“You don’t have to be a supermodel, athlete, or public figure to be a successful speaker,” says Lorraine Howell. “Some of the most powerful and vital messages come from ordinary people sharing extraordinary experiences and the wisdom they have learned from those experiences. Audiences want the authenticity of speakers who have taken the time to get to know who they are and what is important to them.”
Lorraine Howell knows a thing or two about being in the spotlight. After a long, successful career as a television news and talk show producer in the Bay Area, Howell started Media Skills Training in 1998. Since then, she has been successfully coaching professionals how to prepare to be in the spotlight. Now, it’s her turn to be in the spotlight!
In today’s competitive communications landscape, most of us are not celebrities, models, actors and entertainers who have the talent or extraordinary appearance to wow and mesmerize audiences. Lorraine Howell helps her clients—who are ordinary business people and professionals just like you and me—to achieve their communications goals by using skills and techniques that she learned in broadcasting.
As a media skills training expert, Lorraine helps her clients to get ready for speeches, presentations, media interviews and networking opportunities. She shows people how to identify their relevant stories and how to create clear, memorable ideas and points. Once people feel good about what they want to say, their speaking skills improve and then it’s just a matter of coaching and fine tuning their delivery skills.
Mastering effective presentation includes feeling good about what you’re saying and knowing how to deliver a vital message! According to Lorraine, a vital message is one that resonates with a particular audience. So a speaker needs to make sure their message is one that an audience would find useful or valuable and can be immediately applied.
Lorraine said, “When I’m working with someone to develop content for a presentation, we always start with the audience. Who is the audience and what do they care about? When you understand who’s in the room and what they are concerned about, your content becomes vital to that audience.”
Practice and preparation are the keys to success. Lorraine emphasizes how important it is to practice in advance. She recommends using your smart phone to videotape yourself a couple of times to see what the audience will see. Repeated practice and seeing what the audience will see will help you to find any weaknesses and correct them in advance. And finally the only way you get better at public speaking is to do more of it. Consider joining Toastmasters International. To learn how to think and speak on your feet, take an Improv class.
Learning successful presentation skills requires careful preparation to show an audience you are vital, strong, and healthy. Put in the time to research your audience and build a presentation with their interests in mind.
As for those last minute nervous pre-presentation jitters, you can learn to take that energy and make it work in your favor! Lorraine said, “I also help people manage the butterflies and nervousness so they are no longer paralyzed by fear and can shift their focus to the audience.”