101 Secrets of Highly Effective Speakersby Wojciech Adam Koszek ⋅ Dec 27, 2012 ⋅ East Palo Alto, CA
Tips and tricks for speakers. Judging by the number of notes I put down after original reading, I suspect I should revisit this book at some point.
This is kind of interesting book about what to do and what to avoid while speaking to a large groups of people.
Posture, appearance and diction is important to be well understood. Seeing a speaker with a suit, or in general: dress well and clean, gives much better impression than seeing somebody with a own, worn T-shirt.
Content is what matters. Every speech should have an objective, and this objective should be clearly stated to the audience.
Use of visual aids is permitted, and advised. However too much visual content can lead to audience distraction.
Preparation is the key. When going to the presentation, be prepared to have redundant copies of all possible utilities which you might want to use. Projector? Have projector’s light-bulbs? Laser pointer? 4xAA batteries. Laptop? Have everything backed up 3 times, and presentation saved in 3 different formats.
Stress is the best to leave at home. The thing is that starting is the hardest. After starting to talk, withing approximately 1–2 minutes you’ll feel more relaxed and prepared for giving a speech.
Be prepared for occasional interruptions. Since audience is unpredictable, it’s very likely you’ll get interrupted with a random, not necessarily smart question or suggestion. Don’t let it trick you. You must end up answering quickly and keep your presentation going.
Record yourself. Be it an audio or a video. Treat the recording as a feedback loop and try to improve elements which you think are wrong. And perform as many times as necessary after watching and polish you presentation. Have somebody else watch it with you and accept constructive criticism.
While talking to people, try to keep eye contact. Do not use trick of looking 3 inches above recipient’s head. Just look into eyes of the audience members and try to give all of the people some of the attention.
Walk around to keep people focused on you. Moving around also helps the presentation be less boring, since majority of people just stand in one place from the presentation start to the end.
I learned some new stuff from this book. During my university years, I gave lots of lots of presentations, and I must say that relaxation in front of the people comes with practice. University is much more comfortable than an unknown audience, of course. With unknown audience I’ve noticed 2 kinds of people: those who are jealous because of you, and not them, presenting and those who are thankful for presenting, since they’d never ever want to be on your place. The 1st group of people is hard to please, however just being polite and not reacting to occasional interruptions is the best policy that works for me. The 2nd group doesn’t cause problems. I’ve noticed in countries like Poland people somehow keep questions until after the presentation is over. Some people may also want to ask you some stuff in person. Lots of times I got congratulations from one group of people and complaints from another. I think this is how the world is: many people, many points of view and you have to cope with it.