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. Itt 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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handling questions after presentation

How to Answer a Tricky Question During the Dreaded Presentation Q & A

When you’re giving a presentation, it’s probably fair to say that few people really relish the question time at the end. So when it comes to how to answer a tricky question during the presentation Q & A, what’s the best approach? How should you handle it? There’s really only one proven way.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Presentation Q & A: How to Answer a Tricky Question

I was flicking around Quora recently, the question and answer website where one often comes across a brilliant question and a series of brilliantly constructed answers.

 

You’re asking for a ‘crafty way to dodge a question’, but that really is one of the stupidest things a person can do. Audiences can see right through it and will lose confidence in your qualification to be speaking to them and they will lose respect for you. DON’T DO IT

Quora.com user Robert Frost

Mr Frost also included a handy flow chart in his answer, based on the relevance of the question and, crucially, whether you know the answer.

So what’s the best course of action when you’re asked a tricky question at the end of a presentation?

Presentation Q & A: How to Answer a Tricky Question?

Our opinion for the thorny topic of how to answer a tricky question, too, is that honesty is definitely the best policy.

Audiences can see through the bluff—they will know when someone is trying to pull a fast one.

If you don’t know the answer you should do one or both of the following:

  • Say you don’t know and that you’ll find out, because honesty is always the way forward
  • Open the question to the floor

Click on this link to see the other opinions are on this question!

Click here for several more very fine answers to this question over on the Quora forum

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

fear of presenting

Most People’s Number One Fear is Public Speaking. (Number Two is Death.)

When it comes to public speaking many of us tend to focus on external factors.

By Maria Tecce, ConfidentSpeak

Jerry Seinfeld, the famous New York comedian, perhaps summed this up best.

He said:

At a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.”

When it comes to public speaking many of us tend to focus on the ‘outside’: How am I coming across?  How do I look?  Do the audience like me?  What’s in it for me? A big part of effective presenting is actually an ‘inside’ job.

Great public speakers care about what they are saying, care about the audience and connecting with them, and remember that we’re all human beings craving a common connection.

Seinfeld even gets a mention in this article by comedian/therapist Jonathan Decker. It’s not all about technique and analytics!  Check it out here…

http://www.suindependent.com/news/id_7755/Your-Friendly-Neighborhood-Therapist:-How-to-be-a-fearless-public-speaker.html

Maria Tecce

maria@confidentspeak.com

 

 

Julian Treasure's TED talk

Four Powerful Words for Powerful Public Speaking from Julian Treasure’s TED Talk

HAIL. The short acronym and four words from Julian Treasure’s TED talk that the inspiring speaker put forward as the four cornerstones of powerful presentation and public speaking.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Julian Treasure's TED talk

The human voice: It’s the instrument we all play. It’s the most powerful sound in the world, probably. It’s the only one that can start a war or say “I love you.” And yet many people have the experience that when they speak, people don’t listen to them. And why is that?

Thus begins Julian Treasure’s inspiring “How to speak so that people want to listen” talk for TED.

Treasure elaborates on what he believes are the four “cornerstones” of powerful speaking.

The four words form an acronym for the word HAIL.

The Four Cornerstones from Julian Treasure’s TED talk are:

  • H – Honesty. Being true in what you say, being straight and clear
  • A – Authenticity. Just being yourself, “standing in your own truth”
  • I  – Integrity. Being your word, doing what you say and being somebody people can trust
  • L – Love. If you’re really wishing somebody well, it’s very hard to judge them at the same time.

Later, Treasure adds:

You have an amazing toolbox. This instrument is incredible, and yet this is a toolbox that very few people have ever opened, I’d like to have a little rummage in there with you now and just pull a few tools out that you might like to take away and play with, which will increase the power of your speaking.

Check out Julian Treasure’s TED talk for yourself here … and prepare to be inspired!

 

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

confidence

The Psychology of Confidence: Power Equals Confidence (And Vice Versa!)

Psychology of ConfidenceAre you interested in the psychology of confidence?

We long suspected that being powerful makes someone more confident, right?

How about the other way around? Yes – being confident does make you more powerful!

So power means confidence, and vice-versa.

A fascinating new report into recent psychological research studies show that when people are in positions of power, they feel more positive and speak more confidently.

These scientific trials, led by a social pyschology researchers at San Diego State University, have documented a shift in vocal quality as people move from positions of lower status to positions of higher status in their field.

So when we find way to feel more secure and self-assured, it affects how we sound.

The Psychology of Confidence Research

More from the researchers themselves:

Sei Jin Ko, a social psychology researcher at San Diego State University, explains that over a hundred college students came in to their lab to have themselves recorded, starting with a recording of their everyday voices. Then they were asked to imagine a scenario involving the purchase of a new car.

Some people were told they were in a position of high power — they had inside information or lots of other offers to choose from. Meanwhile, others were told they had very little power.

Both groups were then recorded reading the same text out loud. “It was something to the effect of, ‘I’m glad we’re meeting today to discuss this, we have a few differences that we’ll need to iron out before we come to an agreement,’ something like that,” Ko explains.

Researchers took the recordings and looked for differences between the two groups by analyzing acoustical features, such as pitch, resonance and intensity.

It turned out that feelings of power are reflected in people’s voices, says Ko. “When you put them in the situation, their voices change,” says Ko. “I think that’s very, very exciting and quite powerful, shall we say — no pun intended.”

Head on over here to read the full article or listen to the NPR piece from Nell Greenfieldboyce.

 

About ConfidentSpeak

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

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

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

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main Photo Credit: Brunel Johnson / Unsplash

speech maker

Master Your Dialogue: How to Learn From the World’s Best Speakers

WRiters of dialogue always listen to how people speak. It’s the same with speaking. To be the best, you must study the world’s best speakers.

By Ariadne Laurenns, ConfidentSpeak

How to Learn from the World's Best SpeakersSeveral years after the sad passing of Maeve Binchy, the much loved Irish author is still sorely missed.

Whether an ardent fan of Maeve’s literature or not, one simply cannot ignore her innate ability to weave a good yarn and to write great dialogue.

The latter is, I think, an essential skill in novel writing which is all to often overlooked and underrated.

In a blog post by Derbhile Dromey, Derbhile discusses Binchy’s ability to “capture the natural rhythms of people’s speech”.

She goes on to say:

Dialogue brings a story to life. Without it, books would just be big wodges of text … The best way to create dialogue is to listen to people speaking. You’ll naturally absorb their speech patterns into your writing.

How to Learn from the World’s Best Speakers

In much the same way, a good way to improve your own speech writing and delivery is to listen to experienced speakers.

The more you listen to experienced speakers, the more you will absorb their techniques into your own talks.

You can learn a lot by paying close attention to how they construct their talk and to the pace at which they deliver it.

TED Talks are, of course, a great source of talks from which to draw.

Everywhere from YouTube to Ted.com, the world’s best speakers are just a few clicks away.

Anyone who needs to speak publicly with any amount of regularity—or, indeed, if public speaking is something you would like to do more of—you should make a recurring calendar appointment with yourself to dip into a selection of TED talks.

Below, to get you started, one of our all-time favourites: a great talk from Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire.

Enjoy.

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 Newsroom on HBO: lessons in powerful communication

HBO’s The Newsroom: 6 Elements of Powerful Communication in Just 3 Minutes

The Newsroom on HBO: lessons in powerful communicationNow here is a piece of communication worth three minutes of your time simply to study the delivery of the message—the opening scene from HBO series “The Newsroom”.

It also happens to be pretty entertaining, but with a professional hat on, it ticks so many boxes for essential communications skills.

One clip from HBO’s The Newsroom delivers 6 essential communication skills

  1. Commitment
  2. Honesty
  3. Passion
  4. Clarity
  5. Vocal presence
  6. Emotion

The only pity? That it’s a TV show and not real life!

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

pace of speaking

Presentation Tips: Why Pace of Delivery Is So Important

Here I discuss the importance of pace in public speaking, and outline one great exercise to allow you to get your pace of delivery just right.

By Olivia MacDonnell, Confident Speak

Why pace of delivery is so important in public speaking

Every day when I’m working with clients on the art of great presence and communication, or studying the world’s greatest communicators and speakers on just what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

Pace is one thing that’s so important to great presentation and communication.

I have to admit when I initially talk about the appropriate pace of delivery, people tend to get confused.

So here’s a fun way I found to give you an idea of your pace:

Before we start let’s be clear.

  • Pace is the speed at which we speak.  It can be expressed in Words per Minute (WPM)
  • Conversational speech can take place as quickly as 180-200 WPM
  • 200 WPM is way too fast for presenting information
  • So you should aim to speak at no more than 120-150 WPM

Presentation Tips: Pace of Delivery and the Word Per Minute Exercise

Set the timer on your phone and read the following 148 word passage at your natural rate and time yourself!

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

There are some basic principles that should be observed.

Firstly, never speak on a subject about which you know nothing or are in anyway unsure.

Secondly, do not be tempted to give an impromptu speech until you are very experienced.

And thirdly, try not to make too many points.

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

So, how did you do?

Remember, this is just a bit of fun.

Your pace will always vary, and will be dictated by your level of engagement and commitment and feeling towards your message.

This 148-word passage should take between 60 and 75 seconds to speak at a presentation pace of 120-150 WPM.

So if your delivery here was outside that recommended band, then it would be a good idea to practise this a couple more times and make the necessary changes. It could be a game-changer in the way you’re speaking to your audience—whether that’s the rest of your team at work, a boardroom of managers or directors, a few potential clients for a pitch presentation or even a packed auditorium.

Good luck!

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

 

presenting nerves

Reducing Presentation Nerves – Are Drugs The Answer ?

presenting nerves

By using the drug Beta Blocker “the force and rate of the heartbeat is reduced” (patient.co.uk)”

You should  feel calm, cool (literally) and collected with the pop of one pill – so surely it provides an answer or does it?  

 

I am posing this question because I was recently asked by a fearful presenter if the drug is indeed the cure?  If it calms the presenter down and makes them feel relaxed what could be better?

The honest answer is this – I don’t know, I’ve never popped one!  But what I would ask is this:

 

 

“What was the experience like for your audience?”

Just because you feel great, means absolutely nothing in terms of how successful you were as a presenter .

The best indicator of your success is the reaction you get from your audience – How did they feel?  

Sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but how you (the presenter) feels is irrelevant!

 

 

How about thinking about these questions instead: 

  • Did you have energy and passion when you spoke?
  • Did you have a positive, grounded physical presence?
  • Did you engage with a strong vocal delivery?
  • Did your facial expression and eye contact connect with people? 
  • Did you talk “to people” or “at people”?
  • Were you connected emotionally to what you were saying?
  • Did you “own your stage”?
  • Did you feel energised after your presentation?

– If you’re not sure – then there’s your answer.

 

 

It should also be noted that the following are but a few of Beta Blockers side affects   “Some initial side effects (patient.co.uk)”

  • Sometimes the heart rate can go too slowly. This can make you dizzy or feel faint.
  • Some people develop cool hands and feet.
  • Tiredness, depression, impotence (you cannot get a proper erection)
  • vivid dreams, nightmares and other sleeping problems may occur.

So loads of scary side effects  http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Beta-Blockers.htm

 

I say, trust you natural skills, prepare, rehearse and as my mother very recently said; 

 “Face the fear and do it anyway”

 

You may just be very glad you did!

engaged audience

Seven Public Speaking Tips to Make Any Audience Sit Up and Listen

Interested in public speaking for pleasure or business? Here are seven public speaking tips and techniques you should learn to help you win over any audience.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Public speaking tips

Perhaps Maya Angelou, the great author, said it best:

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.

If you think you’re in need of some public speaking tips, I think this is the key thing to remember about any engagement.

Have you ever felt that your audience looked a little disengaged or passive when you’re giving a presentation?

Or are you afraid of that coming to pass?

Here are seven quick but highly effective public speaking tips and techniques that have been proven to work time and time again.

Public Speaking Tips, 1. The Three-Point List

By structuring a message into a three-point list, you both strengthen and amplify a message. A three-point list (also known as “the rule of three”) gives the audience time to recognize and react appropriately.

An audience can easily remember lists of three.

For example, everyone remembers “a Mars a day helps you work, rest and play”, right?

Barack Obama and Steve Jobs are examples of excellent speakers who regularly used the three-point list device.

Public Speaking Tips, 2. Use metaphor, analogy and story

Using these throughout a presentation will evoke people’s imagination.

For example, in one of David Cameron’s speeches as Conservative Party leader before he became British Prime Minister, he said:

Yes, there is a steep climb ahead … but the view from the summit will be worth it.

By embedding honest personal stories (but don’t make them up, it sounds fake) into the presentation, you will bring a human touch which people connect with immediately.

Public Speaking Tips, 3. Use of contrast

Using contrast in your presentation provides a puzzle, arouses curiosity and opens the way for a punch line.

Public Speaking Tips, 4. Ask Rhetorical Questions

Using rhetorical questions will stimulate thinking, it will evoke curiosity.

It also qualifies the point you wish to make.

Public Speaking Tips, 5. Get Personal

Use a conversational style – an audience connects much better when they feel they are being talked to as opposed to talked at.

Use of the words “I”, “we” and “our” involves the audience as if they are on the journey also.

Public Speaking Tips, 6. Connect and Commit to Every Word

It sounds like an obvious presentation skill, but just thinking about what you are saying and how you would like the audience to feel is very powerful.

Many presenters present like they are “going through the motions”.

If you give each word appropriate time and weight your audience will feel like you have really thought about your message. Don’t rush, there is no urgency. This will always draw the audience in.

Public Speaking Tips, 7. Let Physical Presence Add to Your Vocal Power

Thinking about how you look and sound is a presentation skill that is often underestimated.

Standing composed and grounded adds weight to any presenter and gives the audience confidence in the speaker. Emphasis and energy well used at the appropriate times will carry an audience along with you.

So, go on give these techniques a go and see what happens in your next presentation.

About ConfidentSpeak

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

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

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

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

(Main picture credit: Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash)