Here are our memories of a short but brilliant lecture by "Evelyn Wood",
the Mother of Speed Reading, to a small group of us about, "how to give a speech".
It was a half-century ago, so we admit some lapses, but it has stayed with us and
served as a model ever since. We hope it will serve you as profitably and as long.

"Yes Virginia, there is a success strategy to making a presentation to just "one"
person, an executive group of ten to twenty, or to an audience of one-hundred.
I put this system to good use winning strong applause on the "Johnny Carson Show".

In a recent Gallop poll Americans ranked "public-speaking", the number
# 1 stress-maker, and what they would least volunteer to do. [Still true!]

If you want your career to develop to its maximum capacity, we recommend
you discover the elements of influencing other people. Dale Carnegie was
correct, "How to make friends and influence people", is a requirement for
those choosing the executive and professional areas of our Knowledge Economy.

Here are ten (10) key elements to being yourself, yet pleasing your audience,
and remember, a audience may be "one" important person, a class of learners,
or an auditorium filled with experts.

The most consistently asked question about speaking in front of a group is:

"How do I overcome my blood-curdling fear of getting up there to give a talk?"

The correct answer may not be what lazy people want to hear - a magic-bullet
like the diet pill that lets you eat a ton of pizza and ice cream , and still lose ten
pounds a week. We do not have such "pixie-dust", mostly because it doesn't
exist, and is not coming down the pike next week either.

The secret is that you must make yourself an "expert", a master of your
material. Doing that will give you all the confidence you need to succeed, and
come across to your audience that you did your homework and have important
knowledge to impart. Let your useful knowledge wash over the listeners, and they
will really be impressed.

You don't have to look like a Hollywood Oscar winner, or sound like a professional
announcer on a tv commercial, just deliver the goods and all is forgiven.

You can look like Frankenstein, sound like a frog with a sore-throat, and have the personality of a "decayed-tooth", but if you have knowledge and the "how-to" of it
information that will BENEFIT me or my family, at home or at work, we will
listen as if you were one of the original prophets delivering the goods on redemption
to an adoring audience of "seekers" and "true-believers".

Remember, we all want to learn how to live longer and healthier; learn and understand; earn more money;
have great personal relationships, and be happy. If you know how to solve some of
the challenges life has dealt us, we will listen with "baited" (to stop for food or refreshment
during a trip), breath. Just offer us BENEFITS and know-your-stuff, and you can never
bore us". The less graphics and charts the better, is my experience. We relate to "you",
the expert, not a inhuman "pie-chart".

Here is her ten (10) points, and four (4) mission elements, as we scribbled them down.

1. CLEAR-THINKING: Abstract in one or two sentences the key point of
your entire presentation. If you can not create a simply one sentence synopsis (summary),
your talk is unfocused. It's your Knowledge-Tree, with the leaves being the "details" for

2.CLEAR STRUCTURE: There's a Beginning, a Middle and an End, and
key points in each of the three sections. What are the key-words or acronyms
(words created from first letters of a phrase or list i.e. Wac (Women's Army corp); USA;
IBM. Have a list for yourself (the speaker), and follow it for clarity toward your audience.
We use a small index card to keep track of the points to cover, not a formal speech.

This applies whether we are speaking to one CEO or student, or audience of a thousand.
Call it a "syllabus" - an outline of the contents of the speaker's curriculum on a card.

3. MEMORABLE STORIES: folks in an audience remember a good story because
they create a visualization - a mental image, and emotions. Create a "filmette" in
their minds by using memorable characters, exciting situations, suspense or
funny elements. A story has a beginning, middle and a punch-line ending. It makes a point
relevant to our lecture.

4. EMOTIONALLY CONNECT WITH PEOPLE: Facts alone don't cut it, they must
"feel" something positive when they ask the question - WIITFM (What's In It For Me?).
We give logical reasons to justify our decisions to impress our
left-brain, and "pictures and feelings" to involve our right-brain. Both-hemispheres must be involved
not just in doing - the demonstration using the hand as a Pacer, but your stories
must grab their imagination ...offer a future of what they "can" be with their new academic skills.
Be "you, the listener" centered, not "we"the organization, boasting and bragging.

5. ABSTRACTION: Are we stuck in general principles (jargon), or excessive details?
Both are boring and lead to limited attention-span, use examples and illustrations. A demostration is best.
Mix, (don't drown them), in features and "benefits". Do they know why they are here?
Is their motivation clearly in mind? Are they getting what they want, maybe "one" usable
point, not ten complicated ideas , in a teaching style that works for them?

6. CHANGE OF PACE: Switch from the Pacer training, to Memory, to Notetaking, to Vocabulary,
and then back to our speed reading strategies. Always have ten-minute-breaks after fifty classroom minutes.
Give them time for our ideas to sink-in,
and give them time-outs to mentally organize what they have heard, seen and done.

7. DON'T ANNOY THE LISTENER: Fluency-of-language: no "Um, Hmm, Er or Ah", while
stalling to think of an answer. You are an expert, so fling it out and it will be great.
Weak verbal crutches are loud-static on their mental wavelength.

8. WHAT'S YOUR PUNCH-WORD? Emphasize the key word, often the last one, in your
punch-word. Johnny Carson EMPHASIZES his own punch-line, and so should you.

"You will read THREE-TIMES as much, with the same comprehension
or better." i.e. "Limited classes, sign up NOW!" (Key the phrase: "Three-times")

"You will have the RAZOR'S EDGE over your peers."
i.e. "Ace your SAT!"

Never step on your own punch line by adding an unnecessary word after it like , "Right?" or "See?"
or my nemesis, "Did I make myself clear?" Never drop your voice on the PUNCH-WORD,
it costs "emphasis".

20 seconds to capture their "attention and interest", and five minutes to grab their imagination.

Ask "you" questions - i.e. "What do you want to take home after this course?"
"What are you going to use speed reading for?"

Make a believable promise that offers a reasonable expectation:

"You will discover talents and skills that you have never tapped, like finding
a $50 bill in your old jacket".

"You will have the ability to "double" your reading skills after today's class."

CLOSING: take questions BEFORE your wind-up your "closing". Closing gets permission
to contact them in the future, compliments and excites their imagination, and makes a promise.
Your last words, just as your introductory remarks - are remembered. The great
middle with its details - get easily forgotten like dust in the wind.

10. HIGH TECH AUDIO-VISUAL: If you can connect to the audience, a
simple blackboard works better than a $1000 overhead projector or your new
computer. Graphics and charts cause snoozing, unless you are talking to
professionals, and even they want the MAGIC BULLETS and clear benefits.

Find your humanity,and link and
merge with your audience, make them feel what you're feeling, to be a part of
something bigger than just their money - (leave a legacy), all the high-tech
crutches are just annoying. The spotlight is on you, the speaker, and answering
WIITM (What's In It For Me), for each of them in the audience or classroom.
There are four (4) elements to our Speed Reading Institute mission:

a) Tuition remains low to reach the greatest number of students, adults
and organizations with the benefits of language fluency and information-

b) Demonstrations of Speed Reading using our hand as a Pacer, is the heart
of our marketing style. We move students by SHOWING and DOING that it's
easy to learn.

c) Technological advancements are added to Speed Reading to keep our
courses ahead-of-the-learning-curve.

d) The student and graduate's improvement and satisfaction are the
single objective of our programs - their tuition is never the primary consideration.

"Do the right job and we will get referrals and group classes from organizations.
Success follows excellent instructor performance and personal concern for their
interests and accomplishments. Yes, really!"

Are the ten points of speaking, and the four elements of Evelyn Wood's mission
statement "relevant", fifty years later? It's your answer that counts.

copyright 2003
H. Bernard Wechsler

H. Bernard Wechsler is a senior educational consultant to The SpeedLearning
Institute, affiliated with Long Island University, the Learning Annex, and NYC
schools through the DOME Project.
He is one of the founders of Evelyn Wood speed reading, graduating 2 million
including Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Carter.

Author's Bio: 

Senior educational consultant to The SpeedLearning Institute, affiliated with Long Island University, theLearning Annex, and NYC schools through the DOME Project.He is one of the founders of Evelyn Wood Speed Reading,graduating 2 million, including Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Carter.