https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/unnamed.jpg355497Roisin Walshhttps://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngRoisin Walsh2020-04-21 14:27:042020-04-21 15:09:04With Great Posture Comes Great Presentation!
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.
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/pexels-photo-3987034.jpeg333500Maria Teccehttps://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngMaria Tecce2020-04-01 15:44:142020-04-03 12:12:03Secrets To Engage Your Audience In Online Communications
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Olivia-1-1.jpg503800Olivia MacDonnellhttps://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngOlivia MacDonnell2019-07-10 17:22:112019-07-12 13:11:23Women in Sales Summit London 2019 - "Own Your Space" - Engage with Presence
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 upMalcolm 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Laughter.jpg57314506adopt15https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngadopt152019-05-21 13:05:032019-05-23 10:32:096 Presentation Techniques You Can Learn From Comedians To Keep Your Audience Engaged
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.
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’
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.
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Mark 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.
“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.”
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/5-canons.jpg7681024adopt15https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngadopt152019-03-25 15:58:362019-03-25 15:58:36Cicero' s 5 Canons Of A Great Speech Still Relevant? Try Them To Help Banish Presentation Nerves
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/stage-lights-Copy.jpg37445616Olivia MacDonnellhttps://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngOlivia MacDonnell2019-01-21 14:43:232019-03-12 12:29:05How to "Own Your Space" - Engage & Influence with Presence When Speaking
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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.”
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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
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!
ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.
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