Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

Comfortable Speakers Are Not Always Effective Speakers

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, marketing, media, Public Speaking on April 26, 2012 at 8:54 PM

“The KEY to being a good speaker” Kurt told me, “Is to feel comfortable in who you are – to feel comfortable in front of a group. I have been through years of Toastmasters and read Dale Carnegie – that is what I learned”.

A few moments later, Kurt was introduced as our speaker. He sat in his chair at the front of the room and he looked very comfortable. He rambled for about 20 minutes without really saying anything of substance. He did not address the topic that was promised, he bounced from idea to idea, and no one in the room looked enthralled. But Kurt was comfortable.

Kurt confused his comfort and lack of nervousness with being effective. A speaker should have a goal, or a reason for speaking.  At the end of the talk, there is something the speaker wants the audience to know or do.

If Kurt’s goal was to impress the audience that he was comfortable speaking in public, he succeeded. If he wanted us to know that he was a good speaker, that he was competent in his work, that his company was worthy of our business, or that we should follow his advice, he failed wonderfully.

An effective speaker feels comfortable because they know they have a strong presentation: a well crafted message that is expertly delivered. They know they have a reasonable chance of changing attitudes and behaviors with the audience.

As a speaker, when you know your topic, have clear goals for your talk, excellent visual aids, and are well practiced, you will feel more comfortable in front of an audience. When a speaker believes lack of nervousness alone makes them a good presenter, they are suffering from Kurt’s syndrome: confusing personal comfort with effective speaking. The speaker’s level of nervousness has little to do with their ability to motivate an audience to take new action.

Kurt is good at his job and he works for a very reputable company. I hope one day he learns the benefits of speaking well. He will be seen as credible, competent and his business will thrive.







© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

Are You Trying To Change The World (or a piece of it)?

In Business Networking Groups, Fund raising, Increased sales, marketing, Public Speaking on April 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM

It takes more than passion, knowledge. and a good cause to bring about change.

We like to think that if we tell people about our cause, they will want to join forces with us because what we are doing is so right.

  • Saving our parks
  • Protecting animals
  • Helping children
  • Raising money for schools
  • Reviving a community theater
  • Making the community a better place to live

The truth is that truth and knowledge is not enough. Passion is good, but even that is not enough to move people.

It takes a well crafted, properly delivered message to get people off their good intentions and moving in a new direction.

iSpeakEASY offers a special workshop designed for “Leadership” and other groups advocating a good cause.

Words, information, and passion are good, but they are not enough. We will help you put these into a short yet powerful message, train you to deliver them well in less than 2 minutes – the amount of time a City Council will give you to speak under “public comments”.

Make your knowledge and passion work toward change.

Click HERE for information on how YOU can learn to change the world in 2 minutes or less.


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All Artists Are Self-Taught

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, speaking on April 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM

“Techniques and skill and even a point of view are often handed down, formally or not. It’s easier to get started if you’re taught, of course.

But art, the new, the ability to connect the dots and to make an impact–sooner or later, that can only come from one who creates, not from a teacher and not from a book.”


Seth Godin


“There is an art and a science in public speaking. Any one can learn the the techniques of being a a good presenter just as anyone can learn to stretch canvas and mix paints. Few of us, however, will become a Picasso.

But it never hurts to strive for betterment!”


Ethan Rotman

Pitfalls of PowerPoint # 8 and #9

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales, speaking on April 1, 2012 at 7:55 PM

(And How to “Purge” Them From Your Presentations)

By Dr. Jon Hooper, Guest Author for iSpeakEASY

Pitfall #8: Unimaginative Show Lacking Music or Sound

Imagine a movie without any music or sound effects. Would Top Gun grab your attention if Tom Cruise took off from the aircraft carrier without the roar of the jet and the dynamic “Danger Zone” music? Most of us would consider such a movie as a step backwards in time.

Even though we love the amazing power of music and sound effects, we often present our PowerPoint shows with nothing more than our human voice accompanying the projected images.

To purge the pitfall:  Incorporate appropriate music or sound effects into your shows. Inserting sound is as easy as inserting a photograph or illustration. You simply click “Insert” – “Sound” (or “Music and Sound”) – “Sound From File” – then navigate to the appropriate folder containing the file and select the file. Use the PowerPoint manual or Microsoft’s on-line help to “tweak” the music/sound to meet your specific needs.

If your organization cannot afford to buy the rights to music.” and other sites provide copyright free music for you to use. Make sure you follow the “Terms of Use” listed for your music source.

Pitfall #9:  You Present Your Show And The Sound Does Not Work:

Has the following scenario ever happened to you? You proudly get ready to demonstrate your new “sound” prowess yet when you get to the part of the show with sound, nothing happens! Panic ensues! The most common cause of this problem is that your sound files were stored in a different folder than your PowerPoint show when you inserted them into your show, yet you only brought the PowerPoint show folder with you to your presentation site.

To purge the pitfall:  Before inserting a sound file into your show, copy the file to the same folder where you have been saving your PowerPoint show. Then insert the file into your show by navigating to this same folder and clicking the sound file. When you want to transfer your show to another computer in the future, simply copy the entire contents of your PowerPoint folder to a CD or thumb (USB) drive then transfer the folder to the second computer. If you do not follow this procedure, you may forget to copy your sound files because they will exist in a different folder.

Final Thoughts

Appropriate music and sound effects capture and hold the attention of your audience. Be careful not to over use such special effects, however. They should help you reach your show’s objectives, not just add glitz.

Dr. Jon Hooper has over 30 years of experience helping natural and cultural resource professionals their communication efforts. He is a professor of environmental interpretation at California State University, Chico and is the owner of Verbal Victories Communication Consulting. Contact Jon at

 © 2012 iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – We help people profit from their words. We offer workshops on creating effective PowerPoint Presentations. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

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