It was around 2011 when I first delivered any type of public presentation in a business sense. I’d been providing SEO for small business for a couple of years and was offered the opportunity to speak to a small group of local business people so that I could start to develop a profile for being the “local expert” within the business community.
That first presentation felt seriously good and I was walking on air when I’d finished and got a load of great feedback from the six or seven business people in the room.
Something troubled me though, and after a few days, I started to realise that I could have delivered a talk or workshop with so much more confidence. I’ve always been very self-critical with the ability to review my own performance and note many of the failings that maybe others would have seen too. I knew that I needed to improve if I was to continue to deliver public talks and training session, which is something I also knew that I would love to do more often.
A few weeks after that initial presentation / workshop, I was chatting to another local business person at a networking group and she mentioned that if I wanted to improve on public presentations then I should go along to a Toastmasters Speaking Club. She was a member of the Brghton and Hove Speakers Club and would be very happy to introduce me to the club. I was curious about how this would work and agreed to go along to the next meeting.
Toastmasters is a great place to develop and hone the skills needed to deliver a great presentation to an audience and over the next 5 years to 2016 I learned the skills needed to progress to what is known in Toastmasters as a “Competent Communicator”.
After a five year break from Toastmasters due to a massive lifestyle change that had me travelling around the UK adn all over Europe in a motorhome, I have now decided to settle down a bit and reenter Toastmasters and join the Northampton Speakers Club, currently running meetings every 2 weeks on Zoom.
I’ll be a fully paid up member starting from April 1st 2021 and will begin my journey along the Pathways Education program in order to continue to develop and home the skill to deliver great speeches to a public audience.
My aim is to eventually be good enough to deliver an impactful speech to a TedX Audience and to start getting paid as a public speaker.
I’m documenting my journey on the Toastmasters Pathways program through this blog and through a Podcast that I have just started to publish on Anchor.
You’re thinking about creating a podcast or have made a few already. Your mind probably wonders how you can make your podcast as popular as some of those you listen to, that seem to have thousands of downloads or millions of listeners.
Maybe you’re thinking “if only I had a better microphone” or “I wish my voice sounded better”, those things really are not all that important when you start out producing your podcast.
Your listeners and potential listening audience need to feel engaged and involved in your conversation. Feeling like they’re involved keeps people listening, helps with interaction, and keeps people coming back for more episodes. But how do you create that feeling for your audience?
Put simply, you need to tell stories that your audience can relate to; stories that your listeners feel that they could be telling. Situations that they’ve maybe seen or experienced first hand.
Creating some excitement and energy in the podcast by the use of your voice tonality, volume, and variety of expression.
When my children were young and I read them stories during the day time, I’d try to make to book exciting and add character voices at appropriate times, this made them want more!
However, if I read a bedtime story, I’d really want them to fall asleep so I wold change the way I read those stories to a smooth, calming and quite monotone voice. Essentially, making the story as boring as possible.
Do you listen to podcasts and audiobooks? If you do you’ll know that some are really interesting and engaging while others can send you to sleep.
Things to avoid
It’s all too easy to slip into that monotone way of speaking especially when you’re not getting live feedback from your audience. This monotone voice is to be avoided at all costs as it will certainly have you audience switching off and never coming back, leaving your podcast among the crowded backwaters of audio presentations.
Another thing that’ll have your audience running for the hills is too much tech talk that is not converted into plain english for all to understand. Part of that is the use of TLAs or Three Letter Acronyms, of course not all acronyms are limited to three letters so avoid all acronyms unless you are following them up in that same sentence with the full description. If you’re using an acronym a lot throughout your podcast consider explaining what it means a few times so people can make sense of what you’re saying without having to look it up externally to your podcast.
Things to do
Making your podcast interesting and, importantly, sharable can be easy but it takes practice. Try thesse things in your next podcast audio presentation:
- Vocal Variety (tone, speed, and volume)
- Change in volume of your voice (both louder and softer)
- Add interest by maybe whispering into the mic (get closer to the mic)
- Add more energy into your voice
- Get excited about the subject
try these things and compare your recording with a previous recording and I’m sure that you will notice the difference. You’ll also notice the difference in your listenership.
What about sharing
Most people will be happy to share your podcast with their contacts who they think would benefit. However, most will not think about sharing your podcast so you’ll need to ask them to do it. Provide easy ways to share and guide your audience to the click to share buttons.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed and gained something from this short article and overview. Please do share it with your contacts 🙂
Identifying your audience is probably the first step in making sure that your presentation is going to be a success.
Do you know who you’re talking to?
Many people I talk to about public speaking would answer that question with something like “Well, it’s really aimed at everyone…”
Of course, we would all like to think that when we present our talk to an audience that it’ll be of use to everyone who is sitting there listening. However, that is very rarely the case. Aiming your presentation or talk at everyone will in effect connect with no one. There is a need to finely target your speech at a select audience who will be able to relate to your story and that your story will resonate with at a deep level.
There are over seven billion people on our planet living in all sorts of circumstances from very diverse cultures; you are not going to be able to present your story to all of them and have it resonate with their situation.
The answer is to aim at the one person who will relate to and understand your presentation on a personal level. Narrow down your target and speak to an emotion that drives your point home for your audience.