Nov 282023
 
  • You’ve been given the honor to present a wedding, retirement or birthday party toast and you want it to be memorable.

  • Rather than worrying about the project, you can work with an experienced speech writer who will craft a personalized presentation and coach you to deliver it confidently.

Many people who are asked to deliver a special event speech approach it with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. For a variety of reasons, they delay writing to the last minute — and perhaps practice out loud only once or never at all. For some people the problem is time commitment and for others, the difficult task of putting their reminiscences, wishes or emotions into words. Unless you’re a professional writer and presenter, a memorable toast or speech needs careful crafting and rehearsal.

  • Why not hire a speech writer who will work with you to write your speech and give you the tools to deliver it smoothly?

As a speech writer, Gloria Lazar has written toasts and speeches for weddings, anniversaries, person of the year honors and other special occasions for small gatherings as well as 500-person galas. As a speech coach, she has guided her clients in making their speech memorable using effective speaking techniques.

Either by telephone or virtually on Zoom, she will interview you to understand the message you want to convey, the tone and any other critical information to craft a unique presentation. Then she will write a draft and work with you on multiple edits until you’re satisfied and comfortable with your speech. And if you would like assistance in speaking like a pro, she’ll help you develop the skills to deliver a memorable presentation.

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Check back soon for more articles on effective speaking, writing, executive function skills and communications.

Oct 082019
 
  • Do people really want to hear my story?

  • Do I want to relate personal details to strangers?

Whether you’re an executive presenting your sales pitch, a college graduate interviewing for your first job, or a high school student speaking with an admissions officer, your personal narrative can be the key to reaching your goals.  Telling someone else about why you believe in your work, what you seek to achieve, or why you’re the best candidate connects you to your audience in a powerful way.

Yes, other people do want to know why you’ve chosen to work in a specific field, why you want to attend a particular college, or why you have a service or skill that you’re promoting.  We all have a fascination with the details of people’s lives, primarily so we can learn and sometimes identify with other people.

At a recent Democratic presidential debate, the candidates were asked to describe a setback in their professional lives.  Vice President Biden chose to speak about the accident that killed his wife and young daughter and seriously injured his son.  He took a bold step in relating this critical event in his life because it shaped everything personally and professionally that followed.  Sworn in as a senator sitting at his injured son’s bedside in the hospital, he undertook the most challenging job of his life while in mourning.  The odds were certainly against him when he became a member of Congress as a grief-stricken husband and father.  Yet he prevailed and the rest is history.  While some media individuals criticized his choice of this personal event rather than a professional incident during the debate, no one could deny the power of his personal narrative with viewers.

The answer to the second question: do you want to share your personal story?  You’re the storyteller and you have the right to share whatever is comfortable.  Your goal is connection, not catharsis.  The specifics you choose should have a direct link to the context; for example, why you’re a good candidate for a job based on your personal experience.

A case study:

A client recently asked me to write a personal narrative she could weave into a presentation of her organization’s investment approach.  She chose to work in this field because of her family’s immigration  and success in this country: their careful investment strategy allowed them to accumulate enough money to support them in retirement.  She wove this narrative very successfully into her presentation using her personal history as the basis for her confidence in her team’s product.

You control the narrative so rest assured, no one compels you to reveal personal details you’d prefer to keep to yourself.  But using your own story to connect to others is one of the most powerful, effective tools to reach your audience and create your success.  Use it and empower yourself!

You may want to read more articles on my blog related to this area:  Learn To Tell Your StoryBe Happier and Healthier By Telling Stories Throughout Your Life

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Check back soon for more articles on effective speaking, speech writing, cognitive function and speech pathology.

Mar 152017
 
  • Do you feel uncomfortable speaking in public?

  • Do you wonder if people will listen to what you have to say?

  • Do you think you need to have an unusual or unique life to talk about yourself?

More people than you can imagine will answer “Yes” to all the questions posed above — though they may not admit it out loud. Believing that you need to have a “charmed” life to tell a story about yourself is to deny the uniqueness we all possess.  Every person has their own story to tell, their own lens they use to see the world.  

But being a good storyteller doesn’t always involve relating your own story.  Indeed, many of the stories that capture our fancy beginning in childhood involve imagination, as well as observation.  The stories we witness that don’t necessarily involve ourselves, as well as those we create about others — these are all part of the storyteller’s raw material.

The essential skill to being a good storyteller involves creating a “dialogue” with other people.  Looking directly at your audience (of one or many) and using the importance presentation skills of voice, gesture, and body language will make your story appealing.

As children we know the  words, “Once upon a time” signal the beginning of a story.  But to capture our attention, these words need to be accompanied by the intonation, rhythm and rate that conveys a natural speaking voice.

One of the critical features of storytelling is the investment in the story by the storyteller.  A good storyteller conveys conviction:  the storyteller believes the story and wants to take you on a journey.  From “spinning a yarn” to “this is the absolute truth,” the stories that capture us are told in a way that invites us to listen and believe.

So why is storytelling so important?

Whether you’re pitching yourself in an interview, selling a product, or giving a presentation about your research, engaging the audience is the key to effectiveness.  

If you practice the art of storytelling you will approach any speaking situation as a moment to capture other people’s attention and involve them in what you say.

The answers to the questions posed at the beginning of this article can become “no” if you approach your speaking as “telling a story.”  You’re no longer the public speaker standing in front of an audience but a storyteller evoking the interest of everyone who has loved a good story since childhood.

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Check back soon for more articles on public speaking, speech-language pathology, executive function skills and writing

Nov 012013
 

Whether you’re an executive giving a speech, a student making an oral report, or an applicant interviewing for a new job, you’re probably concerned about how you sound, how you communicate (and if you’re not, you should be.)  For many people that concern turns to dread, and even worse, to nervousness, both of which don’t improve the situation.

How can I be a better speaker?

I’ve written about this question in several articles: “Almost Everything You Need To Give A Great Interview,” http://lazarspeech.com/2013/09/20/almost-everything-you-need-to-know-to-give-a-great-interview/ “Speak Up, Speak Clearly: Is That All There Is To It?”, http://lazarspeech.com/2013/09/04/speak-up-speak-clearly-is-that-all-there-is-to-it/ “The Two P’s For Effective Speaking,” http://lazarspeech.com/2013/04/30/the-two-ps-for-effective-speaking/ and others you can read on my blog.

Confidence, Preparation, Reducing Um’s and Ah’s:  These are just a few of the topics I’ve covered and they remain critical for communicating  effectively.  What else should do good speakers know about making a presentation so it doesn’t become a dreaded event?

Timing remains the key to being calm and effective.  Don’t rush, no matter how pressured you feel about covering a certain amount of material.  It comes back to my recommendation about preparation.  Consider what you need to cover in the time you have to speak.  Plan carefully and don’t over plan.  So many speakers succumb to their eagerness to convey everything they know about a topic so they literally speak at a rate that’s too fast for listeners to process.  Slow down.  Pace yourself as you speak.  Think about speaking in phrases, not just sentences.

Maintain a natural voice by considering your intonation.  What does that mean?  Intonation is the rhythmic up and down of our voices.  If you speak too quickly you lose intonation, the stress on key words.   Without proper intonation your speech will take on a monotone quality, one of the annoying things about synthesized speech, those automated, recorded voices — what we call robotic speech.

Considering the words you want to stress will make a big difference in maintaining natural intonation.  Most languages, including English, are spoken with stress on syllables and words, otherwise we would sound flat and boring.  As a speaker you keep the listener’s attention by stressing important words — these can be highlighted in your notes or even in a scripted presentation (if you’re actually reading a speech.)

Breathe.  You’re probably saying to yourself, “Well, of course I breathe.”  Yes, we have to breathe as we speak, but too many people take rapid, shallow breaths when they present.  They don’t monitor their breathing so they run out of air and may make themselves even more nervous.  Effective breathing has a calming effect and puts you more in control of your speech.

Singers and professional speakers who work from a script actually mark their breaths as cues to be sure they breathe at appropriate times.  This helps their timing, stress and intonation, all critical factors in giving an effective speech —  a presentation you won’t dread making!

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Check back next week for more thoughts on communication, speech and language and executive function skills.

 

 

Mar 202013
 

If you would like to “BECOME A CONFIDENT AND ENGAGING SPEAKER” come to the workshop I am presenting on April 23, 2013 at Watercooler, a coworking space in Tarrytown, NY.  Last year’s program on “HOW TO GRAB YOUR AUDIENCE” proved highly successful for participants who gained the basic tools to make professional presentations with confidence.