Upshur Chamber hears speaking tips

BUCKHANNON – Keith Collins, the director of sales at NTELOS, gave Upshur County Chamber of Commerce members public speaking tips Monday.

Collins said good speakers tell good stories and that a public speaker should prepare stories with which to help engage their audience. He also played a video from YouTube featuring the public speaking mistakes of former President George W. Bush.

“Always learn from others,” Collins said. “Always be learning.”

He said speakers always should be prepared, but never apologize for not being prepared or they could lose their audience’s attention. He said speakers also should organize their thoughts and open their speech with a strong statement or statistic, then close their speech with another strong statement.

“Be yourself and let the passion come out,” Collins said, adding that being oneself is one of the most important tips.

Collins said speakers should practice out loud and in front of a mirror, or should record video of themselves speaking and play it back on a high speed. The speaker might then notice some of his or her mannerisms that could become a distraction to the audience, such as frequently tugging on their clothes.

Speakers should avoid using terms that only people within their industry might understand, Collins said. Instead, they should simplify the vocabulary in terms that the audience can relate to, avoiding industry terms and acronyms. Collins also said audiences are often lost when the speaker is simply reading or rambling with no point.

Collins stressed that speakers can learn to manage their fear and nerves before speaking in public, and should not forget to breathe.