International Women's Day

To Celebrate International Women’s Day – Great Female Public Speakers from TED Share Their Stories

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020, we thought it would be interesting to share a bunch of great public speakers from TED with you.

These talks are entertaining, educational, inspirational and we love them!

So, put the kettle on, put your feet up,  and have a listen to some really cool women  with something great to share.

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger Of A Single Story

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and she warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we, therefore, risk a critical misunderstanding.

 

Paula Johnson: His And Hers… Healthcare

Every cell in the human body has a sex, which therefore means that men and women are different right down to the cellular level. Yet too often, research and medicine ignore this insight — and the often startlingly different ways in which the two sexes respond to disease or treatment. As pioneering doctor Paula Johnson describes in this thought-provoking talk, lumping everyone in together means we essentially leave women’s health to chance. In conclusion, it’s time to rethink.

 

 

 

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Can We Have It All?

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Public policy expert, made waves with her 2012 article, “Why women still can’t have it all.” But really, is this only a question for women? Here Slaughter expands her ideas and explains why shifts in work culture, public policy and social mores can lead to more equality –Above all,  for men, women and, all of us.

 

 

 

Tan Le: A Headset That Reads Your Brainwaves

Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, therefore making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). In addition, she demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating

To say her book, Eat, Pray, Love was a smashing success is an understatement. Even she knew she couldn’t rival that success immediately, but she stayed true to who she is and always “returns home” as she puts it. For Elizabeth it is the art and process of writing that gives her the greatest joy. As long as she stays focused on that she can ride the waves of up and down book sales because regardless of how a book sells, she will write another one.

 

 

Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?

Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?  “Who would have guessed the programming of the black box flight recorders for the supersonic Concorde would have been done by a bunch of women working in their own homes, would pioneer the remote workplace?”  Dame Shirley who escaped the Holocaust by being sent to London to live with strangers at age five is my fourth-best Ted Talk. Then she “got on with it” and became a successful tech entrepreneur in the 1960’s founding one of the most progressive all-women businesses based on work-from-home, job sharing, flex-time and employee ownership.

 

 

 

Ever Been Told That You Speak Too Fast?

Speak Too Fast

Have you ever worried that you speak too fast?

Check out this guy, John Moschitta Jr. He is an American actor who is famous for his ability to speak fast and has appeared in countless American commercials as well as movies and Tv shows.

Moschitta has appeared in The Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Fastest Talker and has the ability to articulate 586 words per minute!

John’s ability to speak at a very fast pace but annunciate at the same time, is a gift. Something very difficult to do but not something you need in to be able to do in your every day life.

We come across a lot of people who feel they speak too fast and unless you have John’s gift, this can risk the clarity of your words. You also risk the audience “tuning out” as they simply cannot keep up with you.

•Pace is the speed at which we speak. It can be expressed in Words Per Minute

•Conversational speech can take place as quickly as 180 – 200 wpm

 •200 wpm is too fast for presenting information

•You should aim to speak at 120 – 150 wpm

•To avoid monotony is it important to vary your pace (this is known as rate)

Focus on the clarity of your words to stop speaking too fast. Allow yourself, to take the time you need to breathe you will automatically slowdown. So it is vital to slow down and allow yourself to pause and breathe!

You also need to be mindful that you need to vary pace – a good rule to consider is to slow down for the important information and speed up for background information – classic tension/release at work.

Here’s are some useful tips on pace

A good speech is one that is memorable. A good speech is usually not too long. One of the greatest virtues a speaker can possess is brevity. This begs the question, how does one go about constructing and delivering an address to an audience?

There are some basic principles that should be observed.

  1. Never speak on a subject about which you know nothing or are in anyway unsure.
  2. Do not be tempted to give an impromptu speech until you are very experienced.
  3. Try not to make too many points.
  4. Remember rehearsal is also extremely important.

Many top speakers spend hours practicing their delivery and this is time well spent. Paying particular attention to the voice is good advice because if you are not used to speaking in public, then you will need to establish how to project and produce your voice effectively.

Here’s another example of John at his, err… “Prime”, excuse the pun 🙂

For more useful tips and ideas check out our other blogs here or contact us to see how we can help you to transform your voice and your communications.

Whilst you are here you might enjoy some of these:

Women in Sales Summit London 2019 – “Own Your Space” – Engage with Presence

Public Speaking Tips from Elon Musk

What We Can Learn About Public Speaking From Watching an Elon Musk Presentation

There’s a lot to be learned from studying the presentations and public speaking techniques of some of the world’s great leaders. Here we take a look at an Elon Musk presentation, and ask: Despite a number of obvious flaws in his technique, what makes his presentations so popular?

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Public Speaking Tips from Elon Musk

So, a few things about Elon Musk straight off the bat.

Musk is rich, he’s passionate about his projects and he’s most probably a genius!

And yet when he gets in front of an audience he can turn into a public speaking car crash.

He gave a presentation earlier this year outlining his very ambitious plans for rocket company SpaceX.

SpaceX plans to land an unmanned spaceship on Mars in 2022. (It will then start preparing for human visitors to arrive two years later!)

That presentation garnered him a lot of social media attention, but for the wrong reasons: there was his stammering, and his style of delivery, which was clunky and awkward.

And yet that long speech was watched over 400,000 times online less than 24 hours after it was posted.

So the question is.

Why are we still interested in watching an Elon Musk presentation when so much of his delivery is soooooo bad?

Well, here are a few insights that might make sense of this bizarre dichotomy of brilliance and bumbling.

1. He Gives You The Why Before the What

Elon Musk does big plans big style – humans on Mars in just a few years!

He tells you WHY his projects are important right off the bat.

When he outlined the SpaceX plan to go to Mars, he tells you ‘why’ it’s important before he tells you the ‘what’.

In this case, that SpaceX will ensure the survival of humans as a species and to inspire the belief that the future will be better than the past.  He always gives his audience a reason to listen and engage with him.

TAKEAWAY: Public Speaking is not rocket science. Next time you are preparing for a presentation, think about this. Do not tell your audience WHAT you did, until you have told them WHY.  It’s a classic mistake we’ve seen time and time again here at ConfidentSpeak in working with business leaders to improve their communication, speaking and presentation skills.

2. Master the Art of Imperfection to Master the Art of Authentic Presenting

Musk is very good at making his audience feel like he’s just like them, that we’re all in it together, so his stammering and stumbling actually doesn’t bother us so much.

Many great speakers, like Steve Jobs, were great at Public Speaking.  They talked as if they’re on a higher plane and that they’ve got everything perfectly down pat and present you with a finished product.  That’s great and we buy into it.

But Musk does the opposite. He tells you that he and his employees have been figuring things out. He shares with you how a product crashed and burned and landed in the ocean. Musk lets us know that he has failed more than he’s succeeded.

That shows us Elon Musk’s humanity, and we love people who are human.  Perfection is overrated, this is authentic presenting.

Musk and other imperfect speakers may not have the best delivery on the planet but they can make up for it with vulnerability,honesty, and passion for their subject.  You can teach techniques for great delivery, but it’s mighty hard to manufacture real, honest feeling.

TAKEAWAY: Next time you present, be sincere and your audience will follow you anywhere, regardless of how much you stumble or stammer.

3. Elon Musk is the Definition of an Authentic Presenter: What You See is What You Get

Many people describe Musk as ‘authentic’.

The word ‘authenticity’ has been bandied about a lot in corporate circles of late so let’s just remind ourselves what it actually means.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines authenticity as:

True to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.  Not false or imitation.

Musk gets down to brass tacks, lets the audience know that he’s down-to-earth and vulnerable, and lets his feelings show about what inspires him.  

The idea of living out amongst the stars excites him and he tells the audience exactly that. He is telling us his dream—and audiences love people who follow their dreams.

Especially when it led them to become billionaire entrepreneurs.

There’s a lot to be said for credibility when presenting. Sometimes we gain credibility because of our position or from the amount of money we have or how many accolades we’ve collected.  All these factors do carry a certain weight and give the speaker gravitas, ensuring they have a better chance to get the audience on-side before they’ve even stepped on stage.

Yet when it comes down to it, two things will always sway an audience.

Great delivery, and humanity.

TAKEAWAY: Next time you get up in front of an audience, give them a clear, confident, credible delivery and you’re on your way to a winner. Give them humanity, vulnerability, and passion in addition to that and you’re on your way to home-run World Series victory.

Here’s the full Elon Musk presentation from SpaceX. Watch for yourself

 

Read More

If you enjoyed this read – you’ll like these reads also

Brene Brown on Becoming an Authentic and Confident Presenter

Be a Master Communicator Like Conor McGregor, in Six Easy Steps

(Main picture credit: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr Creative Commons)

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Vocal delivery techniques from Oprah

Five Vocal Delivery Techniques You Can Learn from Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes Speech

Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes was powerful and inspiring. But let’s take a look at the vocal delivery techniques she used to ensure her message was received loud and clear.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Naturally much will be discussed over the coming weeks about Oprah Winfrey’s speech at this year’s Golden Globes.

Her message to her audience was powerful, emotive, thought-provoking and inspiring.

But as a voice, communications and executive presence coach, I feel compelled to examine the importance of “how” she delivered her empowering message as much as the content of that message.

I’ve written before about Oprah’s exceptional speaking skills, in my blog “The Oprah Communications Manual in 8 Easy Steps“.

But specifically on her phenomenal Golden Globes performance, allow me to break down and analyse the vocal delivery techniques Oprah used to ensure her message was loud and clear.

These are delivery techniques that you too can take into your speeches and presentations.

1. Showing up Authentically is a Key Vocal Delivery Technique

There is no question with this speech, Oprah delivered her message with authenticity and honesty.

The reality is that any audience will connect and engage with people who are truly themselves. Yes, the content is emotive, but you really get a sense that she truly believes her message.

Once there is authenticity in your message, then strong vocal techniques will be easier to access.

When you deliver a business presentation, how authentic are you with your audience? Or do you drop into presenter mode? Because, so many do.

Your Task

Ahead of your next presentation, consider these two questions carefully:

  • What do you feel about your message to the audience?
  • What do you want your audience to feel about your message?

“Feel?” I hear you ask!

Yes, FEEL!

Not what you want them to know and understand, but what you want them to FEEL.

Do you want them to feel excited, curious, frustrated, sad? Whatever that feeling is, you need to think carefully about it, as it needs to be conveyed in your vocal delivery.

2. Great use of timing. She combines pause and pace brilliantly.

The space between your thoughts can be as powerful as the thoughts themselves. She makes great use of pause throughout her speech.

With such strong words she understands her audience needs this time to process her message. Pause is used to strong dramatic effect also.

We can implement pauses to gain different effects.

When we pause before a word or phrase, it creates the classic tension/release.

If we pause after, it allows the audience a moment for the information to sink in.

As opposed to highlighting specific examples in this speech I would simply urge you to listen to the full ten minutes for her use of pause.

It requires bravery for any presenter to accept that silence. If we trust the pause we will hold a listener’s attention.

There is no question about this. It’s so compelling.

When we use pauses, we can also vary the pace of our delivery and the two go hand in hand.

Varying our pace and using the power of pause keeps the rhythm of our vocal delivery varied and keeps the ear from falling asleep.

You can hear throughout this speech she varies pace – for important statements, you’ll hear she slows right down to emphasise the importance of her words.  You’ll hear increases the pace to create energy.

Your Task

For your next presentation, accept the silence.

Try this useful Tempo Technique to engage your audience

  1.  Speed up the tempo before you make that important point
  2.  Pause
  3.  Then slow down to deliver it

It carries your listeners forward and then make them wait.  It’s a classic tension/release at work.  It takes practice, but it’s a very clever device, and it’s powerful.

(Example: Listen to 5.00-5.16 minutes in Oprah’s speech)

3. The Power of Your Consonants in Vocal Delivery

This is where the voice geek in me comes out!

They don’t get much airtime, but consonants can really work for us when we speak and they are used well in Oprah’s speech.

They can grab our listeners’ attention and hold onto it. I believe they give speech emphasis and intent. People often think that they need to speak louder to make their messages stand out, but this is not the case.

I think by Oprah focusing on her consonants she really drives home her message throughout. Any time you want to drive home a point, implant a thought, do it by giving more thought to the consonants in your words. They will make what you say more effective and dynamic.

Your Task

Try this useful Consonant Technique to drive your message home.

Lengthen the consonants in the word or syllable you want to emphasise.

This creates the illusion of being louder by bringing everything to a halt while we wait for that word.

4. The Importance of Power words: What They Are, and How to Make Them Powerful

All words are not created equally.

When we speak we do not pronounce each and every word and syllable with the same importance.

It is so evident in Oprah’s speech.

If you want your audience to listen and engage then you need to understand

  1. What are power words, and
  2. How to give these power words the power!

Power words are the 1-3 words in each phase or sentence that absolutely reduce it down to its basic meaning.

They communicate the essence of what we are saying.

These words require more time more emphasis, more vocal importance, if they are to resonate with the audience.

But how does Oprah do this? And how do we do it?

First things first: like Oprah does, you need to be authentically communicating your message. To be really connected to and truly believe your message.

  • Change of volume: Listen how Oprah either increases or decreases volume on specific power words
  • Pitch variation: She changes the pitch on certain power words to highlight and bring importance to them—she makes them stand out
  • Articulation: She will overly articulate certain consonants in the power words to bring the word out further—lest the audience forget!
  • Change of pace: She tends to speed up and then slows down on her power words/phrases.
  • Pause: She will pause before or after key power words

Your Task

Try combinations of any of the above.

They are vital to a strong vocal delivery – that will be listened to and understood by your audience.

You can hear examples of Oprah using power words effectively throughout her speech, but skip to 8.00 mins and onwards for a series of great examples, such as:

  • “ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning
  • “even during our darkest nights
  • “when that new day finally dawns”
  • “the time when nobody has to say me too again”

5. Mastering the Skill of the “Clap Trap” is One of the Best Vocal Delivery Techniques

She doesn’t wait for the applause and she doesn’t wait for clapping to stop before she continues.  Pausing and waiting for the audience to clap is a faux pas, it removes the sense of spontaneity.  Carrying on with her message and refusing the applause implies that she is not expecting a clap, she is more focused on her message than herself.   A speaker always needs to be more committed to the message than to accepting praise. This she does very well throughout her speech

Skip to minutes 2:22, 3:22 and 7:02 to see Oprah do this.

Conclusion

Be under no illusions, Oprah would most certainly have practiced and rehearsed this speech many times to refine her vocal delivery techniques.

It would have been a shame to have a great message delivered poorly.  My message to you is that it’s not enough to have a strong message—your vocal delivery needs to support that importance of your message.

So, finally, record yourself when you’re preparing and practicing your words.

It is the only way you can hear exactly what you sound like and then you can make changes accordingly.

  • Are your showing up authentically in your speech?
  • Are you using pause and pace combined to engage your audience?
  • How are you making your power words standout and be POWERFUL?
  • Are you giving Consonants the importance they deserve?
  • Finally, don’t fall into claptrap mistakes!

Here’s Oprah’s Full Speech

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Like this? Here’s More from the ConfidentSpeak Blog

If you liked this blog and learnt from it these will also interest you.

 

Richard Branson on Public Speaking

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: The Billionaire Businessman’s Top Tips On Handling Speaking Nerves

You might not think one of the world’s most successful businessmen (not to mention best-known billionaires) might suffer from nerves when speaking in front of an audience. But you’d be wrong. Here are three tips from Richard Branson on public speaking.

By Maria Tecce, ConfidentSpeak

Richard Branson on Public Speaking

Nerves and anxiety affect pretty much everyone at some point, whether you’re speaking to an audience of thousands or one-to-one in the board room.

Much of the time it is not a case of eradicating those feeling but managing them and mastering them.

Great presenters and speakers are not born, they are made, with hard work and preparation.

In a recent article, featured on Fortune.com, Richard Branson mentions Winston Churchill, author Gavin Maxwell, and Mark Twain as his own touchstones for successful public speaking.

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: Lesson from Gavin Maxwell

When you need to speak in front of a crowd, close your mind to the fact that you’re on a stage with hundreds of people watching you and instead imagine yourself in a situation where you’d be comfortable speaking to a group. For example, imagine that you’re in your dining room at home, telling a story to friends over dinner. I know it sounds a little corny, but try it. This trick has certainly removed some of the anxiety for me.

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: Lesson from Winston Churchill

Churchill … once said: “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” Take this advice to heart. Even highly gifted speakers like Churchill would never ask an audience to listen for more than 25 minutes or so. Extending a presentation beyond half an hour will stretch any group’s attention span.

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: Lesson from Mark Twain

Twain was aware of the common misperception that in order to be a great speechmaker, one must be good at speaking off the cuff. Twain addressed this in 1899 when, speaking at a dinner given in his honor at London’s Whitefriars Club, he said: “Impromptu speaking — that is a difficult thing . I used to begin about a week ahead, and write out my impromptu speech and get it by heart.”

Throughout the piece Branson talks about a couple of his best loved tricks to beat the jitters and where his inspiration comes from in handling those nerves.

The full article can be read on Fortune.com over here.

And finally, remember the wise words of Soren Kierkegaard:

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main image via David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

great presenter

What We Can Learn From The Steve Jobs Presentation Style

I recently read an article from the eloquent Nancy Duarte of Duarte Design which discusses the “Jobs” movie, starring Ashton Kucher in the lead role. During this article Ms Duarte observes that despite the movie’s mixed reviews, the one thing that it reminds us off is what a great presenter Steve was. So what was it that made us hang on every word of every Steve Jobs presentation?

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Steve Jobs presentation style

Here is a list of few of Steve Jobs’s key presentation skills which we should all keep in mind.

1. Every Steve Jobs Presentation Had A Very Clear Message

Steve Jobs left his audience knowing exactly why a product was built, the problem it solved and how.

His prime focus throughout his talks was in getting his message across in a clear and easily digested way.

2. He Uses Careful Timing

The average attention span of an audience is about 10 minute and Jobs generally split up his presentation in to ten minutes segments to make each section more palatable to his listeners

3. He Adheres To The Rule of Three

The “rule of three” writing principle suggests that things that are presented in three are more satisfying & more effective than those presented in numbers of more or less.

Every Steve Jobs presentation always had several lists of three message points.

Why?

Because he knew that a list of three things is far easier to remember than five or ten, and infinitely more intriguing than in two or one.

It’s an oratory technique that might just be as old as oratory itself.

(Former British Prime Minister David Cameron was also a great believer in the rule of three. Read more on David Cameron in our public speaking techniques blog.)

4. Jobs Clearly Prepared and Rehearsed His Material

Jobs prepared for every presentation meticulously. Like all great presenters, he understood that presentations must be rehearsed over and over again to be truly great.

5. He Harnessed The Power Of Silence

Some times overlooked and often under used, careful use of both pause & silence through out a presentation can have a powerful impact on your listeners.

Steve became a master of this. At every launch he reeled in his audience with suspense whilst at the same time making them feel like they were witnessing not just the launch of a consumer product but an historical moment.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Steve Jobs Presentation At Its Best

I”m sure we all have our favourite Steve Jobs presentation but I think the  March 2011 launch of the iPad 2 Keynote sees him at his best…

great speech

The Speeches of JFK: How One Man Forever Changed the Way the Irish Were Perceived

To mark the 50th anniversary of JFK’s visit to Ireland, we decided to take a look at the speeches of JFK, and how we could captivate a crowd. (Note: This blog first appeared in 2013.)

By Ariadne Laurenns, ConfidentSpeak

The Speeches of JFK and How One Man Changed the Way the Irish Were Perceived ForeverJFK 50 took place over the weekend.

New Ross was the place to be as celebrations spanned the weekend in honour of the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s visit to Ireland in 1963 and indeed in honour of his visit to his home town.

Kennedy represented the ultimate success story of the Irish emigrant.

In three generations his families fortunes changing from famine emigrants to producing the most powerful man in the world.

Listening to the confidently delivered speeches made by his daughter Caroline and Grandson Jack, it was clear that ‘the apples haven’t fallen very far from the tree’!

The Speeches of JFK: My Favourite

Anyway the whole thing got me thinking about the speeches of JFK, and how the great man himself used his ability to captivate a crowd and inspire a nation with his oratorial style.

We all have our favourite speeches but mine has to be his Moon Speech, delivered at Rice University in September 1962, a year before he came to Ireland. During this speech he challenges America to put a man on the moon.

Despite the fact that this speech is almost 18 minutes in duration, this great orator holds his audiences rapt right to the end.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com