Dr. Laura Hills presented “Public Speaking with Panache” to Executive Women International’s DC chapter on March 14, 2012. Here, she gives a few pointers to EWI member Claire Fay.
March 14, 2012:
Many speakers put the lion’s share of their effort into the content of their programs. They focus on the material they must cover and on creating notes, PowerPoint slides, and handouts for their audiences. However, Blue Pencil Institute president Dr. Laura Hills believes that audience engagement and the speaker’s style of delivery are at least as important as content to the success of any program, if not more so. That is why she presented “Public Speaking with Panache: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques that Really Work” to Executive Women International’s Washington, DC chapter on March 14.
According to EWI-DC member Martin Smith, who attended the program, “Dr. Laura Hills took command of the room with her first words, and kept every participant fully engaged until the very end. This was a good time and a memorable performance.” Over the course of the lively program, Dr. Hills demonstrated audience engagement techniques, taught participants the ideal posture for public speaking, and led EWI-DC through a singing exercise in which members got to practice both their posture and voice projection. Dr. Hills then taught three techniques to improve speech comprehensibility — final consonant release, vowel delineation, and chunking and spacing of words — and facilitated a fun pair-work tongue-twister exercise. Dr. Hills also demonstrated when and how to field questions from the audience and taught participants how to build an “ask” into every speech — a request for specific action. She then called upon Claire Fay to try an “ask” and, together with EWI-DC members, helped Fay refine her “ask” approach. According to EWI-DC president Karin Arnette, “I can say that everyone who attended Dr. Hills' program learned practical, doable techniques for being a more effective speaker and that we had a great time doing it.”
Dr. Laura Hills comes to the topic of public speaking honestly. She’s been a professional seminar speaker and workshop facilitator for decades and taught public speaking to university undergraduates for many years. Today, Dr. Hills offers a variety of communication and relationship-building programs to professional associations, universities, corporations, and small businesses, always with an emphasis on experiential learning. Says Dr. Hills, “I focused my doctoral work on adult learning. Between that and my work with adult learners, I know that adults construct knowledge best through hands-on learning activities.” Adds Dr. Hills, “EWI-DC was a great audience. I was able to build upon the trust we already have and to deliver a program that was fun and packed with content from the get-go.”
For more information about Executive Women International’s DC chapter, please visit http://www.ewi-dc.org.