Posts

engage & influence

Learn How To Engage & Influence Even In A Virtual Setting : Register Here

engage & influence

Image courtesy of Rawpixal

Have you always wanted the ability to really engage and influence people?

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

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 engagement and influence.

Consciously using your voice & body as effective communication tools will help you to engage & influence. It is a skill and like all skills it can be taught, learned and practiced 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 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

confident speaker

Boost Your Business: Become A Confident Speaker

confident speaker

A Confident Speaker Prepares

Everyone in business uses verbal communication on a regular basis for meetings, negotiations, and presentations.

Yet not every business person is a confident speaker.

Knowledge is power and there are a few tips and tricks you can use to feel more confident, credible, and engaged in your business communications.

 

Craft A Clear Story

If you want to feel and look like a confident speaker, you’ve got to prepare and do your homework.

This means crafting a clear story that will engage people.

We are hard-wired to love hearing and telling stories so make sure your story is something your audience can relate to.

People who are perceived as being confident speakers are the best storytellers because they gain the trust of their audience.

This doesn’t mean you’re perfect.

It means that you are connected with your story in an emotional way.

And if you are emotionally connected to your story – there’s a better chance that your audience will be too.

 

Know your audience

You must know who you’re talking to before you craft your story.  Take into account who your audience is and what their challenges might be.

If you don’t, you may as well be writing a love letter to ‘To Whom It May Concern’.

You will come across as a more confident speaker if you do your homework and know as much about your audience as possible.

If you’re a key note speaker, your basic story content may stay the same each time you deliver it.

But customize it for each audience by beginning it with something specific to that group of people.  It will help you come across as a more empathetic, prepared, and confident speaker.

 

Breathe!

Breathing Is Key

Breath is the cornerstone for all great communication.

A confident speaker knows that not all breath is created equal.  Shallow breathing is far less useful to you than a deep, centered breath.

When you center your breath in your lower belly you also bring your focus and attention there.  This is a place of power, strength, and balance.

When you breathe from the lower belly, you are more inclined to connect with calm, grounded feelings.

When you breathe into the upper chest and shoulder area, you are more likely to feel anxiety or panic.

How you breathe effects your physiology.

 

Breath Is Fuel For A Confident Speaker

Your body breathes without your help to keep all your necessary functions ticking over.

But you can choose what kind of breath will fuel your communications.  Speaking with a strong, supported voice will help you look and feel like a confident speaker.

The quality of the breath and fuel you give your thoughts, voice, and choices will depend on where and how you breathe.

 

 

 

Rehearse That Story!

Practice Out Loud

Performers have a saying:  ‘Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.  And then rehearse some more.’  The words you write on the page are always going to be slightly different to the words you end up speaking out loud.  It’s the nature of transferring written word to spoken word.

Once you’ve mapped out your story, stand it up and start speaking it out loud.  Every confident speaker knows that speaking your words aloud help you get the feel of the structure of your story and memorize the words.  As Bob Dylan says, “I’ll know my song well before I start singing.”.

Film Yourself

In order to become a more confident speaker, you have to get feedback on how you look and how you sound.

Your phone, tablet, or laptop are readily available sources of non-judgmental feedback.  Film yourself for 2-3 minutes, watch it back, tweak, and go again.

A good tip is to be specific about what it is you’re practicing each time you film yourself.

Am I focusing on my vocal delivery?  My physical presence?  Am I looking at the rhythm of my language?  The structure of the story?

The more specific you are, the more value you’ll get out of your practice time.

 

Take It Live

Find one or two people you trust and get in front of them.  To become a more confident speaker, treat this practice run as you would the real thing.

Begin your story as you would in front of the real audience and invest the same amount of passion and urgency into your performance as you would for a live audience.

Make the stakes high.  The more real you make the trial run, the better prepared you’ll be for the real thing.

Becoming a more confident speaker means preparing yourself as much as possible for real-time stress.

 

Hard Work + Action = A Confident Speaker

Becoming a more confident speaker is a process.  Confidence is a combination of hard work, repetition, and having a clear plan of action.

As with any other endeavour, change happens step by step, a little at a time.

The trick is to create good habits and consistently make new choices that support your story, your voice, and your physical presence.

Becoming a confidence speaker starts with awareness about how you look and sound, whether or not this is serving your communications, and then making changes. 

Know your story, breathe, and practice, practice, practice.

Your hard work will pay off and who knows… you may even start to enjoy it!  Imagine that.

 

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.

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!

5 Steps To Get Rid Of That Dreaded “Bed Voice”

 

Bed Voice

Have you ever overslept, and rushed into a meeting or a webinar, or maybe it was a last minute conference call; or phone call from your boss ? Even if you are lucky enough to be one of those people who snap into alert mode as soon you wake up – I wish I was one of those people!! – we’ve all had moments where our voice seems to fail to catch up with our brain. It’s sometimes referred to as our ‘Bed Voice’

You know what I mean, that flat, heavy, sluggish voice we have first thing!

A client I worked with, on one of our 121 programmes, had to speak regularly on early morning radio. I always remember her being very conscious of her “bed voice”, and was keen to know how to shake it off.

So, in a nutshell, here is how you do it;

Step 1 – Quench that thirst!

One of the primary reasons for this “bed voice” is simply down to the fact that you (and your voice) are dehydrated after sleep  – hence muscles work a little slower and a little more sluggishly.  Drink a glass of water, drinking coffee (although it may be more tempting) will do little to help your voice.

 

Step 2 – Good Vibrations

Place your hands on your head – and hum a gentle ‘mmmm’ sound. Put the focus of the hum into the top of your head until you feel vibrations in your head. Repeat a few times.

 

Step 3 – Get humming

Gently hum up and down your pitch range.  So just like the scales on a piano, start on your lowest note and gently and slowly hum/glide your way up to the highest note you can go (without pushing or forcing) Repeat a few times.

 

Step 4 – Luscious Lips

Place your finger tips on your lips (palm faced in) and again gently hum a ‘mmmm’ sound.  Feel vibrations, or a tingly sensation on your lips and the surrounding area. Repeat a few times, and feel your bed voice start to disappear.

 

Step 5 – Massage

Give your entire face a massage  – your cheeks, lips, forehead, nasal area. In other words awaken your face, stretch your mouth and have a good yawn!

Check out this great talk from Julian Treasure on how to warm up your voice

So remember these five tips next time you need to get rid of your bed voice and enjoy the work out!

Olivia

For more useful tips and ideas check out our other blogs here or contact us to see how we can help you to transform your voice and your communications.

Whilst you are here you might enjoy some of these:

 

Keep your audience engaged

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Presentation techniques from the world of comedy

 

Rock It From The Start

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

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

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

Know Your Timing

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Warm Up First

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

 

 

Self Critique

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

 

Be Human

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

t – +353 1 9696056

e – info@confidentspeak.com

 

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

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

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

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

Stillness & Presence

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

Understanding The Power Of Presence

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

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

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

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

Achieving Executive Presence

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

 

The Art of Stillness Builds Executive Presence

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

If you liked this read – you’ll also find these really useful

https://www.confidentspeak.com/32m-ted-talk-views-learn-from-brene-brown-about-being-a-confident-presenter/

https://www.confidentspeak.com/oprah-winfreys-golden-globe-speech-vocal-delivery-techniques-you-must-use-now/

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

 

Read More

If you enjoyed this read – you’ll like these reads also

Brene Brown on Becoming an Authentic and Confident Presenter

Be a Master Communicator Like Conor McGregor, in Six Easy Steps

(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

Sales Presentation Techniques to Win a 6-Figure Contract

Avoiding the Safe Seat to the “No Blame” Game: Eight Sales Presentation Techniques to Win That 6-Figure Contract

For over a decade in this business I have seen and heard so many sales presentations. I’ve seen good sales presentations, I’ve seen bad sales presentations. And yes, I’ve seen downright ugly sales presentations. So what are good sales presentation techniques? The kind of sales presentation techniques that can win that six-figure contract? Here are eight sales presentation habits to identify and avoid—at all costs!

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Sales Presentation Techniques to Win a 6-Figure Contract

In the years since I founded ConfidentSpeak, I’ve worked with so many sales executives on their presentations, vocal skills and executive presence. I’ve seen at first hand what makes for a successful sales presentation—and I want to share with you today some of the presenting habits which can seriously impact your confidence, the success of your sales presentations, and ultimately the bottom line in your businesses.

If you  are a CEO, a sales director or a sales manager with responsibility for a team, I hope that the eight sales presentation techniques below will help you to identify whether these habits are commonplace within your teams.

Because if your team has any or all of these bad habits, they are most certainly having a detrimental effect on sales figures.

1. Stop Thinking About Yourself

I’ve seen this happen so many times. So often, in fact, that it deserves to be Number 1 in this list.

Many executives might say they are “focused on their customer”, but what happens in reality?

In reality, they might know their customer’s name and job title, but have not given a single thought to them apart that. And this is recipe for a certain letdown.

Without careful and strategic consideration for your audience and without tailoring your message to their requirements—remember here, your audience is your prospective decision maker—you are losing so much credibility.

And because of that, you are almost certain to lose out to your competitor for that prized contract.

Your audience is more than just a title, you need to understand them deeply.

You must keep your audience in mind all the time. You must tailor your message to meet their requirements, not yours.

Every audience you present to has different wants, wishes and challenges – it’s your job to find out as much as you can about your audience and tailor your message to meet their world.

Yes, it takes time but will be worthwhile when your audience feels valued and understood. Then they will feel positive towards listening—and ultimately opening the “chequebook”.

Three-Word Takeaway: Get Outside Yourself

2. Winging It

Following on from the point above, so often I hear sales executives saying they have no time to prepare for sales presentations or meetings, or that they feel they don’t need to prepare.

They say they have their “tried and tested” presentation. So they’ll just “wing it”.

It makes me tear my hair out! Even if you are an experienced presenter, this is not setting you up for success.

You need to remember that ultimately, you do not decide how good your sales presentation actually is or how good you are as a presenter; your audience (not you) is always the decision maker.

Even more importantly, they also get decide how they spend their money.

You need to get out of the habit of believing that “winging it” is enough.

If you want a greater level of success you need to realise that planning is vital. Yes, this requires thought and time, no question about that and this needs to be factored into your day/week.

There are a number of planning tools and techniques you can use to be able to plan very efficiently and reap the rewards. (Get in touch with us for more on planning tools and techniques to prepare better for your sales presentations.)

Three-Word Takeaway: No Winging It

3. Social Bore, Business Setting

How often do you start your presentation with some variation of this.

“Here’s our company, here’s our employee numbers, here are our services. Oh, here are our clients too. And here’s blah blah, blah…”

If you do just one thing today, make a commitment to yourself to notice when you’re being self-centred and to STOP right now!

Think about the last time you met someone out socially and they “rattled on and on” about their holiday, their family, their car or their job, and never once stopped to ask your opinion or about your life.

How did that make you feel?

Not great I’m guessing? You might even go so far as avoiding that person now.

Now think of that in a business context. If you want to build a relationship with a prospective client, do your research and find out about them before you launch into your message.

Then bring their world into your message.

Starting getting curious about your audience to understand their needs.

Three-Word Takeaway: Don’t Do Boring

4. Delivering 30-Minute Sales Presentations

Think about this for a moment.

What is your attention span when you sit in an audience?

How quickly do you get distracted? Of course it depends on the situation, but even if you’re being regaled with a Verdi operetta, it’s not uncommon that in any given moment of downtime you’ll feel a little twitchy and do something like checking your watch or your phone, right?

I have news for you.

Your audience is no different.

Equally they have a short attention span, so make sure you respect their time. To put it a different way, respect their attention span.

If you cannot communicate your sales presentation in 10 minutes (or under) in a concise, audience-focused and memorable way, then you probably are going to struggle getting your audience to make that decision you so badly require.

So share your short presentation and then open the meeting to a focussed discussion.

Three-Word Takeaway: Ten Minutes (Tops!)

5. Unleashing the Jargon

Tell me when you start groaning.

“It is what it is.”

“Do more with less.”

“Take it to the next level.”

“Low-hanging fruit.”

“Let’s circle back.”

“Think outside the box.”

There are lots more where they came from. If you’re being really uncharitable, you could try a game of Cliché Bingo next time you hear a sales pitch.

I hear it so often—generic, clichéd, jargon-filled content that is simply meaningless to the audience.

There is absolutely nothing more exhausting for any audience.  Yes, you might feel comfortable with this language and it can be your “go-to content” when you’re under pressure, but unfortunately for your business it is much more than likely to be raising the hackles of the audience.

So bear this four-step process in mind.

  1. Make life as easy as possible for the audience
  2. Strip back all banal clichés or complex corporate lingo
  3. Speak in simple short sentences
  4. Use real examples and stories to illustrate your points

Another four-step checklist. This time, four questions you should always ask yourself before any presentation:

  1. Is this content meaningful and understandable to the audience?
  2. Is this content relevant to the audience?
  3. Is this content helping the audience make a decision?
  4. Is this content relevant in helping me achieve my goal?

If you answer “No” to any of those four, you have to be ruthless. Delete!

Three-Word Takeaway: Watch Your Language

6. Sitting Down (Also Known As: Taking the Easy Option)

I am often told by sales executives I work with that they tend to sit down, open the laptop and “talk through the slides”.

Two things about this approach.

  1. It is the safe and easy option
  2. It is totally forgettable

Even that phrase—”Talk through the slides”—gives me the shivers.

I say, set yourself up for success.

Plan to stand up and fully own and inhabit your presentation.

If there are more than 3-4 people in your audience you will have a much greater impact in a room.

Yes, it’s true that sometimes you will be on a client’s site and there may be physical limitations. But be brave and take control.

Do whatever you need to investigate the room setup and technology in advance. It requires a quick call ahead of time,  but it will send a clear message to your prospective client that you are focused on their meeting and giving them your full commitment.

Standing up does not mean you are formal. If you maintain a conversational style, you will be more memorable and professional.

Three-Word Takeaway: Stand and Deliver

7. Thinking Rehearsal is for Rookies

When we explain to our sales clients the importance of rehearsal, they look at us like we are crazy. Often they say “you don’t understand how busy we are” ! Wrong, we understand very well, we work with hundred of sales executives yearly.  We also know how decisions are made by your clients and we know what a polished, confident presenter can achieve.    So, imagine taking 30 minutes over the course of a few days, practicing your message aloud (not in your head pressing the slideshow button).  This rehearsal will ensure you are confident, concise and polished – now that is priceless.

“Rehearse your message aloud at least three times – even if it’s in the car on the way to the meeting”

Three-Word Takeaway: Practice Makes Perfect

8. Playing the Blame Game

When we don’t secure the contract or business after a meeting or sales presentation, there are of course many reasons, but don’t jump to conclusions and blame (1) a biased member in the audience, (2) a product, (3) competitor advantage, (4) some other external factor.  You must always ask yourself what you could have done differently, it is vital to do a debrief and self reflect:

Did you consider the client’s needs/challenges and create a compelling message for them?

Did you prepare relevant, tailored and memorable content for your audience?

Did you plan effectively and rehearse ahead of the meeting?

Did you have slides that were relevant to your client?

If you are answering “no” to any of these, then you need to re-assess, get feedback from the client or your colleagues and take ownership of your sales presentations.  If you do you will have a much greater chance of securing that 6 figure contract.

Three-Word Takeaway: No More Blame

Conclusion

There you have it.

Eight things to bring into your sales presentation techniques to bring you so much closer to six-figure contracts.

Here’s a quick recap.

  1. Get Outside Yourself
  2. No Winging It
  3. Don’t Do Boring
  4. Ten Minutes (Tops!)
  5. Watch Your Language
  6. Stand and Deliver
  7. Practice Makes Perfect
  8. No More Blame

Finally, remember this.

Presentation skills are a muscle.

It responds to constant work. So NEVER stop developing your presentation muscle.

If you are an experienced sales presenter and have had great success, well done to you!

If, on the other hand, you want to stand out among today’s busy decision makers by presenting effectively to secure that contract, know that this is a skill that can be learned and practised.

At ConfidentSpeak we teach you how to use these skills and techniques to get the results you want, and we have designed a dedicated “Sales Communication Bootcamp” especially for Sales Executives.

Find out more about our Sales Communication Bootcamp 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