Your 3 T’s

Every unanswered question will become a distraction

How do you make your presentations linger forever, in the minds and hearts of audiences? Many of us Toastmasters use the three T’s formula to prepare our presentations. The first T is you tell them what you are going to tell them. The second is you tell them. And the third is you tell them what you told them. But do you know that formula dates back to over 2,500 years? Yes, that formula has been tried, tested, and proven. It has withstood the test of time. Rooted in Aristotle’s Art of rhetoric, written in 350 BC it is still valid today. Aristotle believed that the foundation of good rhetoric must include attentiveness to the Ethos, Logos, and Pathos of the presenter. The famed Greek philosopher also believed that when you focus on the three T’s and present with Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, you can appeal to your audiences and persuade them with power.

Ethos is your personal credibility; the faith people have in your integrity. It may be because you are recognized as an expert in the particular field you are addressing. Sometimes it is because of your experience. You may know a thing or two because you have seen a thing or two. Why should your audience listen to you speaking on that particular topic? They will because of your Ethos. As you develop your speech or presentation, avoid leaving what I call loose ends; unanswered questions. Every unanswered question will become a distraction from your message. If your audience still has a myriad of questions after you have delivered your speech, your clarity or credibility may be an issue. When your story may produce doubt, leave it out.

Then there is Pathos, the speaker’s ability to connect to the audience’s feelings. Speakers should target the parts of the body they are after when they are presenting. Sometimes it will be the head, other times the heart. Showing that you have the ability to empathize is important. The ability to understand and share the feelings of others takes practice. To bring your audience into your speech or presentation at an emotional level takes careful planning. Your ability to connect with your audience increases tremendously when you get your audience emotionally involved. However, as a presenter, you should know when you are going after the head. You should also know when you have achieved your goal. The same goes for when you are after the heart. Strike the perfect balance. If you are all head or all heart, you will lose your audience.

Logos is the substance of your presentation; the words, the organization, the logic. It is the appeal of your presentation based on reasoning. Is the presentation logical and well-supported? That is one of the questions the presenter must answer. One of the Toastmasters projects I have always enjoyed is entitled: “How to Say It” That project focuses on the three C’s. Your speech must be Crisp, Clear, and Concise. Words are powerful. The selection of your words is crucial. Words have the ability to stir imagination into the audience’s mind. Combine the power of your Ethos, Pathos, and Logos with the clarity of the three T’s, and your presentations will live on in the hearts and minds of your audiences forever.

The Competing Occasion

Time is of the essence when opening your presentation

Every speaking occasion is different. Every time you open your mouth to speak, you are judged – on or off the platform. But what about when you are speaking competitively? On those occasions, both speaker and speech are judged by individuals with different levels of expertise. Therefore, you must provide reasons to persuade your judges and audience to favor your presentation over someone else’s. Competitive speakers must know what motivates both their judges and their audience. The competing occasion demands that your topic selection must be appropriate for that particular audience and occasion.

How are great speeches created? They are created by the speaker having a clear understanding of their topic. Speakers should also know how they will get audiences to listen, be entertain while informing, and how they can make their presentation memorable. Speakers must also know exactly when they have achieved their goal and not overstate their case to undermine their credibility. Good sales-persons know exactly when to go for the head, heart, and your pocket-book. Speakers must also know their points of attack and when they have achieved their purpose, and it’s time to close the deal.

Time is of the essence when opening your presentation. Lead with your strongest point or argument. Get to the point. First impressions leave an indelible impression on audiences. Statistics show in your first minute; a speaker can win-over or lose their audience. Speakers should hint where they are going or plan to take you in the first minute of your presentation. In that first minute, you want your audience to think silently, come with me – l will tell you more. That curiosity you arouse in your opening will serve as the impetus for the rest of your presentation.

D’Brooks, the 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking, advises that you make brevity a part of your speaking style. He’s also an advocate for writing out your speeches, not to be read, but for them to be edited and re-edited. He stresses – “Great Speeches are not written, they are re-written.” Whether you choose to write first and then deliver or deliver and then write, it’s OK. When you write your speech, you can focus on your choice of words as you re-edit your speech. As you check your sentence construction. As you see visually, if you can deliver each sentence with fewer words.

David also reminds speakers that we should compete to become better. It’s not all about winning a trophy. It is about competing at a high level and taking the time to know as much as you can about your audience and their expectations. Find your voice. Don’t speak too fast or too slowly. Don’t try to sound like someone else. Be yourself. Use strategic pauses for emphasis. Practice enunciating each word clearly. Make sure you have a memorable or magic moment in your presentation. Your conclusion is just as important as your opening. Recall some of the main points of your presentation. Leave enough time to summarize and emphasize your take away message. The quality of your performance and not the trophy will determine if you made a winning presentation when your speaking occasion is competing.

2020 is Hindsight Finally

The future is now

For years we have said in jest 2020 is hindsight. And finally, it has now come to pass. However, for those who live life looking back, it will come to stay. Every year is a good year considering the alternative. But life is where the rubber meets the road. Before stepping forward into another year of your speaking journey, it is a good idea not to get stuck looking back but to review the feedback you received from your mentors, coaches, and trainers. Now is a good time to review what worked and what didn’t as you move forward to make 2021 a year of speaking excellence.

Feedback has played an important role in my public speaking journey. I still review many of the comments I received from when I first started my journey twenty-four years ago. I look back at those remarks to see if I have grown. I look back to be reminded of the bad habits I corrected and the good ones I must continue to develop. It is easy for habits, both good and bad, to creep into your presentations when you’re growing as a speaker. When you stop speaking for a few days, you will know. Stop for a few more weeks; your audience will know. Stop for a few more weeks, and everybody on the planet will know. A constant review of your past will lead you to a brighter future. Looking back, but don’t stay back. Keep moving forward.

The comments you receive from evaluators are different from the feedback you’ll get from your mentors, trainers, and coaches. Although we love to hear what helps us build confidence as a speaker, there comes a time when only the truth matter. The comments that will help you most are the raw truth. And sometimes, that truth may be too painful to stomach. Anyone can stroke your ego, but it’s the truth that will help you to excel. Dana LaMon – the 1992 World Champion of Public Speaking, said it best when he visited our District 4 in 2007 – He said, “I am stuck on excellence. Compare your performance today with yesterday’s results, and if you have improved or advanced, just a little you have excelled”.

There are no shortcuts to achieving excellence in public speaking. For some, it takes baby steps. It’s a long and winding road, with many milestones to record along the way. Enjoy the successes, but it’s the failures that will drive you to achieve your goals. When you can say to yourself with conviction, it doesn’t matter what failures I have had in the past; what matters most is what I will make happen in the future, and the future is now; you are on your road to excellence. Let’s ring in the new year with a new challenge. My new challenge in 2021 will be podcasting. What’s going to be yours? Let’s begin the New Year with a brighter outlook as we wave goodbye to 2020, to let it remain in hindsight, finally.

My Little Christmas Tree

My Little Christmas Tree

Can you remember your first Christmas tree? Was it real or artificial? My first was really artificial. As kids back in the country of my birth; Trinidad, my sisters and I would explore the nearby pastures to find a broken limb from a tree. We would paint whatever we foraged green, sometimes white, add tinsel for flitter, cotton for snow, some homemade decorations, and “hallah”; we had our Christmas tree. When the celebration was over, the dried-up tree was put out to the pasture from where it came. And so began my Christmas tree tradition, which continues slightly different to this day.

Christmas tree traditions began long before the advent of Christianity. Trees that remained green all year round had a special meaning for people in winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, it was customary to hang evergreen boughs over their doors and windows in ancient times. People believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illnesses.

In my early teenage years, one of my neighbors, nicknamed Dad-dad; a recluse, who I thought was as old as dirt and quite scary before I got to know him, taught me how to make my first real fake Christmas tree. He took me to a nearby hardware store, where we bought rope, green die, wire, and a mop-stick. With a hand drill and a vice, we made our branches every evening over a three month period. We made over fifty branches for every wrung of that tree. Dad-dad went from Scrooge to my Santa. We had the best Christmas tree on the block. After that Christmas, our tree was carefully placed in a box. It was displayed the following year and for many more Christmases that followed.

That homemade Christmas tree lasted many years until we got a real artificial tree from the USA, which was metallic. It shone and glittered both night and day. It was the most beautiful and the most expensive Christmas tree in the neighborhood. Lights added more glitter to the tree. However, it harbored a shocking secret. You may recall the tree was metallic, right? While the lights looked beautiful. A caution sign – don’t touch on the tree – had to be hung on it, not for decorations, but a good reason – the tree had a short. For fun, we would dare each other and friends to touch the tree to get a tingle, which we called – the shocking feeling of Christmas.

When I moved to America, I began a new tradition – going to the Christmas tree farm. Have you ever visited a Christmas–tree–farm where Christmas trees are raised like chickens. My first visit with my kids took me back to the pastures of my childhood days. These we not dead or broken trees; they were all very much alive. We selected our tree from the lot, which we loaded onto the roof of our car. It was a joy to see the kids start their Christmas tree tradition, and life come full circle. Today, my Christmas tree tradition is much simpler. Now I hang an ornament on my kids’ trees to celebrate each year and the memories of all my real and artificial little Christmas trees.

Taming Your Verbal Clutter

Practice makes perfect – Practice also become permanent.

How do you tame your verbal clutter? Verbal clutter is the result when we use unnecessary filler words in our communication. We all use them subconsciously without realizing the impact they have on our presentations. They become a distraction, causing your message to be lost. Listeners tune you out when your message is cluttered with unnecessary fillers: (ahs, uh, em err), Interjections (and, well, but, so, like, you know), cliches, and repeated words. Verbal clutter is habit-forming. We use them primarily when we are unsure about what to say or what we should say next. In place of silence, we hesitate and fill the moment with verbal clutter, filler words.

Fixing bad habits perfected over time takes practice. First, you must be aware of your tendency to use fillers and when they occur. Adding silence to your vocabulary is a good first step. Get comfortable with silence. When you are on the speaking platform, practice treating silence with the same importance as the spoken word. If you are writing a speech, indicate silence with white spaces. In Toastmaster, we count the number of times speakers use fillers or interjections unnecessarily in their presentation. When your fillers and interjections counts are high, your clarity is low. The use of fillers is also a sign of nervousness or lack of preparation.

Observing punctuation marks when you are speaking is a practice all speakers should adopt. Just as we punctuate a written speech, speakers should be mindful of your verbal punctuation. A full stop can be a long or a pregnant pause – a comma, a quick break, or a short breather. Special care should be taken with the use of commas. They can change the meaning of a sentence if used stylistically to separate a sentence’s grammatical components. Care must be given to your verbal punctuation, written or spoken. Winston Churchill, one of the great orators of our century, was once given a speech to critique. He took one look at the script and said it was a bad speech. When asked why, Churchill said, “not enough white spaces.” White spaces are key indicators of how your presentation will sound when delivered.

Filler, interjections, and repeated words can be avoided by practicing how you deliver opening remarks – your first words matter. Practice making a statement or question, the first words out of your mouth. Add body language before you begin speaking. React physically before you respond verbally. A physical gesture could be a smile or facial expression to indicate your feelings to telegraph your verbal response. Use that physical reaction as a confidence builder to give yourself enough time to formulate a statement or question in response to the topic being addressed.

Building confidence comes with practice. Practice makes perfect – Practice also become permanent. Over time, your practices become part of your persona, especially when you are on the platform. Fillers, interjections, and repeated words will evaporate from your vocabulary, and the authentic you will begin to flourish as you tame your verbal clutter. Your confidence will increase whether you are on or off the platform. In the world of public speaking, less is more. Speak in short sentences. Control your breathing. Be at ease when you speak. When you are at ease, you will put your audience at ease. Reduce your usage of overused words like clearly, honestly, truly, and cliches. Observe your own habits, both the good and bad practices, and habits of other speakers. The more you look, the more you will see. Take corrective action, and your confidence will grow as you continue taming your verbal clutter.

Seasons Greetings to you and yours

The Dream:

The journey we all are on will have its peaks and valleys.

Are you following your Toastmasters dream or living it. Dr. Ralph Smedley, the founder of Toastmasters, didn’t only follow his Toastmasters dream, he lived it. That dream was to build a better world through better communication and better leadership. His inspiration was drawn from the belief that communication is a gift to be used by everyone for the good of all. Many who knew Dr. Smedley often said if you ever asked the doctor of humane letters – how can I become a better communicator or a better leader – He didn’t point you to places of higher learning. He pointed to your chest. You see, Dr. Smedley strongly promoted the principle of learning by doing and improving through the power of evaluations.

In 1903 after graduating from the Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, Dr. Smedley started his journey as a YMCA director. There he quickly observed the young men who stayed at his facility could not communicate effectively. I am sure some of you ladies might be thinking, tell us something women don’t already know. Dr. Smedley decided to take action to make a difference. He invited the young men who stayed at his facility to remain after dinner to participate in toasting each other. The participants took turns evaluating each other’s toast. The person who delivered the best toast at every gathering was declared the Toastmaster. Soon the gatherings began to grow. The young men who took part in the toasting sessions after dinner became known as members of the – After Dinner Club. Now in case you are wondering, that was not the humble beginnings of the Toastmasters we know today. Between 1903 and 1924, Dr. Smedley was transferred and promoted many times within the YMCA organization. Wherever he was posted, he started a new – After Dinner Clubs. Sadly, each time he was transferred to another facility, the clubs fell apart.

Undaunted, he continued to not only follow his dream but to live it. He emphasized the power of simplicity, building a better society made up of individuals functioning in small groups to enhance their lives and the lives of others. In 1915, Dr. Smedley was the director at the YMCA in San Jose. There he started a club that again failed upon his departure. Finally, in 1924 he formed club number one in Santa Ana to officially start Toastmasters. In 1932 the federation was incorporated as Toastmasters International, following a club’s chartering in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. By 1941 Dr. Smedley realized Toastmasters needed full-time attention. He resigned from the YMCA that year to dedicate the rest of his life to make his dream of building a better world through better communication and better leadership a reality and continued to lead Toastmasters until his passing at age 87 in 1965.

Dr. Smedley’s home club was the Smedley Chapter number one club, which exists today as a testimony to the gift he left us all. The Toastmasters journey is a long and winding road for all who seek to share the gift of better communication and better leadership. If you were to visit club number one, you would see an empty chair at the front of the room. That chair serves as a reminder that the journey we all are on will have its peaks and valleys. Today, Toastmasters is known as a leader in the world of Communication and Leadership. The Toastmasters organization has grown to over sixteen thousand clubs in one hundred and forty-five countries. Membership is now over three hundred and sixty-four thousand and growing. The dream is now ours to continue. If we follow the dream and live the dream as Dr. Smedley did, that dream will become a reality one day.

Watch Your Ps & Qs

There are things we didn’t learn on Sesame Street.

In your wonder years, when we all wondered about everything and cared about nothing, did you ever wonder what you should do when you were told to watch your P’s & Q’s? Did you? In case you are still wondering, that was a question. If I did, it was NFL – not for long. I knew I had to watch my mouth, my words, and my language. And if I was a little hard of hearing, I got the look. Do you remember the look from hell that sent chills up your spine? I still remember those times as if they were yesterday. Still those were happy, happy days.

It did take some of us a little time to figure out the true value of the letters P & Q. There are things we didn’t learn on Sesame Street. So you decided to make your first big purchase unsupervised – and brought home the green lemon, still sitting in your driveway. You watched your P; the price and ignored the Q; quality. Now you know good things are not always cheap, and cheap things are not always good. To drown in your sorrows, you drag yourself down to your nearby tavern and again ignored your P’s and Q’s, your pints and quarts. The next day you awaken with a headache and a hangover the size of Texas. And although you promised never to touch another pint and quart in your life, as soon as that hangover was over, so to was that promise.

Later in life, as I began to take an interest in public speaking, I returned to Sesame Street and started watching my P’s and Q’s differently. I began watching my primacy and quantity – pace and quickness- pauses and quietness – I began realizing that by watching your P’s and Q’s, you are watching your manner, choice of words, language, and conduct. Do you pay attention to your P’s & Q’s when you are on the speaking platform?

Primacy is your primary opening statement. Don’t waste that time with pleasantries. Forget that P and get to the point; what is most important to your audience and your speech? The related Q to that P, primacy is quantity – How much information you should give your audience in your opening. How much is enough to prime your audience for what is to come? Your opening is your prime time. As World Champion speaker Craig Valentine has often said – “When you squeeze too much content in, you will squeeze your audience out.” In your opening, watch your primacy and quantity.

Pace and Quickness are also important as you deliver your speech. Whenever I take a ride on a local train line, I am reminded how to approach pace and quickness when speaking on the platform. The pace of the local train varies, making measured stops along the way. There is no rush. Each stop is identified then, the pace quickens for a while again. The process is then repeated over and over until you get to the end of the line. Don’t take the express. The express will often makes the first stop long after the first five to seven minutes. Before your next speech, take a ride on the local line and enjoy the ride. And you will learn a thing or two about pace and quickness.

When you are on the speaking platform, never pause just because, always pause for a cause. And always remember this golden rule,when you pause never to look up to the heavens while pausing. That’s a dead giveaway you’re lost. Your silence should also be delivered with the same passion as your most powerful line. A pause should not be like a silent um. Make every pause count. Do you know, there is a difference between pausing and being quiet? When you are being quiet, you should quiet your entire body. Quiet your hands, feet, and even your eyes. Quiet them before and after your power lines. Quietness creates the moment – Silence sends the message. If you keep moving while you are pausing, the message is lost.

Try adding many more valuable P’s and Q’s of your own. They will help you advance as a speaker. Word of caution, don’t ever take to the speaking platform after you have had a few pints and quarts. If you do, you will for sure have trouble watching your mouth, words, and language. And most likely, your speaking career will be NFL – Not for Long – all because, you didn’t watch your P’s and Q’s.

Making Your Speech a Winner

Every speech should have a magic moment!

How do you make your speech a winner? Follow these tips, and your next speech will be remembered as one for the ages. It’s not all about you; it’s about what you deliver to make your speech a winner. 

Your Topic Selection: The topic you choose can decide your final placement in any competition. While you should choose a topic you are passionate about, connecting with your audience should be your goal. If your presentation is about you, your success and failures, remember your redemption is always of more interest to your audience. Make sure your speech has some universal appeal. Your challenge is to make a connection with your audience through personal stories and personal, real-life events. Your presentation should not be an act. Use persuasion and the spoken word to keep your audience engaged. 

Speech Purpose: Define the purpose of your speech early in your presentation. Ask yourself, am I speaking to INFORM-ENTERTAIN-PERSUADE-MOTIVATE. What are the takeaways for your audience – Your sound bytes and catchy phrases. 

Delivery: Don’t Tell Them–Show Them-Take Them. Be descriptive – Use word pictures to convey your message. A picture can paint a thousand words. Be concise but clear – Every unanswered question becomes a distraction. Practice your personal stories and anecdotes so that they don’t sound rehearsed-Keep it real.

Timing: Write a 6-minute Speech and Deliver it in . Find Your Speaking Rate.Calculate your average speaking rate-Men average 125 Women 150. The average number of words in your speech should be between 700 to 750 words. Use single-syllable words. What is your Magic Moment? Every speech should have a magic moment. The moment that makes your speech memorable.

Brainstorm: Once you have decided what your speech will be about, the next step is to begin writing. Like a faucet, let it all flow -the – who – what – where – why – write it all down. An excellent way to begin the speech-writing process is by brainstorming. Write down everything you could find about your topic. Keep writing until you have much more material than you will have time to include in your speech. The next step is to begin testing to see what you should keep or throw away. Keep what adds to your overall goal, keeping in mind the composition of your audience. 

Writing The Speech:Start with an outline that will provide you with a structure for your speech. Most speeches have an introduction, a salutation, discussion, and a conclusion. Your introduction should grab your audience’s attention. Your introduction can be humorous, a provocative statement, shocking facts, or a rhetorical question. Whatever you choose, it should make your audience think, “Wow! – That’s interesting-tell me more. Remember, winning speeches are not written – they are rewritten. Edit until you have a tight copy to practice. 

Identify Your Topic: With a sentence or two, identify where you are going with your topic. Make your opening relevant to your audience. Your audience is always more willing to pay attention if your audience can relate to your subject matter.  Discussion: Here is where you give your audience reasons to buy into your point of view. With facts, figures and confidence provide proof that you know what you are talking about – Be the expert by presenting your material with natural excitement and strategically placed humor. Take risks you have tested and carefully vetted. Organize your points. Tell personal stories.

Conclusion: Telegraph your conclusion. Let your audience know you are closing with a simple phrase – “My fellow Toastmasters” – “Ladies and Gentlemen.” Summarize the main points of your speech. If you had a “foundational statement” during the discussion portion of the address, repeat it. Callback, what you told your audience in the introduction and body of the speech. Leave your audience with a call to action. Close the deal. What’s the lasting impression you wish to leave with your audience. If your audience has a burning desire to take some action or change the world at the end of your presentation, you have hit your mark. Follow these tips, for you and your speech to be a winner. 

The Photographer or Artist

Anyone can take a picture. However, it takes an Artist to make a picture.

The Photographers and Artist have a lot in common; however, they see things quite differently. The Photographer sees things as they are. The Artist sees things from their audience’s perspective. The Photographer’s view to some is considered to be self-serving. The Artist sees things as you; the audience would like it to be. Hence, we should strive to be an Artist when we are on the platform. Anyone can take a picture. However, it takes an Artist to make a picture. The question is therefore, which one are you aspiring to be like when you are on the platform – Do you want to be like The Photographer or Artist?

While all speakers begin like the Photographers, a speaker’s goal should be to become an Artist. Photographer’s work depends significantly on the quality of their gear. All the Artist needs is vision, experience, and confidence. The great speakers never surrender their pen to satisfy their audience expectations. They are original in their thinking. While working with Derek Walcott in my early theater years, I admired how he tirelessly stressed what it takes to be an original. He firmly believed that you could not make it as an Artist without taking risks. As a speaker, very early I chose not to settle for being one of the many imitators. Imitations may get a second look. However, originals take you to places only where your imagination would ever dare to go.

Finding your voice as an Artist takes courage, conviction, and a commitment to being honest. Be true to your beliefs, even when there is a cost. In 2007 I attended a coaching session. His advice that we should never comment on something someone cannot change stuck with me. Sometimes it is best to let them figure it out. Being liked as a speaker has its benefits, but audiences also love listening to speakers they respect. The comments and feedback of the respected are often concisely packaged with wisdom that speaks volumes. Mark Brown immediately come to mind. He is a speaker coaches whose comments may sound abstract at first, but you realize they are the Artist’s teachings that make you get the picture over time.

Speakers often ask, can someone change from being like the Photographer to become more like an Artist? Indeed, they all can, but they cannot be forced or coached into making that switch. It all depends on who you want to become as a speaker. For starters, the change begins with a commitment to being observant. You should be willing to step outside of our comfort zone to see things differently. It would help if you are also more probing about the events you encounter in your daily life. Practice focusing on only one thing at a time and share your observations with friends and family. Call that sharing storytelling time. Get off the treadmill of life and observe the many exciting events that often pass by silently. They are the stories that pluck the strings of our emotions.

An excellent coach also advised me years ago to document my related emotions when I capture events in writing. I still follow that advice. He also suggested that while perfection is impossible, excellence is always good enough. The first step is to write it all down. Just like a photographer, you must first capture the moment and the emotion. Later, that experience can be re-written. It is in the re-writing, you will take what you got initially to become better. In your re-writing, you should strive to develop the picture that is relatable to your audience and not just The Photographer in you. How you choose to build on what you captured initially over time determines if you will be known as another one of the millions of Photographers on the platform, or if you are on your way to becoming known in the speaking world as The Artist

The Enemy Within

Make the Enemy of your Enemy, your friend.

The fear of the unknown causes many people to avoid speaking Public Speaking. Some see the audience as the Enemy when in fact, it is the “Enemy Within” that must be faced and defeated. It is the voices in our heads screaming, “you are going to make a fool of yourself, shut up!” that is the real Enemy. Audiences don’t root for you to fail. They listen and respond to what they saw, heard, and felt. Silence those voices of doom and gloom, and you will discover it is the “Enemy Within” that was preventing you from realizing your public speaking dreams. We all have unique stories to tell. Improvement and not perfection should be your goal. Even some of the best speakers known to us all will be the first to say “in Public Speaking, perfection does not exist.” Some may see perfection in a Picasso, while others may not. We will never know the unknown until we try, fail and try again. Sometimes you will succeed, sometimes you will fail. However, it is the lessons learned from your failure that will significantly exceed what you have achieved from your successes.

The first step to conquering your fear of public speaking is to embrace your fears. Make the Enemy of your Enemy, your friend. It is an ancient proverb that suggests, two parties can and should work against a common enemy. The common Enemy, the voices in your head you must silence. Those voices will never completely go away even when you have exceeded your expectations. Listen carefully to the feedback you receive as new voices emerge to help you on your journey. Mistakes will be made but not repeated. Speak to the smiling, friendly faces. They will boost your confidence and give you the assurance your audience is rooting for you to succeed. Read their faces like you are reading a book. Seek out those audience members responding to your message with a nod, a smile as you embrace the moment. Respond with your smiles and a twinkle in your eyes as you make your connection with words that matter.

Public Speaking requires that you have something to say. It is a requirement. You should also be able to anticipate how your audience might react after they have heard what you had to say. Choose your words carefully and know what you are targeting with your words. At times you will speak to the head. There are times you will talk to the heart, In all cases, narrowed your message down to a sentence consisting of no more than five to seven words. That sentence will anchor your message. It is also your go-to sentence if you should ever get lost for words. Yes, that happens not to some, but to us all even when we are on the platform. When every word you speak has a purpose – when every story you tell has the power to change lives – when the voices in your heart replace the voices in your head – Your authentic voice will be heard, and your presence will be felt.

Are you ready to accept the challenges of being a Public Speaker? As you begin to develop a style of your own, you will observe changes in those same negative voices you once heard. They become friendlier and may even start to sound like your best friend. That is when you must be careful. Taking your audiences for granted is one of the biggest mistakes many speakers make. All audiences are not the same. Prepare for each audience diligently and differently. The three P’s of Public Speaking becomes magnified each time you step on the platform. Your three P’s? – Preparation, Practice, and Presentation. Each time you speak, the expectations become greater than your last appearance. Your new voices from within must now emerge. As you speak, think about the six emotions that will make new connections with your audiences. Be happy, be sad, be surprised, be angry, add fear and even disgust to your speaking, and with time and practice, you too could become best friends with the Enemy Within.