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Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills (47)

Having been in the Toastmasters Communication & Leadership Program for over 21 years, Rae is passionate about sharing information to help others develop their skills. 

This section hosts articles related to public speaking, writing artilces/webcopy & presentation skill development. 

Enjoy the articles and feel free to comment. Keep the discussion going.

As originally posted on Quora.com ...

If you have read any of my responses to questions here on Quora, you will know that I tend to take a different approach to most if not all others.

You ask for advice for something else besides ‘just practicing’ to develop your extemporaneous speaking skills. To develop any skill, it is a matter of learning the theory behind the skill that you want to improve, then putting the lessons learned into practise. A step that is often missed is in receiving constructive feedback on how your practicing the skill went. The final step is integrating the advice from your feedback into your next practice session.

As originally answered on Quora.com ...

Thanks for the A2A on the question “Do you ever fake laugh during conversation?”

I thought about this question for the good part of a day as it left me self-analyzing, do I or don’t I?

To the best of my knowledge, I do not. To do so would be inconsistent with my current base personality.

As originally answered on Quora.com ... 

If you refer to ‘outlines’ as meaning structure formats, then the tried and true format of Opening, Body & Conclusion will work fine.


For the body portion a good technique is to make a point, tell a story, make a point. Stories and points should tie in together and have a purpose related to the overall theme of the speech.


For your speech to be persuasive, on any topic, you have to take your audience from where they currently are, to where you want them to go. For your stories, you will need to have examples of where bullying took place.

As originally answered on Quora.com ...

Where others have interpreted this question as meaning  a ‘great’ or ‘better’ speaker, I’m going to answer in light of  you actually meaning the best speaker.



William Sanseverino in his response says I say this because no matter who you are, how well you do, there will always be someone “better”. “Better” is a judgement call and judgement changes from time to time.”

With specific examples discuss the statement?

As originally answered on Quora.com ... 

I believe the statement that you are referring to is “that you cannot, not communicate.”

 I'm not comfortable to talk to a big audience (over 50-60 people), and that is my main concern about holding a speech.


As originally posted on Quora.com


Let me tell you about my book.This appears to me to be one of a classic pain vs gain scenario. Which is better … to feel the pain i.e. the fear of public speaking for a possible gain of increased book sales, further speaking opportunities, increased revenue or not to feel the pain and decline the speaking opportunity?

Declining doesn’t necessarily avoid the pain. It avoids the immediate anxiety and stress of not having to deliver the speech but it opens one up for self-doubt, second thoughts and self-criticism for being a coward for not taking the opportunity.

I find that decisions like this involve emotional and logical thinking to resolve. A fear of public speaking is an example of an emotional response to protect us from feeling the pain. We can back up our fear-protection mode by our logic. “Nobody would want to hear me.”; “I don’t have anything to say”; “it’s all in the book anyways, they don’t need me.”

There are ways however, that we can use our emotional/logical responses strategically to help us make difficult decisions.


As originally posted on Quora.com


What do you see when you look in the mirror?I’m not a fan of standing in front of a mirror and practicing public speaking. I know it is often recommended, but for me, I found it to be awkward and stilted.

First off, I don’t believe that it is accurate. Sure it has to be accurate, it’s a mirror image of what we are actually doing. But as a mirror image, it is reflecting to us what the audience sees, not what we see. I don’t believe that our brains can adequately process the difference between what we see through our eyes and how the audience sees us.

Secondly, when I was first practicing speaking out loud and watching myself in the mirror and timing my speech, I found that I had countless false starts. I found that all the things I was watching in the mirror were taking away from my concentration on the delivery of my content.

As speakers in North America most of us speak an average of 125 to 150 words a minute. We can pick up the speed a little to 250 words a minute, however we will likely lose most of our audience. They will be unable to process what we are saying and keep up to us. Our minds work at the speed of 1000 words or so a minute.

As originally answered on Quora.com


TM Club Meeting, We shake hands a lot!Assuming that you are over the age of 18, the undeniable best way to overcome your fear and to become not only a good speaker but an exceptional speaker, is to join Toastmasters.

If you go to http://toastmasters.orghttp://toastmasters.org and then locate the Find a Club feature. It will quickly tell you if there is a club near you. Guests are usually quite welcome. I say usually because some clubs may be restricted to employees of a certain business. You can also usually check out a couple of meetings to see if it is for you, before you join.

There is value in reading self-help books. I still do and have my own library. The problem with them is that while they may provide you with sage advice, they don’t provide you with the opportunity to speak in public. You don’t learn public speaking by osmosis. You have to get up and speak!

In addressing your fear, you aren’t alone. There is an old hard to find quote, from a book from the 1970s The Book of Lists. In a list of top 10 fears experienced by people, fear of public speaking was number one. Number three was fear of death!

Something is wrong with that. More people would rather die than speak in public? I’ll speak for hours, just don’t kill me!

As originally answered on Quora.com


How would you describe success?Thanks for your question. Its been quite a while since I have delivered a speech on the topic of success. You have fired up my creative juices and I will put creating a speech on success on my ‘To Do’ list.

There are likely hundreds of ideas that you can use for direction if you research quotes on the subject of success. Just take the message from the quote and expand upon it, add your perspective and some examples.

Here are some examples:

“Success is 20% skills and 80% strategy. You might know how to read, but more importantly, what's your plan to read?” -- Jim Rohn. With a quote like this you can go in several directions. The 20-80 formula is known as the Pareto Principal. You could expand upon on that is evident in almost everything we do. It can be said that “success is 20% inspiration, 80% perspiration.”

The quote focuses on the value of reading. Your speech could be crafted around how being an effective reader leads towards success. You could expand upon the how to read to lead towards more success in life. You can expand upon the concept of skills vs strategy. You don’t have to agree with Mr. Rohn, you can craft a speech around disagreeing or proving him wrong.

As originally answered on Quora.com

How many sets of kidneys has your glass of water filtered through.Here is what I recall as being the most memorable attention getter for me. I believe that it might have been from an article in the Toastmaster magazine on the subject of grabbing your audience’s attention. The presentation was on water conservation.

While holding a glass of water the presenter looked at the glass and then looked at the audience and then took a sip. “This glass of water has gone through eight sets of kidneys before it has collected in this glass. The bad news is that there isn’t enough to go around!”

That opening was attention grabbing on several different levels.

I often start off with a rhetorical question to engage the audience from the get-go. The idea is to answer the audience’s question “What’s in it for me?” “Why should I listen to this speaker?” Being that the question is rhetorical, I’m not really expecting an answer. I’m hoping the audience will be reflective, allowing me to transition to the next stage of my presentation. I also prepare for the eventuality that somebody does actually answer the question and take me in a direction that I don’t necessarily want to go. There are a lot of literal thinkers out there that may not realize that the opening question was intended to be rhetorical.

Another attention grabber can be to use a quote that sets you up for your main point. In the past I have delivered speeches on leadership. I have good response to “If you think you are leading and you look behind you to see that nobody is following you, then you are just out for a walk. Have you looked behind you lately?”

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