Practice your speaking with a virtual tour

In this pandemic era of virtual communications, how do you practice your public speaking skills? Here’s an idea: Become a tour guide.  Use your imagination. Build an imaginary group of people and take them on a tour. Limit the number of people in your imaginary group to a size that you’re comfortable with. Then, take your audience on a tour of your neighborhood, your house or apartment, a destination, or even a make-believe, sumptuous mansion.  You could construct your own dream house and take your audience through it, or guide your audience through the various galleries in a museum.  The possibilities are almost endless.

You can start with something like, “Today we’re going to visit (name).”   And start out on the virtual tour.  You can try winging it extemporaneously to see how you do, or plot your tour in advance on your computer or a piece of paper.

Set a goal.  What do you want your audience to know about the place(s) visited?  

Set a time limit. How long is your tour?  It can be 5 minutes or more.  It’s up to you.  However, you’ll probably want to keep it under 10 minutes.

Then try these four steps :

  1. Do a run-through to see what needs improvement. Does it lack organization, are you lost for words, are you having trouble speaking to a nonexistent audience?
  2. Work on your problem areas
  3. Once you’ve worked out a few kinks, try recording your tour on your mobile device  or computer.
  4. Playback your tour. How did you come across to a potential viewer?  What did you like?  What areas needed improvement?

Try tours of different places.  By being a virtual tour guide you’ll become more comfortable talking to your virtual audience.

For information on our public speaking services visit Kundell or PublicSpeaking4U

Public Speaking Classes

Ever wonder how you can sound better?  My class,  “Improve Your Speaking Voice: How to Sound Better in Any Situation,”  will help you uncover the secrets of how you can achieve a stronger, more dynamic speaking voice.

img_0511-2The class is available for companies and organizations, as well as private sessions and  individual, on-demand coaching. 

Or try my Public Speaking Mastery classes, which will help you turn dull speeches into presentations that will captivate your audience.  Learn how to conquer your fears, gain confidence, be a more dynamic speaker, and be heard.  All classes are tailored to meet individual needs.

Please contact me at speechdoctor or . Or phone me at (212) 877-2798.

How to Deliver the Perfect Wedding Toast

It’s that time of year again, and we thought it would be timely to re-post our popular hints for delivering a winning wedding toast.

You’ve been asked to give a wedding toast, but don’t know where to start.

In case you’re nervous about the prospect, remember that the bride and groom chose you because they trust you, and it’s their way of honoring you.  21477818_sImagine you are telling a story to a group of friends, because you are.

Common Complaints

The most common complaints about wedding toasts are lack of appropriateness and lack of taste. For instance, you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of the wedding party by talking about how you and your best friend went out drinking.

Another common complaint is droning: going on and on, especially in a monotone voice, putting the audience to sleep. So, to help you craft the perfect toast—one that’s short and sweet, but memorable—here are some questions to ask yourself.

What is Your Purpose In Speaking?

Ask yourself what your goal is. It may be one or more of the following:

  • Pay tribute
  • Give advice
  • Entertain
  • Inspire 

What is Appropriate?

How well do you know the bride and groom? Find out ahead of time whether there’s a topic you should avoid.

  • How “in” should you be? Don’t tell inside jokes or stories if it’s a large wedding—other guests will feel left out.
  • If you don’t know someone well, stick with generalities.
  • Give advice or pick a nice (brief) reading.

Even if you’ve known the couple since you were children, some topics are off limits. If in doubt, consult with the bride or groom in advance.

Other Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Who else is in your audience? Don’t embarrass your best friend in front of the boss, or shock the bride’s elderly grandmother.
  • Is it a large affair or a small one? Smaller weddings are more intimate and guests are more likely to know each other and the couple’s inside jokes.
  • Who are you addressing? (This can be the newlyweds, their families, guests, or a combination of all three)

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a memorable toast.

Putting it Together

Some final advice: Don’t have too much alcohol to calm your nerves prior to the toast. It often doesn’t have the result you’re hoping for. You want to be able to exercise your best judgment.

Explain your relationship with the couple—quickly.

The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be. Write your toast early (a few weeks before the wedding is a good time to start) and practice. Here’s to a memorable wedding toast!