Meommercial” ready. You want to generate  interest and change the interview process into a conversation. Think about what it is that makes you unique, not what it is that you do in your job.

You should try to have one dynamic or emotional word in your “Meommercial” that will capture the listeners attention. ” I resolve conflict on a daily basis” “I challenge people’s thought processes”, “I live outside of the box”.

Imagine that you are paying $1000.00 for every word that you use, would you want to keep your message succinct and memorable? 

What is it that you want to say about yourself in your 30 second introduction?

Opportunities Galore

December 7, 2007

When it comes to public speaking, practice makes perfect and this time of year is perfect for practicing. With Christmas and New Year there are many opportunities to stand up and say a few words or propose a toast. You don’t have to speak for a long time, 2 – 3 minutes is all you need but it gives you another chance to hone your skills, work on those nerves or try something new. 

In January people start to look for a new job – New Year/New Career. Volunteer to say a few words about the person leaving, it could be something sensible or you can roast the person (wit, humor and satire are used to convey the message), just ensure that the jokes and anecdotes are good natured and not mean spirited. If you do this often enough people will start to approach you to say something when the next person leaves. 

There are opportunities galore to practice speaking in public this time of year, remember, more opportunities means more experience.