Thursday, May 01, 2008

Don't Wing It!

I recently spoke to a group of UT employees during their lunch hour about library services. After working for the Austin Public Library for many years, I have no trouble describing all that the Library has to offer with lots of enthusiasm. It's easy to talk about oversized art books, business databases, Academy Award DVDs, and talking children’s books - all available for free with a Library card. Yet, I still prepared for the presentation, and looking back I realize that I should have prepared even more.

The Library has quite a few books on public speaking. The major points usually included in the guides are:

1. Prepare for the speech.
2. Make an outline with talking points, rather than a manuscript so the speech is more conversational.
3. Rehearse the speech.
4. Ask questions about format – what is the set up, including AV equipment, the audience, and how much time you will have.
5. If you are nervous, slow down.
6. Eye contact is important.
7. Use technology sparingly.
8. Don't acknowledge that you are nervous.
9. Visualize yourself being successful.

For more advice on how to keep the attention of your next audience, check out these books:

The Exceptional Presenter: a Proven Formula to Open Up! and Own the Room

Present like a Pro: a Field Guide to Mastering the Art of Business, Professional, and Public Speaking

Speaking Scared, Sounding Good: Public Speaking for the Private Person

Read this blog: Public Speaking Blog

Watch an entertaining lecture on public speaking by a professor from MIT.

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