Ok, so you’re nervous, trying to remember your notes, attempting to make eye contact with your audience and one hundred other things whilst you’re presenting.
It’s amazing how much more positive the voice that comes out of your smiling face will sound and how much more intonation, expression and impact that voice will subsequently have.
Don’t believe me – test it next time you’re on the phone – how different does your voice sound when you answer the phone with a smile on your face compared to when you do not? 20 years ago I sat in a crowded assembly hall with 200 other school children and was told all of the stories from the Bible by a vicar who used images of the Mr Men to represent characters within the stories. To this day I remember that Mr Happy was Jesus, Mr Tall was God, Mr Greedy was Judas and so on. I was four years old, desperate to go outside and play in the sunshine, fidgety and easily distracted, yet to this day I still remember every one of the stories that were told and the characters that were within them. Reference a point made by an audience member earlier during your presentation or in a past encounter. So much of what we read and learn about public speaking encourages us to put our audience first, to understand them and then to tailor our content for them. Imagine trying to give a presentation in your workplace if your colleagues kept getting up and leaving, or entering the room, were from teams irrelevant to your particular presentation topic and had a full to-do list they needed to get away and work on – tough, eh? I was fortunate enough to have a quite responsive audience who were keen to throw ideas around and discuss the points raised.
2.If the audience are struggling with a task, or are not vocal, re-ask the question, reframe it, or ask them to apply it to a fictional scenario. These were my first five thoughts after my workshop today – has anyone else any lessons that they have discovered in increasing audience participation in training workshops? I overheard this line being whispered from a talented speaker just before our local Toastmaster’s public speaking competition was about to begin. But my surprise at his words was surpassed by my amazement at how he had completely hit the nail on the head, yet was also completely wrong (Sorry Simon!).
However, Simon was also completely incorrect in his assumption that during a normal speech everyone is focused on his topic and not him.
It’s credit to Simon and reflective of his great speaking ability that he always puts his topic first (not himself) when speaking in front of an audience.
But, it is not just his topic that makes Simon a great speaker and it is not just his words that we examine. At the very heart of communicating to an audience is the objective to get your message across clearly and in the most effective manner.
Essentially I want to produce a public speaking 101 that those in fear of giving THAT presentation or THAT speech this time next week can read through, learn from and ultimately improve their public speaking. Essentially you could read a totally different set of instructions and advice depending on what your public speaking task is, which I think is great because lets face it, no presentation or speech is ever exactly the same. I’ve already planned out the technical side of the book (I think) and tried to include all of the variable elements of a speech without getting too ridiculous about it. In the end I’ll try and put this online as either an e-book or possibly even a website in its own right which users can navigate through at their leisure. Ok, so I went along to my first open mic night on Monday and after ten pretty reasonable musical acts (and a questionable 70 year old man rapping), there was one comedy act. So what other tips for stand up comedy tip I pick up from attending this open mic and witnessing an unfortunate stand-up ‘bomb’? If you do have to go on with a lot of background noise present, open with impact (a great joke or some real vocal variety and presence) to get everyone’s attention. I’ve spent this afternoon watching strangers attempt stand up routines on YouTube, looking to identify the elements of successful stand up comedy at open mic nights.
No pressure here, but the acts that appeared most successful opened with a piece of quick wit that got their audience ‘onside’ early. The most successful aspiring comedians were those that had personality, animation and life – they bought their humour to life with movement and variations in their volume and tone.
The best open mic ‘sets’ had a good flow of one joke to the next, or a clear story and purpose behind them. The best comedians at the open mic nights that I watched signed off their short open mic spot with their name and a final piece of quick wit – this helped the audience to remember who they were so that they could tell their friends exactly who they had seen and how good they were!


Controlling rowdy hockey players: April will see me invited to MC at the Southampton Hockey Club annual dinner again.
As a person who hates flying (and loves a bit of drama too) there’s a small part of me that hopes that one of the planes I’ve been watching for the past hour has some sort of difficulty, perhaps a dangerous landing or a bit of a skid.
But overall, I’m extremely glad when each plane lands safely, for the passengers, for my own confidence in air travel and for the fact that I know if I witnessed an air tragedy it would haunt me forever.
Many speakers suffer from nerves because they imagine themselves forgetting their lines, giving a bad performance and their audience laughing or jeering them.
They believe that their audience will actually delight in the tragedy of them failing – that they want to witness a ‘car crash’ of a performance. These are the speakers that must remember that their audience wants them to succeed and wants them to give a good performance because they want to hear a powerful speaker. Much like me watching planes, each successful landing or speech is exactly what your audience wants.
REMEMBER – Overall, your audience would be more disappointed if they arrived to hear you speak, only to witness you fail and have left the room no wiser, no better informed or no more inspired.
Remember, your audience is on your side and wants you to make a safe landing – perhaps even more for their own personal benefit than yours! It’s the reason why a parent that tells their child off and explains why what the child has done is wrong will have a more obedient child in future than one that does not.
It’s the reason why we love Jeremy Clarkson’s rants about life in Britain and buy his books. It’s the reason why X Factor contestants are more likely to get through auditions if they have had a life in which they have had to struggle against adversity.
Stories help us to interpret the world around us more easily, to learn, to understand and develop.
If you’re having trouble getting your core message across in a speech, try incorporating a story into your speech that demonstrates your point. It could be a story about what the audience should aspire to, what they should avoid doing or simply just why they should believe your message. Either way, it could be the difference between your audience understanding, agreeing and actioning your message or just missing your point completely.
Try it next time you have to persuade, influence, educate or inform in your public speaking – we all love a good story! La regola del tre e un caposaldo del public speaking e viene applicata in numerosi ambiti di business communication. Gli oratori di valore sanno che il public speaking e prima di qualsiasi altra cosa un momento di connessione emotiva con la platea.
Gli ultimi mesi della presidenza di Barack Obama saranno ricordati per un case history di comunicazione politica senza dubbio interessante, ossia la campagna dedicata alle misure sul controllo del commercio di armi. Smile at your audience, smile while you speak, more than likely see your audience smile back too. The session was three hours long, and I was keen to break up a talk of this length with some interactive breaks to help promote thinking around the topic and the application of the ideas I was presenting by the audience to their business.
It sounds so simple, but so many speakers and trainers do not design their talks with supporting activities, materials or breaks.
Often, not talking about themselves or applying ideas to others encourages an audience to air more radical, forward-thinking views and shake off what they see to be their own limitations. If the audience isn’t forthcoming with answers to your questions, give example answers from your own experience to help fuel the discussion or activity. There will always be one character in the room that is more dominant than the rest of the audience, use this character to start discussions, use them as a conduit to get others talking.
Despite nerves, Simon did himself proud in both the speech and evaluation contest at Hamwic Speakers in Southampton – March 2011.
I want to do something new, different and really engaging (ambitious I know, but bear with me). I’m not so sure it wasn’t just a lack of stage presence and impact (which could be easily solved) but hey, at the end of the day, your audience are the group you have to please! My final tip would be about getting your audience onside – something all comedians aspire to.


Nope, it’s terrified me, seeing someone bomb, but if anything it has made me more motivated to get up there and do it myself! Think of the funniest jokes you have heard in the past – I’m sure they were the ones that were told by a passionate and engaging joker?
This helps the general flow of the set and avoids any pauses as the comedian hurriedly changes topic.
I’ll be doing this at a range of venues (and possibly via DVD in my living room too!) over the coming months. I’ll be leading the group forward, helping others to develop their speaking skills and hopefully learning a lot more myself too.
Check out this Prince’s Trust blog post for some of my thoughts on being involved with this brilliant scheme and the inspiring young people that I have met.
Last year was great fun and a challenge too, controlling hundreds of drunken hockey monkeys!
We relate to stories, we understand stories and we are conditioned to enjoy stories from childhood. Guy with no arms and no legs engages and holds an audience’ attention and gets his message across.
Solo agendo in questo modo e infatti possibile farsi ricordare dal pubblico e rendere il proprio discorso un esempio tecnico di valore sul lungo termine.
This will make David feel valued, demonstrate to your audience that you are willing to listen to and take on board good comment and feedback and encourage further comments from your audience in future. Much like quoting your audience, using audience members as example characters within your speech or presentation keeps your audience awake and on their toes (who will be used as the next example?!) and increases their buy-in and propensity to remember the points that you are making. In truth, it’s the last five seconds of your act, and everything that the audience can see (you, your knives, your stool, etc). For example, ask the character of the group, ‘what would (other member of the group) think about this, in your opinion?”. There will be a lot of background noise which is easily overcome if you are a musician, but not if you are relying on your voice alone. With the background noise and various other distractions, you need to keep your audience engaged (as with any public speaking).
For an open mic night, I’ve found that the only thing that you and your audience likely have in common is your shared experience of the previous acts (good and bad). A flowing humourous set appears to go down better than 50 unrelated jokes told one after the other!
I’ve found myself getting very comfortable with speaking at the club and so this is the next step for me to continue pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I’m looking forward to the task of improving on my performance this year and keeping everyone suitably entertained, amused and at bay! Their thoughts will quickly become comments and interaction, which will make everyone in the room feel involved in a positive, energetic discussion or workshop – most of us can relate to how great it feels to leave a room feeling that you have been part of something really useful and constructive for everyone involved. However much you may have been paid or bribed to speak, never forget that everyone secretly loves the sound of their own voice too. Do you ever remember a quiz, test or challenge that you didn’t enjoy where there was chocolate (or an even greater prize_) up for grabs?! My advice would be to get on stage early before this background noise gets louder (generally due to alcohol!).
Do this by interacting with the crowd and asking questions of them – perhaps get them involved in your best gag or catchphrase.
Why not make reference to a shared observation or piece of humour from a a previous act to quickly get your audience on side? Before the end of the year I’m also going to try my hand at a ten minute stand-up routine too, which will also be subject to some bloggery!



Living out my dreams youtube trailer
The secret movie online in hindi jokes


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