A Spooky Poem For This Halloween

Halloween

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We thought we’d share a new poem with you this year to celebrate the Eve’ Of All Hallows

Written in 1911 by J. Milton Hayes and when recited well (think McKellen, Cumberbatch etc.) it might just raise the very hairs on the back of your neck.

Happy Halloween from the CS Crew!

The Green Eye Of The Little Yellow God

By J. Milton Hayes

Thereʼs a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,

Thereʼs a little marble cross below the town,

Thereʼs a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,

And the yellow god for ever gazes down.

 

He was known as ʻMad Carewʼ by the subs at Khatmandu,

He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell,

But for all his foolish pranks

He was worshipped in the ranks,

And the Colonelʼs daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along

With the passion of the strong,

The fact that she loved him was plain to all,

 

She was nearly twenty-one,

And arrangements had begun

To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew,

They met next day as he dismissed a squad,

And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do

But the green eye of the little Yellow God.

 

On the night before the dance Mad Carew seemed in a trance,

And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars,

But for once he failed to smile,

And he sat alone awhile,

Then went out into the night beneath the stars.

He returned before the dawn

With his shirt and tunic torn.

And a gash across his temples dripping red.

 

He was patched up right away,

And he slept all through the day,

And the Colonelʼs daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through.

She brought it and he thanked her with a nod.

He bade her search the pocket saying “Thatʼs from Mad Carew,”

And she found the little green eye of the god.

 

She upbraided poor Carew

In the way that women do,

Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet;

But she wouldnʼt take the stone, and Carew was left alone

With the jewel that heʼd chanced his life to get.

 

When the ball was at its height

On that still and tropic night,

She thought of him and hastened to his room.

As she crossed the barrack square

She could hear the dreamy air

Of a waltz-tune softly stealing throʼ the gloom.

His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through;

The place was wet and slippy where she trod;

An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew.

ʼTwas the ʻVengeance of the Little Yellow God.ʼ

 

Thereʼs a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,

Thereʼs a little marble cross below the town,

Thereʼs a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,

And the Yellow God for ever gazes down.

 

3 Reasons Why Silence Is A Powerful Weapon

Power of Silence

Photo by Ocean Biggshott on Unsplash

Did you know that one of the least used, but most effective, strategies when it comes to negotiations of any kind … is silence. Why you might ask, well because silence gives you a number of advantages.

 

1. Learn From The Experts

What do the best negotiators generally have in common? They will always make their opponents wait for an answer.

When we are nervous or eager we have a tendency to jump in right after the other person has spoken. And the result? It looks like we’re nervous, insecure, or even worse, that we haven’t been listening.  

2. A Well-Placed Silence Can Build Relationships

If you’re silent and wait, it conveys the impression that you are listening and thinking about what the other person has said. And, of course, it also sends a signal that you are weighing your answer carefully.

3. Silence Buys You Time

Silence buys you the time to prepare a response. The appearance of thinking, also buys you a few seconds to think.

Being chatty in negotiating is not very powerful, and it usually doesn’t achieve the desired result but the art of creative silence takes practice. Sometimes it takes concentration to simply do nothing. 

Try practicing getting used to silence when you’re not under pressure. 

These three reasons are why silence is one of the best negotiating tactics you can learn.

What do you think are great negotiation tactics?

Leave a comment below!

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.

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Keep your audience engaged

6 Presentation Techniques You Can Learn From Comedians To Keep Your Audience Engaged

It can be difficult to keep your audience engaged during business presentations.   How do comedians keep their audiences engaged?   Some of us are naturally funny.  Others think that being funny is a gift from birth that only the chosen few are blessed with, and that the rest of us should stay far, far away from trying to make people laugh.  The fact is, being funny is a skill like anything else, like driving a car, learning a new language, or learning presentation techniques.

 

Comedians spend years crafting and honing their content and delivery, making them one of the few public speakers that clock up Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours that he says make a master.

 

Performers learn a lot the hard way. there’s just no other way to do it.  You can practice, practice, and practice until the cows come home but at the end of the day you have to get up in front of a real audience to test it out.

Here are a few interesting presentation techniques from the world of comedy to help speakers in the business world master the art of keeping audiences engaged.

Presentation techniques from the world of comedy

 

Rock It From The Start

Everyone knows that getting off to a good start sets the tone for the rest of your journey.  When you’re practicing your speech or presentation, the first 30 seconds will make or break you.

Psychologist Jennice Vilhauer does this effectively in her TEDTalk “Why you don’t get what you want…” If you don’t engage people and give them a reason to listen in the first 30 seconds, you’ll have a pretty tough time getting them back.  

A killer start to your presentation will set the tone for the rest of your talk and keep your audience engaged.  So practice this, hone it, and know it until you can do it in your sleep.

Know Your Timing

When you’re practicing, breakdown the sections of your content.  

  • First 30 seconds
  • Numbers of key areas
  • Stories
  • Wrap up
  • Takeaways

Time yourself so you know how long each takes and how much time the whole presentation will be and when in doubt, keep it short. you will keep your audience engaged, and they will thank you for it.

Don’t Wait To Work The Room – keep you audience engaged from the get go!

Comedians are clever at working the room.  They ‘cast’ someone in the audience so they have instant familiarity with the room.  Introduce yourself to people as they come into the room; don’t wait to find common ground with your audience until you start your talk.  

Break the ice with them from the outset, greet them as they come in, have a bit of banter with them.  You’ll automatically have back story with them when you start your presentation.

 

Warm Up First

All performers warm up and do something to get them in the ‘zone’ as TEDTalk presenter Julien Treasure talks about here.  Stretch your arms up over your head before you step onto the stage, take some deep breaths, loosen up your muscles or do some articulation exercises.  Whatever you do, do something.  This will help calm any nerves and also get your body and mind focused on the task at hand.

 

 

Self Critique

Whenever you get the chance to present or speak in front of an audience, always film or video yourself.  Always.  It’s so easy now to do it now with phones and tablets.  Get a friend or someone you know will be there to video you so you can watch it back and see exactly what you’re doing and sounding like.  Performers and comedians love this because it gives them instant feedback on everything they’re doing and how they are keeping audiences engaged.

 

Be Human

No one feels comfortable around people who seem like they’re perfect all the time.  We connect with people we trust, who feel familiar to us.  Really funny material comes from comedians who know it’s not necessarily about making people laugh; it’s about making people think, it’s about showing them that you know what it’s like to be human.  The audience finds something in you that resonates with them.  Comedian and writer Ricky Gervais talks brilliantly about this here.

 

 

As a public speaker, take heed of some of these techniques from comedians and see if they help in your performance.  Comedians face the toughest audiences in the world so they know what they’re talking about.  

Remember, good preparation and practice will pay off in dividends when it comes to getting up in front of an audience and delivering the goods.  

Great communicating is learned; no one is born a great speaker.

Remember that you’re a human being in a room full of human beings and every audience loves to see people succeed.

They want you to be great!  It makes their job of listening so much easier.

 

Contact us for details on how we can help you to engage your audiences and deliver memorable presentations

t – +353 1 9696056

e – info@confidentspeak.com

 

If you found this useful in terms of advice on keeping your audience engaged, you’ll like these also, I promise!

https://www.confidentspeak.com/elon-musk-3-insights-into-authentic-presenting/

https://www.confidentspeak.com/the-public-speaking-habits-of-successful-entrepreneurs/

Could The Simple Act Of ‘Stillness’ Be The Key To Achieving Executive Presence?

Stillness & Presence

Through out the years, we have supported many individuals across the corporate and private sector from all over Europe. We’ve trained C-Suite Personnel,  Business Executives, Sales Professionals, Scientist, Engineers, Legal and Medical Professionals, and one topic that comes up over and over again is ‘Executive Presence’ and how to achieve it.

Understanding The Power Of Presence

Let me share with you an insight I had some time ago, which might help you to understand and build on your own Presence

I try to go for run most days and one of the routes I have enjoyed most over the years, is the lovely Phoenix Park here in Dublin. One day, along my route, I came face to face with a large herd of deer. They were all standing very still, regarding my presence with quiet curiosity.

What struck  me most at the time, was their immense stillness. The deer possessed such calmness and a phenomenal sense of ease and yet, they were also completely alert, ready to flee at any sign of danger.

I stood looking at them for what seemed like an age, transfixed and drawn by something – their amazing ‘Presence’

Achieving Executive Presence

An audience is always connected to a speaker who communicates in a relaxed and calm way, but just like a wild deer, a speaker always needs be alert to the audience. So if building your executive presence is something on your mind, try this simple technique – stop moving, stay grounded and still!

 

The Art of Stillness Builds Executive Presence

Moving around may help you to calm nerves or to feel at ease but it can be very distracting for your audience. Instead, try to find an ease within yourself to simply stand still and be present. By just following this technique, not only will you build your presence in front of your audience, you will also connect in a stronger and more authentic way

 

Stillness is a simple, yet powerful technique to build presence”

 

 

Remember this; as a speaker, you have the ability to instil any emotion in your audience.

If you are agitated or stressed then your audience will also be agitated and stressed. If you are at ease and physically relaxed and grounded, then your listeners will also be at ease and guess what…they will also be more open to listening, and building that all important connection with you. You will have achieved ‘presence’!

Sometimes we just need to demystify things and go back to basics when it comes to communication! So next time you are rehearsing your presentation, try this technique to achieve Executive Presence.

Cicero’ s 5 Canons Of A Great Speech Still Relevant? Try Them To Help Banish Presentation Nerves

Great speechMark Twain once said ‘There are two kinds of speakers in the world:  Those who get nervous and those who are liars..’ And he wouldn’t be far off.  Everyone gets a dose of presentation nerves, some just hide it better than others!   Even the greatest orator in history Marcus Tullius Cicero once ran from the forum where he was set to speak because he was terrified with nerves.  

 

TED coaches, CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, even presidents get nervous.  But the trick is to look and sound cool, calm, and collected even when you’re not feeling the love.  

 

Cicero knew that you have to “fake it ‘till you make it”, but it’s actually more than that; it’s fake it until you become it.  Unless you’re soaked in sweat and physically unable to speak, audiences don’t know what you don’t tell them.  

 

The ancient Romans and Greeks invented this kind of thinking; they called the art of oratory actio as in ‘acting’.  A speaker is an actor, and the best actors are the ones who are most truthful, convincing, and authentic on stage.

 

These ancient orators also knew about nerves and that they can be an important part of pumping up your energy before you go on, and, if managed properly, you can channel that energy to give your performance passion, charisma, and memorability.

 

People won’t be able to take their eyes off you and they may not even know why.  Here’s Cicero’s 5 Cannons and how they can help you knock it out of the park even when you’re feeling like you can’t even suit up to bat.

 

The 5 Canons

Cicero, that great orator, came up with five aspects of giving a great speech or ‘Canons’.  There’s no substitute to combat presentation nerves than being well prepared and he was the king of relentless preparation and practice, as he was taught by his Greek tutors.

 

Cicero’s canons are thus:

Invention, Style, Memory, Arrangement, Delivery.

 

1. Invention:  The Hook

This is the nugget of what you want to say.  It’s the distilled essence of what your speech or presentation is all about and why people should listen.  

It’s usually around 40 words or less and about 12 seconds, roughly the length of a human breath, and it is one sentence.  But that’s it!  

Brevity is beauty.  Keep it simple and keep it short and audiences will love you for it.

 

2. Arrangement:  Road Map The Journey Of A Presentation

Before you open PowerPoint, sit down and map out your story. Every speech or presentation is a story that has a beginning, middle, and end, and once you’ve got that clear, it’s time to open PowerPoint and see what you need to support and illustrate your message that will add colour, texture, and memorability.  

Story first, PowerPoint after. This will ensure you are clear in your journey and will help you avoid using PowerPoint as a report or crutch.

 

3. Style:  Channel Your Inner Obama

Everybody has their own style and in order to develop that style, watch as many people as you can give presentations and speeches.  What are they doing well? Using pace, pause, pitch, volume?

Observe what they’re doing that works and, equally importantly, what doesn’t.  Steal from the best and leave the rest.  As you practice and video yourself, you’ll begin to discover and develop your own style.

No two speakers are the same so don’t worry about being like someone else.  Remember, it’s about being the best YOU, not becoming someone else.

Great sources are Youtube, TEDtalks, and people at your own company or place of work.

 

 

4. Memory:  Build Your Palace! It Helps Reduce Presentation Nerves

Presentation nerves are often brought on by that fear of forgetting. Mnemonics is the learning of techniques to aid in human memory.  A mnemonic device could be an acronym or image that helps you to associate information and recall it more efficiently.

 The Roman orators often used the image of a palace or great house with many rooms where they attributed sections of their speeches to different rooms in order to remember the information better.  

 

5. Delivery:  Bring It On, Superman

After you do your warm up (and everybody does something), the last thing you do is stand with your feet wide apart and hands on hips a la Superman/Wonder Woman and smile (master of all your survey)

It will help banish those presentation nerves and give you a sense of expansion, positivity, and being grounded.  

Then, picture your audience and send out a thought of generosity, ‘I love you guys!’ and make it all about them, not you.  

So take it from the guys who started it all and use the five canons and take heed of Cicero;

‘Whatever you do, do it with all your might.’

 

It’s all there for the taking so practice, practice, practice and give it your best shot.  The worst thing that can happen is you try and fail, so try and fail again, and then try again.

 

 As Samuel Beckett said;

‘Ever tried. Ever failed.  No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’

 

“ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We have worked with leading Irish and international companies and executives. Contact us for details on our range of  corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”

info@confidentspeak.com

www.confidentspeak.com

☎ +35319696056

 

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Imagine Understanding The Simple Art Of Persuasion: 3 Skills Ancient Rhetoric Can Teach Us

Often we hear about a new school of thought from the world of presentation skills or public speaking. Experts in the art of persuasion seem to regularly unearth new and innovative ways of doing things that we’ve never heard of before. However these ‘new’ ways of thinking can often take the core of their teaching from innovators that have come before. Long before!

The art of persuasion

 

 

Throughout history speakers have employed a variety of basic skills when addressing the structure and effectiveness of their communications.  Great orators like Cicero, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr., and even Hitler.  They all had similar characteristics and structures when crafting their messages.  

So, what are these similar characteristics?

 

Thousands of years ago, the Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle identified these three areas of rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, as ETHOS, PATHOS, and LOGOS.  Famous and effective communicators have used these elements of rhetoric time and time again to persuade and win over their audiences.

 

Aristotle defined rhetoric as “…the faculty of discovering, in any particular case, all of the available means of persuasion.”  He believed that you need all the means of persuasion to get people to trust you and advocated using all three of his main elements of rhetoric to do the job.

 

1. ETHOS or ‘Argument By Character’

Ethos uses the speaker’s personality, reputation, and ability to look trustworthy in order to persuade.  It embodies goodwill, sincerity, credibility, commonality, and praise.  ETHOS is used in advertisements all the time to establish credibility.  For example, a car company stating that they’ve won safety awards for their cars.  This shows overall virtue of the speaker and good will towards the audience.  John F. Kennedy uses this to great effect in his inaugural speech in 1961.

 

2. PATHOS or ‘Argument By Emotion’

Pathos is the appeal to an audience’s sense of identity, self-interest, or sentiments.  This involves contrast, energeia (vivid experience, making someone feel in the moment, feel what you feel), and emotion control.  A great example of PATHOS is Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream…’ speech where he appeals to morals and human qualities common to us all. Humour can also be an effective form of persuasion here.  It calms people down and creates common ground with an audience on an intuitive level.

 

3.LOGOS or ‘Argument By Logic’

Logos persuades by making a reasonable claim and offering proof in support of that claim.  Here we use the power of story, framing ideas, and proof.  Concession can be an important tool of LOGOS as you use your opponent’s argument to your own advantage; by conceding the validity of your opponent’s argument, you show you are listening and seeing their side.

 

One of the most poignant examples of using all three of these disciplines for persuasion is in children’s television’s Fred Rogers’ (Mister Rogers) appeal to the U.S. senate committee. In an attempt to save PBS’ 20 million dollar annual funding when it was in danger of being slashed in half in 1969.  Mr Rogers faced one of the toughest most cynical senators on the committee and won.

 

 

Scottish philosopher David Hume recognised that you can never change someone’s mind in an argument with just reasoning and logic.  In his view, we are animals primarily motivated and influenced by our intuitions and emotions.  The majority of our convictions don’t actually come from facts.  

 

Human reasoning is a servant to intuition

Arguments  – Dance Not War

In Western culture we often treat or frame arguments like fights or like war.  We attack our opponent’s positions and defend our own.  We gain and lose ground.  

George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist, suggests that a more appropriate and conducive analogy is that of a dance.  In this metaphor, we reach out to a person, we are opposites but we work together, we are cooperating.  The argument becomes more about agreement than disagreement.  

 

We don’t enter into an argument with someone unless we have some common interest with them to begin with. Instead of a war between good and evil, we can begin to think about rhetoric and persuasion as a dance between mutually interested groups.  

When we fight, it is about winning.  When we argue, it’s about winning over.  “A fight never persuades, it only inspires revenge or retreat.  An argument gets people to do what you want – it’s a means to a solution.” ( Jay Heinrichs, Thank You For Arguing)

 

Next time you craft a presentation, keep in mind the three areas of persuasion

 

ETHOS, PATHOS, AND LOGOS are passed down to us from the ancients and used by our greatest orators.  Look to win over, not just win.  Dance, don’t fight.  It just might give you the edge in winning over your audience.

 

“ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We have worked with leading Irish and international companies and executives. Contact us for details on our range of  corporate/private voice, executive presence and presenting programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”

info@confidentspeak.com

www.confidentspeak.com

☎ +35319696056

 

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