Spectacular presenting is not an accident. It's not just going to happen any more than you can pick up a guitar and play it from first strum. Just like an instrument, our speaking and presenting can get out of tune if we do not continue to learn and apply.

I'll have to admit that two things amaze me about speakers and presenters.

First, many speakers live with ongoing unnecessary fear. They "claim" they do not want to be afraid. They "say" they want to step before the crowd with confidence and assurance. However, I don't think that is true, which brings us to...

Second, few speakers dedicate themselves to a lifetime of learning and practice of presenting. Just needing to get through one speech is fine. However, there are hundreds of thousands of people whose very incomes depend on their ability to communicate publicly.

Side note: You may THINK you're just going to make one speech or presentation, but the principles you learn in public speaking serve you in every area of communication. When you learn how to build rapport with an audience, you also know how to do it with a customer. When you learn what makes people in a crowd laugh, your personal sense of humor increases. Public speaking and personal communication are not mutually exclusive.

So how can you best use 2006 as your breakthrough year of speaking and presenting so you can enter 2007 ready to rock with your words?

Here are 3 Steps for to create a breakthrough 2007...

Uh-oh, our now society does not want to wait. They want to be great now. They want to speak without fear now. Well, "now" comes in three steps...

I. Information

What if you knew your doctor took one medical class? What if your accountant decided he just needed a calculator, but studying the curriculum was optional? What if your mechanic told you he had never worked on cars but would give your car a shot?

We would run from any of those situations, but when it comes to using our words to INFLUENCE lives, we are haphazard and think training and education are optional.

What you say to people on an off the platform is the most important "work" you can do. Learning to communicate is the most important thing you can devote yourself to for branding and positioning.

Let's go back to the mechanic we mentioned. Let's say he was fantastic. He could fix any vehicle. You show up to pay the bill, and he says, "You know pal, your license ought to be revoked for letting your car get in that condition. You're one sick mother." And then he uses a string of curse words.

It wouldn't matter how skilled he was with his tools, if he was unskilled with his words. Even in the world of repair, words are important. You might think, "If he did a good job, I wouldn't care what he said." Right. Would you recommend him to your grandmother?

You see, we do business with, hire, hang out with, do favors for, send referrals to, make introductions for, recommend, give references for, do more business with people we like. And we tend to like people based on what they say and how they say it.

If there is ONE course of study that should be life long its that of learning to communicate effectively in all areas of life.

And the only way to get better is to begin with learning. Without education you have no idea of what you do not know. You have no idea what creates a certain response.

If you learn to make your friend laugh, then you can make an audience laugh.

If you know how to make a person mad, then you can make an crowd mad.

If you discover how to motivate someone to higher achievement, then you can motivate an entire group to higher achievement.

If you find out how to sell one person with your words, then you can sell a room full of people with your words.

If you uncover the secret to keeping a single listener in rapt attention, then you can do it for a room full of people.

If you can talk without notes to an associate...

You can keep filling in the sentences. It can be endless. I've written all of this to say...

Your Words Are Your Most Significant Instrument of Influence.

Your Words Are Your Greatest Untapped Resource for Wealth.

And yet, the vast majority never spend one dime learning to communicate better verbally. Most run from public speaking. But, when you do it well, it is the quickest way to move ahead of the pack.

Since words are the key to influence and impact, it only makes since to invest in learning to speak and present.

Make it a priority to...

Read one book a month on communication. Earl Nightingale said, "The man who will not read is no better off than the man who cannot read."
Attend one seminar on presenting. Take the time to learn from those who train people professionally.
Listen to great speakers for half of your commute time. Notice their timing. Write down everything you like and feel you could incorporate.
Join a speaker's club or association. This will provide the opportunity to speak regularly in front of a group of peers and learn course work at the same time.

You must put some goals in place that will ensure that you grow in knowledge during the year.

II. Application

All the study in the world does no good without the application of that knowledge.

Who cares if you know how to fly if you fail to take the wheel when the pilot faints? What does it matter if you know how to change a person's life for the better if you never tell them how to do it?

Most speakers view speaking from the wrong perspective. They look at themselves and think...

What if I forget?

What if I say something embarrassing?

What if they see my knees shaking?

What if my mouth gets dry?

What if my voice quivers so badly I sound like I'm holding a jackhammer?

Everyone of those statements is about the speaker! Everyone of them. How egotistical is that?

Instead, a speaker or presenter should be thinking...

How can I help these listeners?

What can be shared that will change them for the better?

How can they be motivated?

What will enable them to reach their goals?

If they could hear one piece of information that would radically alter their lives, what would it be?

Those are statements made by speakers who want to plants seeds that can change lives for the positive.

The only way to get there is to apply the information you learn.

Through application you discover...

What works and what doesn't work for you.
How to use your style of humor and fill the room with laughter.
The best way to tell a story that touches the heart and head.
How to shape your signature stories into "no fail" anecdotes the audiences wants to hear time and again.
What makes a crowd cheer or cry.
How to create a stampede of positive emotion.
What "wows" an audience.

The only way to become a great speaker, an influential presenter, is to apply your knowledge in front of an audience. The only way to get rid of the fear is to speak on a regular basis.

Make it a priority to...

Speak or present at least once a month. When possible, record your messages. Take the time to listen to or watch the speech and pinpoint what you did right and what you can improve. You've got to do this to improve quickly.

Practice your speech in your mind. Go over different points of emphasis. Rearrange your points. Tell your stories.

Test your material on friends and associates. Share different points, concepts, and funny stories in the course of normal conversation.

Take one idea you learn from your study and try it out in a speech or presentation.

Those points are basic, almost elementary, but most will never do them.

Instead, they will...

Whine about being afraid to speak.

Swear they couldn't do a presentation if their life depended on it.

"Try to put something together."

Wonder why they agreed to address the conference.

Prepare the best they can and suffer through it.

Having helped over 30,000 people become better public speakers there is one statement I hear over and over...

"I'm just doing one speech. I just want to get it over with and survive."

There's no problem with that attitude as long as you're not really wanting to make a difference. But my question is...

Why Not Do Your Best, So The Audience Can Become Their Best?

Even for just one speech, do your best. Create a presentation that will have maximum impact.

You wouldn't want someone painting your house just good enough to get by, would you? Then don't do presentations that will get by. Put in the application time necessary to become great.

III. Transformation

I'm a much better speaker today then ten years ago. Yet, I prepare less and rarely get nervous. My average speech is 85% adlib. Audience response is far greater. Laughter is much louder. What happened? I moved from trying to speak to being a speaker. I learned and applied principles that have now become part of me. Plus I continue to learn and apply. The process never ends. I still have a lot to learn and work steadily to improve.

When you see a top speakers like Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Jeffrey Gitomer, Joe Callaway and others, you notice how effortless speaking is for them. But it didn't start that way. Many a crowd drifted to sleep before these "greats" became great. It's just part of the process.

Through time and effort the stories started to gel, the humor became natural, the points became powerful, and the audiences began applauding.


Because the great ones don't just speak well. They help people believe in themselves. They show them how to get from where they are to where they want to be.

Is that the type of presenter you want to become? I'm not talking about famous, I'm talking about positive influence. It does not matter if you're giving a sales presentation, a financial report, or speaking to a group of seventy-year-old Civitan members, you can share information in a way that makes the listeners better off for having spent their time with you.

How do you do get there? You use the points of this report as the foundation of your public speaking.

You share information, so people can learn and discover.

You share practical points of application so they will know what to do with that information.

You help them see the transformation that will take place if the words are applied and lived.

The same is true for your life as well. While I hope you will apply this report specifically to your communication, it works for ALL areas of life. Use these same three points to improve any part your life you would like to make better.

Author's Bio: 

Paul Evans is the creator of Instant Speaking Success. He ha helped over 35,000 people move from dull to dynamic in their public speaking. http://instantspeakingsuccess.com