Seminars, jokes and speech contests

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Believe it or not, a lack of blogging from me is often a good sign. Rightly or wrongly, when life gets busy, blog posts fall to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list.

The past few months have been a blur of work and travel, so what better way to restart the blogging routine than with a quick update on what I’ve been doing, what I am doing, and what I plan to be doing!

What have I been doing?

Speaking at a seminar on social media. Late June saw me at SeaCity Museum, speaking on the topic ‘Is social media a fad, or the biggest shift since the industrial revolution?’.

This was a very different type of social media speaking engagement to any I had completed before – usually I’m in a room full of experts and have to raise my game, and offer some new view, or information, to deliver a successful speech. For this talk, I had to take what can be a complex, confusing topic and simplify for the audience, so that they ‘got’ what I was trying to say in just 10 minutes.

The solution was simply to tell a story. I relayed the story of a business just like the one that many of my audience worked within it. I identified the social media challenges it faced and how they had been solved. It was short, it was succinct, and it was easy for the audience to absorb and relate to. I like to think it was successful – the feedback afterwards was all positive! I’d be interested to hear other speakers’ experiences and learnings when speaking on a complex area to an audience who are new to the topic. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

What am I doing?

the serious guide to joke writing

My latest read, 'The Serious Guide to Joke Writing'

Humour in speeches has always fascinated me. Many speakers and writers seem to have an innate humour, which means that they can easily write jokes that fit any audience; small, unoffensive lines that create mild titters! I’ve never had a problem writing for myself, but writing jokes and humorous lines into a speech for someone with a different personality and style can be challenging. So I thought I’d do some research into how others write jokes to see what can be discovered. The next few weeks will therefore see me reading ‘The Serious Guide to Joke Writing’ by Sally Holloway.

Watch this space for a report back on my findings!

What am I going to be doing?

You may remember that last year I featured the UK Business Speaker of the Year on this blog. You can read about it here.

Well, the competition is now in its second year, and I’m making time in my diary to enter. The audition process is a one minute online video, and I’ll be creating my entry in the coming weeks (when I’m not reading the above book!).

A one minute online video to sell your idea and your speaking style presents many challenges, including:

- Lack of quality recording equipment
- Lack of technical knowledge to edit your video
- Forming your one minute ‘pitch’ into a succinct and clear message
- Getting across your personality via video, in a short period of time
- Getting across your speaking skills via video – do you go full length or head and shoulders?

I’ll be addressing these issues within the next month (and hopefully overcoming them!), so again, please check back for an update.

Oh, and there should be more blog posts on the way too. Possibly.

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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