How to write for talking opportunities that get you business

These days the era of speech making on a grand scale has somewhat lost its b*lls, if you see what I mean. (Unless you’re Donald Trump in which case it didn’t have any, er, well, let’s not go there.)

Of course there are many professional speakers out in cyberspace who speak to hundreds, if not thousands at a time and manage to motivate and cultivate success on a grand scale.

business talks on HTWB

Public speaking now is as much about local gigs – as it is sessions for hundreds.

I admire them, and follow them avidly as they are my heroes: people in the UK like Kriss Akabusi, Nigel Risner, Rikki Arundel, Alan Stevens, all of whom and more have b*lls like you wouldn’t believe because their messages are so strong. Well, not Rikki’s because she’s a lady, but you know what I mean.

Public speaking now is as much about local gigs – as it is sessions for hundreds

[Read more…]

Help! I’ve got to give a short speech at my company’s Holidays do and I’m no extrovert…

speeches,business,social,presentations,public speaking,weddings,occasions,writing,speakingDear HTWB Agony Columns

As a senior manager at my company I’ve been asked to say a few words at our Holidays party on behalf of “the workers…” I know what basic things I should say but hell – it’s the Holidays, so I know I should lighten up a bit. But that will be hard for me as I’m not what you’d
call a “showman.” What do you recommend?

Aaron from San Diego [Read more…]

Help! I’m giving a speech at my Dad’s wedding: what do I say?

glasses_01Dear HTWB Agony Columns

My widowed Dad is finally getting married again to a really nice lady and they’ve asked me to give a speech at their wedding next month. What on earth can I say? I’m stuck for words!

Karen from Toronto

No worries, Karen – [Read more…]

Speeches and presentations: scripted or seat of the pants?

medium_2075045856 (1)Having written literally thousands of speeches for clients over many years, I firmly believe in the discipline scripts provide so that from there, you make a natural yet well structured presentation.

Many others, including experts like my dear friend, presentation training supremo Simon Raybould, would not necessarily agree. But let’s get something straight here. [Read more…]

Super Speeches: how to write and deliver them well

Super Speeches: how to write and deliver them wellIf you ever need to write and give a presentation for business …
a speech at a social occasion …
an audio recording or podcast …
a video production for your website …
or several more speaking needs …
here’s some expert advice – plus loads of tips that will make your speech spectacular!

This is Suzan St Maur’s 20+ years’ experience of speechwriting for business and social clients packed into one 25,000 word eBook…

… Want it right now? It’s just USD $4.50 (GBP £3.00 approx.)

You’ll receive your copy within a few hours of the PayPal transaction going through – Suzan processes all sales herself along with writing a personal note to you.

Here’s what you get:

1.Presentations for business and other non-social activities

  • So, what about that preparation?
  • Cut the clutter
  • The right order
  • Openers and closers
  • Spoken speech
  • Basic spoken speech skills
  • Writing for someone else
  • Why a full script?
  • Anecdotes and humour
  • Visuals

2.Audio presentations

  • Remember that audio speech really is “a word in your ear”
  • There’s no mystique about spoken speech
  • On a website, work with the online text – don’t fight it or mirror it
  • Use a crisp, uncluttered style
  • Check everything you write by reading it aloud
  • Words on their own become boring
  • Use a voice artiste to record your audio track

3.Video presentations

  • Speaking to camera
  • Off-camera interview technique
  • A word about sound for video

4.Social speeches

5.Rehearse, rehearse

6.Delivery tips

  • Advice from an expert drama coach
  • Delivery tips: my own
  • Microphones: how to use them
  • Some further tips of mine

7.Women speakers

  • Advice from an expert drama coach

8.Some sample scripts

  • Business, after dinner
  • Business, same client, conference (day)
  • Business, same client, radio show
  • Social, father of Bat Mitzvah girl
  • Social, bride
  • Social, mother of bride

So don’t hesitate – grab this eBook today before it goes to Kindle and print and becomes more expensive! … Now just USD $4.50 (GBP £3.00 approx.)

You’ll receive your copy within a few hours of the PayPal transaction going through – Suzan processes all sales herself along with writing a personal note to you.

How women can be better than men at public speaking

Only the most hard-nosed male chauvinist these days would have the b*lls to say women don’t make as effective public speakers as men do. However, with some creative thought, careful writing (or at least speech preparation) and some sneaky tips from a drama coach (see below), I believe women can be better than men.

Firstly, of course, you need to ensure you observe some basic tips on how to put your material together. This applies equally to everyone irrespective of gender, but it’s perhaps more important for women to focus on being natural and comfortable with what you’re saying.

Men often can cover up poor material and a bad script by waving their arms and making a lot of noise in front of an audience; women doing that just look like braying battle-axes. Sad and un-PC, but true.  So here’s how to get that all-important material right in the first place…

Basic spoken speech writing tips

  • To get a true idea of your own natural speech style, tape record yourself is if you were talking to a friend about the whole subject, then transcribe it
  • Write in the style of the transcribed text (or that feels comfortable for you to say) – not how some people think “public speaking” should be phrased
  • Even if you want to make a formal impression on the audience, avoid long words and clumsy phrases – especially unfamiliar ones you could trip over when your stage nerves are making you edgy
  • Don’t use language you wouldn’t say in “real life,” and especially not as crutches to prop up weak content
  • Always write shorter sentences than you do for text, vary the length of them, and never follow one longish sentence with another
  • When in doubt, read it aloud – if there’s anything awkward you’ll feel yourself tripping over it

OK: now for the presenting element

In my book, “Wedding Speeches For Women,” I was very lucky to get some advice from a top London drama coach/teacher who came up with some very useful tips about women in public speaking.  Here are a few short excerpts from that …

  • A woman’s voice tends to travel and project better than a man’s because it is lighter and higher. However, this can tend to give her less “authority” when speaking.
  • An untrained female speaker should concentrate on keeping her voice as low in pitch as possible (without sounding Margaret Thatcherish!) to avoid any shrillness.
  • When practising her speech, she should do breathing exercises (the breath is the “petrol”, so to speak, for the voice engine – most people breathe too shallowly), facial warm up exercises, vocal warm up exercises and practice speaking to the end of a room, to the end of the garden, speaking while the radio is playing – all of these can help to keep the volume up.
  • Also practise speaking slowly. Record yourself doing the speech – you will probably be speaking too fast. Go at half the speed that you think feels right – then halve it again – that will probably be about right for public speaking!
  • Practice status: say the speech with your toes turned inward, your shoulders hunched, looking down or flicking your eyes around, touching your face and hair frequently. Then drop all those behaviors. Say the speech standing straight, looking straight ahead and sweeping your eyes slowly around from one side to the other, keeping your hands and head straight and still.

And what about humor?

There’s nothing more excruciating than listening to either a man or a woman telling a joke in a speech when they don’t have the knack for delivering it, or if it is inappropriate for the audience and gets no more than a polite chuckle from the event organizer and embarrassed coughs from everyone else.

When I’m writing speeches for clients who are not natural comedians, I always advise them to avoid trying to be funny because it will fall flat. Far better to be interesting, engaging, sincere and if relevant, emotive.

Much as audiences enjoy a good joke, humor is not the be-all and end-all of successful public speaking. Humor is a condiment that can add spice to a speech or presentation; but just like any other condiment, it can ruin whatever it’s sprinkled on if it’s wrong for the job.

Women are more subtle at making people laugh

In the case of mixed audiences as you would get at a wedding, bar mitzvah or other social event, I have to say I can understand how some people, especially older ones, might be offended to hear a woman tell bawdy, blue jokes in a speech. In the case of a wedding that’s probably the domain of the best man if there is one – not because it’s a masculine privilege, but because it’s boring to all but the few drunken rugby types at the back of the room.

However in cases of business or other non-social speeches, anyone telling a bawdy joke risks dying a death. And for a woman, that risk is greater. Why?

In some ways I think women speakers have an easier job of making audiences laugh, because they can get a laugh on a much more subtle level than men can – especially from the other women in the audience. Women do not need four-letter words or side-slapping hysterics; with just a smile and a few choice words you can bring the house down.

What really makes a woman a better speaker than a man?

…a presentation that’s honest, natural, fascinating and delivered effectively. No, it’s not rocket science; you can do it. Lots of us do. And by sticking to realism, strict audience-focus, enthusiasm and (dare I say it as this word has become such a cliché) passion … you’ve got it. Your presentation hits more spots than that of any man!

Good luck … and if you want to discuss this more please comment here…

Public speaking help, whoever you are!

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“The English Language Joke book”…hundreds of laughs about this crazy language of ours