by Tom Antion

It amazes me how some speakers will show up for a speaking engagement and really not know anything about the audience they are speaking to. Many speakers just get lazy and feel that their message is so important that anyone would want to hear it. They
couldn't be more wrong. Your core message may be about the same for everyone, but knowing your audience will allow you to slant the information so that the audience feels it was prepared just for them. They will relate much better to the information and
think much more highly of you for creating something specifically for them. Of course, in many cases you were only slanting your information, but I won't tell if you won't.

The only way to look polished while speaking is to practice. This is one skill you cannot delegate to anyone else. It is you that is on stage with the microphone and it is you who will look either great or terrible. You are sadly mistaken and egotistical if you think the Powerpoint slides that either you or someone else created will make you a dynamic speaker. There are specific techniques used to practice that don't take much time and make
you look extremely polished. One of these techniques is called bits. You practice a short piece of material over and over again. You don't practice it word for word, but just talk your way through it. This way you won't blank out when a distraction happens while you are on stage.

This is my famous asterisk technique I use to make sure hecklers don't interrupt my presentation. I get people in the group to identify potential trouble makers BEFORE I get to the event. I phone these people and interview them to give them the attention
they are craving. I then mention their names during the speech. This virtually eliminates the chance they will give me a hard time because  I am praising one of their opinions. This works really well but don't mention their names exclusively or the rest of the audience that knows these people are trouble may think that you are just as bad. Mention a wide variety of people in the audience. Just make sure the bad ones are included which normally
keeps them at bay.

Boring old facts rarely move people to action. Learning to use words that evoke emotions in people will make a much greater impact when you speak. There are many emotions you can trigger in the audience just by your choice of words. Happiness, anger, sadness, nostalgia are just a few. Knowing your purpose for being in front of the group helps you to pick which emotions you want to tap. When your purpose is known, choosing words to get the
desired emotional response is much easier. For instance, if you wanted to take someone back to a childhood experience you might say, "Do you remember when someone did something bad at school and the teaher smacked the yardstick on her desk?" The word Phrase "smacked the yardstick" would evoke an emotional response that many adults can relate to. A younger group may not related to this phrase since corporal punishment has all but disappeared from schools. You must pick the words that would mean something to
your audience.

Some people have trouble implementing this idea because they like to remain aloof and private. This will hurt their chances of making a good connection with people in the audience. You certainly don't have to reveal your deepest darkest secrets when on stage, but you certainly could tell someone how much you like horses, or how you love to cook . . .anything that will give them a glimpse into the real you will give you a better chance of
connecting with them and getting them to listen to you.

A prop is worth a thousand words. People can really anchor a thought in their minds when it is connected to an object that relates to the point you are trying to make. You could use large, small, funny or serious props. Always relate the prop to the point you are trying to make and make sure the audience can see it. Sometimes you'll want to hide the prop so people don't wonder what it is until you are ready to present it.

Even Shakespeare used humor in the middle of the tragedies he wrote. Humor is a powerful and effective tool that gives the audience's mind a chance to breath in the face of heavy material. It also makes you more likable and fun to listen to. Humor is also much more likely to make your information more memorable. You don't have to be a stand up comedian to use humor in speeches and presentations, and you don't have to tell jokes either. There
are many ways to add humor that don't require any skill at all. You can show funny visuals, tell stories, or read from books or periodicals . Just like with props, make sue your humor relates to the point you are trying to make and you will be much more successful. Each issue of  "Great Speaking" has about 20 pieces of humor you can use during speeches.

If you are going to bother taking up people's time to speak to them, don't you think it would be a good idea to get them to do something positive because of your presentation? Even if they do something negative, it's still better than doing nothing because they will at least get a chance to learn something from their mistake. Regardless of the size of your ego, the reality is that you are there for them, not the other way around.  . . . I'm all for you building up your reputation, but if you go into your speech thinking it's all for you, it will show and you probably won't do as well as you would have had you concentrated on the needs of the audience more.

One of the best ways to make sure the audience loves you is to bring solutions to their problems. If you have done a thorough job of researching your audience, you already know what their problems are. It's your job to bring ideas for them to try. In modern day thinking this is what motivational speaking is all about. No longer is it good enough to get people all fired up where they are bouncing off the walls still having no plan to what they will do with this new found excitement and motivation. Modern professional motivational speakers bring solutions and a plan of action which is in itself motivating to people.

All the best preparation, practice and audience research could be ruined if you forget to pay attention to all the details surrounding a presentation. You want to know what is happening
before you speak, and what is happening after you speak. How are the people seated? Are they at round tables where half of them are facing away from you, or are there no tables at all? What kind of microphone is appropriate? How big is the screen in the room? Will the people be drinking alcohol? What is the lighting like? All these items and many more effect the overall effectiveness of a presentation. The same exact words delivered with significantly different logistics could be received in entirely different ways. You could even go from a fantastic evaluation to a bomb just because of the way people are seated. It's up to you to know the differences and how they effect a presentation. Your subscription to "Great Speaking will help you know what to watch for every time you speak.

For many articles on Great Speaking visit the following three web pages:

by Tom Antion

This is my overriding principle that came from years of hard knocks trying to get people to hire me to speak. I get more speaking engagements than I ever had before when I quit trying to sell them and began selling my knowledge in as many different formats as possible. The idea is that infinitely more people can buy what you know through books, tapes, CDs, Ebooks and videos than could ever hire you to speak. Your name recognition because
of your knowledge distribution makes speaking engagements much easier to come by because the people that could hire you have already heard you and your message on your knowledge based products. In the mean time, the money from the product sales
keeps your business thriving.

You can get other companies to sponsor your speaking fee so they can be associated with your message when you speak. Stop and think of what kinds of groups would want to be associated with your message. Let's say you speak to the banking industry. Maybe
mortgage, or mutual fund companies would sponsor you. Maybe bank equipment companies would. Think of anyone who would want to have exposure to your target audience then simply make a proposal to their public relations department.

This is pretty straight forward. You speak to a corporation, association, civic group, or anyone who would hire you and they pay you directly. Most of the time you should try to get a deposit up front of about 50 percent and the balance either before the event, or the day of the event. You will use various methods to get hired. I have had the greatest success in my
career getting hired to speak by promoting myself properly on the Internet. This Ezine will refer to that method quite heavily.

A speakers bureau is a for profit organization that locates speakers for paying clients. The speakers bureau normally takes a percentage of your gross fee. The percentage is usually in the 15 to 30 percent range with the average fee being 25 percent. It is very difficult to start with speakers bureaus unless you are a bonafide celebrity and your fees are substantial. You must remember they get paid on straight commission and the higher your
fee, the more they make. Also, unless you have a proven track record, a speakers bureau will be afraid to put you in front of one of their clients because if you bomb they could lose many more bookings from the same client. You must also supply the bureau with promotional materials that don't have your contact information so anyone that sees the material will contact the bureau directly and not you.

This is another fairly simple idea, but that doesn't mean it's simple to do. Basically you promote your seminar to the public and they buy tickets to attend. You could also promote it to corporate management and get them to buy tickets for their employees to attend. I avoided public seminars for years because of the risk and expense involved in printing and mailing brochures. Now I do lots of public seminars because I can promote them at no cost through my website and email magazine.

This can be a form of public seminar, or it can be done for private groups. You arrange for a telephone bridge line (very inexpensive), or a conference call (can be VERY expensive). You
have participants call in and you deliver the seminar over the telephone. This saves a tremendous amount of money on travel expenses for you and the participants along with all kinds of savings for the participants (travel, time, etc.) For visuals you can have the participants sitting in front of their computer while on the phone. You tell them what web page to visit to see your visuals. I have produced a tape on this topic. Look at tape
number 6 at

This is similar to telephone seminars except you are using the Internet instead of a telephone to hold the seminar.

In this case a company hires you to deliver their programs to public seminar participants, or to participants all from the same private company. Career Track, Dun & Bradstreet Seminars and Fred Pryor Seminars are examples of companies who hire seminar leaders. In some cases you can develop programs for the seminar company and get a higher fee for delivering that program and a fee each time it is delivered by another seminar leader. You also
get a percentage of all the back of room products you sell. These companies can keep you on the road quite a bit so you better be ready to travel and don't think each event will be in the Bahamas . . .Your events are more likely to be in places like Toledo,
Cleveland and Columbus.

Many professionals speak or give free public seminars to help get clients. Attorneys, doctors, dentists, accountants, real estate agents, lawyers, home builders and many other people from a wide variety of professions give seminars to promote their business
and to gain clients directly from the seminars. To do this effectively you must not spend the entire seminar promoting yourself. You must give the participants good information with
the idea of establishing yourself or your company as the expert. There is certainly nothing wrong with showing people how complicated things are and even though they can do it themselves, it might not be a wise thing to do. For instance, you could be a plumber giving a seminar on how to remodel your bathroom. You tell the participants every little detail of how to do it and also tell them the perils if they do it wrong. No one will complain that you were just giving a sales pitch, but many will think to themselves, "Maybe this is too much to tackle by myself. Maybe I should hire this person to either help me or do it for

Many companies have their own speakers bureau. Normally the only reason it exists is as a public relations tool to provide a good image of their company to the community. One of the ways you can speak for pay in your company is to volunteer to be in the speakers bureau. As long as you are on company time when you are speaking, you are indirectly getting paid to speak. If they always ask you to speak after hours on your own time, well that's
a different story. You still might want to do it to continue to become a better speaker. Another way to get paid to speak in your job is to join the training staff of your company, or start one if one doesn't exist. You can simply target a problem the company is having and work up a program to train others in the company on how to solve the problem. Suggest a few sessions to your boss to see how it goes. If you get results, chances are they will want
you to do the same program for others in the company.

For a complete rundown on what it's like and what you need to know to be a paid professional speaker either part time or full time visit

I trust you enjoyed your two free reports and I know you will enjoy your subscription to "Great Speaking."

Thanks for being a new subscriber.
Tom Antion