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Perfect Pitch: Top 10 Tips for Public Speaking

Increased heart rate . . .sweaty palms . . .uncontrollable butterflies . . .The fear of public speaking is a common one. But in advertising, you need to get over it – fast.

Speaking in front of a group is par for the course in our business, whether it be presenting new ideas to a client or brainstorming with your own colleagues. To help our team be calm, cool and collected when it matters most, Austin & Williams has started its own Toastmasters club, “Perfect Pitch.” For those not familiar, Toastmasters is an international organization designed to enhance
public speaking and leadership skills through practice and feedback from peers.

program includes 10, five-to-seven minute speeches and “Table Topics” (impromptu,
short presentations on random topics) all timed and evaluated, enabling participants
to learn how to organize thoughts, be a better listener and build confidence.

tuned for Perfect Pitch’s progress. In the meantime, here’s a “Top Ten” list
for tips on public speaking:

  1. Know
    your material.
    Pick a topic you’re interested
    in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor,
    personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily
    forget what to say.
  2. Practice!
    Practice! Practice!
    Rehearse out
    loud with all the equipment you plan to use in your presentation. Revise
    as necessary. Work to control filler words. Practice, pause and breathe.
    Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
  3. Get
    to know the audience.
    Greet some
    of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of
    friends than to strangers.
  4. Get
    to know the room.
    early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and
    any visual aids.
  5. Relax.
    Begin by addressing the
    audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and
    count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two
    one-thousand, three one-thousand.” Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy
    into enthusiasm.
  6. Visualize
    yourself giving your speech.
    yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the
    audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
  7. Realize
    that people want you to succeed.
    want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining.
    They’re rooting for you!
  8. Don’t
    for any nervousness or problem
    – the audience probably never noticed it.
  9. Concentrate
    on the message – not the medium.
    your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message
    and your audience.
  10. Gain
    Mainly, your speech should
    represent you – as an authority and as a person. Experience builds
    confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club
    can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.


Vice President, Client Services

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