engage & influence

Learn How To Own Your Vocal Stage Even In A Virtual Setting : Register Here

engage & influence

Image courtesy of Rawpixal

Have you always wanted vocal presence and the ability to really engage and influence your audience?

Well, where ever you are in the world and from the comfort of you own home you can learn how now!

Join a small online community of 6 to 8 people in a series of intensive sessions designed to instantly improve your face to face and virtual communications. 

Consciously using your voice & body as effective communication tools will help you to achieve vocal presence. It is a skill and like all skills it can be taught, learned and practised to become so much better!

By simply controlling your voice and physical presence deliberately you can have greater influence over your audience and engage them more effectively

If you could achieve vocal presence and engage and influence people more effectively, what would that mean for you personally? What would it mean for your career?

The course is divided into 3 short intensive virtual group sessions followed by 2 individual and bespoke 121’s 

Group Session Dates

June 26 – 10.00 – 11.30 

June 29 – 10.00 – 11.30

July  1   – 10.00 – 11.30

You will learn how to be an engaging, authentic and influential speaker and what you need to change in your own style in order to achieve this.

Learn stage performance techniques, used by the world’s most respected performers (honed for the business executive). We can help transform your credibility and confidence.

Register here

With Great Posture Comes Great Presentation!

“With Great Posture comes Great Presentation”*

 said Voltaire *almost

For a great presentation, great posture and body language are imperative. 

Ideally, we want to portray a more confident, more measured and more approachable presence when speaking or giving a presentation. 

Here is how and why with great posture, comes great presentation.

So here are 4 tips to improve your presentation skills, with Posture and Body Language

1  Posture 

Your posture affects your voice. So before you begin, here are 6 ways to perfect your posture for speaking

*Depending on whether you are standing or sitting

  • Standing – plant your feet parallel, hipbone width apart and think Tall and Open
  • Sitting – sit squarely on your set feet planted slightly apart and hands resting comfortably
  • Spine straight and neither slumped nor rigid
  • Work tension out of the shoulders and the neck area.
  • Swing the arms – this is an important area, because we want them relaxed
  • Smile and open the jaw – soften your jaw

 

2  Use your Head

Face your audience, eyes front.

What we are looking for here is openness, to be on the same level as your audience and to be approachable. 

Often used when listening to somebody,  is the 45 degree angle. (think of your posture when taking questions from your audience)

This unintentionally comes across as superiority with an unapproachable air.

The Mona Lisa is a perfect example of this, does she have an air of engagement, is she ready to listen? Is she open and approachable? Certainly not!

how not to look at your audience!

 

3  Straighten up!  

It’s something most of us will have been told at some point, yet it’s something many of us fail to do when we present.

Here’s where posture comes into play again.

A straight back and a tall posture helps you to project your voice and confidence.

Hunching your shoulders, in contrast, can make you look withdrawn and lacking in confidence.

When we feel low, we often hunch our shoulders.We feel vulnerable and we retreat into ourselves.

We feel small.

On the other hand, when we feel jubilant, we leap in the air with outstretched arms.

We feel tall.

Take this feeling into your presentations.

Stand up tall with a straight back, You’ll look confident, positive and approachable.

Stanford Graduate School of Business provide an interesting talk on how to Make Body Language Your Super Power

 

 

4 Uncross everything!

Why do we sometimes cross our legs when standing up to give a presentation?

 

 

*We feel it’s a more comfortable way of standing.

*We’re nervous.

*We’re completely unaware of the fact we’re crossing our legs.

Perhaps all three.

The problem is that it’s giving a signal to the audience that we feel uncomfortable presenting. Body language and good posture are vital to a good presentation.

Take a close look at the picture above, though smiling, her arms are as close to her body as possible and her legs are crossed.

Does she look confident and open?

The audience wants to feel that it’s in capable hands – and they’re only going to feel that if you uncross your legs and stand up straight, with great posture and body language.

 

When you hold yourself confidently, the audience will feel that confidence – and naturally believe in you.

 

Engage your audience

Secrets To Engage Your Audience In Online Communications

There is no question that these are extraordinary times when it comes to business communications.

If you are one of the millions of people currently working from home then chances are, you are regularly trying to engage your audience via telephone and video conference

Here are a few tricks and tips that will help you to engage your audience, keep their attention, and be more successful in your online negotiations and meetings.

Engage Your Audience With Great Vocal Presence

As we take our meetings and communications online, great vocal skills and techniques are more important than ever.  Why? Our attention span is pretty short. If you want to engage your audience and keep them listening, you need to keep their ears busy.

Use the power of pause and give them a break every now and then.

We can’t take in too much information at once so pause take a breath, and then move onto the next piece of content. This way your audience gets bite sized pieces of information they can digest and process more easily.

Slow down and to engage your audience and keep them with you.

It’s so easy to start motoring through your information so you can get it over with, and move on to the next call or meeting. But remember: If you lose your audience because you’re going too fast, they won’t hear most of what you’re saying.

Speak clearly and use articulation to emphasise key power words and phrases.

When you speak clearly, you will engage your audience more easily and come across as smarter. It’s one of those psychological phenomena. When you articulate your words, you are perceived as more intelligent. Bill Gates demonstrates this in his recent Zoom TEDtalk about the Corona Virus.

 

 

Why Your Physical Presence Matters

Online meetings follow the same presence rules as face to face. Remember,you are still having a conversation so be just as clear and confident physically as you would in the office or around the conference table.

How you stand, sit, and use your body effects not only how you look but also how you feel and interact with your audience. When you’re on a video conference call people can see how you are sitting and they can see your body language. This effects how you engage your audience.

Sit in a grounded and centred way

Sitting in a grounded, centred way will help you to both feel and look more alert, awake and professional. This in turn tells the audience you are ready to listen and respond. Remember it’s all about the audience! So, make them feel like the most important person on the call with a strong, open, grounded posture.

Make eye contact and use your hands too

Use your hands when you talk, as you would normally in a conversation. Eye contact, use of hands, and movement are ways you can engage your audience by making an emotional connection.

Know Your Tech To Engage Your Audience

There are lots of online tools used for business communications these days but my personal favourite is Zoom. It has sharing and screen options that make it perfect for calls where it’s essential to engage your audience. It’s worth mastering what ever tool you use before you those high stakes meetings and negotiations.

Prepare Your Screen Self

  • Make sure you are framed properly on screen and have a clean, neutral wall behind you.
  • Are you wearing a colour that contrasts with your background or blends in?
  • Do you get lost amidst clutter and lots of busy colours behind you?
  • Are you lit properly so the camera can see you?

Show up prepared, polished, and professional and you’re more likely to engage your audience and use everyone’s time well.

Prepare Your Tech

  • Test out your sharing toggles and make sure you have any slides, word files, or videos cued up before you go on the call.
  • Be prepared, set up your visuals, and practice with the Zoom tools before you go into the meeting. This way you won’t waste time or be fumbling around for files while you’re on the call.
  • If you’re hosting the meeting then login ahead of schedule so you are ready for when people join
  • If you are joining a meeting, join ahead of time or be ready to jump in as soon as it start

Make sure you click ‘leave meeting’ and/or ‘end meeting for all’ at the end of your meeting!

There have already been many videos posted of disastrous (albeit hilarious:) results when a video conference meeting finishes and people leave their camera running by accident. Don’t become one of them!

 

 

 

 

Be Your Own Best Teacher

SO. In this online and virtual business world that many of us have been thrust into, take up the challenge to engage your audience and practice a few basic skills that will help you stand out from the crowd. Learn and implement physical and vocal skills that will help keep your audience’s attention and master the basics of Zoom.

A little practice goes a long way. Learning and implementing online meeting skills that engage your audience will set you up for success in the present and in future online communications to come.

Performance Nerves
How To Cope If You Suffer From Crippling Performance Nerves Like Adele

In an interview with Rolling Stone Adele admitted that she suffers so much from nerves that she actually gets physically sick before nearly every concert “One show in Amsterdam, I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit,”

So how does she go on? How does she perform on stage night after night? The answer is simple; she has learned to manage her nerves!  – “I try to bust jokes…my nerves don’t really settle until I’m offstage”

 

Performance Nerves

Courtesy of Pictures In Stiches

 

Overcoming the physical symptoms of performance nerves can be very difficult but the good news is,  it can be controlled both by managing your expectations and by using your nervous energy to your advantage

In fact, here at ConfidentSpeak, if a client says that they never experience presentation nerves we tend to worry!  Being over-confident can often translate to a boring, uninspiring and disconnected presenter.

 

5 Reason Why Nerves Are Key To A Good Performance

 

1. Nerves Means This Is Important To You

Very often people perceive nerves as a weakness, But what if we think about this differently? Lets  flip this on its head and think about nerves in a completely the opposite way?

What if nerves are not a weakness, but a sign that what you are doing is important to you.

Think about the last job interview or presentation you had. If you were nervous, you also probably had a clear focus, a drive to succeed and a clear intention. That counts for a lot.

 

2. Nerves Mean You Will Strive To Be The Best You Can Be

Nerves mean the stakes are high and you don’t want to screw it up.

Being nervous will remove complacency. If the stakes are high you will prepare with more focus, you will rehearse more, you will put in the graft, you will give your all to the preparation.

What happens then? You will reap the rewards!

A healthy dose of nerves will keep you on your toes, keep you focused and ultimately lead to a better presentation.

 

3. Nerves Can Help You Realise Your True Potential

When we try new things, when we make changes, we will always experience nerves – but if we don’t try new things, we will never know what we’re really capable of in life.

Here’s the thing. People who do the same thing every day, who are afraid to try new things probably do not suffer from nerves. They don’t experience nerves because they never actually challenge themselves

Feeling nervous is a sign that we’re actually living life to the fullest and that has to be worth something!

 

4. It’s Not Nerves, It’s Excitement!

Would you believe anxiety and excitement are not that dissimilar on a physiological level? It’s true!

The heart pounds faster, cortisol surges, and the body prepares for action in both cases. Our brain can very quickly switch between both.

Harvard Business School psychologist Alison Wood Brooks has researched what is known as “anxiety reappraisal”

“If we’re nervous about performing but choose to consciously re-frame nerves as excitement instead of anxiety or fear” she says “our performance can be improved”

Excitement suggests there is something to look forward to, whereas anxiety suggests it’s something to be feared.

So if we start putting a positive association with those physical feelings (heart pounding, palms sweating), we will no longer fear our presentation, but will present better as a result.

Instead of attempting to calm down our nerves we should be harnessing them. It takes practice but it’s certainly an interesting challenge to explore.

 

5. Nerves Enhance Your Performance

Alison Woods set participants in her study a series of tasks which would make most people nervous. The participants were then told to either say “I am anxious,” “I am excited,” or nothing before they completed the task The “excited” participants not only felt more excited, and they also performed better

With nerves, the adrenaline gives you a boost of energy. Actors use the adrenaline rush to take their performances to a higher level. This can be seen in their physical and vocal delivery – presenters can also harness this.

 

The day I lose my stage-fright is the day I will stop acting.
Sir Laurence Olivier

 

Conclusion: Embrace the Butterflies!

 

There is nothing wrong with having butterflies in your stomach, provided you make them fly in formation

Jon Jones

 

Nerves certainly mean an element of discomfort but if we are able to keep ourselves from turning our focus in on ourselves, then nervousness can be a helpful tool.

Focusing on your surroundings and your audience during a presentation, rather than on the thoughts inside you, is the key.

 

And the final word goes to the Lady herself

 

 

Christmas

A Christmas Message From The ConfidentSpeak Crew!

It’s our favourite time of year again and as the CS team wrap things up for Christmas (both literally and figuratively speaking:)  we’d like to take a moment to say to all of our clients, Thank You For Choosing Us And Making Us Part Of Your Journey!

We feel privileged to work with people, every day, who make our job so interesting; and who make what we do so very worthwhile!

So whether you’ve worked with us in the past, are considering working with us in the future, or are just shooting the breeze browsing our blog; we would like to wish you all a Wonderful Christmas And A Peaceful New Year 2020!

Ps In keeping with CS tradition, here is one of our favourite Irish Christmas adverts. Check out the vocal delivery!

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

Harness your presentation nerves

Presentation Nerves Or Excitement In Camouflage? 5 Ways To Use Nerves To Your Advantage

Have you ever sat there before a presentation and felt so nervous that your stomach is like a washing machine, and you wish the fire alarm would go off so you don’t have to open your mouth?  Well you are not alone.  Presentation nerves affect almost everyone who has ever stood up to give a speech […]

physical presence

Trust Your Body: Physical Presence Is Key To Great Communication

physical presence

We’ve all felt that surge of panic or anxiety when standing up in front of a group of people, about to talk. Your body is smart, it reacts to stress, panic, or fear and tells you that something is way out of your normal, daily realm of existence. So how do we turn this around so that what the audience see is a composed presenter oozing  physical presence;

 

‘Yikes, I am not in Kansas anymore’ 

Public speaking – like physical training and sport – requires training and practice; You need to put in the time if you want to take advantage of those speaking  opportunities when they come up and really knock it out of the park so you get the result you want.  

 

So where to start? The answer lies in our Physical Presence

Our physical presence is one big piece of the presentation skills puzzle. Combined with vocal presence, it helps establish an emotional connection with the audience along with the words we say. In this, our first of two Amy Cuddy TED Talks, Amy speaks about the impact our body language has on our chances for success.

Listen To Your Gut

We’ve all been guided by our ‘gut instinct’ at some point and with good reason. Our bodies are intricately and acutely sensitive to how we react to the outside world. The brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of Neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback.  

Most of the time we make decisions from our brain, our intellect, and forget about what the ‘other brain’- our gut, is telling us.  Have you ever felt ‘butterflies’ in your stomach?  The ones you might feel when you’re in the first stages of  love or attraction?  We feel the same butterflies when we’re nervous of a talk we’re about to give.  So the next time you’re stuck when you’re preparing a presentation, ask yourself, ‘What do I really want to talk about? What is my gut saying?’.

 

What Do You Want Them To Feel?

The impact of non-verbal messages are much stronger than words because the audience remembers them more and for longer.  So, ask yourself what you’ve seen recently that made a speaker memorable?  Was it the words they said or how they made you feel?  Remember, what you feel up there as a presenter is what the audience gets.  It’s like a mirror: What you feel, they feel.  If you want the audience to feel excited, then find a way to manifest that in your own body.  If it’s happy, then embody happiness.

 

Fake It Till You Become It

We’ve all heard the old adage ‘Fake it till you make it’, but it’s actually ‘Fake it till you become it’.  Amy Cuddy did another TED Talk about physical indicators and gives scientific evidence supporting the theory that what we do physically effects how we feel.  For example, smiling instantly makes us feel better.  Even if it’s a fake smile manufactured by holding a pen between our teeth, we still get a release of positive energy.  On the other side, slouching can make us feel defeated or depressed. Standing in a grounded, aligned posture with shoulders relaxed, feet hip width apart, and chest open elicits feelings of confidence and positivity and you will immediately exude physical presence

 

See It And Feel It

Michael Phelps won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics because he was able to complete his heat without being able to see.  His goggles filled up with water and he couldn’t see where he was going but because he had visualised that race over and over beforehand, he knew every stroke before he even got into the pool.  This helped him be prepared for anything and when he couldn’t see, he didn’t panic.  

In your preparation for a speech or presentation, sit down and breathe, close your eyes and see yourself giving your presentation See the room, feel where you’re going to move and when. See yourself smiling, see the audience. Go through every move so that when you actually present or go into the meeting, the situation is already familiar.

 

Prepare For Your Worst Case Scenario

This is a great one for dealing with nerves as well.  Think of your worst case scenario, ie. losing your place or not remembering what comes next. Imagine it happening, and list the things you can do to deal with that situation.  This way, if you feel prepared and can deal with the worst thing that could happen, then you be ready to handle anything else that comes along as well.  Remember, it’s okay to make a mistake! It won’t effect your physical presence, in fact audiences are known to respond well to vulnerability. It makes you seem more human and helps them to connect with you. 

Don’t wait until you step into the room for that high stakes meeting to prepare and put skills and techniques into place.  Implement small changes beforehand and as you practice and prepare and you’ll reap the benefits tenfold. You’ll establish physical presence from the offset, be more able to connect with your audience, share your ideas, and get the results you want.

 

“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 and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”

info@confidentspeak.com

www.confidentspeak.com

☎ +35319696056

 

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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

 

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(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