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Do's and Taboos of Public Speaking

Do's and Taboos of Public Speaking 13
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EmmaGoulding,Vatican City,Professional
Published Date:06-07-2017
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Do's and Taboos of Public Speaking How to Get Those Butterflies Flying in Formation Roger E. Axtell Illustrations by Mike Fornwald John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York • Chichester • Brisbane • Toronto • Singapore In recognition of the importance of preserving what has been written, it is a policy of John Wiley & Sons, Inc., to have books of enduring value published in the United States printed on acid-free paper, and we exert our best efforts to that end. Copyright © 1992 by Roger E. Axtell Illustrations by Mike Fornwald Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved. Published simultaneously in Canada. Reproduction or translation of any part of this work beyond that permitted by Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act without the permission of the copyright owner is unlawful. Requests for permission or further information should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Axtell, Roger E. Do's and taboos of public speaking : ho w to get those butterfiles flying in formation / Roger E. Axtell ; illustrations by Mike Fornwald. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 0-471-53671-7 (alk. paper) ISBN 0-471-53670-9 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Public speaking. 2. Business communication. 3. Oral communication. I. Title. PN4121.A87 1992 808.5'1—dc20 91-42526 Printed in the United States of America 10 9876543 2 To the late John D. Davies, a great speech coach. And to Arthur W. Foster, a great business speaker, mentor, and friend. Acknowledgments When we are watching the "Oscar" or "Emmy" award shows, the most boring segments of the evening occur when each honoree recites a whole list of names—people completely un­ known to us—". . . without whom this night would not be possible." I'd like to change that. I'd like to try to breathe some life into those faceless names by telling you who aided in the writing of this book and what each contributed. Furthermore, each of the follow­ ing is fully capable of writing his or her own book. So, in the future, you may want to be on the lookout for their names on the bookshelves. Robert Williams is a speech writer, journalist, and presi­ dent of his own public relations firm, Idea Associates Inc. Among his many credits are successful campaigns for dozens of state and federal legislators and at least one governor. He has also supplied the words and ideas that saved the necks of scores of business executives. Bob reviewed the entire manuscript of this book and offered helpful advice and anec­ dotes as well as encouragement and edits. Mike Fornwald is art director at Arian, Lowe & Travis, a prominent Chicago advertising agency. Prior to that, he was a political cartoonist and then an animator for animated films. Mike supplied the wonderful illustrations throughout this book. vii DO'S AND TABOOS OF PUBLIC SPEAKING vlil Peter Rosenberg is a marketing manager with a back­ ground in journalism who has also acquired special skills in the use of audio-visual materials in business presenta­ tions. Peter was responsible for researching and drafting Chapter 7, "Using Audio-Visual Equipment." He is a talented and personable young man headed for a successful career in business. David Horwitz was a top television news executive for more than 20 years at CBS News, ABC News, and Group W. He produced award-winning broadcasts with Ted Koppel on ABC as well as the "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" at CBS. David has converted this unique experience into a valu­ able consulting service that tutors business executives and others on TV appearances . David contributed substantially to Chapter 6, "Appearing on Television," with specific, memora­ ble advice. Phyllis Corbitt McKenzie, as you will learn in Chapter 9, "How to Turn Professional," is the founder and president of Capital Speakers Incorporated, a nationally known speakers bureau in Washington, DC. She works with hundreds of client companies and organizations in booking professional speak­ ers from the ranks of business, government, literature, sports, politics, and entertainment. Phyllis provided substantial infor­ mation for Chapter 9, a valuable contribution exceeded only by her personal charm. Richard E. Rosenberg, a successful trial attorney, is now retired. He carefully reviewed and edited most of the manu­ script for this book. When I becam e troubled by the enormous amount of time involved, his son explained, "Don't let it bother you. You've given him the three things he loves to do most: Work, help people, and criticize" Fred R. Holt is a former superintendent of schools, who was an outstanding debate and forensics coach. Fred kindly reviewed the early chapters of this book to assure that the principles being suggested were not only clear but correct. His solid "passing grade" was reassuring, to say the least. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS IX Contributing in smaller but equally important doses were the following: Ron Dentinger, a stand-up comedian and ban­ quet entertainer, who helped me with Chapter 5, "Humor"; the staff at the National Speakers Association who provided information on that organization for Chapter 9 as well as per­ mission to reproduce data on NSA chapters around the coun­ try; Fred Knapp, of Frederick Knapp Associates, Inc., a college friend who has established his own national training and con­ sulting firm for business executives in the areas of public speaking, media appearances, and image; and, Ron Dale, a delightful Scotsman and professional comedian who shared some wonderful insights into the art of humor. My thanks, too, go to Steve Ross, my editor at John Wiley & Sons, New York City, who entrusted me with my last three book projects. Also, to Nancy Land of Publications Develop­ ment Company, Inc., in Crockett, Texas, whom I have met only by telephone but for whom I have developed untold respect and admiration because of her special editing and design skills that magically turn typed words into a readable text. And she does it with a smile in her voice that actually warms the telephone. Finally, I hope you will pause, if only briefly, at the Dedi­ cation for this book. The two names there represent a pair of admirable men who were blessed with special communica­ tion talents and who, throughout their lives, never hesitated to share them. ROGER E. AXTELL Janesville, WI Contents Introduction 1 1 The Three Secrets for Banishing Fear 7 When Not to Speak 11 Believe, Believe, Believe 15 The Third Rule 17 2 Organization of Business Speeches 25 The Art of Asking Questions 27 What Are the Six Magic Questions? 31 The Four Parts to Every Presentation 33 Timing a Speech 44 3 To Read, or Not to Read? 47 Writing for the Ear 48 The Art of Reading Aloud 52 Is It Fair to Your Audience? 53 When to Read a Speech 54 Tips on Using Notes 58 4 Getting Physical 65 The Eyes 67 The Voice 69 Gestures 72 Posture 73 The Lectern and Microphone 75 The Room 79 Xi DO'S AND TABOOS OF PUBLIC SPEAKING xii 5 Humor 83 When Not to Use Humor 85 What Makes Humor Humorous? 87 Specific Examples 91 Humor to Bend, Borrow, or Steal 95 Roasts 101 Introductions 102 6 Using Audio-Visual Equipment 105 Which Medium for Which Meeting? 108 Which Audio-Visual Medium to Use? 110 Designing Visual Aids 113 How Visuals Are Produced 115 A Checklist for Your Next Audio-Visual Presentation 125 Room Preparation 127 General Tips 128 Summary 129 7 Appearing on Television 131 Where and How to Start 133 Nervousness 136 Clothing 136 Makeup 137 Body Language 138 Eye Contact 139 Gestures and Mannerisms 140 Selecting Your Words 141 Answering Hostile Questions 142 Other Types of Questions 144 In-House Video Presentations 146 Summary 147 8 Special Speaking Situations 149 How to Introduce Other Speakers 150 Serving as an Emcee or Moderator 153 The Question-and-Answer Period 156 Speaking to International Audiences 159 CONTENTS Xiii 9 How to Turn Professional 165 How to Start 166 Marketing Yourself 169 Role of a Speakers Bureau 171 Fees for Professional Speakers 173 The National Speakers Association (NSA) 175 Other Groups 177 10 Resources for Help 179 General Sources 180 Toastmasters International 181 Dale Carnegie 183 11 Parting Advice from Successful Speakers 185 Appendix Local Chapters—National Speakers Association 189 Additional Reading 193 Index 197 Do's and Taboos of Public Speaking Introduction What's in this book for me? DO'S AND TABOOS OF PUBLIC SPEAKING 2 JLhis book is intended for the businessperson who must speak to any audience of any kind, whether it be to the sales force, to stockholders, or to the Rotary Club; to the local city council, to union members, to the church membership, or to the corpo­ rate board of directors; or to a television reporter on camera. Each of these occasions is a test of personal poise and busi­ ness ability. And while this book will help you achieve poise and confidence when speaking to an audience, it may also produce some unexpected side benefits: • How to write a better business memo, letter, or report. • How to read the newspaper faster and better. • How and when to use—and not use—humor in busi­ ness presentations. • How to prepare for an appearance on television —which may come about much sooner than you expect (The reasons are explained in Chapter 7.) Finally, some advice in this book may even stir up dis­ agreement—even downright controversy—between differ­ ent schools of thought on business public speaking. Whatever the business situation, today's successful busi­ nessperson when speaking before an audience, must come across as intelligent, articulate, confident, and likable. Televi­ sion comedian Bob Newhart once described the archetypical airline captain as "confidence personified, with straight teeth, crooked smile." And so it must be with the captains of business. They must appear before audiences as pin-striped Chuck Yeagers, the first test pilot to break the sound barrier and the model for every chief pilot since, complete with crooked smile. INTRODUCTION s However, many captains of business do not necessarily have that Yeager-like image. The reason is simple: In their career preparation and rise, most managers have just not taken the time to hone that important communications skill called public speaking. Speaking before an audience is not easy. In fact, televi­ sion programming has made it even more difficult. Now, by punching a remote control button, we have professional pre­ sentations costing millions of dollars per minute delivered instantly into our living rooms. In the face of such competition, it takes a brave and well-schooled businessperson to dare to stand before an au­ dience and maintain interest effectively. Still, it must be done; and in this day of "great communicators," public speaking is rising higher and higher among the coveted man­ agerial skills. The businessperson who is an effective public speaker will not only stand out but stand above his or her colleagues. He or she will also be a better motivator and manager of people, whatever the career assignment, simply because so much of good management today requires good communica­ tion skills. This book, by itself, is not the magic potion for becoming a polished public speaker. As we quickly learn in Chapter 1, "To learn to play the flute, you have to play the flute." Transla­ tion: Nothing great is accomplished without actual practice, practice, practice. But this book does provide a road map to help the reader find more comfort, confidence, and compe­ tence in all types of business presentations. The book begins by presenting "The Three Rules" that banish stage fright and provide the essential confidence for any business presentation. Then, in Chapter 2, the organiza­ tion of a speech is taught, and as you'll see, it's as easy as adding 6+4, which happen to equal a perfect 10. The natural temptation is to write out a speech verba­ tim and then stand up and simply read aloud what you have 4 DO'S AND TABOOS OF PUBLIC SPEAKING written. In Chapter 3, you will learn what's wrong with that method. One authority even calls it a way to "insult" your audience. However, many businesspeople are shocked, even angry at the thought that they should not read a speech ver­ batim, so this chapter could generate debate. Chapter 4 deals with the physical aspects of public speak­ ing: posture , eye contact, and gestures. Experts say more than half our daily communication is nonverbal, and so it becomes especially important to learn how to "get physical" when speaking to an audience. This chapter also offers numerous tips on turning lecterns and microphones into assets rather than impediments between you and your audiences. In Chapter 5, you will learn not only about the role of humor but about the effective use of humor in your own public appearances. Numerous anecdotes and examples are provided to help you craft good openers, closers, and a few laughers in between. Chapter 6 offers a short course on how to get the best from audio-visual equipment in support of business presenta­ tions. The days of using a few simple 35mm transparencies or slapping a couple of transparent films on an overhead projec­ tor are passing by quickly. Television has conditioned our eyes to expect slick multi media presentations. This chapter will teach you how to develop the audio and visual side of a business presentation, how to work with the technicians who prepare the visuals, and how to integrate all these elements into your presentation so smoothly that words and images are merged into memorable messages. Next comes television. One young business friend told me, "I'll skip that chapter. I'm an accountant. I don't ever expect to appear on television during my business career." As you will read in Chapter 7, "Appearing on Television," the chances are close to 100% that, indeed, the experience of appearing on television will occur not once but many times in the career of any business manager less than 50 years old. INTRODUCTION 5 Chapter 8 offers advice on "Special Speaking Situa­ tions" such as the following: How to properly introduce other speakers, how to serve as a master of ceremonies or a moder­ ator, how to handle those tricky question and answer periods at the end of every program, and how to speak to audiences of people from other countries. Chapter 9 is designed for the business speaker who may want to consider branching out into speaking for fees. It is titled "How to Turn Professional" and details how to climb the ladder to professionalism. Business is the spawn­ ing ground for thousands of professional speakers—why not you? Chapter 10 provides ideas for "Resources for Help." Here you will find ways to continue in your quest to improve busi­ ness public speaking skills. Specifically, detailed information is provided on two national organizations that help train hun­ dreds of thousands of businesspeople each year to communi­ cate verbally with greater effectiveness. The book concludes with Chapter 11, whic h offers some "Parting Advice from Successful Speakers." Some of these direct quotations might stick in your mind and may just help you make that jump from an average business speaker to an outstanding speaker. The cartoon illustrations sprinkled throughout this book come from the talented pen of Mike Fornwald. Mike is art director at a large Chicago advertising agency and is a former political cartoonist and film animator. Knowing that you are an effective public speaker can be a great source of pride and joy—and a distinct career enhancer. Unfortunately, few people in business today have discovered these truths. And with public speaking, as with just about every other skill, we all have our good days and bad days. Yet, on one of those good days when you find yourself facing an audience that pays rapt attention to your every 6 DO'S AND TABOOS OF PUBLIC SPEAKING word, perhaps even nodding in agreement, and you finish your presentation with a final flourish, there is no higher plateau of satisfaction than knowing that you have achieved something both rare and enjoyable. That's when you feel as if you are flying higher than any jet pilot . . . and you can look out at the world and crack one of those confident but crooked smiles.