Opening your speech

Opening your speech

Imagine yourself at mission control; 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Speak!

When the space shuttle blasts off - those first few seconds of lift are critical. It comprises a small portion of the total journey, yet if someone errors - they crash and burn. The beginning of your speech is much the same. If you error in the opening your speech will crash and burn.

The mission of your opening is to 1. Grab their interest; 2. Establish rapport; 3. Introduce your topic. Here are 10 techniques you can use to launch your successful speech.

10. Startling statement. Use a strong attention grabbing statement - with facts, statistics or unusual information. "The greatest fear is to speak in public. The second greatest fear is to die."

9. Suspense/ Surprise. Start with a suspense-building sentence or take them in one direction - then hit them with surprise. "It was a dark and stormy night - it was my wedding night."

8. Story/Anecdote. Tell a short story. Begin your story with the word imagine. It is an engaging word. "Imagine that we could travel back in time to witness the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk."

7. Quotation. When you use a quotation you tap into the credibility and power of the person who stated those words. "I have a dream, cried out Martin Luther King Jr." Quote from people well known and well liked by your audience.

6. Challenging Question. Questions are always powerful and engaging. This could be a rhetorical question. "Are you ready for the recession? When the going gets tough will you be prepared?"

5. Compliment the audience. Be sincere - don't say, "You are the most beautiful audience I have ever seen." Instead say something that impressed you about the group, 'I am very impressed with the hospitality shown to me by you today. This lives up to the reputation I have heard about your community work.'

4. Occasion. Comment on the occasion - especially if it is an anniversary or awards night. "To speak to you on your 10th annual awards dinner is an honour." Or uncover some information about the group that outsiders would not normally know. "Happy Birthday to your founding president." This takes a little research - and is worth it.

3. Prop or visual. Catch their attention and set the mood with a funny hat, uniform, or stuffed bear. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), would blow a cloud of smoke on stage before he made his entrance. It always got a laugh. You might roll a ball across the stage or play with a yo-yo. What you do before you speak can be powerful.

2. Previous speaker. Pick up on something a previous speaker said or did - especially if that was the president or chairman of the board. Build on what they said. It shows that you listened and gives you more credibility if you agree with the boss. Before you speak ask a participant, "What was the funniest thing that happened so far?" Try to build on this to get a laugh. Comedians call this technique a call back.

1. Engage the audience. Ask a question that requires the audience to answer, or one that is sure to make them laugh. "How many of the women in the audience have had an affair with Bill Clinton? - - How many of the men?"

Bonus tips:

Don't start with "My topic is..." or "Today I am going to talk about..." Both of these are boring.

Never start with an apology. "I'm sorry we are running late." "I'm sorry the president couldn't be here." "I'm sorry about the meal."

Once you take your position on stage, enjoy a long pause before you speak. Silently count "1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi".

Smile as you first look around the audience. Look like you are happy to be there even if you don't feel that way.

Get them to laugh early. You'll feel better and they will decide to like you sooner.

We return to Mission Control.10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Close - and that's another story.

© ESCB George Torok is host of the weekly radio show, Business in Motion; coauthor of the national bestseller, Secrets of Power Marketing and an international keynote speaker. He delivers programs that develop thinking and communication skills. You can reach him at 800-304-1861. To register for your free presentation tips


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Tim Gard Professional Speaker

Tim Gard - professional speaker

If you want to be a better speaker, watch and learn from other speakers - political, business and profesional.

Notice the techniques that work or don't work and ask yourself, "Why?".

Notice their style and decide if it conveys who they really are - or is it forced and plastic.

Tim Gard is a professional speaker. He talks about simple every day issues and he has a unique style that is Tim Gard. I've seen hims speak a few times and enjoy his presentations.

Watch this short video and notice how he brings the audience into his stories and especially how he waits for the auidence to get it. A big part of comedy is waiting for the audience to get it. Count the seconds that he waits and you will get the idea of how long you might wait.

Tim Gard is speaking at the national convention of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

I will be there and I look forward to seeing Tim Gard present again.

George Torok
Canadian Business Speaker
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Power Presentation Tips 11: Stand Proud

Power Presentations Tips 11: Look like a Gold Medal Champion

Stand Proud - Look like a winner.

Accepting the Olympic Gold medal for your country is no time to look timid. While you are watching the Olympic Games notice how the medal winners - especially the gold medal winners - stand when they receive their recognition.

Observe the body language - feet firmly planted, body erect, shoulders back, head up, smiling, eyes aglow and one or both arms thrust triumphantly high. Even if you missed the competition and watched the awards ceremony with the sound turned off - you still know who won.

Often your audience is watching you with the sound off - more often then you might think. They might be day dreaming or considering whether they should listen to you. It takes less effort to look than to listen so first they look at you before deciding to listen to you.

And even if they are listening they stop listening to you while they are digesting your words and listening to their own thoughts.

Your audience sees much more than they hear. And they will remember more of what they saw than what they heard. That's one of the reasons we tend to remember faces better than names.

What does this mean to you?
When rehearsing your presentation be sure to rehearse how you look. You will convey the wrong message if you slump like a cynical Woody Allen or slink like a treacherous Gollum. Rehearse in front of a mirror to get your body language right. Get yourself in the right mood by imagining yourself accepting the Gold medal for your presentation. When no one's watching stand in front of that mirror and thrust your arms high in jubilation.

We're watching you but maybe not listening. Delivering your presentation is no time to look timid.

George Torok

PS: tell me how this tip helps you.

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Canadian Professional Speakers

Canadian Professional Speakers

Here is a new blog that is the unofficial blog for the national convention of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

The 2008 CAPS convention is Nov 30 - Dec 2 in Toronto, ON.

If you are a professional speaker in Canada - then you must attend this convention. It is the meeting place for movers and shakers in the Canadian professional speaking business.

This is for professional speakers who are paid for their expertise - not the celebrity speaker who is riding a name of fame.

Visit the new Canadian Professional Speakers blog.

Register for the 2008 CAPS national convention.

George Torok

Charter Member and past national board director
of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Why speakers fail

Why speakers fail

In any discussion about the best executive speach coaches of the world one name that is sure to come up is Patricia Fripp. Why? Here are the top three reasons that I can think of:
1. She is the best that I have seen;
2. She has years of experience over most of the other speech coaches;
3. She is well known and respected by the members of The International Federation for Professional Speakers.

I had the opportunity to be coached by her years ago and continue to take every opportunity to observe her work and learn from her.

Below is a bang-on report by Fripp about why speakers fail.


Three Reasons Speakers Fail to Hit the Mark
by Patricia Fripp and Jeff Davidson

My prolific author and speaker friend Jeff Davidson and I had a conversation about some of the ways speakers fail. Hope you enjoy some ofthe ideas Jeff wrote on the subject. There are many ways to successfullydeliver a presentation and many more to fail at it. Here are three common mistakes that speakers make, professional speakers included; all three have to do with a lack of adequate preparation.

1) Not Understanding the Assignment
Before ever leaving your own office, it is critical to understand why you have been scheduled to speak to this group at this time. Such understanding necessitates that you read about the organization, get information about the audience's current challenges and hot buttons, and learn what the meeting planner has in mind for the presentation. Five-minute conversations over the phone with a meeting planner do not tend to supply you with all you need to know in that area.

If you're a celebrity speaker, you are brought in so that people in the audience can go home and say "I saw so and so." It barely matters what you speak about as long as you are semi-coherent and don't offend the group.

From the rest of us, however, the people in the seats desire to hear ideas and concepts that directly relate to the professional andpersonal challenges they face. Or, they want to hear about issues ofuniversal importance, i.e. affecting their communities, state, nation,or the planet. The only way to come armed with the proper information about the scenario and setting is to spend at least an hour researching the group and the situation.

2) Failing to Know Your Audience
Beyond understanding the setting and why you are invited to speak, knowing the audience is itself an art and a science.
* Who are they?
* What is their age range?
* What is their educational background?
* How long have they been with the organization?
* What is this particular meeting designed to do?

Probe even further. How far have they come? Do they know each other or are they assembling for the first time? What will they hear before and after the presentation? What did they hear last year or at a similar meeting? How would they like to feel and what would they like to "get"as a result of your presentation--when they leave the room, how will they be changed?

As you can quickly surmise, the answers to these questions are not ones that you can intuit. You have to ask the meeting professional who hired you, the movers and shakers who will be in attendance, and other key operatives of the organization. This usually requires an email or fax request, sometimes reviewing the questions by phone since your contacts will be very busy.

Unless you find answers to these types of questions, and there isn't much more that you could know, don't accept the presentation. Without this information, your presentation may hit the mark if you are incredibly lucky, but chances are that you will simply dance around the periphery of what you need to do and say to be successful. If it's a one-time presentation, and you don't intend to do much more speaking, you'll probably be able to get away with this.

If you want to speak professionally, however, there is no effective substitute for "knowing the audience."

3) Not Arriving With Sufficient Clearance Time
Whether your presentation is across the world, across the country, or across town, increase your probability of success by arriving in plenty of time. This may require coming in the night before you're scheduled to present.

When you arrive early, you gain a considerable advantage which can often be the make-or-break factor in the success of your presentation. You get to settle in, calm down, check out the facilities, walk the room, talk to people, check out equipment, and arrange things. In doing so, you give yourself the edge over the speaker who arrives "just in time." These days, with affordable mobile technology, you can be productive all day long wherever you are, so arrive early!

Come to hear practical and brilliant advice to help you get to your next level of speaking development at the November Patricia Fripp Speaking School. Then in Seattle stay for Fripp and Fripp!- Fripp Seattle (Redmond) Speaking School November 6-7, 2008

Patricia and Robert Fripp Speaks:
Beginner to Mastery Redmond, LA and Phoenix, November 8-9-11

Patricia Fripp learning materials


Powerful advice. The best in any field constantly seek out the best in that field to learn from them. Fripp is the best that I know and that's why I learn from her.

George Torok
Speech Coach for Executives
Presentation Skills Training

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

Presentation Skills Book

Presentation Skills Book

eBook on presentation
by Khalid Aziz.

The only eBook on presentation will help you to become an expert in presentation skills.

Presentation skills books are widely available, but here at last is the presentation skills ebook which really hits the spot. Khalid Aziz’s Presentation Skills Book will help you develop your executive presentation skills beyond all recognition.

“I make good presentations and bad presentations. The trouble is, I don’t know why the good presentations are good or indeed why the bad presentations are bad”.

Presenting is an art, but also a skill which can be learned. This ebook takes the mystique out of presenting using ‘The Aziz Methodology’…. practical tips for honing your presentation skills.

When you’ve read this Presentation Skills ebook you will:
Be able to prepare a ten minute presentation in half an hour
Have all the tools to become a stunning presenter in 6 weeks
Be able to present with passion and impact