Master Your Message Blog


Introductions. They’re incredibly important to a speaker’s success. Bad ones can be like watching a slow motion train wreck. Because the speaker ends up spending half their speech trying to recover from it. Ow!

MC making an introductionAnd that’s why professional speakers provide their own. And when they do, if you’re the MC, it’s important that you rehearse it and deliver it the way it’s written. Because it sets the tone.

If you’re writing an intro, there are 3 questions – three W’s it needs to answer: What, Why Now and Why This speaker.

First … what. What is the speech or talk about (without giving away too much). Make sure you relate it in terms your audience will understand. This part is pretty straightforward.

Second … Why Read More …

When I speak to a group, I try to speak in seven minute segments MAX. That’s Magic Time! Because after seven minutes of information battering our little brains, our eyes roll back in our heads and we shut down.

And where has this come from? Television, of course. Because a program segment is about 7 minutes … then there’s a commercial .. unless you zap it .. but you’re still programmed to take a break.

Today, attention spans are getting even shorter. So, it depends on your audience. The younger, the shorter … generally.

The point is, “think in modules.” If your talk is longer than 10 minutes, you need to break it up. It should be at least a two or three module talk. That Read More …

You’re fourth on the program, waiting to go on. You’re miles away, mentally sifting through your presentation while you wait for the introduction.

Suddenly, you realize speaker number three has run past their allotted time and is now about ten minutes into yours. The Master of Ceremonies pulls you aside and asks you to cut your presentation short by twenty minutes.

High anxiety cuts in as your mind rifles through your slides, trying to figure out how you’re going to cut whole groups of them on the fly. A state of mind panic lurks in the shadows.

Yes, it’s happened to me—a speaker’s worst nightmare! Read More …

I love this site! The 35 Greatest Speeches in History.

If you’re going to be a good speaker, there are three key things you need to do:

  1. Go to watch great speakers perform. This is the reason I go to conventions  hosted by my speaking community, (National Speakers Association  (NSA), the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS)).
  2. Study great speeches. You’ll find 35 of the top ones on the above site.
  3. Write and practice whenever you can. Toastmasters International is a great venue for doing this. There are chapters all over the world.

Doing the first two will have you immersed in the style of powerful speakers—how they use words, as well as in their performance. There are many who think that great speeches are Read More …

We all have fears of one kind or another. It’s part of the human condition. Arguably, speaking in public is one of the greatest, or at least, most common.

Speaking in public is often cited as one of man’s greatest fears.

Here’s a PDF file with ten great tips – from Stanford University. It’s called simply, “Overcoming Speech Anxiety.”

Contrary to what many believe, the fear can be overcome. As Wayne Kehl writes in his article, it’s typically a gradual thing, like dipping your toe in the lake to judge the warmth. If it’s safe, you’ll gradually wade in deeper.

I’ve been a member of Toastmasters for something like ten years, in two segments. Between the first and the second, I lost my self esteem … Read More …

(link to previous post)

I can’t remember the first speech I made at Toastmasters. It’s called the “Ice-Breaker” and all new Toastmasters have to give one. It’s all of five minutes in length.

It’s supposed to shed some light on who you are, but I know my shell was far too thick to reveal much of my inner soul. I believe I talked about my career and  how I got to where I was before my “big crash” – before I lost my company.

I had been a member of Toastmasters when I was “mentally healthy” in the ’80s – I was in my early 30s. I had a television show at the time, was a very successful commercial writer/producer at the leading Read More …