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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Strategies For Great Presentations

5 Strategies For Great Presentations Which Might Surprise You!

Strategies For Great PresentationsWhen I think back to my college days and my first presentations I remember one tutor very clearly and to this day he is my public speaking guru, he’s my ‘Tony Robbins’!  If it weren’t for Mr. Rutland, I wouldn’t have got the wake-up call I needed to get the focus of my presentation where it belonged:  Off me and on to my audience.  I want to share the strategies for  great presentations which I learnt from the wonderful Mr Rutland with you.

 

vocal skills

 

Here’s the scenario:  

I had to give a final presentation in one of my college courses.  I was acting and performing regularly so I figured I had a pretty good shot of dazzling my unprepossessing tutor.

Mr. Rutland patiently sat through my 15 minute presentation.  There were a lot of slick slides my friends had helped me with. I had some funny jokes, flashy body and hand movements, and a few sarcastic comments, all the bells and whistles!

When I finished, I was beaming, waiting for my tutor to tell me how brilliant I was.  He smiled, nodded, and then he said the words that would stay with me until today,

  ‘Stop trying to be interesting to the audience.  Be interested in the audience’

How could I have gotten it so wrong?  Wasn’t I entertaining, polished, and prepared?  Didn’t I do all the homework ?  

The answer is yes to all those, however I was missing

One fundamental truth that drives all the best speakers, speeches, and presentations:  It’s not about you.  It’s always about the audience.

So here are a few strategies for great presentations to help you to take your attention off yourself and focus it instead, on the audience during your next presentation or keynote.

 

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes

You need to ask the question your audience is asking themselves, ‘What’s in it for me?’.  Audiences consider their time important so they want to know it’s going to be well spent listening to you.  They want a reason to listen.  This is probably one of the most important strategies for great presentations, so PLEASE give it time and thought.  You have to give them that reason in the first 30 seconds or you’ll lose them.  Here’s where a strong ‘Hook’ comes in; have a strong hook right at the start and give them what they want – you tell them exactly why they should listen.

 

Great vocal delivery can make or break a presentation

Audiences are always looking for a reason to tune you out so don’t give them one.  By using vocal techniques and skills like pace, pause, pitch, volume, and articulation you can change up the audio and keep their ears interested.  These are the pallet of colours and textures you have to create great vocal delivery and they work, so it’s worth learning, practicing, and using them.

 

Make eye contact – make them the centre of your universe

Audience’s love to feel like they’re the center of attention so show them that they are the centre of your universe for those minutes by making eye contact.  By using eye contact, open body posture, or hand gestures you can make an emotional connection with your audience that will keep them listening.  

 

This TEDTalk from Daniel Levitin is an example of good eye contact

 

Never underestimate the power of a smile 

Smiling makes you feel good and tells your audience you are happy to be there.  It has to be more than just words so face them, connect with them, and show them through your delivery how important they are.

 

What do they know and what do they feel?

When you begin to map out your presentation (and you should do this before you even look at Powerpoint) ask yourself these questions:

(1) What does your audience know before you present and what do they feel?  

(2)What do you want them to know and want them to feel afterwards?  

This will help form the framework for a presentation that engages them.

This, along with a good, strong hook, will create the bones of a presentation that puts your audience’s needs first.

 

Remember the word GENEROSITY

When you get nervous and feel that urge to start ‘performing’ or even worse run away, just remind yourself of one thing:  

“it’s not about you.  It’s all about the audience.  Whew!”

Take the pressure off yourself.  How generous can you be with the information you have to give?  How can you be of service to your audience in that moment?  Take the focus off you and turn it instead, on to what you can do for your audience.  

Audiences don’t want to do any work, they want you to take them by the hand and show them how important they are and all the great stuff they’re going to get out of your presentation.  They want to feel good after you leave the stage.  They want to get the sense that their time was well spent.

 

So remember, take the spotlight off yourself and turn it on the most important people in the room:  Your audience.  Through great delivery, give them a reason to listen:  Look and sound confident and engaged, get into your audience’s mindset and do your homework on who they are and what their challenges might be, and above all be generous.  If you remember it’s always about the audience, you’re halfway there to a knock out delivery that will get you the results you want and keep everyone wanting to hear just a little bit more.

Confident Speak is a Presentation, Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We have worked with leading Irish and international companies and executives.  

 

Contact us for details on how we can help you build great strategies for presentations.

t – +353 1 9696056

e – info@confidentspeak.com

w – www.confidentspeak.com

 

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Voice Coaching Techniques

Avoiding Death By Monotony: The 5 Key Business Presentation Skills You Need

We’ve all been there.  You’re sitting in the conference room for a business presentation and you start to nod off. You zone out, you’ve stopped listening to the person up at the top of the room giving the presentation. Here are five key business presentation skills you can learn so that you can captivate your audience of staff or potential clients when it’s your turn to give one.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Avoid Death by Monotony - Five Business Presentation Skills You Need

 

You know what a boring business presentation is like to sit through.

When the speaker’s voice has become so dull and annoying that it starts to sound like a mosquito buzzing in your ear.

But are you aware of the pitfalls so that you can avoid them next them you stand up to deliver a presentation?

Follow these five steps to avoid the Death by Monotony presentation.

First: How to Know What Makes a Boring Business Presentation

So what’s happening?

Most of the time this unfortunate situation arises because the presenter has fallen into the Monotony Trap.

They speak from one place in their voice in one rhythm and don’t vary either one at all, and this happens without them even knowing it.

Now, this could be someone your know. It could—let’s face it—even be you and you don’t even know it.

A monotone vocal delivery is one of the worst sins and most common mistakes you can make when it comes to public speaking. Luckily, there are lots of skills and voice coaching techniques you can implement to prevent it.

Here are just a few tips you can use to stay out of the monotony trap and keep your audience interested and engaged.

The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 1: Vary Your Pitch

Here’s one basic fact of physiology.

The ear needs to be entertained and kept interested

So first off, vary your pitch.

Pitch is your vocal range, it’s the movement in tone between the top of your vocal range and the bottom and everywhere in between. (We’ve written a whole article on pitch range and its importance here.)

As children, we naturally have a varied vocal range. As we learn to speak we explore the range of sound our voices can make.

Then as we grow older, something happens. We start to have opinions and start editing ourselves. We start to become self-conscious.

One big mistake we make is thinking that a deep, weighty, monotonous tone for credibility, maturity and gravity.

In short, we stop using the full range of our voices.

Experiment with your vocal range—it’s there for a reason. Remember that the ear needs to be entertained and kept interested so change it up, vary your tone, and use the full range of your vocal pitches.

Here’s a great example:

The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 2: Do Not Underestimate the Power Of Articulation & Pace

Next, make sure you’re articulating and speaking clearly and slowly.

It may seem obvious but do not underestimate the power of clarity.

We may have heard our message a hundred times but we forget our audience is hearing it for the first time. Everyone can afford to slow down their delivery.

We often rush and end up mumbling our words together because we want to get through the material as quickly as possible or are afraid of forgetting what we have to say next.

Think into your consonants, breathe, and you will slow down. This eliminates rushing and your audience will thank you for it.

The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 3: Use of Pause

Pause is perhaps the most effective and underused of voice coaching techniques.

Pause is powerful, so learn to understand and use the power of pause in public speaking.

Former US President Barack Obama is a good example of someone who uses pause well and often.

We can implement pauses to gain different effects.

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

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

When we use pause, we also vary the pace of our delivery. Varying our pace and using pause keeps the rhythm of our vocal delivery varied and keeps the ear from falling asleep.

The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 4: Volume & Breath

What’s one key objective that too few people think about in speaking.

The need to be heard!

When it comes to volume, this where breathing properly comes in handy.

If you are getting enough breath into your lungs, you won’t have to worry about being heard because your voice will be supported.

Remember, breath = fuel for the voice.

We’re not talking about shouting here.

There’s a big difference between having a supported, resonant sound that fills the space and shouting. The former is about generosity, the latter is unpleasant and off-putting.

The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 5: Make a Recording

Finally, record yourself.  Whether it’s your iPhone or your laptop, video taping yourself when you’re rehearsing has never been never easier.

It is the only way you can see exactly what you look like and sound like. More importantly it can help decide where you need to make changes.

You can also just use audio recording. Record just your voice and you will quickly know if you’ve fallen into the Monotony Trap!

Recap

When it comes to avoid the cardinal errors that add up to a boring business presentation, remember that language has music.

It has texture, colour, contrast, light and shade to it. The sounds we make and how we make them is the starting point of communication.

So be bold, be courageous, and be inventive with how you create speech and sound.

You are a storyteller and the best storytellers are people who speak to you, engage you, and keep your attention.

By putting into practice just these few simple voice coaching techniques you can avoid the monotony trap. You can become a memorable, captivating and engaging speaker.

One who will keep your audiences awake and wanting more!

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

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Why breathing is important for presentations

Five Reasons Breathing Is The Number 1 Tool For Great Communication

When was the last time you thought about your breathing? This morning? Yesterday? How about “Not at all”? Well, if you’re like most people the answer is most likely the latter:  Not at all. If you’re keen to learn some techniques for great communication, here are five tips on breathing correctly to optimise your speaking, performance and leadership.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Breathing correctly is the most important thing for great communication

First off, if you don’t typically focus on breathing, don’t beat yourself up.

After all, it’s a pretty normal thing, because breathing is something our bodies do by themselves. It’s an involuntary function so whether or not we think about it, it happens anyway.

But I’m here to tell you that breathing is the number one tool for great communication, and spending the time to create good breathing habits and awareness will pay off in huge dividends in your meetings, speeches, and presentations.

Breathing is Vital for Great Communication

When it comes to your effectiveness as a speaker and communicator, good deep diaphragmatic breathing is your best friend.

Breathing is the one thing that voice coaches always, always, always bang on about!

We’re always trying to find new ways of telling you how important it is and what the benefits are of good, deep, diaphragmatic breathing.

And we tell you this with good reason.

Just look at the number of people who are taking yoga classes these days—it’s a revolution in mindfulness and deep breathing technique.

So What is Correct Breathing Anyway?

When you breathe from your belly, your lungs are expanding to their full capacity and the diaphragm, that dome shaped muscle at the bottom of your rib cage, moves down to allow the lungs to expand, and your belly moves out as a result.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a fancy term for breathing deeply from your belly, not high in your upper chest where your lungs are the smallest. Children breathe deeply and correctly from the womb, they don’t need to be taught.  It’s completely instinctual.

So if we know how to do it, then why don’t we do it?!

Typically, life happens!

We start dealing with fears and insecurities and this often manifests itself as tension in the body, resulting in shallower breathing.

As a result, we have to re-learn how to breathe naturally.

It is quite simple, but is it easy?

Actually, to do it effectively it takes practice.

Check out this video.

So why bother learning to breathe deeply and more naturally? What are the benefits of breathing correctly when it comes to speaking and presenting?

Actually, there are quite a few. Simple dedication to practising breathing correctly can ensure that you have great communication skills.

Breathing for Great Communication, 1: It’s Premium Fuel

Your voice needs fuel to perform at its best and breath is that fuel.

It supports the sound and helps to protect your voice from harm.

When you breathe deeply from the belly, you’re getting a bigger, higher quality of breath to fuel your vocal sound.

Breathing for Great Communication, 2: Think Clearly

Your brain needs fuel to run at its best too.

Good, deep breathing helps to get oxygen to the brain and supports clear thinking, so when you feel like you’re freezing or panicking because you can’t remember what comes next in your speech or presentation, take a moment to pause and breathe.

It gives you a moment to clear your head and remember the next thought.

Breathing for Great Communication, 3: Obey The Speed Limit

When we take time to pause and breathe, we automatically slow down our delivery.

Everyone, without exception, can afford to slow down. A good delivery pace gives both you and the audience time to breathe and process information.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

Breathing for Great Communication, 4: Keep It Grounded

Breathing down in your belly, or ‘chi’ centre – as it’s referred to in martial arts – helps to centre your energy and gives you a sense of being grounded and balanced.  When your energy is more grounded and balanced, you are able to be more present in the moment. Being more present in the moment means being more connected to our audience.

Breathing for Great Communication, 5: Fight Or Flight

Getting nervous is largely due to irrational fears and that ancient ‘fight or flight’ part of our brain that kicks in to save us from a situation that our brain perceive as threatening, ie. getting up in front of a bunch of people and speaking.  Conscious, deep breathing, tricks the brain into calming down. It sends the rest of your body the message that everything’s ok and there’s no need to panic.

Our bodies already know how to breathe properly; we’re just reawakening the muscle memory that becomes lost over many years of bad habits.

I could talk about the theories behind good breathing technique and the benefits from practicing it until the cows come home. Learning a few simple techniques and practicing them on a consistent basis is the only way to truly experience the treasure trove of benefits that good, centred breathing can bring to you as a speaker and communicator.

Small Changes Reap Huge Benefits

So, tomorrow when you’re going through your day just take a moment every now and then and check in with yourself;

Am I holding my breath?

Am I breathing?

And take a few deep breaths.

A wise man once told me:

Life is like breathing. If you try and hold it, you’ll lose it. But if you’re aware and let it come and go, you’ll always be connected to it.

When we are breathing we are more present in the moment. The more present we are, the more effective we are as communicators because we are able to connect more fully with our audience.

So start breathing. The results—such as great communication!—might surprise you!

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

Final Word from Max Strom

Watch this TEDx talk by Max Strom for even more

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Be tech savvy when it comes to presenting with technology

Five Musts to Avoid All Presenting with Technology Problems and Disasters

Presenting with technology such as slide decks (delivering presentations using the likes of PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi or Google Slides, for instance) affords us great freedom and creativity for memorable presentations. But it can also go horribly wrong. Here’s how to overcome the all the most common presentation technology hitches.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

presenting with technology - avoid all common technology problems

Do you rely on presenting with technology?

Have you ever had any of the following happen to you:

  • a microphone cut out at the beginning of your presentation
  • a PowerPoint slide deck suddenly freezes
  • A presentation clicker is “as dead as a mouse” and no use at all

If you’ve ever found yourself in any of the aforementioned situations, don’t worry. You’re not alone.   

Presenting with technology affords us great freedom and creativity these days when it comes to making memorable presentations. 

It can also go horribly wrong.

Check out this “worst nightmare” parody:

How to Avoid a Presenting with Technology Disaster

When you’re presenting with technology, there are a few things you can do ahead of your presentation to shrink the odds of something going wrong, so that you can head off disaster at the pass.

Here are a few tips you can use to help ensure a smooth, slick presentation delivery that hits a home run when you present with technology.

1. Tech check before you present (or face a tech wreck in your presentation!)

Always do a sound check and tech check.

Whether you’re introducing a colleague or giving a 1-hour presentation, always make time to get into the space and liaise with the sound engineer or organiser before people come into the room.

Check the following:

  • Is your presentation clicker is working?
  • Make sure the clicker batteries are fresh
  • Check online links and that WiFi is working
  • Are your PowerPoint slides working properly?
  • How are your microphone and levels?

Of course there’s always a chance things might go wrong even after all that careful planning but the chances are far, far less and you can feel confident that you’ve done all your homework.

2. Ask for what you need – if you don’t ask, you don’t get

Find out if you have a choice of microphone and ask for what you need.

Whenever possible, eliminate any obstacles that come between you and the audience, the most obvious one being the dreaded podium.  

There will be occasions where you won’t have a choice, such as awards ceremonies and dinner events where you will be expected to use the podium.

But if you have a choice, and you will have to ask sometimes, for presentations choose a lapel microphone, a hand-held microphone, or no microphone at all.

This will afford you freedom of movement and direct access to the audience.

3. Practice with your tech (or pay the price with your pride!)

This might seem obvious when it comes to preparation.

But do not underestimate the power of familiarity with your technology!

Especially when it comes to microphones and practising with your slide deck.

Practice your delivery using a surrogate hand-held microphone (a hair brush or even a serving spoon work in a pinch!), a microphone on a stand  or using no microphone at all (as you would with a lapel mic).  

It’s the simple act of imagining yourself in different situations that does the trick.

4. Do a “Recce”

When presenting with technology, in army-speak this is a “reconnaissance run”—checking out the landscape before executing the mission so there are no surprises.

In layman’s terms this means getting into the space you’ll be delivering in and getting the lay of the land before the actual event.

Some examples of things to think about during your “recce” mission.

  • Where you’ll be standing
  • Where the screen will be
  • How high the screen will be placed
  • How large the room is, so will you have to use a microphone or not
  • What will the lighting be like…?  

Basically, this is a chance for you to get all the information you can before the actual event.

Why?

The chance of success goes up, and the room for glitches goes down!

5. Have a Plan B (a.k.a. Prepare for the Worst!)

Some of the best presentations are just one person and a flip chart.

No matter what happens, the show must go on, right?

So have a plan of action ready if the worst case scenario occurs.

What about if the electricity goes out, or your laptop decides to pack it in?

Always, always, always have a hard copy of your slides or notes with you for every eventuality.

If you’ve prepared and know your content, you’ll be able to deliver your presentation no matter what fate throws at you.  And trust me, the audience will be with you every step of the way because we love an underdog.  

At the end of the day, failing to plan is planning to fail.

The Presenting with Technology Recap

No matter how much we check our technology is working, things may inevitably go awry. That’s just the nature of the beast.

So in order to reduce the chances of a major technological glitch affecting your big presentation, you need to be prepared.

When you plan ahead you’ll at least be ready to pick up the ball and run no matter what. 

  1. Do a “Tech Check” in advance
  2. Ask for what you need
  3. Practice with any technology involved
  4. Recce the room
  5. Have a Plan B  

Do your reconnaissance, practice, and plan for as many eventualities as you can and above all, Keep Calm And Carry On!

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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

 

Brene Brown an authentic speaker

With 32 Million Views Of Her TED Talk, We MUST Learn From Brene Brown About Becoming A Confident Presenter

Brene Brown is an Internet phenomenon. Her speeches have been viewed tens of millions of times on YouTube, TED and elsewhere online. But just what is it about Brene Brown that makes her talks so compelling? I want to share with you what can be learnt from her presenting style that will help you also become a confident presenter and perhaps transform how you approach your next presentation. Here we break down the key things to take away from Brene Brown’s confidence, to help you become a better speaker, presenter and communicator.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

How You Can Learn from Brene Brown's Confidence

 

Firstly, who is Brene Brown?

Brene Brown is a researcher of shame, vulnerability, courage and empathy.

Like, there’s not many of those people around, right?!

Her TED talk—The Power of Vulnerabilityis one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views.

She is also the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers.

But the real reason I’ve put this blog together is because Brown is a stunningly powerful presenter. Brene Brown’s confidence on stage is a sight to behold. Here we analyse why.

Brene Brown’s Confidence is Based on Wholehearted Living and Wholehearted Presenting

One important thing to know about Brown’s teachings is that she speaks about wholehearted living.

This roughly translates to:

By accepting vulnerability in our lives we can live more meaningful, more connected, successful lives.

Her research is based on following 10 guideposts which she urges us to practice daily.

But does she practice these guideposts when she speaks to her audiences?

In short, is Brene Brown a wholehearted presenter?  

The answer is “Hell Yes!”

And you can learn so much from her if you want to connect in an authentic way with your audience.

Let’s discuss a number of her 10 guideposts in the context of her presentation approach, so that you too can bring Brene Brown’s confidence into your own presentations.

Guidepost 1: Cultivating Authenticity– Letting go of what people think

‘‘To be willing to let go of who you think you should be,  to be able to connect” Brene Brown

Brown communicates with her audience as if she’s having a chat over coffee.

She talks in an authentic, conversational easy way.  She has the courage to be herself (in true Texan fashion), to “show up authentically”, no pretense, no facade.

To adopt Brene Brown’s confidence and become a more powerful, impactful, confident presenter, we need to let go of what others might think of us—our colleagues or managers.

You need to have the courage to show up for your presentation as your true self, not trying to be something you are not—this honesty connects powerfully with any audience.

Guideposts 2 & 3: Cultivating Self-Compassion– Letting go of perfectionism, and Cultivating A Resilient Spirit– Letting go of numbing and powerlessness

Brown’s TEDx talk—“The Power of Vulnerability”—was originally going to be named something like “Variables Mitigating Self Actualising”.

Which begs the question: why the change?

Well, how often do we intellectualise our language? Speaking in conceptual language stifles audiences.

Why do we do it?

In truth, we do it to protect ourselves, to appear like we are worthy and perfect. We put “armour” on—complex language, or a data dump on a PowerPoint slide—to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

We strip the humanness from our presentations, and this results in numbing and stifling both presenter and audience.  

By allowing self-compassion (as Brene does in her talks) we allow ourselves the permission to be imperfect in our presenting.  This allows us to show vulnerability, to show emotion when we speak, whether that’s fear, anger or asking for help if we need it. 

By allowing this self-compassion, a presenter becomes more resilient as a result.  And ultimately creates a more honest, authentic, stronger relationship with the audience.   

Guideposts 4 & 5:  Cultivating Gratitude and Joy—Letting go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark, and Cultivating Meaningful Work—Letting go of Self-Doubt

Brown refers to scarcity as a mindset of “never enough, never perfect enough, never relevant enough…” 

Many presenters live in constant scarcity, or what some people might recognise as “imposter syndrome”.

Brown admits to working daily to overcome her scarcity self-talk and to conquer her “imposter syndrome”.

Moving from “I am not worthy” to I am worthy and enough. In the context of becoming a confident presenter, we need to let go of our scarcity self-talk.  This is a huge factor to overcoming fear/lack of confidence when presenting.

Guidepost 6: Cultivating Creativity – “Stories are just data with a soul”

One of the most striking things about Brown is the skill with which she weaves years of research with her personal, vulnerable, honest stories—both funny and painful.  

 I just love the quote: “Stories are just data with a soul.”

The vulnerability in her stories, metaphors and analogies resonate very strongly with her audience.  

Stories help audiences to remember important points and they also build that important empathy with listeners.

In order to connect with audiences, there needs to be a balance of Evidence-Based-Content (Head content) mixed with emotive content (Heart content). Brown achieves this balance perfectly.  This results in a fully engaged audience when presenting.

Throwing data coldly at audiences will numb them, and yet we see this all the time.

So I strongly encourage you on your journey be becoming a confident presenter that you close your laptop, get pen and paper out or go for a walk.

Get creative, brave, and playful with your presentation content. This is powerful and I would say mandatory to fully engage your audiences.

Guidepost 8:  Cultivating Calm and Stillness

This one is, I believe, absolutely essential to becoming a confident presenter.

Listen to Brene Brown speak (I’ve included the videos at the bottom).

There is no rush, no anxiety, no sense of urgency. She pauses, to think and reflect.

Now this is confident presenting.

She’s not distracted with whatever content is coming next. She’s not worried about “getting through” her content. She remains present with what she is speaking about.

Of course she has researched and prepared her talk.

But she is also a big believer in the power of meditation and the importance of breathing, and we experience this as she speaks.  Working to understand the role breath plays is vital to help connect with both our content and our audience.

Guidepost 10: Cultivating Laughter, Play, Intuition, Trust – Letting go Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Brown has fun in her presentations, and as a result the audience has fun.

She laughs at her stories, she laughs at herself!

Whilst her content is grounded in strong evidence, she allows herself not to take herself too seriously.

She doesn’t rely heavily on a script or slides, and she reacts to her audience’s reactions throughout.  She “lets go of total control and certainty” – not totally but just enough!

Conclusion: How to Gain Confidence from Wholehearted Presenting

Implementing all of this in your own talks, speeches and presentations is easier said than done, of course, but as we’ve seen from Brown, weaving personal stories through your talks certainly makes it easier.  

To reach the level of confidence embodied by Brene Brown requires preparation, practice and BRAVERY, but when achieved it will totally captivate an audience.

All 10 of Brene Brown’s guideposts encourage us to show vulnerability in some way.

As a presenter in a corporate context, this requires immense bravery.  This bravery will ultimately give you a deep sense of connection with both your message and with your audience.

I strongly encourage you to explore wholehearted presenting if you want to become a confident presenter.

It really does work.

Watch Brene Brown’s confidence at first hand in her two most lauded TED talks below – “The Power of Vulnerability”, and “Listening to Shame”

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

The Real King's Speech Techniques for Breathing and Speaking

The Real King’s Speech Techniques: What You Can Learn About Breath and Speaking

The movie The King’s Speech won so many awards and so many admirers when it arrived in cinemas. But what can you learn about speaking from the real King’s Speech techniques? Read on for more.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

The Real King's Speech techniques for breathing and speaking

A few years back I watched a documentary, which looked at the true story behind one of my favourite movies, The King’s Speech.

Winner of a host of awards, the critically acclaimed The King’s Speech highlights the inspiring story of Prince Albert (later to become King George VI) struggle to overcome his crippling stammer.

Prince Albert suffered with a nervous stammer from childhood and prior to his succession to the throne, his wife Elizabeth, sought the help of Lionel Logue, an Australian Speech Therapist practicing in London.

Albert was at first rather reluctant, but he began seeing Logue and partaking in his then perceived, unorthodox training, and his speech, gradually, improved.

Logue and the Prince (and later King) maintained a strong bond and Logue was present in the room to provide support for the King’s important wartime address to the British people in September 1939.

 

I remember that it stuck me at the time (and this was very evident from the documentary I watched) how vital was the importance of correct breathing in helping “Bertie” to overcome his stammer.

When he had control of his stammer he was described as having gravitas, with a slow paced, clear and articulate style.

As a voice coach, the importance of breathing is a constant focus of my training in helping to establish composure and confidence.

Five Important Points About Breath from the Real King’s Speech Techniques:

1. Awareness: Breath = Voice, so make sure that you are aware of your breathing.

2. Support: Breath is your key support for the voice.

3. Warm up: Always warm up first and make sure you are breathing deeply to support the sound. (Read this article on warming up your voice for every talk, speech or presentation.)

4. Breathe correctly: Breathe properly and into the centre of your body, and not your chest. (Read here for more on breathing properly)

5. Take a moment: Take the time to relax the body, and to concentrate on breathing.

Read More About the Importance of Breathing for Great Communications

Read our in-depth blog on the importance of breathing correctly for great public speaking here.

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

King George’s speech from September 3rd 1939

Why not take a moment to listen to Bertie himself in action.

Executive presentation skills

Communicate with Credibility & Confidence with our Vocal Presence Open Programme

Would you like to be able to communicate with credibility and confidence? Imagine instantly improving any presentation or speech. Our Vocal Presence Programme is designed to help you do just that. Read on for more.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Imagine yourself instantly improving any pExecutive presentation skills - How to communicate with credibilityresentation or speech, simply by you controlling your voice deliberately and then imagine consciously using your voice as an effective communication tool is a skill.

With time and experience, we have developed an Open Vocal Presence Programme to address key challenges faced by executives.

Is This For Me?

Do you feel your voice and manner of speaking is holding you back?

Is your normal style of speech too fast, too garbled or too monotone to carry effectively?

Do you struggle to hold audience attention when you present?

Do you have an accent that others find difficult to understand?

Do you find yourself being asked to repeat what you just said frequently?

Do you wish to work on these skills away from your colleagues but in a group environment?

If you have answered yes to any of those questions, then this is definitely for you.

What Can I Expect?

Using time-honoured techniques from the performing arts and honed for the business executive, we can transform your credibility and confidence.

Using tools such as video and audio recordings, our vocal experts coach you in using all these techniques to gain the results you want.

You will learn to understand what makes a confident and engaging voice, and what you need to change in your own style in order to achieve this.

What Does The Vocal Presence Open Programme Cover?

The Open Programme includes all of the following:

  • Understanding how to use your voice to its full potential, with work on posture, breath and tension release and resonance
  • When and how to use your voice strategically for emphasis, through work on volume, pitch range and inflection
  • Understanding and learn to build emotional connection with your listeners
  • Pace and Timing – keep them on the edge of their seats! and instill credibility
  • “The Power of the Pause” to ensure your audience hears your message—clearly!
  • How to sound instantly more credible with work on articulation

How Does It Work?

  • Intensive one-day event
  • Small number of participants (6/7 max) to allow for practical application
  • Receive professional feedback on your current style from a vocal expert

How to Apply?

Because we just accept a small number of attendees, so contact us now to ensure your place, this event always fill up super fast.

Click this link for more details on the Confident Speak Vocal Presence Open Programme

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

Desert Island Discs

Six Reasons Desert Island Discs Is A Masterclass In Great Communication

Communication masterclassWant to be educated, inspired, humbled and entertained—all while listening to great music? The BBC radio series Desert Island Discs is simply great listening. It is also fruitful learning ground for anyone keen in the art and science of exceptional communication.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

 

I tend to be in my car a lot.

When I am, there is nothing, in my opinion, better than downloading a few podcasts of Desert Island Discs to engage me for an hour. (I have to confess, recently it’s even replacing my bed time reading!)

What makes Desert Island Discs so good?

Below are three reasons I think it’s a perfect place to study perfect communication skills—and be entertained while you’re doing so!—and three examples of phenomenal Desert Island Discs interviews.

Three Reasons Desert Island Discs is Such a Good Study Guide for Top-Class Communication

 

1. The Quality of the Presentation and Communication

I’m in the communications business, and Desert Island Discs stands out because it boasts both a great presenter (currently Kirsty Young) and many, many fantastic guests who virtually always prove themselves to be exceptional communicators.

I’ve just listened to the interview with Dame Judi Dench—I’ve laughed, cried and been awestruck all in 35 minutes!

2. Desert Island Discs is a Wonderful Escape

The premise of the programme is a well known person is “cast away to desert island”.  They are required to choose eight discs to bring with them (they also bring with them the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, but that’s another story).

It’s been airing for over 75 years (they even referred to gramophones in the early days of broadcast) and we hear from a diverse spectrum of “castaways”—actors, musicians, artists, politicians, sports people,  business people and everyone in between.

3. It is a Masterclass in Interviewing Skills

Kirsty Young is the current presenter of the show and she’s a great communicator in her own right.

She gives a masterclass in interviewing—excellent listening skills, empathy and interest.

Her vocal delivery is just wonderful, so pure, and for this alone it’s worth listening to the show. Her clarity, calm and resonant quality, all whilst retaining her Scottish accent.  She is Britain’s favourite female radio voice, after all.

Young is genuinely interested in every “castaway” and she wants to get the very best from the interview.

She is also brave,  in that she delves into peoples lives to ask the often difficult questions.

Three of the Best Desert Island Discs Interviews

1. Stephen Fry

2. Ed Sheeran

3. John Cleese

Still Want More Desert Island Discs?

Here is the link to the celebration of 75 years of Desert Island Discs.

It takes us through 75 years of history, politics, business, showbiz and sport. It’s wonderful to hear the different accents, the voices, music.

Now sit back, have a listen, and enjoy. (And also learn and put what you into practice, because as we like to say, presentation skills are a muscle that benefit from constant work.)

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

presentation nerves

4 Ways To Harness Presentation Nerves And Make Them Work To Your Advantage

presentation nervesThere is endless advice available on how to overcome presentation nerves.

For many people fear of speaking in public ranks higher than fear of spiders or even death.

The problem – according to Jeremy Jamieson, psychology professor at the University of Rochester – is that we tend to think all nerves and stress is bad.

“Before speaking in public, people often interpret stress sensations, like butterflies in the stomach, as a warning that something bad is about to happen”.

Jamieson goes on to say “But those feelings just mean that our body is preparing to address a demanding situation, The body is marshalling resources, pumping more blood to our major muscle groups and delivering more oxygen to our brains.”

How our body reacts to social stress is exactly the same ‘flight or fight’ response it produces in response to actual physical danger.

The good news is that we can actually use these responses to help us perform. So if presentation nerves raise their head here are some ways to use it to your advantage

 

Get Your Preparation In Early

Don’t wait until a few days before your talk to get started. Allow those presentation nerves spur you into action and seize the earliest opportunity to prepare

Know Your Content

Presentation nerves are more likely to kick in if you are not fully confident in out content. Make sure you thoroughly understand your topic. Understand the stats, what they mean, what call to action they suggest .

Practice Your Delivery

Rehearse your talk out loud as often as you can and record it. Then you can both see and hear how you come across and make any changes necessary.

Prepare Your Answers

Being put on the spot can be a nerve wrecking experience. Make a list of likely questions you’ll receive, and prepare your answers. If you don’t know the answer to a question don’t be afraid to say something like ‘I’ll need to get back to you on that’

Remember that even the most consummate and experienced performers experience performance nerves, so don’t let them cripple you. Instead let them keep you sharp!

 

“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

 

You might also enjoy these…

 

 https://www.confidentspeak.com/first-impressions-5-ways-to-grab-your-audience-before-you-say-a-word/

 

https://www.confidentspeak.com/imagine-understanding-the-simple-art-of-persuasion-3-skills-ancient-rhetoric-can-teach-us/