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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the August 2005 Newsletter

Remebering Your Message

There are a number of elements involved in making it easier to remember what you want to say without leaning on your notes or your slides -- creating a story line for your talk, drawing pictures (rather than words) as prompts, keeping your language simple, etc. I’m going to concentrate on the power of the big picture vs. your focusing on the words.

Right before you present, it’s tempting to read through your notes “just one more time.” Rather than help, this can interfere by directing you to the unreasonable goal of remembering all those words. It’s just too much. Instead, do yourself a favor and don’t look at the notes. Concentrate, rather, on the overall message.

Break it into manageable pieces; engage your thinking and focus on what you’re there to accomplish. What is your bumper sticker message? What do you want them to do as a result of your speaking to them? What are your support points, not the details, just the main concept of each supporting point? How are you going to open? How are you going to close?

If you have time, you could focus on each support point, one at a time, and consider the essence of what you want to say about them.

The more you relax into your message, the more of it you’ll remember. And the more you remember, the more you’ll relax. A few minutes of this big picture thinking will sort you out and will stay with you far longer than those frantic attempts to cram words from your notes into your head.

Dear Teach

Meg Kay, Senior Software Developer, Wireworks West, Inc., San Francisco:

“A couple of weeks after taking your course in San Francisco, I gave several training classes for our software product. It went really well! Not only was the content of the presentation greatly improved, but I was relaxed and had fun doing it. It was such a relief to learn that I didn't have to commit volumes of words to memory -- just know what my message was and use slides only as simple visual cues.”

Technical Vs. General Answers

“When you have a mixed audience, how do you know how much information to give in your answers?”

If it doesn’t seem to be a question of general interest, make it short and specific. The technical people will get it, and the others will be happy you’ve moved on.

Or, if the technical folks want more, ask the rest of the audience if they’d like you to go into it, and let that guide you. Because if no one else wants to pursue it, offer to cover the details in some other forum. Maybe e-mail would do.

If, on the other hand, it does seem to be a question of general interest, you could set up the story line that relates to everyone. Then say something like, “and for those of you interested in the finer points . . .” and again be specific, quick and focused.

Remember that a big part of speaking is imparting to the audience a sense of your credibility on the subject; it’s not about delivering all the details as you stand there in front of them. If they believe you know what you’re talking about, and if they really want to know, they’ll figure out how to track you down and get the information.

First Person

Sandi Martin, Sales Associate, Merrill Lynch:

“At a small seminar we put on shortly after your class, all I had to do was introduce my broker, but I did it without any notes, or any rehearsal, and did just fine. For the first time in my life, I did not stress out about standing up in front of about 15 people and saying a few words. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Quotes to Make You a Better Speaker

“No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys.”

—Doug Horton

“Business is a lot like a game of tennis -- those who serve well usually end up winning.”


“Diamonds are forever. E-mail comes close.”

—June Kronholz

“I rate enthusiasm even above professional skill.”

—Sir Edward Appleton

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

—Steve Jobs

“Take control of your destiny before someone else does.”

—Jack Welsh

For more great quotes, check out these websites:


Think gifts. Someone you know is going to be giving more presentations soon. Give them a practical gift that will make those presentations easier and more effective. Learn more or Order Online.

"Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking...and More" by Barbara Rocha 208 pages, illustrated, cartoons $19.95

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**How to Overcome the Stress of Public Speaking
Pasadena: 3-day workshop October 25, 26, 27, 2010.

We have two public seminars each year: May and October/November. If you have several people who could use this training, contact us regarding an in-house seminar.

As a refresher, workshop graduates (from any of our 3-day workshops) may attend for half price at any time. People tell us they get as much or more out of the workshop the second time around.

Visit our seminars section for details or call (888) 800-2001

For more information, contact:

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(626) 792-8075

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