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In my last article I discussed how to select a topic for an informative presentation. What I did not mention under this type of presentation is that the retelling of an experience that happened to you or even to someone else is viable material, especially if your presentation is relatively brief. When I hold a 2-day workshop and explain to the group that their assignment is to give a 4-minute informative presentation, they often look at me and question what to talk about. They also tend to think that 4 minutes is a great length of time. When it comes to public speaking, 4 minutes is extremely short. The proof of my words is the fact that once my students or clients begin, many of them end of talking for much greater lengths of time. [This is one of the reasons why practicing your speech or presentation out loud is vital because saying it over in your mind will never give you a true idea of the timing.] It is always rewarding, however, to hear about an event that was exhilarating, frightening, eyeopening, rewarding, sad, humorous, or even death-defying. The secret to the story presentation is that it must be truly interesting, compassionate, exciting or humorous. Telling an audience about the coffee maker you just purchased is not a good topic. If the coffee maker exploded when you plugged it in or shot the water at your ceiling, you might have a worthwhile topic. The more your audience can relate to your problem, your adventure, your exploits, your mistakes, or your successes, the better your topic. You will need background information to set up your story as well. This is where humor or good anecdotal material relevant to your subject can be of help. Again, if you story deals with an exploding coffee pot, telling them about the buying of that model is not of interest unless there is pertinent information that relates to your story. If you have had other appliances or products that have exploded similarly, you have a great presentation dealing with poor manufacturing, for example. A little creativity can go a long way towards an interesting presentation that others would enjoy. Grab your audience's attention by opening in a manner that makes them want to listen to you or piques their curiosity. If you begin by telling the group, "Hello, my name is....and today I'm going to talk to you about something that happened to me....", you will probably lose part of your audience before you even finish the sentence. With an opening like that, there is a good chance that you will never make it to your development. You could begin by asking your audience how many have purchased a product and brought it home only to discover that it does not work. Most in the audience will raise their hand in agreement because most people have 'been there' or have done that. Your job at that point is then to tell your story in such a way that they empathize, sympathize, or laugh; but above all else, you

must make it memorable. With a little practice, you can tell the story, engage your audience throughout and leave them wanting more. All it takes is a little creativity, a desire to share, and a story that is somewhat different than anything else they have heard. In all my years of teaching I have heard hundreds of presentations and the topics chosen have included speeding tickets, weddings, births, divorces, winning a hockey game, running a marathon, getting lost, and racing at Daytona, to name a few. The subjects are varied; the subjects are many. All it takes is a little imagination.

Nancy Daniels is a voice specialist and president of Voice Dynamic. Working privately and corporately, she launched Voicing It! in April of 2006, the only video training course on voice improvement and presentation skills. You can watch clips from her DVD on her website, before & after takes of her clients as well as download more information on the speaking voice and the control of nervousness in public speaking. To see what voice training can do for you, visit

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How to Select an Informative Topic For Toastmasters Or Your Public Speaking Class - Part 2.txt  

It is always rewarding, however, to hear about an event that was exhilarating, frightening, eye- opening, rewarding, sad, humorous, or even...