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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the August 2006 Newsletter

Let It Be Simple

For most people, speaking isn’t their job; it’s something they have to do to as a part of that job. For that reason alone, simplicity should be a primary goal in giving presentations.

For those of us who only occasionally speak before live audiences, it’s often a natural tendency to put too much focus on ourselves resulting in overly complicated presentations – presentations that don’t work as well as they could.

The theory seems to be: "If I’m not suffering enough, I must be doing it wrong." Those times when it goes well and easily, there’s a tendency to dismiss it as an anomaly, rather than examine why it worked.

Ask yourself: Did you just use everyday words and say it directly and simply? Did you use examples you liked and could easily remember? Were you particularly passionate about helping this audience? Maybe that’s why it worked.

It’s okay to enjoy your presentation and for it to flow easily. Expect it to be simple. Do everything you can to make that happen – from basic speech patterns, to your choice of opening and your examples. Make it simple, and reap the benefits every time.

First Person

Christopher Pierson, Land Acquisition Manager, John Laing Homes:

"That ‘bad news’ meeting I told you about in class was today and it turned out well. The group had a good laugh when I told them at the start of the meeting that I had just completed a three– day course called "Refining Your Presentation Skills" and that I was all prepared and excited to show off my new stuff. One of the owners asked jokingly if I would like them to grade me on my efforts.

"As for the land number and bad news delivered, I was up front and honest as to the situation and detailed in my explanation of why things turned out as they did. Though a deal was not ‘inked’ right then and there, I do still have a solid shot at winning the deal, and I have been asked to make a follow–up presentation later in the month. Thanks for the coaching, Barbara! I learned a ton of cool stuff in class."

Dear Teach

Eric Nay, Security Engineer, Manatt Phelps & Phillips:

"Thanks for the class, Barbara. I certainly learned more than I thought I would. I’m usually pretty standoffish when it comes to training classes, but I had fun and felt like I came away with some good nuggets.

"Although I was a reluctant starter, your teaching style brought me around and I soon became a strong supporter. I learned a lot – now it’s up to me to apply it!"

Why Use an Opening?

Question from a participant:

"I hear others using stories, analogies, and examples of client comments to start their presentations. I would never do that. Why should I?"


The main measurement of effective presentations isn’t about following rules, it’s about what works. If you don’t use an opening and people buy into your message, that speaks for itself. Do what works.

In general, the reason for using an opening and a bridge, is to make sure the audience is listening to you before you launch into the crux of your message.

Most audiences have to be coaxed away from the many voices pulling at them, boss, clients, family, projects, – and how about that Blackberry?

If your audience is focused and ready to listen as soon as you start speaking, then you probably don’t need an opening. It would just make it more entertaining, or interesting, or fun.

Quotes to Make You a Better Speaker

“How long should a speech be? As long as it’s good. As soon as it stops being good, it should end.” —Soundings

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake somebody up.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“You can’t plant a seed and pick the fruit the next morning.” —Jesse Jackson

“Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens, we have to keep going back and begin again.” —Andre Gide

“Do your work with your whole heart and you will succeed – there’s so little competition.” —Elbert Hubbard

“From a little distance one can perceive an order in what at the time seemed confusion.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald

“When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” —Henry J. Kaiser

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

Audiotape or CD ROM
The "Getting Over Yourself" book on audiotape read by the author ($17.95) or CD ROM ($19.95).

Booklets by Barbara Rocha:
$9.95 each (+$1.50 Shipping and Handling)
"Pocket Guide for Presenters"
103 pages

"60 Ways to Spark Your Speaking: Just in time answers to frequently asked questions"
154 pages

"Love to Talk/Hate to Speak: Selected articles by Barbara Rocha"
121 pages

Speeches on Tape:
"From Bored Room to Board Room" $10.95
"Stand Up and Stand Out" $10.95

"Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking" featuring Barbara Rocha in excerpts from her book, seminar classes and interactive coaching. VHS $99.95

Learn more
Order Online
Call (888) 800-2001
E-mail: BouldinHil@aol.com
Write: Bouldin Hill Press at 17-555 Bubbling Wells Rd., Desert Hot Springs, CA 92241


**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:

Barbara Rocha and Associates

PO Box 60521, Pasadena, California 91116

(626) 792-8075

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