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    Lightbulb Easy public speaking tips...

    I know this could go in the "off-duty" section, but this
    could effect your regular job as well. Here are some quick
    easy tips for The Parade magazine-

    Tips For Better Speaking

    -Consider your audience and tailor your speech accordingly.

    -Avoid cliches. If you have something fresh to say, people
    will want to listen.

    -Use anecdotes that are funny or touching.

    -Pretend to be poised, even if you're not.

    -Remember, you audience is rooting for you!

    PS- Sorry my mail box was full recently, problem fixed.

    -Bou

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    A tip I learned from my old high school debate days. If your stomach is turning, eat some saltines to settle it. Works like a charm.

    Another goodie is look OVER the audiance at the back wall of the room. The audiance will think your looking at them, and you avoid direct eye contact which may help relax you
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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    Speak Louder than you think is necessary. Speak slower than you think is necessary.
    Know your subject! Know your audience!

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    Look just over th heads of the audience and everyone will think you are making eye contact.

    BTW, saltines are a land mine. Your mouth will be so dry you may have a difficult time speaking.

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    I work for the Govt....and years ago, they gave a class called "Effective Briefing Techniques".

    In that class, they use a video camera and taped you while you speak on a chosen topic.

    It helped most folks.

    Some saw those little irritating habits they had, and were able to beat 'em. I was very afraid of pauses in speaking, and would just go on and on and on...

    Helped me see that the short pause that I thought was too long was basically nothing.

    But have someone videotape you...you'll then see what everyone else is seeing (and probably find that you aint so bad....)

    Jon

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    Picture everyone in their underwear...

    ok maybe not.

    I completely agree with the slow down and be loud (depending on the size of the room) we all tend to talk faster and when people may be taking notes it helps to go slow and repeat key points.

    Also, avoid the "um" and "uh"s in talking. If you find yourself wandering in your mind don't say "ummmm" just pause for a moment and regain composure. Nothing is worse than listening to someone talk like that for a long time.

    ~Jeff
    Piscataway Fire Dist #2
    Possumtown V.F.C.

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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Look just over th heads of the audience and everyone will think you are making eye contact.

    BTW, saltines are a land mine. Your mouth will be so dry you may have a difficult time speaking.
    I dont know George, the saltines always worked for us. Made it all the way to state finals (three times) with that trick. Just be sure to wash em down
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    Don't become glued to the podium! Nothing is more boring than seeing someone stand in one spot.

    Be animated! Walk around the stage, and if you have a wireless microphone or a very long mic cord, walk into your crowd. Make eye contact.

    Change the inflection of your voice..the "Ben Stein/Henry Kissinger" monotone just doesn't cut it.

    Don't forget your target audience! I have seen firefighters talking about fire safety to kids and using terms like "products of combustion" and start naming off the gasses given off in a fire... and losing their attention!

    You see it when a fire chief is interveiwed for a story about a major fire in their community. They use "firespeak"... great if the all the people watching the late news were firefighters, but John and Jane Q. might pick up one or two words out of the story they would understand.

    Most of all... if you have to speak publicly... practice! Whenever I teach fire safety in the schools or have to giver a fire safety presentation to a group, I go over what I am going to say, and practice my timing and put myself into the mind of an elementary school student or the target audience and ask myself the type of question they would ask me.

    I do it while I'm out walking my dogs (they are my best critics! woof! )
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Originally posted by FFTide


    Also, avoid the "um" and "uh"s in talking. If you find yourself wandering in your mind don't say "ummmm" just pause for a moment and regain composure. Nothing is worse than listening to someone talk like that for a long time.

    ~Jeff
    I can't stand listening to an interview of a sports figure anymore. Most of these are either in college, or are college graduates. Why can't the teach them to stop saying, "ya know?" after every other word they speak.... ya know?
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    If you're really dreading giving the presentation, your audience will know it and they will dread it too. (I'm talking about attitude, not about being nervous.)

    Enthusiasm is infectious and can work to your advantage.
    ullrichk
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    A few rules that I always follow when doing public education presenatations, no matter what level:

    Have A Plan - Know what you want to say, and what your goals are
    for the listeners to take away.

    Keep It Relevant - If it's something that does not interest your
    listeners and something they will not likely use in thier daily
    lives, they will not listen.

    Move, Move, Move - Captain Gonzo was right ... nothing is more boring
    than watching someone stand. Plus if you remain stationary, you
    become an easy target for spitballs and rotten fruit.

    Do Not Use Firespeak.

    Use humor.

    Look Professional.

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    Generally if you are speaking to an audience you want them to "buy" what you are "selling" (your speech). In order to sell something you must believe in it yourself, be enthusiastic about it and portray this with your actions and your words.

    Practice your speech in front of others, ask for their critique.

    Tape record yourself, listen to it, make necessary changes.

    Visual aids that correspond with what you are talking about are great tools to utilize.

    Have fun!!!!

    I love public speaking.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

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    If using powerpoint, don't put your entire "script" on the screen and then stand there reading it - slide after agonizing slide. If you're just going to read something to us, do us all a favor and email it to us so we can stay home and review it at our leisure.
    Resident Chaplain of the IACOJ

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    Originally posted by IACOJRev
    If using powerpoint, don't put your entire "script" on the screen and then stand there reading it - slide after agonizing slide. If you're just going to read something to us, do us all a favor and email it to us so we can stay home and review it at our leisure.
    Good point! This is a very common pitfall. I've run across some Fire Instructors that need to have this tatooed on their forehead! If all you're going to do is stand up at the lectern and read verbatim directly out of the book, chances are that your audience will be brain dead within the first 20 minutes. ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz.

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    Default Eye contact

    The use of a focal point on the horizon only works in a lecture hall/fixed audience setting. On camera, in "the round", or any small/informal setting requires the ability to make eye contact and "connect" with an audience.

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    Default lessons learned

    Keep yourself animated. If you are tired/bored, your audience will soon follow. Don't go overboard and look like some of the TV ministers either.

    The attention span of preschool kids and college kids is about the same. (15 - 20 seconds).

    Don't tie yourself down to a podium. Don't weigh yourself down with lecture notes. Follow an outline.

    All audiences can be easily distracted. Get them to maintain focus with props, humor, stories, power point, etc... but don't get so overloaded with stuff that it takes away from the intent of the presentation. Listening to someone that just shares "war stories" gets old real fast.

    Respect your audience. Show just as much respect for kindergarden kids as you would the elderly in the assisted living home. Don't talk down to the kids. I had one firefighter helping me with a preschool class and he started using some type of "baby talk" and lost the attention of everyone, including myself. (at the time, he didn't realize he was doing it - corrected himself and now does quite well).

    Take constructive criticism well - then use it in the future.

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    Default forgot one

    Oh yeah, when finished with a presentation for smaller children, DO NOT finish the presentation with "Does anyone have any questions?" If you don't know what I mean, try it once.

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    Default Re: Eye contact

    Originally posted by mattdeg
    The use of a focal point on the horizon only works in a lecture hall/fixed audience setting. On camera, in "the round", or any small/informal setting requires the ability to make eye contact and "connect" with an audience.
    Absolutly! Good point

    All my public speaking experiance was in large fixed audiance settings. I dont consider giving a FP class to school kids, or speaking to a camera as "public speaking". I guess it is, but its so different then standing on a stage in front of 500+ strangers.

    My advise on the saltines and looking over the audiance also comes from theater (which I also did in high school). But again, thats a large audiance setting.


    Oh, and I agree. Dont ask the kids if they have any questions
    Last edited by Dave1983; 02-22-2005 at 05:58 PM.
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    Look just over th heads of the audience and everyone will think you are making eye contact.
    I know its been said a couple of times, but I don't like to do it. I got busted up good in the first speech competition I ever did for doing that...someone will notice, especially if you are on a stage that is above the level of where everyone else is seated. Pick out a few friendly faces from around the hall...alternate between making eye contact with them. I always did this with the judges. It was funny because they were soooo serious and I knew if I could get them to crack a smile I had them right where I wanted them. We don't have judges watching us in the fire service per say, but if you could get a smile out of the mayor...

    Walk around but don't pace...if you are trying to remember everything that you need to do, it can be easy to OVER DO something.
    IACOJ

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    Exclamation Re: forgot one

    Originally posted by quietone
    Oh yeah, when finished with a presentation for smaller children, DO NOT finish the presentation with "Does anyone have any questions?" If you don't know what I mean, try it once.
    Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment, but I totally disagree.

    If we're talking to children, it's so that we can teach them something -- how to be safe, about the work we do, etc. Regardless of the subject, we're supposed to be teaching and they are supposed to be learning. Children need to ask questions to learn.

    Certainly, there are exceptions to this. I've dealt with more than one group of elementary schoolers (mostly boys) who looked like they'd sucked down a box of pixie sticks beforehand. It's almost impossible to get through to them and you're probably right -- inviting them to ask questions is almost a death penalty. However, generally speaking... Children need to ask questions. As adults, we don't always speak on their level -- even when trying.

    If you must, set a limit beforehand. (i.e. Hold up five fingers and say, "I can answer this many questions.")

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    I can't stand listening to an interview of a sports figure anymore. Most of these are either in college, or are college graduates. Why can't the teach them to stop saying, "ya know?" after every other word they speak.... ya know?
    A local morning radio show I like has a five "Ya know" rule for all callers...If you "Ya know" 5 times, they drop the call like a hot potato....very effective....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
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    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Default Re: Re: forgot one

    Originally posted by cozmosis

    If we're talking to children, it's so that we can teach them something -- how to be safe, about the work we do, etc. Regardless of the subject, we're supposed to be teaching and they are supposed to be learning. Children need to ask questions to learn.
    I agree with cosmosis on this one. If you can enlist the help of a teacher/chaperone beforehand, you can "screen" your questions. I've had some teachers do an effective job of reminding their students what a question is (and more importantly, that a story is not a question).

    I almost always extend an invitation to shool age children to visit the fire station after school or on a weekend with their parents to have all of their questions answered.
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    Default Re: Re: Re: forgot one

    Originally posted by ullrichk


    I agree with cosmosis on this one. If you can enlist the help of a teacher/chaperone beforehand, you can "screen" your questions. I've had some teachers do an effective job of reminding their students what a question is (and more importantly, that a story is not a question).

    I almost always extend an invitation to shool age children to visit the fire station after school or on a weekend with their parents to have all of their questions answered.
    Thats a good idea. Perhaps have each student write down one question before hand and then pick out 4 or 5 to answer. Will have to try that next time
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    Looking just above the audience heads works, and like mentioned before, if you see someone you know, or a non-threatening face, make and hold eye contact with them. Move around, talk with your hands (some, not to the point of being distracting).
    Most of all, remember that the audience is not going to eat you. No matter how bad you think you do, when it's over, it's over. If you did bad, work on doing better the next time. If you did well..... work on doing even better the next time.
    I once addressed the city council during a particularily rough time.The room was packed with firefighters and news cameras. When I started to get a little nervous, I remembered how much support there was in the room, and it all went away. I drew strength from those in the room I was speaking for, and it went great.

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