Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Part 2: 5 Things Fundraisers Can Do to Enhance Public Speaking Skills

Here's Part 2 of a 3-part series of guest blogs written by Communications Coach Kealah Parkinson. Kealah has almost 20 years experience in the communications industry and is the founder of Kiki Productions, Inc., a communications coaching practice.

Kealah's got 5 things that you can do to enhance your public speaking skills. Last week, we shared the first 2 things: #1, Know your audience and #2, Target your message. In this blog, we'll share the next 2.

3. Polish your ask. Of course, the most important part of your message is going to be your "ask." When it comes time to highlight the direct fundraising portion of your message, be sure to include some key items, such as:

 - The specific aspect of your cause that troubles your audience (i.e., "our state's infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the country"); using anecdotes here to illustrate your point is also helpful.

 - How your organization helps, especially through highlighting case studies or examples.

 - A strong call to action that compels them to act in a very spelled out way (name the next step they can take at this very moment) and exactly what that will do to bring an end to the problem at hand.

SKILL SET ENHANCED: Selling from the stage, or boosting your fundraising skills to a group.

4. Practice, practice, practice! We've all heard the phrase, "Practice makes perfect." But I prefer the alternate phrase, "Practice makes permanent." When we do something over and over again, we start to form neuronal pathways that hardwire our brains to continue doing the task the same way. If we aren't doing that task as well as we should, we'll continue to meet a mediocre standard until we consciously change our ways.

When it comes to public speaking, that means that any mistake we make - like speaking too quickly or quietly, losing track of time and going too long or too short (bad habits that can take a presentation way off agenda), or even failing to place importance on our speaking parts (more on this later) - will become mistakes we make repeatedly. Rather than accepting these foibles as "just who we are," we can set goals to change them. For instance, "I will learn to project my voice better at events without microphones," may mean looking for help through online resources or consulting a coach. Even asking friends for advice and assistance can hold you accountable to meeting your goal. The more effort you make, the more you work to rewire your brain's neuronal pathways and break bad habits, replacing them with more effective ones.

With all you have to do for a fundraising event, rehearsing your presentation may be the lowest priority. But the more time you can dedicate to rehearsing - to a friend, co-worker, pet, mirror, or recording device - the more you'll be able to up your public speaking game.

SKILL SET ENHANCED: Taking your presentation seriously.

Tune in next week the final public speaking tip from Kealah!

Kealah (KEY-la) Parkinson is a Communications Coach who teaches clients how to stop the fight-or-flight cycle early and intentionally using Key Mottos™ and other proprietary tools, as well as techniques for speaking with confidence in their businesses and personal lives. She is currently working on her third book, 365 Days of Mood Tools. Learn more at www.FindYourMotto.com.

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