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[Speaking-Out-Loud August 2009] What will getting over your fear of public speaking do for you?
September 05, 2009

Welcome to the August Issue of Speaking-Out-Loud's monthly E-zine to help you effectively 'talk your walk'.

If this E-zine speaks to you, then quite likely it will talk sense to your friends, family or work mates too. Please pass it along.

You might even suggest that they sign up! The page to send them to is here Speaking-Out-Loud

Remember, if you have any questions you're most welcome to ask them through my contact form. I enjoy hearing from my readers and will respond as soon as I am able.

Happy speaking,


In this Issue

If you don't have time to read the whole ezine, click on the topic that interests you. This month you will find:

Susan's Spiel

What's getting over your fear of public speaking done for you?
August's edition of Speaking-Out-Loud addresses that and more.

Find out from Marie what happened in our Article when she conquered her public speaking fear.

What can Dr Suess teach you? The answer is in They Said It

Cue Cards:Do you read your speeches word for word or do you use cue cards? Find out more about the joy of them here.

What's New offers three new pages. Two are them are from the giggle, chortle and smile department- Great Funny Speeches and Fun Speech Topics.
The third is about preparing Student Council Speeches.

I am always looking for ways to improve the site. If you see any errors or would like to contribute in any way, please accept this invitation to contact me through my About Me page.

Thanks for reading and enjoy this month's Speaking-Out-Loud!

Till our next issue,

Kind regards


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What's getting over your fear of public speaking done for you?

I asked this question of Marie.

She paused and then said, "Everything. I was at the crossroad in my career, getting bored where I was and I needed to move up into teaching and facilitating but I was very nervous about it. Because I was anxious I kept procrastinating about making the changes necessary. The more I procrastinated, the more stuck I got and the more stuck I got...It was a silly circle. I didn't stop running around it until a friend took me to Toastmasters. Even then it took me an age to speak up!"

Marie laughed as she said the last sentence and shook her head.

"I was so unnecessarily scared. They were so friendly at Toastmasters and so eager to see me succeed. I just took awhile to lose the shyness."

Now it was my turn for disbelief. Marie? Shy?
She's a member of my Toastmaster club and I regularly see and hear her make speeches. She's competent, witty and warm. Audiences always appreciate her and she appears never without something pertinent to say.

My next question was easy - How did you make the transformation?

Marie: "It was step by gradual step. Each time I made an effort and discovered it was worthwhile, actually OK and even kind of fun, the fear got smaller. As it got smaller, I got braver."

How did getting braver over public speaking influence your work choices?

Marie: "Well, I put in for the positions I really wanted and I got them. What made a huge difference was how I learnt to handle job interviews too. The 'new' me was calm and confident. I could think on my feet and structure answers. That's what practice at Toastmasters has given me - the ability to speak well in impromptu situations. I couldn't believe it! I'd stopped feeling sick, 'umming and ahhing' and all that stuff."

"Having Toastmasters public speaking on my CV helped too. It let people know I took learning to speak well in front of others seriously, backing me up for the positions I was applying for."

Have there been other changes too?

Marie: "Oh, very much so. There's been a lot personal growth come with the increased confidence. I am much more open than I was, less quick to judge and I really enjoy helping others achieve too."

"My family have noticed too. Last year I made the speech at my Mother's 70th birthday party. It was a great success. The audience loved it, especially the way I'd structured it with bits of world history, like the fact she grew up during World War Two and her own stories."

Can you sum up the benefits public speaking has given you?

Marie: "Freedom. I am 'bigger' and better person through overcoming the fear."

Are you in a similar position to Marie? Or perhaps you know someone who is?
Get yourself (or them along) to your local Toastmaster club. They are ALL over the world and there is most likely one nearby.

Whether or not you go to Toastmasters you'll find this page useful to remind yourself (or a friend) why overcoming fear of public speaking is good for you!

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They Said It

Dr Suess and the Art of Getting It Right Out Loud

Do you worry that you don't have enough vocal variety in your voice?

Do you wonder how to put expression into what you say?

Reading aloud is an answer that's hard to go passed. It will teach you so much about using your voice effectively. And the best part? Reading aloud is so much FUN.

If you have children, they'll love it. (Mine adored Dr Suess-Ten Apples Up on Top, The Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham...)
If you don't have children, read aloud to your partner or yourself.
What you'll learn through practice is how to:

  • judge speaking rate - where to speed up, where to slow down
  • speak clearly
  • uses pauses for emphasis and drama
  • vary pitch, tone and volume to demonstrate or show emotion or characters
  • use the beat or rhythm of words
  • respond to an audience (even if it is only one or two) while speaking - eye contact, smile...
  • use body language to underpin or illustrate your story
Here's an excellent series of great read aloud lists from Read Aloud America to get you started. You'll find titles suitable for children of all ages!

Write-Out-Loud has resources for learning more about using your voice too. You'll find specific suggestions for:

Do you have favorite reading aloud books or perhaps a tip to share?

Let's hear about them.

Submit your comments on our Tips and Speeches page.

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Cue Cards

To cue or not to cue? That is the question.

Do you write out your full speech and read it or do you use speech outline prompts on cue cards and deliver it largely from memory?

I've done both and the experience it delivers is different.

The occasions I've used a full script have been when I've rushed through preparing my speech and haven't allowed enough time to thoroughly practice to the point of being comfortable without the word for word text.

Although it's never been disastrous, (as in losing my place in my notes OR shutting out the audience entirely because I'm head down reading intently), I always knew I could have done a whole lot better.

The result is I'm for cue cards. And I'm for cue cards ahead of completely memorizing my speech too. The reason for that is if I've learned something by rote (word for word) and have a memory blip, it's difficult without a prompt to begin again.
When I've prepared a speech well a set of good cue cards allows me to:

  • interact more freely with the audience because I'm not too busy concentrating on keeping my place in a script. I can make eye contact, smile...
  • be more spontaneous sounding even though I've rehearsed. The cue card outline keeps me on track but it doesn't tell me the exact phrasing to use. It can vary each time I say my speech.

If you haven't tried using cue cards, do! You'll find full instructions on how to make them by clicking the link. I promise that once you've experienced the freedom of not being slavishly tied to a script, you'll realize you've lifted your public speaking up a notch.

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What's New

In July's Speaking Out Loud issue there was an article on 'How to Write a Eulogy' and a suggestion to post your responses.

Many, many thanks to Connie for sending in her eulogy for her Mother. Thank you for sharing. Your words are now inspiring others to write what they need to for their loved ones.

Other new pages this month are Great Funny Speeches and Fun Speech Topics. These are self-explanatory! They're part of my humor in public speaking collection. If you're writing and preparing a humorous speech, do have look at Great Funny Speeches. You'll find an invaluable link to a humorous speech written by Steve Pavlina. While that's good, the critique it received is even better. Read how the speech was refined and why.

And one more page! This one is for anyone involved with Student Council Speeches. Perhaps you are a teacher or parent of someone running for student council? This page provides a template with step by step instruction for completing a student council speech draft. Ofcourse there are helpful tips and resources too.

To keep up with what's new on the go to our What's New Page, Blogging Aloud. There you can subscribe to the site and add it to your RSS feed, Google, Yahoo, MSN, Newsgator or Bloglines site.

Thank you for reading the August Issue of Speaking-Out-Loud. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please feel free to contact me with any questions through the form on my About Me Page. I love hearing from my readers!

If you enjoyed this issue of Speaking-Out-Loud, please feel free to send it on to any friends or family. The site url to forward so they can subscribe is Speaking-Out-Loud.

Happy speaking,


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