In Speak Easy, the Essential Guide to Speaking in Public, author, Maggie Eyre, shares the tricks, tips and life stories of her high-profile professional career teaching people around the globe to 'shine on the stage."
In a world where there are more mobile phones than toilets and where 40% of the planet's population has an internet connection, Speak Easy provides an essential 'go-to" guide for public speaking and presenting on-line in the 21st century.
Thirteen years ago, when Maggie wrote the first edition of Speak Easy, on-line communication was in its infancy. This new edition is re-written with a strong focus on: using technology in presentations and speeches, effective rehearsal, and writing memorable content.
You may have the technical smarts to set-up a Skype interview, up-load a video or organize a teleconference but if you don't know how to tell a good story, engage your audience and present effectively - the benefits of technology are quickly lost.
'The competition to be seen and heard is massive and those who succeed, prepare, plan, practice and stay open to learning and creativity," says Maggie.
'If you are prepared to be vulnerable, audiences will connect with your humanity, they will remember how you made them feel. Never underestimate the contribution you make; the lasting value of the stories you tell, and the unique qualities you bring," she says.
Speak Easy is for people who want to improve the way they communicate – whether in a major presentation, in a job interview, a team meeting, a wedding speech or a eulogy. The tool kit it provides helps you over-come the fear of public speaking, build confidence, create presence, and engage your creativity.
'Stepping outside your comfort zone is never easy, but the good news is that it's not only possible, it's also exciting, inspiring and life-changing," she says.
Maggie Eyre has trained thousands of speakers in countries all over the world, in her role as the director of her niche media training company Fresh Eyre. Her work has been recognized in Time Magazine and in the international media. While one of her most notable success stories is former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark (now Administrator of the United Nations Development programme), her clients range from academics to corporate CEO's; and from high performance athletes, to professionals in a wide range of industries.
Maggie has inspired speakers from London to Dubai, sharing the stage with luminaries like Ruby Wax. She has a strong sense of social justice, donating countless hours to help people find their voice, from the socially anxious to those whose family members have been victims of hostage situations.
Speak Easy, the Essential Guide to Speaking in Public
Author: Maggie Eyre
Question: What inspired you to rewrite Speak Easy, the Essential Guide to Speaking in Public?
Maggie Eyre: I wrote my first book, Speak Easy, in 2003 - since then there have been quite revolutionary changes in the way we communicate using technology to help us meet, speak and present many formats, and ourselves, across the world.
This is a substantially new book that helps people improve the way they communicate in both new and more traditional ways – whether in a skype interview, a wedding or funeral speech, a team meeting or a sponsorship pitch. It also takes a whole new look at the development of content, showing people how they can be memorable and real, by eliminating jargon and using better story-telling and description.
Question: Who did you write Speak Easy, the Essential Guide to Speaking in Public for?
Maggie Eyre: Speak Easy is for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills. Whether you're working one-on-one, teaching, selling, working with a team, making a special speech, promoting your business, or enlisting a sponsor, communicating with warmth, style, passion and focus should be at the heart of everything you do. I call it 'creating presence".
Question: What is your number one tip for those who are preparing to speak publically?
Maggie Eyre: Contrary to what you might believe, the enemy of a good speech is far more likely to be lack of preparation and practice than nerves, so start by getting the content right and pay less attention to nerves.
Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse until you are ready! Practice like it really matters to you and set aside a number of hours every week to speak in front of friends or colleagues who will be honest and supportive in their feedback. Never wing it. Make sure you have a dress rehearsal, and if you're using technology a technical rehearsal too.
Question: Is a fear of public-speaking easy to overcome?
Maggie Eyre: It depends on the degree of fear people experience and how much is at stake for them. If you're a CEO heading up a corporation that's delivering bad news to your staff you'll need to have excellent communication and presentation skills to get your message across with clarity and empathy.
It can be a longer journey and much harder if you're shy and lack confidence in your private life. It is often easier if you are a trained teacher or a stage performer. Some people are so terrified about the thought of failure they procrastinate and build a habit of avoiding presentations. If you have chosen a career that relies on speaking to an audience you need to ask for help and be willing to make mistakes along the way, and make this area of training a priority.
Question: What is involved in the Essential Guide to Speaking in Public?
Maggie Eyre: American author and poet Maya Angelou once said -'I've learnt that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel''
This is my favorite quote because it reminds me that human beings have a powerful opportunity to give a life changing speech.
Speak Easy takes you through the steps to do this making your words memorable, putting your audience at ease and inspiring them.
The book will also help you to structure your presentation, tell a good story and show you ways to improve your vocal delivery, body language and manage your nerves. It will also help you bring -tried and true' speech-making skills into your on-line presentations whether in Skype interviews, YouTube Clips or video conferencing.
My client stories will resonate with you and give you encouragement to build confidence and reach your audience.
It doesn't matter who you are or what you do; you'll be called upon to speak in front of an audience at some stage in your life, especially at work. Why not be extraordinary and enjoy the applause.
Interview by Brooke Hunter