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Hook, Line and Sinker

It is well documented that people’s #1 fear is speaking in public! Effective and efficient public speaking is a whole topic in its own right; but a few simple tips might help to both improve your effectiveness and help to reduce the anxiety.

You may be called on to talk about your work at very short notice; or you may have a week’s notice; and you may be required to give a formal slide show or just a brief verbal update. Many, if not most of the issues, are the same.

The Hook


Newspaper editors call the first paragraph of an article ‘the hook’. Its meant to hook you into reading the rest of the piece. On the other hand, the classical ‘say what you are going to say, say it, and say what you said’ approach gives people plenty of time to switch off.

The hook may be playful, it may be controversial, but it must communicate why the listener should pay attention.

The Line


Its a conversation! Even if no one says anything they are listening and thinking; and maybe replying to you in their head. So, before you speak you want to be able to answer a couple of key questions:

What does the audience know already? Probably less than you realize! What do they need to know? Probably less than you think! You have been living in your work; you know it more than anyone else. That means that other people do not know as much as you do!

But, be ready to engage and follow through when the real conversation begins…

If you are giving a presentation, let the audience look at pictures when you are speaking; and don’t say anything significant when they supposed to be reading text (some people find this hard to do!).

The Sinker


Leave people with what you most want them to remember. The last thing you say has a disproportionate effect on what people recall.

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