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Public Speaking Tips & Advice

You have been invited to speak, which is a great honour and an opportunity. especially post Pandemic. You may even have to do it via Zoom or a Hybrid model. Make the most of it, be the best you that you can be, at this point in time. It is always a good idea to tell people what you are going to tell them and have key sentences which take the listener on the journey through your message or story. Finish with your message and any call to action.
Remember that the audience should be going home or switching off, having learned something. Ideally, something they can use for good in their job, business or life. They came to hear you, so make sure it was worth the trip – here are some guidelines.

Speak in your own voice and be yourself. Oh, and remember to breathe. Check out the Martin Luther King Jr “I have a dream“speech from 1963, if you want to see how a great speech is delivered. Video Link

Some Public Speaking Tips

1.   Preparation – have a plan, deliver a message and get a set result. But remember it is not about you, it is about the audience, so always deliver some value. Open and close with a bang. By all means prepare notes, index cards or a mindmap. Even if you do not use them, they will act as a support, or reference point for a back up, in case you do stall. Plus the act of writing or reading it just before the event helps soothes any stress or anxiety, by getting you in the zone. Run a test on your audio and video equipment before the start time. Ensure the sound is good in the room or online. Check out the lighting. Public Speaking Tips Michael MacGinty
2.   Practice in front of a camera or other people, ideally a teenager or two, tweak and continually improve your delivery. Keep body language controlled, no nervous twitches, gestures above the waist and no pointing with a finger – use the palm of your hand. Visualise how it will go, how you will feel and how the audience will react.
3.   Familiarise yourself, in advance, with the room, the surroundings and equipment, before the audience arrives, so that you are relaxed and confident about the technology working. Talk to a few attendees before the talk, if you can get a chance. This helps you get the feel of your audience and then have a few ‘friendly’ faces in the audience, when you speak.
4.   Open with a thought provoking statement or question to get attention early on – Why are we here? What is the point of the get together? What will be the takeaway? What value will the audience get from listening to you?
5.   Dress to impress, look professional, but be comfortable, even if you are delivering online. Half the audience will focus on how you look and perform, 40% will judge you on what you say and just 10% will really hear exactly what you say. Say it clearly, on a scale of 1 to 10 speak at a volume of about 8 with energy and confidence, making sure that everyone can hear you clearly.
6.   Connect visually with everyone in the room, maybe focus on one person per thought, but get around the room one by one. The audience will not notice if you are a bit nervous or leave out a line, a point or a fact. Relax, breathe, enjoy. That nervous feeling is just excitement, so expect it and and accept it as being normal.
7.   Storytelling – a talk on any subject should always be wrapped in a story or series of stories, to explain the message or point. Use examples in your story to convey your points. People will remember stories.
8.   Video – Use a visual presentation like Video or PowerPoint where possible as a backdrop and support. Each slide can prompt you on what to say or where you are in the presentation. Although do avoid using this as a crutch.
9.   Slides – Maximum one slide a minute, with good imagery and sparse, but large font text. Keep talk shorter, rather than longer with no ‘filler’. Never depend on slides. Your talk should be able to be delivered even if the visual equipment does not work. And that can happen.
10. Reading – Never read lines from the display or a laptop like an automaton, most people can read for themselves. “To speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.” – Ben Jonson
11. Facts and quotes – you can use some stats and quotations to back up your presentation, but do not bore the audience or rely on other peoples sayings or findings, to deliver your talk.
12. Personality – if you have one, use it, move around and connect with your audience, keep them connected & interested. If not, stand just off to the left of the screen and stay there. It is vital that you are yourself, rather than trying to be someone you are not. The more YOU that is seen, the more personality, the higher the chance that you will be asked to speak again, so do ENTERTAIN, rather than just try to educate. Use a conversational sort of tone.
13. Props – if you have logical props use them, to make you comfortable and convey a message. A Chef could have a whole kitchen, a Medic might have a body/patient/stethoscope, a Painter some tins of paint and so on. By all means think of yourself as someone you admire and cast yourself as that person in your head. What would Richard Branson do? How would he deliver this talk?
14. Q&A – If you want to do Questions and Answers at all, tell the audience how at the beginning, maybe ask people to note down questions for asking later, maybe even One to One off stage after the talk. This is where you LISTEN, so you can find out what people want to know, where you can be of service – they will tell you, so do not rattle on trying to sell or make a point – LISTEN & LEARN. Be prepared for an awkward question or audience member.
15. Anxiety and Stress – be prepared for this, as it is natural to have butterflies in your stomach. Accept a level of nervousness and work through it, as it will dissipate as you get stuck in to your talk. It is excitement, so think of it as a positive. Slow down and breathe deep. If you arrived early and familiarised yourself with the venue, met a few attendees and checked the equipment, you should feel calm.

: It is not really about you. So stop thinking about you and how you feel, start thinking about the audience, be aware of them, not you. The majority of people fear public speaking and yet they can talk forever, if you let them in to a conversation. Flip your thinking and stop worrying. Just be yourself and say something that delivers relevant value to your audience. If you can deliver your message in 18 minutes, go for it. And enjoy!

Cicero’s advice is still pertinent, if you want qualified advice from a great public speaker.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43) BC, the Roman statesman and orator, is still considered the father of persuasion and public speaking.
He studied it and broke it down, to try to help others be better at delivering speeches in public. Here are his top tips for structure and delivery.

Inventio or Invention
Define your key message and then the main points, backed up by proof or support.

Dispositio or Arrangement
Make your points in a logical order, the opening statement or introduction, then the main body, followed by an ending or conclusion, making it clear when you move from one to another.

Elocutio or Style
This could be a verbal speech or one with a presentation such as Powerpoint. You might tell a story or quote statistics. But make it sound interesting

Memoria or Memorise
Learn your talk verbatim or very close. You are the expert, so be prepared to be grilled. Use a MindMap or Powerpoint slides if you need a reminder device.

Actio or Delivery
The more you deliver a talk the more comfortable you will get with it. But, initially, do plan and practice your delivery, ideally in the very room where you will deliver.

Before Cicero, Aristotle, a student of Plato, 2000 years ago, when asked about selling would have discussed the 3 appeals or the 3 modes of Rhetoric. These are the 3 tools of persuasion Ethos, Pathos and Logos, which he had observed. “For it is not enough to know what we ought to say, we must also say it as we ought”

1. Ethos – the identity or person or speaker, their character or persona, how people see or think of the speaker or seller, credibility, qualifications – the content and delivery
2. Pathos – passion, or heart, the feeling or impact or emotion you, the speaker, generate with your audience or buyer which is an 80% deciding factor in buying, use imagination, tell stories – persuade by appealing to their emotions
3. Logos – logic or thinking, the hearing or reasoning of the brain for the 15 to 20% of the audience that is fact centric, looking for proof, testimonials, comparisons, studies, do I need this and why do I need this, which is all persuasion by the use of reasoning.
Through language you can change the mind of others or motivate them to take action” What a super power!

Tip: A good way to feel confident when speaking in public, apart from knowing your subject well, is to watch other speakers. Attend other events to see how people do it, maybe visit or join Toastmasters. Watch Ted Talks videos, mostly 18 minutes long and maybe you will get tips or develop a personal style for yourself. Do whatever you need to do to be able to deliver a confident, assured, passionate, well paced, energetic, brief and interesting talk – one that makes a point well and adds some sort of value. Many people say that they cannot make their topic interesting, but that is a poor excuse, so do not use it. And the audience must get more from the presentation than the presenter gets.

You have been invited to speak, it is an honour, so do what you need to do, to make it worth listening to you.

 Be yourself. Be Confident. Be Entertaining. Be informative. Be Interesting – Enjoy !

Public-Speaking-Advice-Michael MacGinty

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Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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A Web Presence Checklist, for the senior partner

12 things to oversee the web presence for your legal practice

LinkedIn including company profile page and personal profile for you and all employees. Post some articles about your services, giving some useful advice, sharing insights or sharing industry news. Connect with logical potentially good connections. No sales pitch, just hello with a short line to make the connection, like swopping a business card at a networking event. Read our Linkedin Guide.

Facebook – keep it a basic entry for the practice just to turn up in Facebook in search or get reviews. You could use it to get reviews from people who spend a lot of time on this platform. Or use Facebook to advertise your services, if it is right for your target market.

Website focusing on the services that you want to specialise in, the ones that make you the most margin and that you are happiest to deliver. Bear in mind that you can offer services that you do not personally have to deliver, but make you margin. You do not have to deliver you do not necessarily have to be involved in the process whatsoever. Who is responsible for your SEO Search Engine Optimisation? Read our Guide.

Include SSL – This is the little padlock that appears on the top left corner, to indicate the site is safe. This is not just for eCommerce websites.

Google Business Profile – Have you got one? Is your Google Business Profile profile populated, as in photos, service details, opening hours, blog items, reviews. Independent Google Reviews are fuel for your practice. Get as many as you can. Remember to reply to every single one of them. These are happy clients or people who are in need of attention. Read our Guide.

NAP – Include nap NAP everywhere that you write your address, search Google to see where you appear and ensure the NAP is exactly the same everywhere, including the Eircode.
Do any Google search of your name in an ‘Incognito window’ to see what people see on their computer when they do a search of your company. Whilst you’re there also do a search for solicitors in your town or area. Also do a search for the legal services that you want to promote in your area. Such as conveyancing in Dundalk or conveyancing solicitors in Dundalk.

Recruitment – Your website can also be used for finding new team members, rather than going through the expense of recruitment agencies. This tactic would generally be known as being a part of your overall content marketing strategy. This is where are you create content on your website that will attract people who are looking for certain things. Whether that be a specific legal service or a job in a legal practice that looks attractive to them.

Google Page Insights is a tool that is free and will give you an idea of the speed of your website. Google gives a lot of weight to a fast loading website, especially on a mobile view. Websites are being measured by Google more and more for their mobile view as a key metric.

Google analytics is also free and will give you an idea of the number of people travelling to your website visiting your website on a monthly basis. Use the overview to see how many people visit your website on a monthly basis to see if it’s going up or down. Google Analytics is a great tool but having a high numbers visit your website does not guarantee a conversion to a customer. In order to get conversions you continually need to add content and optimise content and compete with whoever your competitors are. A very simple search for a legal practice in your area will show you who is ranking number 1, 2 or 3. These are the competitors or people you’re competing with, so you need to be better than them. Read our Guide.

Google – With Google Ads you can spend a fortune easily. So if you want to use this platform, get to understand it or engage a specialist. It can be very useful in the short term or to use whilst you are working on your website and SEO. Read our Google Ads Guide.

Conversion. However, bear in mind even if you are number one and you get click through so people visit your website when they land on a page on your website. You have to work on the content in order to get them to convert from visitor to customer. This is your user experience as in UX through your User Interface referred to as the UI.

Reports – Ensure someone is producing a monthly report to measure the numbers. As Peter Drucker said “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organisation to do so”. Ensure you get a Google Analytics report. And ideally have a report created, so that you can see the numbers at a glance.

As a senior partner you do not need to do all of this work. This is not what you’re qualified to do and could be way below your paygrade. Unless you engage someone who can deliver a high return in the long term and needs to be well compensated in the short term. Get a proper Digital Marketing Plan drawn up.

However, somebody has to do the work. It would be good if you could use some of these tools to see if the person, practice manager or web agency is doing a good job with your investment.
The bottom line is the practice should be kept busy. And ideally be able to recruit enough staff to deliver services. As a senior partner if you allocate a half hour every month to review these basic reports, you will then be in a position to see what is being done on your behalf.

Read the monthly reports from your Digital marketer. And if needs be, have a conversation about what needs to be improved. The Digital marketer will need a budget to do the search engine optimisation or create graphics for the website. And possibly doing advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook or anywhere where your potential customers are hanging out. Without sounding like an ambulance chaser you can have your content found when people do a search for chiropractor or osteopath or bad back or medical negligence. Get ahead of the curve.

How much time, hassle and money would it save you to have any and all advertising done online through your own website by a competent specialist agency?
Also posted here.

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