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TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL (TM)

When it comes to mastering public speaking, there is no greater resource than Toastmasters International. Toastmasters International offers its members a venue for practicing communication and leadership skills.

Clubs meet regularly and members fulfill different roles at each meeting. There is a proven curriculum of increasingly more challenging topics, techniques, and formats. Fellow club members evaluate speeches for each other. They also give support and encouragement to speakers of all abilities. Toastmasters In- ternational has grown to 14,650 clubs in 126 countries since its founding in 1924.

I encourage you to join Toastmasters. Each club has its own personality, so visit several clubs to nd the one that best suits you. Visit the Toastmasters International website to nd a club near you. https://www.toastmasters.org/

Why public speaking and presentation skills are important

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. -BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

You may be the smartest person in the room, but if you can’t speak effectively, no one will know it. Your managers, peers, colleagues, customers, clients and investors will judge your skills and abilities by the way you speak.

If you are one of those people who are deathly afraid of public speaking, you are not alone. Many studies say that people rank the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death. Jerry Seinfeld said it best: “At a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” You may say that it isn’t fair or accurate to judge a person’s professional abilities by the way they speak in public, but that’s the way it is. Many things in the working world aren’t fair. Like it or not, you will be judged by the way you speak.

You might hope to avoid public speaking as part of your job. If you chose to be an accountant, so aren’t fair. Like it or not, you will be judged by the way you speak. You might hope to avoid public speaking as part of your job. If you chose to be an accountant, software programmer, or investment banker because you believe that as long as your debits and credits balance, your software functions, or your deal closes, you won’t have to speak in public. at could not be farther from the truth.

Job function doesn’t matter. Your role in an organization doesn’t matter. Your ability to express your ideas, thoughts, and opinions verbally will have a great impact on your career. You will still need to sell a product or service to a customer, rally your team to take action, persuade a business partner to adopt your viewpoint, convince an investor to invest, or argue your case before a jury. I am defining public speaking in the broadest possible sense. It includes speaking to three colleagues in your weekly staff meeting, speaking to a small group during a conference call or video chat, speaking to 30 potential clients in a sales

I am defining public speaking in the broadest possible sense. It includes speaking to three colleagues in your weekly staff meeting, speaking to a small group during a conference call or video chat, speaking to 30 potential clients in a sales presenta- tion, or addressing a crowd of 300 at an industry conference or trade show. The size of your audience doesn’t matter. The same skills are required.

The Best Resource for Mastering Public Speaking

When it comes to mastering public speaking, there is no greater resource than Toastmasters International(TM).

Toastmasters International offers its members a venue for practicing communication and leadership skills. Clubs meet regularly and members fulfill different roles at each meeting. There is a proven curriculum of increasingly more challeng- ing topics, techniques, and formats. Fellow club members evaluate speeches for each other. They also give support and encouragement to speakers of all abilities. Toastmasters In- ternational has grown to 14,650 clubs in 126 countries since its founding in 1924.

I encourage you to join Toastmasters. Each club has its own personality, so visit several clubs to find the one that best suits you. Visit the Toastmasters International website to find a club near you.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5: Public Speaking and Presentation Skills from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career

Practice Your Delivery of a Speech or Presentation

Practicing a speech or presentation is the key. Here four tips for improving your delivery.

  • Practice a full-length speech using a video recorder at least ten to twenty times. How many times should you practice? The answer is simple: As many times as it takes to master your content.
  • Ask someone to count the “ums,” “ahs,” and “likes” you use. These are filler words and they can kill a good speech. Be comfortable with the sound of silence. Or, use a video/voice recorder and count the filler words. You may be surprised.
  • Visualize your audience and the room in which you will de- liver your speech.
  • Prepare for possible interruptions and distractions such as a ringing cell phone, a microphone or PowerPoint failure, or people who arrive after you’ve started.

This is Part 2 of a post about public speaking and presentation skills. Read Part 1 here.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5: Public Speaking and Presentation Skills from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career

Why Public Speaking and Presentation Skills Matter to Your Career Success

You may be the smartest person in the room, but if you can’t speak effectively, no one will know it. Your managers, peers, colleagues, customers, clients, and investors will judge your skills and abilities by the way you speak.

If you are one of those people who are deathly afraid of public speaking, you are not alone. Many studies say that people rank the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death. Jerry Seinfeld said it best: “At a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” You may say that it isn’t fair or accurate to judge a person’s professional abilities by the way they speak in public, but that’s the way it is. Many things in the working world aren’t fair. Like it or not, you will be judged by the way you speak.

You might hope to avoid public speaking as part of your job. If you chose to be an accountant, software programmer, or in- vestment banker because you believe that as long as your debits and credits balance, your software functions, or your deal closes, you won’t have to speak in public. That could not be farther from the truth.

Job function doesn’t matter. Your role in an organization doesn’t matter. Your ability to express your ideas, thoughts, and opinions verbally will have a great impact on your career. You will still need to sell a product or service to a customer, rally your team to take action, persuade a business partner to adopt your viewpoint, convince an investor to invest, or argue your case before a jury.

Next week, read Part 2 of this post, “How to Practice and Improve Your Delivery”

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5: Public Speaking and Presentation Skills from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career

Imitation and Your Professional Development

IMG_0977 IMG_0978When it comes to your professional development, you can practice and acquire many skills that you need to be successful.  Some of these skills include public speaking, networking and business writing.  These skills along with the resources and methods for acquiring them are the subject of my book, Career-ology 101 which will be published later this fall.

You can acquire many other skills by observing other professionals and practice those skills using imitation. These skills are often referred to as “soft-skills” and some examples include: teamwork, conflict resolution, decision making and time management.    Read more

Underemployed? Argh! Now what?

You worked hard in college, landed your first job and now you find yourself “underemployed”– working at a job that doesn’t fully utilize your skills. You are bored at work and are looking for additional training from your employer.  Now what?

First, assess your situation compared with the broader market:

  • 41% of college grads Say They are “underemployed”
  • 63% say they need more training
  • 77% of new grads expect their employer to provide formal training
  • 48% received formal training from their employers Read more

15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 3 of 3

And here’s the final installment of the 15 point list. . .

11) Persevere – You will encounter many challenges in your career.  Your response to those challenges will say more about you than your successes.

Try not.  Do, or do not.  There is no try. ~YODA, Jedi Grand Master

12) Communicate with confidence – Communication via the spoken and written word are one way to demonstrate your professional abilities.  Practice public speaking and perfect your writing skills, until you far surpass your peers—the bar is usually not that high.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. ~Mark Twain

13) Display humility – Demonstrate humility and personal accountability in your career and you’ll never go wrong.

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. ~Ernest Hemingway, Author

14) Be flexible – As a recent graduate or new professional, be flexible in your career path.  Build career skills that transcend your current function, role and industry make you invaluable in the marketplace and provide more opportunities.

Change is the only constant. ~Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

15) Make connections – Networking is a key professional skill.  If you focus on what you can do for others, networking won’t feel like a chore.  Your efforts will be rewarded in what you’ve given and what you will receive.

Dig the well before you are thirsty. ~Chinese Proverb

READING LIST: Speaking Mastery

If you are looking for a great book on public speaking and presentation skills, here it is: Speaking Mastery: The Keys to Delivering High Impact Presentations by David & Michael Hutchison.

The book is based on the author’s real-world, practical experience gained from over 1,000 presentations.

Part 1 focuses on how to deliver your message including your eye contact with the audience, your movement on stage, and tuning up your voice.

Part 2 focuses on the developing the content of your message including determining the point of your presentation, a great mind-mapping exercise for developing content, and getting the audience to commit to your purpose.

Part 3 focuses on building the “internal muscles” necessary to be a great public speaker including your identity, your thoughts and your emotions.  The tactics presented here can be applied to many areas of life, but are especially important for speakers who are uncertain about speaking or presenting in front of an audience.

Lessons from the Olympics

The Summer Olympics are over and already I miss watching these amazing athletes.  While watching the post-event interviews with the athletes, there were several themes that you can apply to your career:

  • Practice is Everything – The athletes had practiced 8+ hours per day for many years in order to prepare for their event. How much time do you dedicate to practice for important meetings, presentations, speeches related to your career?  Do you practice the skills that are necessary for professional success such as writing, public speaking and networking?
  • Individual Responsibility – Most of the athletes acknowledged the invaluable contribution and support of their coaches and teammates.  None of the athletes blamed anyone else for their own poor performance.   Do you take responsibility for your own career or do you blame your boss, colleagues or the organization when things don’t go your way?
  • Focus and Excellence – Many of the athletes described a level of intense focus and standard of personal excellence that is often overlooked in today’s organizations.  Do you focus on your work like an athlete focuses on their game, event, competition?  What if you did?  What is the standard you set for yourself when it comes to you career?  Do you strive for excellence in your career?

These lessons from the Olympics are at the core of Career-ology.

Go Team USA!  See you in Buenos Aires in 2016.