Posts tagged speaking practice
Listening is The #1 Skill
If you really want to communicate, the most important thing is to listen.”
— - Mr. Fred McFeely Rogers (Mister Roger’s Neighborhood)

There are 2 parts to communication, speaking and listening. You need both for effective communication.

It’s common to focus a lot of time and energy on organizing and preparing your talk and while those are super important for your success, so is tuning into the people in front of you.

When it comes time to give your presentation, make sure to pay attention and listen to your audience.

Benefits of Listening:

  • Presentations feel more conversational when you actively engage your audience, and stop talking at them (not to mention it’s more fun!)

  • When your audience feels heard, they’re more likely to trust you (and your ideas)

  • When you listen intently you can respond to your audience in the moment and find common ground


Listening is the single most important skill to get your ideas seen, heard and respected. It’s one of the best ways to ensure your audience receives your message in a language they understand.

When you prepare for your next presentation remember to make time for listening. And if you find yourself in a tense conversation, here are some tips:

  1. Acknowledge and validate what the other person is saying

  2. Be curious about their point of view

  3. Ask open-eded questions

Learn more about these techniques at the next workshop:

Collaboration with Your Clients: Critical Conversation Skills To Keep Your Presentations On Track

DATE: Tuesday: May 14, 2019

TICKETS: http://sparkdesignprofessionals.org/event/collaboration-your-clients-critical-conversation-skills-keep-your-presentations-track







Practice Your Talk on the Subway

This might sound crazy, but the subway is a perfect place to practice your

public speaking.

What?! Yes, that’s right!


I practice while I’m commuting and I encourage clients to practice on the train, in the car, or while you’re walking to work.

This is my favorite life hack for all those folks

who don’t think they have time to practice.

Imagine how productive your commute could be if you used 10 or 15 minutes of your travel time to practice a presentation instead of scrolling through social media.

People often ask if I’m worried about looking crazy. NOT at all.

This is New York City and there are far weirder things! No one is paying attention.

If you’re self conscious, put in your headphones – people will think you’re listening to music.

This is a great technique to get used to distractions. You can even record yourself practicing while you’re on the subway or waiting at an empty section on the platform.

Want a few more practice ideas you may not have thought of?

  1. Take an Improv class. Magnet Theater, UCB and The PIT all offer classes. Read about my experience taking improv in 7 Life Lessons from Improv

  2. Go to a city council meeting and talk about an issue in your neighborhood.

  3. Host a dinner party and give a presentation for your friends.

  4. Check out Toastmasters. Find a club here and find me at Heights Toastmasters twice a month.

  5. Practice for your neighbors. It’s a great way to get to know people.

  6. Practice for your dog, or your cat or your lizard. It’s #3 in 7 Practice Strategies to Ace Your Presentation.

Want more practice ideas?

Download 7 Practice Strategies to Ace Your Presentation.

How Practice Makes TED Talks & Great Talks

One of the creative directors in my Speak with Impact Lab shared a story about seeing an early iteration of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.

It’s the 3rd most viewed TED Talk of all time and it launched Simon Sinek to fame.

It also started as a talk for 8 people in someone’s living room.


The moral of the story?

Your talk doesn’t need to be perfect at the outset.

In fact, it’s almost certain that it won’t be.

Perfection shouldn’t be your aim.

Just get started – let the first draft be messy.

There may be countless iterations and living room talks on the way to your big talk but that’s part of the process. Feedback is essential.

Need an audience?
Here are some ways you can get one.

  • Have a dinner party and give your presentation for friends

  • Practice for your housemates

  • Practice for your children

  • Practice outside as people walk by


Want help developing your practice plan? I’d be happy to hop on the phone with you. Reach out to me at madeline@madelineschwarz.com.