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#DropsMic Public Speaking Tips for Association Professionals

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#DropsMic Public Speaking Tips for Association Professionals

Lindsay Overall, Program Manager, Academy of Communication in Healthcare & Whitney Wilgus, Executive Director, Alpha Zeta


As association professionals, we all engage in written communication pretty much all day every day, whether it’s writing emails, articles, social media posts, press releases, blogs, white papers, minutes, reports… But what about the dreaded public speaking gigs?  Like facilitating a Board meeting, hosting a webinar, or introducing speakers at a conference?

According to statisticbrain.com, 74% of the US population has a fear of public speaking, or glossophobia.

So, how do we overcome this prevalent fear and come off competent and polished?  Recently, Anthony Huey of Reputation Management Associates led a training session at AMR Headquarters geared toward helping association professionals do just that.  Here are some of the key tips he shared that can be useful for you personally, as well as for speakers you may have to prep or advise:

  • Make a script.  There’s nothing worse than finishing a speaking engagement and thinking to yourself, “I forgot to mention X!” or “Man, that could’ve gone better.”  So, how do you ensure you remember to include all the key points you wanted to get across?  Make a script- Record yourself presenting (Yes, you will notice things about yourself and your delivery that you wouldn’t otherwise catch), transcribe your video verbatim (Yes, verbatim!  All the “ums,” “likes,” and “uhs”), then clean it up (you want to sound as natural as possible, so keep the contractions and dramatic pauses).  Voila!  You now have a solid script from which to work.
  • Practice your script. The only way to get comfortable doing something is to do it.  Then do it again.  Then do it yet again.  Keep practicing your script until you have it about 85% memorized.  This will allow you to feel confident in the material you’re delivering without sounding over-rehearsed.
  • Utilize images.

If you, or a speaker you are prepping, is doing a formal presentation and is insistent on using PowerPoint slides, BEWARE!Slides should be designed to enhance your presentation and act as a visual aid, not be used as a crutch to help you remember what you need to say.

These tips can be used within any of the public speaking contexts you may find yourself as an association management professional.  And remember, “public” doesn’t necessarily mean a large ballroom full of audience members.  It could be you and one other person, like a news reporter interviewing you, or even no physical people at all, like a virtual audience of webinar attendees listening in.  Whatever the context, have no fear (specifically glossophobia)!  Use these tips and you’ll be ready to nail your next public speaking gig. #dropsmic

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About Reputation Management Associates, LLC:   

Reputation Management Associates, LLC is a nationally-known, Ohio-based media training, speech coaching and crisis communications firm. RMA’s unique approach to communications training comes from the trenches. We’ve spent our entire careers as reporters and professional communicators.  Our clients are Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and local, state and federal government agencies.

About Anthony Huey:

Anthony Huey is a highly-rated international speaker and communications consultant who offers session attendees pragmatic communications tools, tips and techniques they can use immediately.  His career includes tenures as a news reporter, magazine senior editor, crisis management specialist, media relations consultant and executive speech coach.  Anthony owns Reputation Management, LLC , one of the nation’s leading communications training and crisis consulting companies. He has presented nearly 2,000 keynote speeches, workshops and seminars on a number of timely communications topics that executives can incorporate into both their professional and personal lives. His direct client work includes a wide variety of advertising, public relations and communications initiatives for hundreds of trade associations, municipalities and companies, including Nike, Victoria’s Secret, Eli Lilly, Nationwide Insurance, The Kroger Company, and Procter & Gamble.

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