Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

Archive for January, 2008

Marketing Your Speaking Skills

Posted by Presentation Skills on January 31, 2008

I get a lot of enquiries through my website on how to market your speaking skills.  Below are some ideas that I have used recently.

The first thing you need to do is to get out and start speaking.  It does not matter if you are speaking at a Toastmasters Club, Rostrum Club or cards club, just get out and practice!  This will give you the experience that you need to market yourself.

Once you have from this circuit, you can hit the Rotary circut.  Rotary clubs are great to speak to for the following reason:

  1. They are great people – this means a welcoming audience!
  2. The members are generally ‘better connected’ than other members of society.  This means that you are speaking to people who can either look directly at your services and hire you, or will generally have some influence where they work and can recommend you.
  3. It’s a great way to refine your material. Recently I was scheduled to speak to two Rotary clubs on the 1 day.  My first presentation was at 7:30 am and the other 12 hours later.  I thought the speech that I prepared would work well for both clubs.  However, the morning presentation did not go as well as I wanted it too.  To improve my presentation for the evening, I re-wrote my 20 minute presentation during my lunch break that day and gave it again in the evening.  It was a much better effort.  If I had not been at the two meeting in the one day, it would have been much longer between the pain of the morning presentation and the success of the evening presentation.  The longer the time between the two, the less chance of refining!

So how do you go about approaching Rotary clubs?  It is simple.  Just follow the steps below and you will be fine.

  1. Google Rotary Clubs for your local area.  Search the website for individual club websites.
  2. Find the contact of the club.  It does not matter who it is, what position they hold, or what the site looks like.
  3. Send the contact the following e-mail

Hello,

My name is <insert name here>and I am a local speaker.

Could you please advise who I would need to speak to about being a guest speaker at one of your club meetings.

Cheers

<insert name>

That’s all you need to do.  Send this e-mail to every club within 90 minutes drive of your house.  (If you think that is too far, I suppose you don’t want to be a speaker!  If you think that having 2 kinds under 3, both you and your partner working full-time and having to get up at 5 to get there is a problem, deal with it!)

4.  Keep track of the contact names, e-mail addresses and club names.  Not everyone will get back to you straight away.  After a month, follow up those that have not got back to you.

5.  The final reason you would want to get out and do the Rotary circuit is that you get a free meal and a pen as well!

What do you say?  Check some of the other posts such as Understanding your Audience and marketing your speaking skills

But if you really want to a step-by-step guide, you need to get the MP3 How to Start Your Public Speaking Career Today. In this audio you will get everything you need to get started – including an example of a live Rotary Speech. I will literally be your coach on how to get your first gig. Get How to Start Your Public Speaking Career Today.

Getting out and marketing yourself as a speaker really is that easy.  The speaking circuit is full of people who do not have a message as good as yours, but are marketing themselves better than you are.  In 12 months time, do you want to be sitting down annoyed that you let another 12 months go by before you got out and did something?

‘Til next time.

 Cheers

Darren Fleming

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Posted in Martketing your speaking skills, Network Marketing, presentation skills, public speaking, public speaking tips, Rotary, Understanding your audience | 3 Comments »

Kevin Rudd Vs. Obama

Posted by Presentation Skills on January 23, 2008

There was a great article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Stephanie Peatling analysing the public speaking skills of the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with those of US Presidential Hopeful Barack Obama.  It’s a great article that highlights the different styles of speaking of recent Australian political leaders and compares them to Obama.  They are like chalk and cheese!

The full article can be found here.  I have also copied the full article below as I do not know for how long the link will work.

Obama offers hope for the art of speechmaking

Stephanie Peatling
January 21, 2008
Cast your mind back to election night. It’s not that long ago, not even two months. It’s hard, because to go there is to remember the speech Kevin Rudd gave as he claimed victory for the Labor Party after 11 grim years in Opposition.An occasion, one might think, for a rousing, stirring, passionate speech full of hope and optimism.Instead, there was a lengthy dissertation on the task ahead and a short, sharp reminder that even though the night was one for celebration it would be followed by an early morning of work – a none too subtle hint to staff not to let frivolity get in the way of a clear head.For months before that night Rudd had kept the media entertained with his frequent use of metaphors – the bridge too far, the fork in the road, the base camp of Everest. He is a far cry from the walking thesaurus that was Kim Beazley, a Labor leader who would never say “unquestioning underling” when “myrmidon” would do; would never use “wordy” when “prolix” could be dusted off; or “useless activity” when “boondoggle” was there for the taking.

A press gallery favourite was “termagant”, which Beazley once hurled at Tony Abbott, who no doubt scurried to check its meaning (“an imaginary Muslim deity portrayed as a violent and overbearing character in medieval mystery plays”) before responding.

But although Beazley tossed out words not used by the average person for several decades, it was done with delight and love for language. He would never have told journalists he did not want the gathering of federal, state and territory leaders known as the Council of Australian Governments “to become a sort of dead horse”.

“I want it to be a workhorse, not a dead horse. I don’t want to whip it. I just want to stroke it gently … Just lately the poetry’s lacking. But my intention is to meet it regularly and actually turn it into a real workhorse of the Federation,” Rudd said in one of his first press conferences as Prime Minister.

John Howard ushered in a new era of no-frills speaking and there is not yet much evidence to suggest the new Prime Minister wants to return to the sweeping verbal landscapes of Paul Keating. Rudd’s use of language so far is functional and administrative. In English, at least. In Mandarin he seems to get a far more appreciative response.

Rudd does have a staffer whose job includes speechwriting but not someone whose only job is speechwriting. Keating had the lyrical Don Watson as his speechwriter. Before him went Graham Freudenberg, the great Labor speechwriter who wrote Arthur Calwell’s 1965 censure of the Vietnam War, Gough Whitlam’s “It’s Time” speech of 1972 and also wrote for Bob Hawke, Neville Wran, Barrie Unsworth, Simon Crean, Bob Carr and Sir William Deane.

Freudenberg wrote in his elegant autobiography, A Figure Of Speech, that his retirement at the age of 70 allowed him to take a new interest in the role of political language and speeches. He attributed much of his interest to George Bush, whose presidency, he wrote, is “being defined by the speeches and the phrase-making of his speechwriters”.“The United States seemed to have become a rhetocracy, ruled by professional wordsmiths: ‘axis of evil’, ‘war on terror’ and ‘shock and awe’ are all speechwriters’ phrases … Despite my professional admiration for the craftsmanship of Bush’s speeches, the whole process seemed to me an absurd and dangerous separation of rhetoric and emotion from substance, argument and reason.”Freudenberg goes on to cite a 2004 essay by the philosopher Raimond Gaita, who speculated that the running down of political language was due to the fundamental cynicism among voters, who, instead of seeing the possibilities for good in politics, saw only the chances for personal gain and self-protection.

Maybe the language of Australian politics merely reflects the broader popular culture, with its Big Brother participants and Corey Worthingtons and seeming lack of room or desire for elegance and subtlety.

But maybe there is hope.

Thousands of Americans are responding to the speeches of Barack Obama, whose emotive use of language is propelling him towards the White House.

“Years from now, you’ll look back and you’ll say that this was the moment, this was the place where America remembered what it means to hope,” Obama told people gathered to hear him claim victory in the Iowa primary earlier this month.

“For many months, we’ve been teased, even derided, for talking about hope. But we always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.”

If Americans can respond so enthusiastically to such flair there is no reason to doubt Australians would do the same.

All we need is for someone to start speaking.

Posted in John Howard, kevin Rudd, Obama, Politics and speaking, presentation skills, public speaking, Understanding your audience | Leave a Comment »

Why people listen when Donald Trump speaks

Posted by Presentation Skills on January 8, 2008

It has been reported that Donald Trump earns about US$1.5m for a 1 hour keynote speech.  This would be in addition to any product sales that he has at the back of the room.  He will sell books, CDs, DVD and anything else he can get his face on.

But other than being pretty rich, why do people listen to him?  After all there are lots of other people out there that are just as rich (or richer) than he, but yet they don’t have the same cult following.  Why is this?

Have a look at this 2 minute video of him speaking and you’ll see why.

Why is he so good?

  1. He uses stories.  In this brief video he uses 3 stories
    1. What he learned at Warton
    2. His friend who bought a house
    3. The reporter at the back of the room.

Stories bring people into his message.  When people hear stories they connect with you as a speaker.  This is what speakers should be aiming for.

2.  Has a point to what he says.  Therefore, he has a reason for speaking.  If someone speaks for any period of time (even if it’s just a minute) and there is no point to what is said, there is no need to speak!

  

But is there anywhere that he can improve?  Well have another listen and see how often he cuts himself off mid sentence and fails to finish his point. On 4 occasions he interrupts himself to make a side comment or a general comment on what he is saying.  Only on 2 of these occasions does he actually go back and complete the thoughts that he interrupted.  The result is that he does not get his message across as clearly as he could. This can be frustrating for the listener.

“So what?”  I hear you ask.  “The guy gets paid $1.5m per hour.  He can do as he wants!”  Maybe so, but if I were paying that sort of money I would want all I can get.  But my real reason for bring it up is for the rest of us mortals who do not get that much but still speak to audiences.  Do you finish every thought and point that you start?  If you don’t, are you delivering your message as well as you could?  If you are not, are you getting the best out of your own time as well as your audiences time?

‘Til next time.

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Public Speaking Coach

http://www.executivespeaking.com.au

Posted in Donald Trump, public speaking | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

New Years Resolutions: Improve my Public Speaking

Posted by Presentation Skills on January 3, 2008

With the dawning of the New Year, many people set their New Years Resolution to improve their public speaking skills.  If this is you, here are a few organisations that you might like to consider

  1. Toastmasters: Toastmasters is the worlds leading organisation for teaching public speaking. Based in the USA, it has clubs all over the world. This link will take you to Toastmasters in Australia. I have been a member of Toastmasters in South Australia for years and have benefited greatly from it. Another organisation that can help with this is Australia’s Rostrum. Rostrum has their own program designed to improve your public speaking skills
  2. The second way to improve your public speaking skills is to attend a “private” public speaking course. This link will take you to a one-day course. You can get extended public speaking courses that offer more information.
  3. One-on-one public speaking coaching will allow you to really improve your skills. Often CEO’s and the like use one-on-one coaching to refine their skills to allow them to be the leader they need to be.
  4. You can visit various public speaking websites to get information for free on them. Some great ones are Executive Speaking, David Brooks, the public speaking blog, Tom Antion, and of course this blog!
  5. Read articles on public speaking. You can get great articles on public speaking by trawling the net.
  6. Join the National Speakers Association. While this association does not teach public speaking in the same way that Toastmasters does, it will give you the skills that build on Toastmasters training. There are National Speakers associations all over the world. I am a member of the National Speakers Association of Australia
  7. Finally, you can just get out there and practice. As the the 2001 Word Champion of Public Speaking Darren LaCroix says, “Stage time, Stage time, Stage time” is the best way to improve. Just get up and have a go. You wont be as bad as you think you are – no one ever is.

’til next time.
Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Public Speaking Coach

Posted in public speaking | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »