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8 Public Speaking Tips From The Best TEDx Speakers

8 Public Speaking Tips From The Best TEDx Speakers

TEDx talks have become the new standard of public speaking. We can learn so much about presentation skills by watching these inspiring talks: storytelling, body language, voice — you name it!

Jonathan Li interviewed some of the world’s greatest TEDx speakers on their number one public speaking tip. Use these practical tips to improve your public speaking skills effectively.

1. Focus on one big idea

“People try to cram all their ideas like writing a book. Just choose one big idea and make it work.” — Caroline Goyder, The surprising secret to speaking with confidence

Action step: Ask yourself, “What do I want the audience think, feel, or do differently after my talk?”

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2. Share your real self

“Share a part of yourself honestly. You’re not sharing your perfect self; you’re sharing your real self. People are instantly riveted by folks who are willing to share their real-life stories in front of other people.” — Ash Beckham, Coming out of your closet

Action step: Don’t hide yourself. Share your real-life story with people. This makes you human.

3. Tell a great story

“A compelling story makes people excited. Prepare a month ahead and try to craft a compelling story.” — T. H. Gross, How to become more confident – lay down on the street for 30 sec

Action step: Tell an emotional, personal story.

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4. Share why your idea is so important

“It isn’t just about providing them tons and tons of information because there’s lots of information you can get on the internet. It’s about providing information in a way that they would actually remember. People will remember things when they know exactly why these things matter to them.” — Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance

Action step: What’s in it for your audience? Share the benefits in your opening.

5. Take your time to prepare

“I’ve seen so many folks who have an amazing piece of writing and they just didn’t rehearse it enough. They get on stage and read it. Or they concentrate on speaking accurately that they don’t sound very natural and the audience tunes out. There’s no shortcut. Put in an enormous amount of time to prepare.” — Colin Stokes, The hidden meanings in kids’ movies

Action step: Start with your message. Then move on to your personal story. Finally, write your opening and closing.

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6. Record yourself when rehearsing

“Audio record and video record yourself multiple times. When you listen to yourself and watch the video, you notice things that you go, ‘That sounds awful.’ Or you realize the story takes too long. You’ll never notice those details by rehearsing blindly. You have to sit back and watch the video or listen. The more you record and watch yourself and go through that cycle, the better you will become.” — Laura Sicola, Want to sound like a leader? Start by saying your name right

Action step: Record yourself on video, then watch the video. Keep what you like, get rid of what you don’t like.

7. The first 3 minutes are the most important

“Memorize the first 3 minutes word for word. Once you’ve gone through the first 3 minutes, you’ll be less nervous because you know exactly what you’re going to say.” — Bruce Muzik, The big secret nobody wants to tell

Action step: Memorize the opening word for word so you’ll know exactly what to say.

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8. Go with the flow

“Practice, practice, practice. You have to know generally what you’re going to say, but I certainly don’t memorize everything word for word. I know what I am going to say, I know the order in which I am going to say it, and the story. You also have to see how the audience is responding.” — Adam Leipzig, How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes

Action step: Practicing with feedback makes for great improvements. Get feedback from an experienced speaker or coach.

Use these pubic speaking tips to improve your speaking skills. Great public speaking skills will impress your boss, colleagues, and clients, as well as help you make more money and be more successful.

Featured photo credit: Acceleration Business City via abc-accelerator.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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