Make Your Speech a Journey of Active Discovery

By breaking your  teaching points down into questions and discussions that lead to your point, you can help the audience go on a journey of active discovery, instead of passive listening. The question-answer approach naturally builds in points for the audience to absorb and process your ideas. Your audience will be more engaged and, as a result, retain more information. They'll also have more fun along the way. And so will you.

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Make Sure Your Panel Discussion Includes Some DISCUSSION

When running a panel discussion, it's usually a good idea to have some DISCUSSION. If you are a moderator, you need to constantly be looking for ways to keep the audience interested. Try to listen to your speakers with the ears of an uninitiated audience member: What context does the audience need? What about the topic is most interesting to the audience?

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Instead of thinking of your adult audience members in your presentation as “students”, you should think of them as “participants”. Instead of thinking of yourself as a “teacher”, think of yourself as a “facilitator”. Your job is to draw out your participants' expertise and interest by establishing an environment that invites their ideas, opinions, and experiences.

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On Upspeak, Vocal Fry and Authenticity

We all have habits we bring to the table when we start to explore public speaking. Some are great, some are....very not great.  Those not great habits are understandable enough: we do things without thinking, or because we're nervous about being vulnerable in front of our audiences. But if we're not careful, those habits can become ingrained and then they'll be harder to break.  This article by Hilary Davis on "upspeak", "vocal fry", and authenticity in public speaking has some good strategies you can incorporate into your public speaking practice to avoid bad habits and better connect with your audience. 

Playing Your Speech to Scale

Playing to scale simply means making sure that the size of your physical and vocal expression matches the size of your room. In larger rooms, you have to make sure that the back rows are getting a life-size version of your speech. To do that, you're going to have to be a bit bigger than life-size.

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