Whether it’s speaking to a group of peers at a company meeting, a group of potential clients, or a group of seminar attendees who are there to hear you share your knowledge, being a good public speaker can really pay off.

To be truthful, I was nervous about speaking in public when I was younger. Actually, terrified would be more accurate. However, I eventually overcame my fear and now get paid very handsomely as a featured speaker at business events.

The good news is that anyone can learn to be a good public speaker. Knowing how to capture the interest of your audience is a big part of it – and here’s one very effective technique for doing that: Tell them a story.

For example, at one conference, the main point I wanted to get across to my audience – a group of small-business entrepreneurs – was the importance of not overestimating their resources. But instead of boring them by trying to prove my point with a lot of statistics, I related a news story I’d recently read in a local South Florida paper.

It seems that the mangled remains of a giant snake had been found in a swamp. The snake apparently attempted to eat an alligator… and then actually exploded (partially digested alligator chunks were mixed in with the mess), because the alligator was just too big for the snake. “The snake,” I said, “had made the common – and sometimes fatal – mistake that I’m trying to keep you from making: overestimating its capacity.” The story got a big laugh, made my point in a way that my audience would remember, and completely won them over.

Next time you’re going to make a presentation, consider illustrating your point with a story. It’s one of the most effective public speaking tools I know.

[Ed. Note: Paul Lawrence is an accomplished public speaker and a successful business author. Get information about his course on how to make money with public speaking here.]

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Paul Lawrence

Paul Lawrence is an entrepreneur who has made his living starting and running a series of profitable businesses. One day while cleaning his mother's pool for a few extra bucks, it dawned on Paul that he could perhaps start his own pool cleaning business. He carefully employed all the marketing techniques that he had learned in school and designed his first flyer. Immediately the business took off and within a week, Paul had his own little business. He quickly expanded, hired employees and then eventually sold it some relatives who made well over $250,000 in the next year before they eventually sold it for a six figure profit. After finishing college, Paul did a brief stint in a management program for a national rental company, but he quickly realized that he was much happier running his own show. Paul left the rental company and launched one of the most financially successful independent ballroom dance instruction companies in the state of Florida where he received quite a bit of media attention for his revolutionary business practices that included front page features in the Life Style section of the Sun Sentinel, features in the Miami Herald, Boca News, Center Stage Entertainment and many others. With that business running profitably, Paul started several other businesses either individually or as partnerships that included a million dollar video production company, a mortgage brokerage, a home maintenance business, several mail order companies, a business consulting service among others.With a love of movies, Paul began to work at breaking into Hollywood as a screenwriter where he's beaten the odds by becoming a produced writer. He is a credited writer for the film CRUEL WORLD, starring Jaime Presley and Eddie Furlong and has signed a development deal for a national television series with one of the world's largest producers of television and films among his half a dozen sales and options of movie scripts he wrote. Paul is the creator of the Quick & Easy Microbusiness program.

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