Four Public Speaking Pitfalls That Trap Most Presenters

If you want to drastically improve your very next presentation, it is important to understand 4 of the pitfalls that keep most speakers in a ditch out of which they can never seem to climb. If you see where these traps are, you can easily avoid them. As a result, you will clear your pathway to a powerful and persuasive speech.

Here are the 4 costly mistakes:
1. They close their speech with the question and answer session. Never close your speech with the Q&A session, because people remember best what they hear first and what they hear last. If you end with the Q&A, you lose control over the last message your audience receives and much of your hard work is undone. It is still a good idea to have a Q&A session, but it is not a good idea to end your presentation with it. Instead, hold the session about 80-90% into your speech and then close the speech in your own powerful way.

2. They open their speech with a whimper. Most speakers open with statements like, “I’m so glad to be here. Thank you for inviting me to speak on this prestigious occasion. First I would like to thank Bob.” What is wrong with that kind of opening? Frankly, it’s boring. Boredom shows up when you do what is expected. Instead, come out in an unexpected way by jumping right into your message. Take the “sitcom approach” and start the show first and then transition back to the opening theme song. One good way to do this is to immediately dive into a story. That will catch your audience off guard and you will have their attention from your very first word.

Another effective way is to ask a question. For example, I start some speeches with the following question: “What do you think is the number one thing that stands in the way of most people living their dreams?” This immediately gets my audience’s attention and prompts them to think and to get involved with the speech. Questions work extremely well because they take your audience members from passive spectators to active participants and that definitely raises the energy. Once you finish your planned opening, it is then fine to go back and thank the people who brought you there. Don’t open with a whimper, open with a bang.

3. They lip-synch. I once had a CFO of a biotech company say, “Craig, we need you to coach us with our presentation. We already have the presentation, but we just need to know what to say.” That might seem confusing but I knew exactly what he meant. He meant that the company already had a slide presentation but they needed to know what to say between those slides. Once I worked with them, they came to realize that they had to look at their major points first and then determine if slides were even needed to reinforce them. Most presenters who use slides simply verbalize the same points that are made on the slide. The key to understand is this; if you say the same thing as your slides, then one of you is not needed! You are doing the equivalent of lip-synching your presentation. The best time to use slides is for real visuals such as charts, graphs, and diagrams that will help clarify what you say verbally.

4. They don’t master the essence of public speaking. Bill Gove, the first President of the National Speakers Association, once said that good public speaking is being able to “tell a story and make a point.” That is the essence of public speaking. If you want to become the kind of speaker others line up and sign up to see, then make an effort to master storytelling. People make decisions with their emotions backed up by logic. Stories reach those emotions and get people in a frame of mind to take action. When you become a master storyteller, you help other people see new stories unfold for their own lives. Like the old saying goes, “Facts tell and stories sell.” The key for effective speaking is to get to your stories early because they are the heart of your speech.

If you avoid the 4 pitfalls that trap most speakers and you work on the suggestions above, you will find yourself far ahead of most of the people who ever stood up to say anything.

Debt Negotiation Programs – A Proven Way To Get Creditors To Settle Debt For Less

Debt negotiation programs play a major role in the lives of the American consumers these days as most of them are drowned in debts. As a result of this issue of debts which almost all the Americans are facing, these Americans are going in search of a proven way to get creditors to settle debt for less. The importance of the debt negotiation programs has appeared when people suddenly started to fell in to debts. This sudden growth of the number of the debtors is the result of the prevailing bad recession in the country. The recession in the US market has worsened the economic status of the consumers. People tended to take loans as usual without knowing the prevailing recession in the country, but, when they could not settle those loans they unconsciously fell in to debts.

As a result, the demand for debt negotiation programs was increased. Simultaneously a similar demand was there for the bankruptcy as well. Most consumers filed bankruptcy without knowing the after effects of it. Although it appears to be a good solution which releases the consumer completely from debts, it brings more problems while solving a single problem. It destroys your credit history and also harms your good reputation. In addition, it restricts you from getting a loan for more ten years. However, the educated ones understood the bad side of the bankruptcy as well. Accordingly some rejected to go for bankruptcy as they feared the horrible future they will have to face if they selected bankruptcy. As a result, the demand for settlement or in other words the demand for debt negotiation programs has increased.

Now, the people have accepted that the debt settlement as a proven way of settling debts. Even the newly introduced federal laws have strengthened the reliability and the legitimacy of the settlement or the debt negotiation programs. As a result, the fear of going for debt negotiation programs has decreased and at the same time the popularity of it has increased. This is the only negotiation process available in the market. The professional attorneys working in these companies negotiate with the creditors on behalf of the debtors. If you selected a good company with skilful attorneys, you will definitely be able to reduce more than half of your dues with their help. Thus, debt negotiation can release the consumers from their pain of debts.

The Spiritual Posture of Present-Moment Awareness

Once we have become aware of our dysfunctional ego, we can begin to look at each moment of our lives differently. The awareness developed to see our own dysfunctional ego can now be turned outward to the world around us. Each moment of life can now be viewed with fresh perspective. This is another of the spiritual postures – present moment awareness.

The present moment is that little bit of time and space that exists between the past and the future. It’s what is happening right now at this very moment. The present moment isn’t as long as a day, an hour, or even a minute. It’s a continuous flow of very short time segments through the space around you, within your field of awareness.

Consider any action, such as walking. As you walk, think of every single step you take as being the present moment. The last step you took is already in the past, and the next step you take is still in the future, even though it’s just moments away. The most important step you take is the one you are taking right now, this very moment.

“Time is measured by a threefold division, past, present and future… If you consider the present, it is through Him [God] that you live; you, however, are master only of the present.” (Gregory of Nyssa, The Lord’s Prayer)

The challenge we face with each moment is that although our bodies and souls live in the present moment, our egos thrive on the past and the future. Egos cannot survive in the present moment. They cannot survive in the light of awareness and truth. They thrive on the pain of the past and the worries of the future. This is what gives them their identity.

Consider the walk we are taking. We may see an obstacle ahead of us which may generate concern or fear, or we may remember how we stepped on someone else’s toes a few steps ago (carrying from the past guilt or the shame of our clumsiness). Both the warning of the danger ahead and the memory of the past event become part of our ego’s identity in the present moment. The ego uses these events to affirm its illusions about life and the necessity for it to maintain control. How we deal with these past and future images in the present moment makes them either debilitating baggage or benevolent gifts. They will either block our sense of the present moment and our connection with God (thereby feeding the ego), or they will be used to develop a better understanding of ourselves and others (thereby reestablishing our connection with God).

The present moment is the only period of time when we’re truly conscious. If we’re thinking about the past or the future, then we’re not truly conscious to life. The connection we make with God and to His kingdom only happens now, in each moment. As Anthony de Mello writes:

“To find the Kingdom is the easiest thing in the world, but it is also the most difficult. It is easy because the Kingdom is all around you, and within you, and all you have to do is reach out and take possession of it. It is difficult because if you wish to possess it you may possess nothing else.”

Present moment awareness holds the key to enlightenment, to releasing us from the grasp of the dysfunctional ego. Spiritual consciousness brings us this light of awareness; consciousness is only possible in each moment – not in the past or the future.

Present moment awareness is the key to living a full life. It’s the essence of being. Everything real that happens to us happens in the present moment. Our connection with God only occurs in the present. Our connection with others and with the earth only occurs in the present. Our presence in the present moment links us into the field of all possibilities; it’s where we connect into the spiritual Internet, allowing our prayer power to flow out to others, and where we receive the flow of love and blessings. We will begin to see things differently, and think about things differently, and behave differently. The interconnectedness of all life splashes brilliant colors of love throughout our awareness.

Living in the present moment does not mean we forget the past or ignore the future. What it means is that we use these other two time frames in the proper way. Our past experiences are great teachers, and we must learn from them. But we avoid dwelling on them to the point that they interfere with our present moment. Planning for the future is important, too, but the steps to get to the future all happen in the present moment, one at a time. Now is when the future is made.

How can we live in the present moment? The first of two techniques is to practice the spiritual posture of ego awareness; to become the observer of our thoughts and how we’re spending our time. This will alert us to when we’re not in the present moment. By catching our self dwelling on the past or the future, we immediately return to the present moment. The ego shrinks and our true self is able to function more freely.

The other key technique involves becoming more aware of the physical world around us. It’s using our five senses with intentionality. We go slowly through each moment of life with the curiosity of a child, noticing things around us. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) This awareness includes paying attention to our own breathing, or feeling the movement of our limbs as we walk, or watching the flight of a bird, or seeing all the shades of a color where before we thought we saw only one. Listen for the voice of God in the wind, and in the words of another person. Feel the grass or the leaf of a plant. Treat objects as sacred gifts of God. Look at people as temples of God. Consider each of your movements as a sacrament to God.

This all takes practice, but is well worth the effort. Ego awareness and present moment awareness go hand-in-hand. A third spiritual posture will then come in to play, the Practice of the Presence of God which we shall discuss in another article.

(c) 2010 Daniel D. Schroeder All Rights Reserved