Keeping a Notebook of Ideas and Techniques
Want to know a low-cost but tremendously effective way to rapidly improve your public speaking skills? Buy an inexpensive notebook and use it to capture speech making feedback ideas, and techniques!
Like a personal diary, your notebook will ideally contain a plethora of information, every piece of it intended to turn you from an average presenter into a phenomenal one. Though you can absolutely write anything you want in your notebook (after all, it’s for your eyes only unless you want to make it public at some point), here are a few thoughts to get you started:
1. Speech Pros and ConsImmediately after your next public speaking engagement, write down at least three to five “pros” and a similar number of “cons” about the performance.
For example, your list might read as: PROS—made audience laugh, started and ended almost exactly on time, moved around onstage with confidence; CONS—voice was shaking at beginning, lost place in notes several times due to small print, didn’t know how to answer several audience members’ questions.
From this point, you can jot down ways to improve using the pros and cons as guides: a) engage in calming exercises before presenting, b) use larger font sizes and different colours on notes to lessen chance of losing place, c) do more research beforehand on topic area.
2. Individual FeedbackIf someone (or several individuals) come up to you after your speech to talk, make sure you record your conversations later in your notebook. Write down what they wanted to tell you, and use those discussions to improve your future speeches.
For instance, if many people commented that they wished you had spoken at greater length about a certain aspect of your presentation, you can use that data to rearrange the materials if you give the speech again.
3. Evaluation NotesShould you obtain evaluations in print form from audience members, you might want to record some of your listeners’ more significant observations, such as “was difficult to hear” or “didn’t make eye contact with audience.”
Don’t assume that you’ll remember this type of feedback in a month or year; write it down now even if you do not have another speaking engagement on your calendar.
4. Other Presenters’ TechniquesWhen you attend other public speakers’ presentations (or you watch them on television or via the Internet), bring your notebook along and write down what those speech makers are doing correctly (as well as what they’re doing not-too-well.)
Do you notice that someone is annoyingly (and rudely) chewing gum throughout her talk? Make yourself a reminder note to never do the same. Can you see that the crowd loves the style of an easy-to-read and understand overhead? Remind yourself in your notebook of the layout so you can incorporate the style into future materials.
5. Presentation PossibilitiesAs you begin to think more about public speaking, you’ll find yourself coming up with ideas for future presentations. Keep track of these, as they’ll be a treasure trove should someone ask you to speak at an event or meeting.
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Remember—this is your private notebook and you can use it any way you see fit. Just make certain that you DO use it, as it will be an amazingly helpful tool to take you from good to outstanding!