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Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Words To Inspire: The Speech Or Toast At Your Company Holiday Party

In Credibility, Delivery, Public Speaking on December 10, 2009 at 9:21 AM

Being a leader and being a boss are two different things. We all love leaders yet often find our bosses to be uninspiring. Holiday parties are a perfect opportunity to reflect on the successes of the past year while offering hope and optimism for the months ahead. This year especially, employees and co-workers will look to you to be a source of inspiration. Times are tough and in the darkest months of the year, we all want to look toward a brighter future.

 If you generally do not make a toast or speech at the holiday gathering – this is a good time to start. If this is part of your regular routine, this is the time to focus on bringing a strong message of optimism to your company.

While a good (short) speech can help build your credibility and inspire workers, a poorly delivered, or poorly thought out talk can do great harm. Take time to craft your message and plan your delivery.

Speaking in front of a group can be hard enough. It is harder yet to speak confidently in a manner that creates credibility when things are tough.

 A good holiday speech should:

  • Deliver a message that is honest but exudes hope and inspires
  • Position you as a visionary leader and someone that understands the needs of the company and employees
  • Include everything you need to cover without saying too much, leaving something out or  worse yet, saying the wrong thing
  • Sound as if it is flowing from you extemporaneous, planned, yet the delivery must be smooth and filled with confidence

 Some people in this situation feel the best approach is to wing it, figure out what to say as they speak. It is easier this way than planning the talk. Others believe a drink or two will loosen their tongue so they can speak more freely.

The truth is that this is an important talk. It can shape the immediate future of your business. The words you speak will influence employee morale. Employee moral will shape employee behavior, which will affect your profitability (maybe your survivability) in the year to come.

It is worth the time and effort to prepare well to inspire your employees and give them an optimistic view of the year ahead. The holidays mean different things to all people but regardless of religion, it is a time we seek hope. Give this talk the attention your business deserves.

Here are some suggestions:

In preparing your talk:

  • Condense your thoughts to a single message
  • Prepare your thoughts ahead of time
  • Use clearly outlined notes on a small card
  • Talk to employees – hear their concerns and accomplishments
  • Practice
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine

When delivering your talk:

  • Keep it positive and give people a reason for hope
  • Keep it brief and light– it is a party!
  • Make eye contact with as many people as possible
  • Mention individuals or departments by name, especially those that are often overlooked
  • Have a clear, strong, and positive closing statement

Take the time to plan your talk so it will inspire your employees to embrace the challenges of the new year. Delivering a well thought out talk demonstrates you are thorough in your planning. It will instill confidence within the employees that you are not just their boss, but also a capable, inspiring leader.

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A Talk Well Done

In Business Networking Groups, Credibility, Organization, Public Speaking on December 9, 2009 at 7:30 PM

Do you know what you want your audience to know and to do when you are through speaking?

I watched Joan Menke deliver a stellar 10-minute presentation to her BNI (Business Networking International) chapter. There is little doubt what Joan was trying to say and I am confident she will receive new business from her talk.

She delivered a clear message, involved the audinece, and gave each audience member a wallet card to use when they see a particular problem. Although she was discussing a topic that is taboo, she did so in a manner that was comfortable and allowed the audience to speak freely and safely.

Her ending was tight and clean: a simple message of what she was hoping to convey.

Joan took the time to plan her talk. She knew what she wanted the audiecne to know, determined what she wanted them to do, and then structured her talk to reach her target.

Because of the time and thought she put into preparing her talk – more people will be able to benefit from the services Joan has to offer. Many more family members will benefit from their loved ones receiving the help they need, and Joan’s business will grow. Don’t you wish you life was like this more often?

Being clear in your desired message is the first step to effectively communicating it. Communicating that message is the first step in achieving your goal.

Well done Joan Menke.

iSpeakEASY offers workshops and individualized coaching to help networking groups give more referrals through better presentations. Click here for information.

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Add Sheen to Your Presentation

In Attracting New Clients, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery on December 1, 2009 at 12:55 PM

The devil is in details and in speaking, there are many tiny details that can add to or detract from your presentation. Taking time to address the little things will help you feel like you are giving a stronger presentation and will increase your credibility.

Prepare your talk
Develop a strong outline with one central message
Build visual aids that work to support your theme
Know how to use your audio-visual equipment

Use a host
Provide them with a bio that highlights your qualifications to give the talk
Train them to operate any equipment or turn on/off the lights
Call on them to handle any problems that arise

Prepare your body for your presentation

Exercise (a good walk will give you oxygen and help clear your head) prior to your talk
Be mindful of what you eat: avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol, or spicy foods
Visit the restroom before your talk

Nothing prepares you like preparation
Practice, practice, practice – and then practice some more.
Anticipate questions you may receive and practice the answers

Before your presentation
Arrive early so you can set up, relax, and mingle with your audience
Organize your notes and keep them brief (1 page)
Have a glass of water at lectern (not a plastic bottle)
Dress appropriately – as nice as or better than your audience

During your presentation
Remember to pause and to breathe
Open with a “hook” and a close with a well-rehearsed statement with a punch
Tell your audience what they can expect and set ground rules
Make eye contact: Read your audience

There are two parts of your talk your audience is most likely to remember:
The first words out of your mouth and the last words – make them count!

Keep in mind: your audience wants you to succeed!

© 2007 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. We help people speak effectively and with confidence.
Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.