Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When Speaking ~ Be Brief

Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, Guest Author

Centuries ago great speakers often spoke two hours and more. But today when sound bytes on television news are the norm and serious problems are solved in an hour on a television drama, audiences are most interested in speakers that get their points across in a short period of time. In a speech delivered to a Women in Communication audience, Patricia Ward Brash said, “Television has helped create an impatient society, where audiences expect us to make our point simply and quickly.”

Today great speakers are noted for their brevity. Billy Graham, in a recent city-wide campaign in Cincinnati, spoke about 20 minutes each night. Theodore Sorensen in his book, “Kennedy,” gave guidelines by which President Kennedy prepared speeches. No speech was more than 20-30 minutes. He wasted no words and his delivery wasted no time. He rarely used words he considered hackneyed or word fillers.

A&SbeBriefAs Purdue communications professor and researcher Josh Boyd wrote, “In physics, power is defined as work divided by time. In other words, more work done in less time produces more power. In the same way, a speaker’s message is most powerful when he [or she] can deliver a lot of good material in a short amount of time.”

Here are guidelines to make brevity a key foundation in your next speech. First, keep your stories under two minutes in length. In preparing a story, continue to ask the question, “How can I say this in less time and in fewer words?” Script out your story and then seek to condense it. There is an adage in using humor: “The longer the story the funnier it had better be.” Connecting this principle to stories in general, we might say, “The longer the story, the more impact it had better have.”

To make sure your stories stay under two minutes, include only information that answers the questions, “Who?” “What?” “When?” “Where?” and “Why?” If it doesn’t answer one of these questions, leave it out. Make sure also that you have a sense of direction in the story. Each part of the story should move toward the conclusion in the mind of the listener. The listener should always feel you are going somewhere in developing your story.

Second, when possible, follow the proverb, “Less is better than more.” Never use three words when you can say it in two. Leave out clichés, filler words, and hackneyed words, such as “You know,” “OK,” and “All right.” Leave out phrases such as “Let me be honest,” or blunt, or frank. Avoid “In other words.” or “To say it another way.” Speak in short sentences, short phrases, and short words. Word choice should be instantly clear to an audience. Make it a goal to make every word have impact in your speech.

SBoyd

For more info, click the book cover!

Third, know the length of your speech by practicing it. Never be surprised by the length of your speech. Never say to an audience, “I’m running out of time, so I must hurry along.” You should know because of your preparation and practice of the speech. To go one step further, if you know the time limit on your speech is 20 minutes, stop a minute short; don’t go overtime. Audiences will appreciate your respect of their time and will think more highly of you as a speaker because of that. You should never be surprised by how long it takes you to deliver a speech

AnecdoteFourth, learn to divide parts of your speech into time segments. Let’s use a 20-minute speech as an example. The introduction should be no longer than 2 minutes. You can get the attention and preview your message easily in that length of time. Avoid opening with generalizations about the weather or the audience. Let the audience know up front that every word you speak counts.

Spend the bulk of your time in the body of the speech. This is where you make your points and give support or evidence for each point. The final two minutes should be your summary and move to action statement. Some speakers have a hard time concluding. When you say you are going to conclude, do so. As one wise person stated, “Don’t dawdle at the finish line of the speech.”

One way to keep your speech brief is to have few points in the body of your speech-no more than three. With a maximum of three points, you will have the self-discipline to condense rather than amplify. In organizing your material, accept the fact you will always have more material than you can cover and that you will only include material that relates to one of the two or three points you plan to make. Trying to cover four to six points will almost invariably make you go overtime in your speech.

A key to success in speaking is not just having something worthwhile to say, but also saying it briefly. We need to follow the speaking axiom, “Have a powerful, captivating opening and a strong, memorable close, and put the two of them as close together as possible.”

BONUS Articles: Ten Lessons on Presentation & Performance You Can Learn by Watching Taylor Swift
Speaking Secrets of Joel Osteen
Speakers: Stay on Time!

Copyright © 2015 – Stephen D. Boyd. – Reprinted with permission. Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is a professor of speech communication at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. He is also a trainer in communication who presents more than 60 seminars and workshops a year to corporations and associations. See additional articles, resources and contact info at www.SBoyd.com.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

How to Heal Your Fear of Public Speaking

Dana Saviuc, Guest Author

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld

decision-making-processSince I recently gave a talk in front of more than 100 people and I managed to HEAL this FEAR of public speaking that was paralyzing me and I am sure is paralyzing so many of us, I decided to share some of the things I did to help me heal this FEAR.

“There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.” ~ Alexander Gregg

1. START WITH THE END IN MIND – This is a really powerful rule I apply in everything I do and it makes a huge difference. It’s very important to see yourself at the end of your speech feeling the feelings that come from being in front of a big audience. See their expressions, the joy on their faces and see yourself as being super happy, super excited and very proud of your accomplishments. See in your mind’s eye the end result and focus on that until it becomes your reality… assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled.

“Make your future dream a present fact, by assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled.” ~ Neville

2. PUT YOUR EGO ON THE SIDE – If you care more about the audience and the message you want to deliver than you do about your own person chances are that you will find the strength to face your fear and to eventually heal it. Think of the VALUE you are offering and how it will impact THEIR lives. When what you say comes from the heart and it comes from a place of honesty, trust, love and passion, people will feel it and they will want to listen to what you have to say. Put your EGO on the side and focus on serving the audience in the best way possible.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” ~ Dale Carnegie

3. TAME YOUR MIND – When I saw the room where I was supposed to give the talk I panicked. I would imagine myself on stage looking all scared and without saying one single world I would start running away from stage. Now I can laugh when I think of this but at that time I was really, really, really, really scared!

“Worry clogs the brain and paralyzes the thought. A troubled brain can not think clearly, vigorously, locally.” ~ Orison Swett Marden

You will have all kind of crazy thoughts running through your mind and it’s your responsibility to tame your mind and to make sure that is constantly focusing on the things you want to achieve and nothing else. By doing so you will go from feeling scared to feeling empowered and grateful because you are given the opportunity to share your knowledge and wisdom with the world.

“We really have to remember that our senses and our thoughts LIE to us all the time. Just because you are having a thought doesn’t mean its true!” ~ Wayne Dyer

4. FIND A FRIEND – If you can find a close friend, a brother, mother, sister, a person whom you trust on helping you out while you give the presentation in front of them in advance it will be really helpful. They will give you pointers and help improve your body language, your tone of voice, the quality of the content and based on that the quality of your performance will be higher.

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” ~ Kenneth Blanchard

5. DETACH FROM THE OUTCOME – It’s so important to let go of all your expectations and to let go of your need to control the outcome. I know it might seem in contradiction with the first point – start with the end in mind, but it’s not. You want to gain courage, strength and confidence by seeing the end result in your mind’s eye since this will only help you focus and create a positive outcome, but at the same time you want to be relaxed and detached from how events will unfold. Just relax and enjoy the ride because in the end you will realize it was all about the journey and less about the destination.

“Detach yourself from the opinions of others… from the past; from the need to be right and to win; from an obsession with material things. Follow your passion in life, but detach from the outcome and allow the universe to handle the details.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

6. JUST DO IT, AND THEN DO IT AGAIN ~ NIKE – After all the preparation, all the emotions and all the scenarios you created in your mind before the actual event, it is now time to take the stage and show the world what you are made of. It’s okay if your fear is not 100% healed. Just know that every time you get on stage to share your great skills, knowledge and insights with the world you will heal your fear little by little. Just go out and do it over and over again and you will wake up one day and realize that what you once fear so badly is now something you have come to love deeply. The stage will become your best friend and the audience your family.

There are two basic motivating forces: FEAR and LOVE. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections.

“If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon

danaCopyright © 2012 – Dana Saviuc. When nobody’s watching, I pretend I’m a moon sprite; transcendent, effervescent, ever curious. Yet my birth certificate says I’m a human born in Romania. Oh well. I’m an enthusiastic student of the arts, economics, psychology and spirituality – and I take great pleasure in shining light on life’s hidden truths, the paradoxes that both stare us in the face and hide from us in unison, as they silently shape our every waking moment. Visit Dana’s Blog and her Facebook page.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

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