One Secret to Becoming a Powerful Presenter
Thinking about all of these ones, I have decided to share with you the one secret on how to become a powerful presenter and the ways to make that secret work for you. No, it is not by reading the one best book (actually, there are many helpful books listed on the right hand side of the page, all worth reading). And, it is not attending a one day workshop - even a dynamite one! Have I whetted your interest? Read on.
Before I reveal the secret, I do not want to discourage you from reading the many articles you will find on this website or from ordering my Special Reports on giving "Knock Their Socks Off" presentations. All of the information is more than helpful, but not enough to make you the powerful presenter you deserve to be.
The one secret to becoming a powerful presenter is to speak, speak and speak some more. The more often we present, the more varied the situations and topics, along with presenting to different audiences, the more quickly we will improve our skills. It is important to receive feedback, but even more important to find ways and situations in which to speak to real, live people. Yes, I know that some suggest practicing in front of a mirror and others suggest reviewing your presentations while driving. All are well and good, but the best and only way to gain power is to do it.
All right, you are now wondering where to find live audiences and the opportunities to speak.
Join a Toastmasters International club. I know that I have written this before and definitely will again, but I can't say enough about how helpful this worldwide organization is for a place to speak on a regular basis (while receiving valuable and non-threatening feedback). Most clubs meet weekly - some in the early morning, some over lunch and some in the evening. The dues are nominal. One starts with the basic manual that offers guidelines and a plan for different short speeches. The one secret here is to always have a speech ready (to fill in for someone who doesn't show up or backs out). Remember, your goal is to speak, speak and speak some more. This is the chance to try many topics and many approaches. Once you have completed the first manual, there are advanced manuals - all excellent and more focused. There are also many leadership opportunities for volunteering. The different Districts and Regions have regular conferences, so that once you become comfortable, you can send in workshop proposals or even compete in a speech contest. Visit some of the clubs in your area to find one that suits your style, location and time schedule. It is important to have fun so that you will become a regular attendee and presenter.
Join an organization's Speakers Bureau. No, I don't mean one that charges to place professional speakers. A lot of organizations, colleges and centers provide speakers to local groups. When I was looking for a variety of speaking opportunities, I joined the City's Growth Association's Speakers Bureau (basically a Chamber of Commerce). To begin with, we were given a "canned" talk which consisted of slides of the city and a description and brief history of each slide. It was a great way to start, because I quickly added some oomph to the narrative, received great feedback from my audiences to the organization and was often booked. The other advantage was that I was speaking to a variety of audiences - older, younger, clubs, groups located in and around the city. I also became a member of the Toastmasters Speakers Bureau, picked my own topics and started speaking to business associations.
Create a presentation that interests a general audience and market it. Pick a timely topic that concerns residents of the area, or one that you feel passionate about and offer it to local clubs and organizations, for example: Kiwanis clubs, Rotary groups, Chambers of Commerce and senior centers. When I was a part of the Growth Association's Speakers Bureau, we had a tax passed (which we spoke about before it was passed) to fund a stadium. After the "sin tax" was passed, I created a presentation on the plans, how it would be an asset to the area and the financial facts. Being the only speaker on this topic and a positive advocate, I was suddenly in demand and also learned how to deal with hostile audiences. Ask yourself, "What is a hot topic in my region?" You will have a lot of fun with it and also learn more than you can imagine from speaking, speaking and speaking some more.
Most businesses would welcome a free speaker to come at lunchtime to lead a "brown bag" presentation. I suggest looking for these opportunities - even if you work for a company, they may be happy to give you the chance to present. Now, you should pick a topic closer to the one you want to be known for. Decide your most interesting area of expertise and create a 30 to 45 minute presentation. This could include time for "Questions and Answers" - this portion will be invaluable to your powerful presentation future. The more we can effectively interact with our listeners, the better. If you are "good" and you should be by now because of your experience, the word will travel quickly and you will be surprised at the barrage of requests for your "brown bag" presentations.
Be willing to volunteer to present for the organizations and groups to which you belong. Most clubs, organizations and groups are always searching for interesting programs. This is your chance to show them your stuff, and, again, by your being powerful, they will remember and suggest having you speak to the other groups to which they belong. Word does travel fast.
you use this one secret - speak, speak and speak some more - you will
become the powerful presenter that is living inside you. Read the
books, attend the workshops, but, most of all, do it and speak, speak,
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