Monday, 25 February 2019
With all the investor pitches, roadshows and self-promotion you will have to undertake on your road to success, as a business owner public speaking is a skill you need in your arsenal. Whether you lack public speaking confidence and want to know how to get it or you’re comfortable speaking in public and just keen to finesse your presentation, there’s plenty in the blogosphere to help. Public speaking blogs range from those which focus on speechwriting to interpersonal communication, delivery or vocal impact – all with the basic premise that presentation is a learned skill we can all improve on. We pick six of the most useful blogs to free up your vocal potential.
SPEAKING ABOUT PRESENTING
Most public speaking advice is written by extroverts – and doesn’t always work for those who are introverts,’ says New Zealand performance coach Olivia Mitchell in her blog Speaking about Presenting. The difference, she says, is that extroverts function well in highly stimulating environments and love talking. Introverts, however, function best in less-stimulating environments - and when an environment is too stimulating it impacts on their short-term memory. Through years of being a reluctant introvert presenter herself, she has perfected the mindset needed to become a confident and engaging public speaker. Mitchell insists preparation is key to success – and her advice on the blog falls into three camps; fear of public speaking (Courage), the nuts and bolts of planning a talk (Clarity) and delivery (Communication), with practical tips and strategies to put into play immediately.
SPEAK UP AND SHINE
Shola Kaye knows how to engage an audience. Her training in cabaret, stand-up comedy and TV presenting have given her a key understanding of how to present effectively and connect with an audience - and she brings that knowledge to the table in her lively blog Speak Up and Shine. Her aim: to help people conquer their fears, be engaging and “stand proud” in front of an audience, with posts that focus on those with the ‘gift of the gab’ as much as introverts who don’t enjoy the spotlight. Content is a combination of video and text on topics that are often a little more oblique and thought-provoking than many other stand-up-and-speak blogs out there. If you’ve ever wondered ‘What You Should Never do Straight after a Public Speaking Opportunity’ or why ‘Workshops are the New Speeches’ then Kaye is here to explain.
QUICK AND DIRTY TIPS/THE PUBLIC SPEAKER
Does exactly what it says on the tin: if you are looking for a quick fix of easy tools and advice to up your presentation game then this hands-on blog is a good one to dip in and out of. Hosted by trainer Lisa B Marshall with guest posts from - and interviews with - other experts, the emphasis here is on practical, science-based tips at the intersection of leadership, psychology and communication. The blog, which has text and audio content, takes a holistic perspective as to what makes a good speaker; everything from physiology to peak psychology is covered – as well as how to hack these if you need to. There are plenty of other posts on general communication topics too, to help you become more confident and skilled in all your everyday interactions – not just the ones that are in front of hundreds of people.
Top read: Like, eliminate ums and ahs, right?
Author of the book Can You Hear Me Now? 31 Days to Harnessing the Power of Your Vocal Impact, Kate Peters’s speaking advice and wisdom has also been shared with executives at technology companies in Silicon Valley and TED speakers alike. Like her book, her blog Kate’s Voice starts with the premise that you are already making an impact on others with your voice, but the impact you are making may not be the one you want to make. For Peters, good communication is all about clarity, confidence and practice. As the strapline says, this is “a blog about voices: using them, hearing them, freeing them”. Posts are an engaging mix of anecdote, discussion and practical guidance and encompass general vocal impact skills as well as those particularly useful for public speaking.
THE ACCIDENTAL COMMUNICATOR
American public speaking coach Dr Jim Anderson writes with pithy humour in The Accidental Communicator - and the breadth of knowledge that he has gained while working with speakers and audiences for over 25 years “Creating and delivering speeches that connect with an audience and cause change to happen is not about luck, it’s a science” insists Anderson, who will succinctly deal with why your rambling speech, confusing jargon or overloaded PowerPoint slide is letting your communication down - and what you can do about it. He is all about the tried and fully road-tested, with techniques and tools he has used in some of the biggest companies in the world. As such, his posts provide concise, bite-size information chunks that build into a bigger picture, rather than a philosophical or anecdotal assessment of the art of public speaking.
Presentation consultancy Ethos 3 has worked with executives at some of America’s biggest brands to help them to hone their public speaking skills - and its fresh and modern looking blog is equally dynamic, with an active posting schedule and a lively energy. Posts discuss everything from leveraging visual aids in your talk to the best way to use your microphone - as well as the more psychological and physical aspects of successful public speaking. One of the big benefits is the blog’s user-friendly layout, with clear sections that include Presentation Science and Technology as well as a podcast on presentation skills so you can find what you need quickly and easily. There is even a handy Presentation Hacks channel for when you need a quick solution.