December 20, 2005 Present Like A Pro Newsletter
Inspiring You to Discover, Develop, & Delight in Your Strengths
Welcome fellow speaker! This weekly newsletter from Present Like A Pro is here to provide you with on-going tips and inspiration as you develop your skills as a speaker. In every issue are practical tools that you can use in your very next presentation.

This edition: 1,088 words; 2-3 minute read

What They Don't Teach You in Toastmasters
by Sara Schaffer   Preparing for Paid Presentations
In August of 2000 I nervously walked into my first Toastmasters meeting. They met in a church, so I figured they couldn't be too unkind to me there. Over two years later when I decided to move on, I had discovered more about speaking than I had ever imagined. Yet, I quickly realized there was still a lot to learn.

Just to be clear, this is neither a paid promotion nor a bash on Toastmasters. Instead, I simply want to share with you some of the tips I have learned since becoming a professional speaker. Here are 3 logistical tips I wished I'd known before I went out to Present Like A Pro!

1. Confirm and reconfirm. Most paid speaking gigs are scheduled several months in advance. When you add a new event to your calendar, also schedule reminders to confirm one month prior and the week of the event. This will display professionalism and also insure that you know in advance if the event gets changed or cancelled.

2. Interview your client. Now that you have been asked to speak, you will be able to share all of your penned up knowledge and insights - right? Well, maybe. It's important to have ideas about what to say, but take the time to ask your client what they expect to gain from your presentation. By focusing on their needs first, you set yourself up for greater success.

3. Keep in touch. Create a way to stay in contact with your audience members. For example, an evaluation form will give you feedback and the contact info of anyone interested in your services. Another idea (from speaker Tom Antion) is to collect business cards and hold a prize drawing as a part of your presentation.


For a free sample evaluation form, click here. Also, tell a friend about these newsletters full of great free speaking tips and the other great resources available from Present Like A Pro!


There are so many things I learned at Toastmasters that it will take years of newsletters to share it all with you. I even recommend that you consider joining a group if you are new to speaking or want a consistent place to practice presentations.

Experience has also taught me a great deal about speaking. I have learned that it's important not to assume an event planned six months ago is still going to happen. I have learned to ask my client what they want rather than just imparting my knowledge, and I have learned how to stay in contact with those interested in my business. When you know how to prepare for a paid presentation, you Present Like A Pro!

Know When to Applaud
  Tips for The Audience
I remember the first time I heard Dvorak's Cello Concerto performed live. I was a young cellist myself, and I watched the professional musicians with amazement. At the end of the first movement, I was wildly clapping along with many others in the audience.

When the soloist and symphony members soon continued to play, I looked at my program. There were two more parts of the song, and proper audience etiquette is to applaud only at the conclusion of the entire piece.

If you ever hear Dvorak's Cello Concerto, you may want to applaud after the first movement, too. (It's quite inspiring.)

I learned something important that day. Though I loved what I was hearing, there was an appropriate time, place, and way to display my appreciation. The same is true when we hear a speaker.

Often when I hear a presenter, I feel tempted to lean over and share my own witty thoughts with someone near me. When I do that, however, I inevitably miss something they're saying and of course interrupt the listening of those around me. I think I'm being funny, but I know that I'm really just being rude.

Do you talk when others are speaking? Do you shut your eyes and "think" when someone is no longer interesting?

While it's tempting to get distracted, I encourage you to practice being a good listener. Give the presenter the attention you would like to have if you were in their place. I have found that it's easiest for me to stay focused when I take notes and purposefully make eye contact with the speaker.

As we learn to become better listeners, we become better speakers.

Practice great audience etiquette at the next event you attend. Hopefully you will want to start clapping wildly before they finish. If not, however, do your best to stay positive and focused throughout the presentation. The next time you speak, you will appreciate those who do the same for you.

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Also, feel free to check out past issues of our newsletters on our website. If you can't find what you're looking for, then simply email Sara with your questions about your next presentation!

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Special Offers
Need A Speaker? In addition to presentation coaching, Sara regularly speaks to corporate and community groups. Whether you are looking for something educational, motivational or inspirational, she will add humor and depth to your next special event. For booking information, contact Sara today at: 303-818-2509 or

Do you work at Ball Aerospace? If so, you can receive Presentation Coaching as part of the training offered by your company! Find out more at the TLC website. Just click on the Other Development link to get to the coaching corner.

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