Practice makes perfect Suggestions for getting
started Informal presentations and impromptu
speaking Action Agenda: Learn to speak out
The 30-second rule Action Agenda: The
impromptu speech Handling the tough questions
Practice makes perfect
Speaking in front of a group of people is not something most people are used to doing. But public speaking can be an important and effective tool for advocates. And, like anything else, it gets easier with practice. If you have not done much public speaking, start out with small groups of people you already know - colleagues at work, a class at school or your place of worship. Reach out to service groups or ask to speak at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. Try not to overlook any possibility. And always be prepared with printed materials about your issue or organization for people to take with them. Leave your business card so people can follow up with you later. You may discover you find allies in the most unexpected places.
Suggestions for getting started
Tell a story-The best public speakers start with great stories. They answer the audience's basic question, "Why should I care about the subject?" and turn numbing data into exciting anecdotes. Stories stimulate the audience's imagination. Like the screenwriter Robert McKee says, "Stories are a creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact."
Make a connection-Connect with your audience emotionally as well as intellectually. Look at the people you're talking to, not at your notes. Keep the information on your slides to a minimum. Your audience is there to listen to you, not to read.
Relate to their interests-Relate your stories to the needs and interests of your audience. For example, if you're talking to salespeople, tell stories about how satisfied clients used your product or service. Remember, everyone resists a sales presentation, but few can resist a good story well told.
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