We all listened to Oprah's acceptance speech for the Cecil B. de Mille Award? Yes? Good. Did you notice how even though she's Oprah, and could probably make us cry by reading a takeaway menu backward, she put a ton of work into her speech? And how through that work, she took a celebration of her accomplishments, respected that premise, but turned it into a rallying cry for the forces of good? Next time you speak in public, would you like to be a little more like Oprah?
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I love explaining things to small groups of people and through writing on the web, but when it comes to speaking in front of large groups of people I turn into a bumbling mess. Public speaking is one of those acquired skills that I never quite got, but there's still time. This week Fast Company spoke to a few podcasters who have mastered the skill (and have shows places like NPR and WNYC to prove it) and came up with a list of tips that even people like me can use to improve. Here are a few big takeaways.
If you, uh, have a tendency to use filler words like "um" or "like" when you talk, it's not the end of the world. Turns out they can actually be a good thing -- as long as you use them right.
Even if it's not your job to read the evening news, a teleprompter can come in handy. Maybe you're practicing a speech you haven't memorized. Maybe you're shooting an online video. Maybe you just want to time your presentation. TelePromptor turns your laptop, computer, or handheld device into a usable teleprompter.