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Smartphone mapping while in car

Public Speaking, Lady Google, And Wrong Turns

Whenever we go on a family trip, we activate the Google Maps navigation feature, which announces to us, step by step, where we should go.

The voice-activated feature is a highlight of any trip for our four-year-old son, who looks forward to hearing each new instruction. He’s taken to calling the kind voice “Lady Google”—and it’s a nickname that’s stuck for our entire family.

I was recently driving to a presentation training in a new city when I made a wrong turn. As she does so brilliantly, Lady Google almost instantly re-routed my trip. And in doing so, she led me to a key public speaking tip.

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Catchbox: A Great Way To Engage Your Audiences

Have you ever thrown a microphone at a member of your audience? (No, not in anger, but to encourage their participation?)

I’m guessing you haven’t. If the audience member drops the microphone, you’re out hundreds of dollars (not to mention the much more expensive lawsuit that could result from any microphone-related injuries).

An innovative product called Catchbox has solved that problem—and, in so doing, has given public speakers a great way to add some fun and unpredictability to their talks.

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The Must-Have Ingredient For Making Risky Material Work

A client came to us with an unusual idea for his upcoming keynote speech, which he was set to deliver to several thousand people.

He wanted to show the audience a four-minute music video in the middle of his talk. I was concerned that the clip was too long and would diminish the energy in the room, and suggested that he drop it. He politely refused. He was right. It worked beautifully.

Here’s the key ingredient that helped him pull it off—and that Jerry Seinfeld lacked before telling one popular joke.

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15 Great Ways To Close A Speech (Public Speaking Essentials)

What would you like your final words to achieve? Do you want audience members to get involved in your advocacy efforts? Reconsider previously held views? Have a more complete or nuanced understanding of your topic?

In this post, you’ll learn 15 specific ways to end on a high note.

Among the highlights: the “illustrative” close, the PowerPoint close, the backward-looking close, and the takeaway close.

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How To Close A Speech (Public Speaking Essentials)

Musicians write songs that build to rousing crescendos. Attorneys deliver emotionally moving closing arguments to impressionable jurors.

Throughout our culture, we recognize how important a big finish is. We want that blockbuster action film to end with a dazzling car chase and the annual fireworks display to conclude with an awesome sequence of rapid-fire bursts.

And yet…many closes limp to the finish line. In this post, you’ll learn how to end your speech with a bang — and why there are two closes, not one.

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Profile In Leadership: Air Force Academy Superintendent’s Race Speech

On Monday, five black cadet candidates at the U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School were targeted in message boards with ugly racist attacks.

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, Superintendent of the US Air Force Academy (USAFA), addressed thousands of students yesterday about the attack. His five-minute speech is worth watching in full. As many commenters on the YouTube video remarked, “This is what leadership looks like.”

It’s easy to see why this speech went viral. To help other speakers use some of the same elements to improve their own talks, I’ve dissected six of the things General Silveria did so well.

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How To Practice For Your Presentations (Part 2)

In this post, you’ll learn three more great tips to help make sure your practice sessions are as effective as possible.

These tips emphasize quality of practice, not quantity — which will also save you time.

Among other things, you’ll learn what research says about the ideal location to practice, how to critique your own performance without being unnecessarily critical, and how to solicit feedback from others to ensure helpful rather than destructive input.

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When “What’s In It For Me?” Is The Wrong Question To Ask

For decades, public speaking experts have instructed presenters to put themselves in the minds of their audiences by answering this question: “What is their WIIFM?”

WIIFM (or “What’s In It For Me?”) suggests that audiences will only act on your ideas if they see a direct benefit to their own lives.

That’s true sometimes —but too often, it ignores a far more important question.

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