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This post is a quick look at the basics of organizing a speech, including the SHARP method for supporting your points (based on an acronym provided by Joe Sharp). Close with a big anchor—see following sections on openings and closings.  Your most powerful anchor should go here, or find its completion here. Call to action (the action might be a call to a different way of thinking, via a final thought-provoking question, or a call to feel differently about something and change an attitude, or it can be a call to a physical action). The most important action you can take to manage the fear of public speaking is the unseen mental preparation, the inner game.
The calming effects of meditation, prayer and self-hypnosis are well-documented.  All three involve settling the mind and often result in a calming, deep breathing pattern which is the opposite of how you feel when you are afraid.
If you still feel debilitating fear after trying some of the above techniques, you might want to enlist the help of a professional.  There are mental health professionals and practitioners of other calming or behavioral modification techniques that can assist you in managing your fear. I am not going to tell you how to overcome the fear of public speaking.  Instead, I am going to offer suggestions on how to manage the fear so that it is not debilitating. Second, realize there are actions that you can take to manage the fear.  Action is the antidote to fear. You show up at an event and the organizer asks you to “say a few words” later in the program. You show up at your surprise birthday party and realize people might expect you to say something.  Guess who turned 50 last month? Probably not too excited.  Probably a little (or a lot) afraid.  Turn your fear into purposeful energy and use this opportunity to make a difference! An analogy.  At my surprise birthday party, I started out “I feel a little like George Bailey in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life . Write down your main message in one sentence.  Everything you say must relate to your main message. At the very least, mentally go through your introduction and conclusion several times so that you can deliver them with power.  If you have time to practice, like in the car on the way to a meeting, do so out loud to build fluency and confidence. Like rhyme, alliteration can be a powerful memory aid, anchoring points in the minds of your audience members.  Alliteration is one reason we easily remember cliches such as sink or swim, a dime a dozen, and the favorite of every speaker, perfect practice prevents poor performance. An echo not only lingers in the mind, but it can build to a climax, gathering emotional force. The most common type of echo is starting echo (anaphora), which occurs at the start of successive clauses. Don’t let your presentations fade into the distant memory of your audience.  Use echo to create rhythm. Contrast  is the second  rhetorical device in the acronym SCREAM (Simile, Contrast, Rhyme, Echo, Alliteration, and Metaphor).  Use the techniques of SCREAM to capture your audience’s attention with colorful language and anchor your points the minds of your audience members. In short, contrast occurs when two opposite viewpoints are placed close together.  It can be used for powerful phrasing, or even to structure an entire speech. When you input a word, you get related words,  definitions,  synonyms (similar meaning) and antonyms (opposite meaning). Choose a word (or investigate other meanings) that fits with your concept and has a catchy sound.  In the case of courage, I’d probably pick cowardice (which also has alliteration) or fear (which is short and to-the-point).
Not only can you have contrast in phrasing, but you also can have contrast in your speech structure.
I’m not sure which is worse, a speaker who is oblivious to the fact that he or she has gone overtime or one who realizes it and keeps talking anyway, often trying to cram 15 minutes of material into 3 minutes.  All I know is that I don’t want to be one of those speakers.  Neither do you, right? Right off, you should know that I’m not a big fan of speeches that are memorized word-for-word.
Assign each of the points to a room in your home—the sub-points can be pieces of furniture. Create a word picture for the point.  In your mind see yourself doing something silly with the word picture in the room. Physically walk through the house if you can, picturing the silly pictures as you say the words for each point.  You can also take pictures with your phone of the locations and then run through it visually on your phone, imagining you are taking a walk.
Another version of the “Silly Walk” is to create a Map of your Speech and use pictures to represent concepts (or destinations) for your points.
Do you have other techniques to reduce “blank-outs” or forgetting of entire speech segments? You don’t have to say your speech the same way twice—No one will know if you use different words! In fact, by allowing yourself the freedom to deviate from what you’ve written, you are less likely to “blank out” if your mind can’t think of the one exact phrase you had written.
Inspired by a recent NSA-MN Chapter meeting speaker, Hayley Foster, who spoke about creating TED-style talks (post here), I decided that I (and you) could probably learn some public speaking tips from TEDTalks. In about 600 words, I will share some public speaking tips from each talk that you can use in your presentations. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Speakers Association hosted  a presentation “Short Talk. In case you didn’t know, TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design and TEDx events are independently organized. A useful activity in uncovering your unique idea, which Hayley had the group practice, is to discuss your passion with someone else and have them explain it back to you.
You might think that professional speakers would do especially well with TED-style talks, but that’s often not the case.
If you’ve enjoyed my recent tips on becoming a more confident speaker, you will want to get your FREE Kindle book, 12 Ways to Be a Confident Speaker.
A few weeks ago, I set up a dress rehearsal for a young client who would be presenting a TEDx talk 6 days later in Florida (16 year old Astronaut Abby). On the night before the TED talk in Florida, the presenters had the opportunity to rehearse a portion of their speech on the actual stage, with microphones and their PowerPoint. Go into the presentation prepared with back-up equipment, if possible, and your presentation on a flash drive (and also online as a further back up). If your microphone fails and you are speaking to a group of fewer than 100 people, in a room that is not too large, you can probably do without the microphone. Odds are that if you speak enough, you may be faced with “pinch-hitting” for another speaker.


With that, Jennifer left and I walked into the room and let the person in charge of the agenda know that I would be substituting for Jennifer, with the same topic. The key to my acceptance of the task of giving another person’s speech was that I was familiar with the material and knew that I did not have to resort to saying her exact words.  Also, I quickly developed a plan. Would you like a simple speech technique that will create a closer connection with your audience, help them remember your material, and possibly get a laugh?
The call-back is a stand-up comedy term that means to refer to an earlier joke that got a laugh.
A call-back in a speech does not have to refer back to something funny in order to be an effective call-back.  It does need to refer back to something that will connect emotionally with the audience. The call-back can be an effective closing summary technique if you have structured your speech with a story for each main point.  In closing, you can refer briefly to the story and connect that with the story’s point. Aside from participating in Toastmasters, the most beneficial activity I have done to improve my speaking was to take a couple of improv classes several years ago. The idea of speaking without preparation may be terrifying to you.  It’s still not my favorite thing to do, but practicing improv in class, in Toastmasters and even in professional speaking has helped me to connect with my audience and, much to my surprise, has reduced my pre-speech jitters. Improv techniques helped me on all counts, plus it gave me a confidence that I could deal with change, a “yes, and” attitude, of acceptance of whatever happens during a presentation and using that to forge a connection with the audience.  For example, at a recent presentation, my PowerPoint presentation went wacko, so rather than getting all flustered, I accepted it and just did more audience participation. Join Toastmasters.  Part of every meeting is a time for “Table Topics” where a few people answer a question with no prior preparation.
Practice using the phrase “yes, and” with people, even if you disagree with them.  The idea is to not negate a suggestion or person, to not block them or their ideas, but to accept and move forward. Do you wish you could answer off-the-cuff questions (like on job interviews), without sounding off-the-wall? Toastmasters is a low-cost, flexible, self-paced program in a club format that will allow you to develop speaking (and leadership) skills. Most of my subscribers are familiar with Toastmasters, but if you aren’t, there are Toastmaster clubs worldwide that meet on a regular basis in which people like you practice speaking and leadership skills. My husband, Kim, who is hearing impaired (but recently got new, very awesome hearing aids), also has seen great benefits through his involvement with Toastmasters. If you already are a Toastmaster, consider joining another club to develop your skills further. As you become known as a public speaker, you may be asked to speak more at work, often with little or no preparation. Becoming more proficient at impromptu speaking can propel your career and position you as a thought-leader and team player who can clearly and confidently get a point across. The second element, patterns, simply means that you can structure your response to fit a pattern, which gives you a comfortable framework for your response and makes you sound quite articulate. By using an example (or telling a relevant story), you don’t have to think too hard about what you will say next.
Present the pros and cons of something, but if you want to be persuasive, one case should be weaker than the other, so you can end by taking a stand. Typically you would use past, present, future, but if you are trying to cast a vision you could change up the order to be future vision, relevant past, present action needed. Use this journalistic technique to address the Who, What, When, Where and Why in giving background information. Start out with one or two patterns that seem the most useful for the types of questions you most often get.  The PREP pattern is probably the most generally useful pattern. Ask questions to clarify the question, if needed (plus you will come across as a good listener). Repeat or rephrase the question (and it’s OK to repeat it more than once, which will buy you some time and sound like you are building up to your response).
Defer.  If another person is available who would have a better response, let them answer the question. The Big Idea:  An inexpensive, wearable device (SixthSense) can interact with our environment to give us easy access to relevant information to help us make better decisions. Not perfect:  This speech lacked many of the polished presentation aspects you might expect from a TED Talk.
The ending was also quite abrupt.  Pattie Maes again credited the  PhD student, Pranav Mistry, who “was the genius” behind the device (and I kept wondering, “Well, then why isn’t he up there?”).
Getting a word cloud on someone you just met with words from their blog and personal web pages. With the example of the device creating a word cloud when you meet someone, she effectively circled back to her opening example of meeting someone and the awkwardness of asking them to wait while you googled them to get some information on them.  Instead of that awkward exchange, the SixthSense device would project a word cloud about them. Clearly the reason this speech was the ninth-most watched TED video is that it was a captivating idea, demonstrated clearly. The biggest take-away:  A unique idea, well-described or demonstrated, will captivate an audience.
Speech Coaching is training that involves improving the tone, resonance, expressiveness, volume, and clarity of one's voice. As with any skill, people will see various levels of success at the skill of impersonation based on practice and their affinity for it. Why do people get hoarse after a long day of talking, and is it an indication that you're using your voice incorrectly, or does it happen to everyone? What's the most common speech habit or characteristic that you get asked for help with? Is there a sociological reason WHY everyone hates the sound of their own voice when they hear a recording of it? Maybe this isn't your field of expertise, but do you have any thoughts about why computer vocal recognition technology is STILL not that great?
Do you think vocal coaches need to have good voices themselves, or do you know some who are actually terrible at using their own voices, but are nonetheless good teachers?
Have you ever worked with a stutterer, and is it true that a stutter is entirely psychological or does it result from how you use your voice? Yes – I have worked with clients who stutter!Experts are not sure exactly what causes stuttering.
Give yourself a minute to brainstorm.  Do you have one story that can provide the overarching framework?


It is the fifth rhetorical device in the acronym SCREAM (Simile, Contrast, Rhyme, Echo, Alliteration, and Metaphor).  Use the techniques of SCREAM to capture your audience’s attention with colorful language and anchor your points the minds of your audience members. Don’t use weird words.  While you can get ideas for synonyms using a thesaurus, don’t use words that you wouldn’t normally say. The Forgetter.  You are afraid you are going to forget what you want to say, so you use notes.
The Writer.  You worked hard to get your wording just so and want to say it just like you wrote it.
One organizer told me that my presentation was pre-loaded, but when I got there it wasn’t.
Having to scroll and scroll and scroll to get through other newsletters, often times means I don't read them at all. Too slow rate of speech.  Because I was trying to access exact phrasing from my memory, my rate of speech was a bit slower than my normal conversational rate. Unfocused eye contact.  My eye contact was often an unfocused gaze as I was sometimes “reading” my speech by visualizing the words on a page.
Increased “blank-outs.”  Because I had taken my brain down the well-worn path of saying my speech only one way, if something got me off-track, I had no alternate paths to get back on track. Recently my friend Patty Bremer, who has epilepsy, received her Competent Communicator Award, completing 10 speech projects.
How can you practice impromptu speaking?  Take the opportunity to speak up in lower-stakes situations—in conversations with friends, family and coworkers.  Make a game of it!  At meals have people write a word or phrase on a slip of paper to give to someone else. People seek speech coaching for many reasons, including changing the tone of the voice, public speaking, interview skills, accent reduction, media appearances, and acting work, among others. Just like you practice stretching and improving your posture in yoga class, you can learn how to stretch and improve your vocal flexibility. Voice is amplified through vibrations as they re-sound throughout the open spaces in the throat, mouth, and sometimes through the nasal passages. Vocal coaches who practice healthy vocal production generally have versatile and pleasant voices as a result.Just as film critics may not be the best directors and basketball coaches may not be able to compete on the court, some vocal coaches understand the physiological concepts on an intellectual level but lack the ability to summon certain coordinations themselves. According to the Stuttering Foundation there are four factors that may be involved to varying degrees that can cause a stutter: Genetics, child development, neurophysiology, and family dynamics. Write your points and supports in bullet format in the middle of your page, leaving room for introduction and conclusion. Prior to this dress rehearsal, Abby and I worked first on the content of her speech, and then practiced the delivery with two run-throughs early on at a couple of Toastmaster clubs (got great feedback, from both the Toastmasters and the video which I took and made her watch). The "ingredients" are the facets of the vocal anatomy (tongue, soft palate, vocal cords, larynx, etc.).
The Stuttering Foundations says, "Stuttering may occur when a combination of factors come together and may have different causes in different people. As I get close to my ending time the colors on the large numbers change from green to yellow to red.  You could also ask someone to time your speech.
I asked her what brought her to the church and she said she wanted to get her kids into religious training.
These vibrations then move through the air outside the body and we hear voices.However, these vibrations do even more! We pronounce it differently according to where it is in the word (beginning, middle, end), and we also pronounce it differently depending on what other sounds surround it (S, L, R, etc). However, in an optimal scenario the coach would be able to demonstrate exactly how you need to sound, rather than exclusively explaining.
If you have good aural recognition and solid control over these elements, you will likely be able to impersonate most speaking voices within your gender.
You dress differently for lounging around the house than you would for The Academy Awards.Similarly, you will employ different vocal traits if you are chatting with your best friend versus giving the State of the Union address. Words like Struggle, Kettle, Quilt, and Table all use slightly different "t" sounds.The processing abilities of human beings are extraordinary, and because of the tie between sound and meaning, we can easily decipher many more speech sounds than we consider belonging to the alphabet, often without realizing.
Since each person is different, and each person's stutter may have different causes and then develops differently over the course of life, voice work can be highly beneficial for some stutterers.When working with clients who stutter, we focus on breathing and continuity. Simply by manipulating various facets of the vocal anatomy, you can color your voice dramatically.
Whatever the reason may be for the stutter, my clients have found great success by focusing on continuity, which is the ability to join words together on a single unbroken exhale. Record the individual you are trying to mimic, then record yourself saying the same phrase.
If you don’t like the way your voice sounds on recordings or video, you can change it! This means speaking within punctuation without disrupting the air.However, the psychological implications should not be neglected.
This creates a vicious cycle of vocal misuse.At New York Speech Coaching, we show people how to relax the outer muscles and breathe in a way that gets your cords closing healthily. I help people find a speaking voice they love.Simply by learning how to manipulate various facets of the vocal anatomy, one can modify the tone of their voice.
Once the physical techniques have been learned and understood, psychological factors can exacerbate the situation. Common areas of voice enhancement include understanding to healthfully project the voice, strengthening the voice, learning how to sound more mature, and understanding how to sound less feminine, among others.
In order to improve voice recognition, there probably needs to be a larger speech sample, developed by someone with the awareness of all the different variations of the patterns of speech sounds.
If you are unsure of how to make the modifications necessary, a speech coach can show you what you're missing (e.g. What ultimately allows the training to work is a combination of voice understanding and therapy.



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