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Ever Been Told That You Speak Too Fast?

Speak Too Fast

Have you ever worried that you speak too fast?

Check out this guy, John Moschitta Jr. He is an American actor who is famous for his ability to speak fast and has appeared in countless American commercials as well as movies and Tv shows.

Moschitta has appeared in The Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Fastest Talker and has the ability to articulate 586 words per minute!

John’s ability to speak at a very fast pace but annunciate at the same time, is a gift. Something very difficult to do but not something you need in to be able to do in your every day life.

We come across a lot of people who feel they speak too fast and unless you have John’s gift, this can risk the clarity of your words. You also risk the audience “tuning out” as they simply cannot keep up with you.

•Pace is the speed at which we speak. It can be expressed in Words Per Minute

•Conversational speech can take place as quickly as 180 – 200 wpm

 •200 wpm is too fast for presenting information

•You should aim to speak at 120 – 150 wpm

•To avoid monotony is it important to vary your pace (this is known as rate)

Focus on the clarity of your words to stop speaking too fast. Allow yourself, to take the time you need to breathe you will automatically slowdown. So it is vital to slow down and allow yourself to pause and breathe!

You also need to be mindful that you need to vary pace – a good rule to consider is to slow down for the important information and speed up for background information – classic tension/release at work.

Here’s are some useful tips on pace

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.

  1. Never speak on a subject about which you know nothing or are in anyway unsure.
  2. Do not be tempted to give an impromptu speech until you are very experienced.
  3. Try not to make too many points.
  4. Remember rehearsal is also extremely important.

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

Here’s another example of John at his, err… “Prime”, excuse the pun 🙂

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:

3 Reasons Why Silence Is A Powerful Weapon

Power of Silence

Photo by Ocean Biggshott on Unsplash

Did you know that one of the least used, but most effective, strategies when it comes to negotiations of any kind … is silence. Why you might ask, well because silence gives you a number of advantages.

 

1. Learn From The Experts

What do the best negotiators generally have in common? They will always make their opponents wait for an answer.

When we are nervous or eager we have a tendency to jump in right after the other person has spoken. And the result? It looks like we’re nervous, insecure, or even worse, that we haven’t been listening.  

2. A Well-Placed Silence Can Build Relationships

If you’re silent and wait, it conveys the impression that you are listening and thinking about what the other person has said. And, of course, it also sends a signal that you are weighing your answer carefully.

3. Silence Buys You Time

Silence buys you the time to prepare a response. The appearance of thinking, also buys you a few seconds to think.

Being chatty in negotiating is not very powerful, and it usually doesn’t achieve the desired result but the art of creative silence takes practice. Sometimes it takes concentration to simply do nothing. 

Try practicing getting used to silence when you’re not under pressure. 

These three reasons are why silence is one of the best negotiating tactics you can learn.

What do you think are great negotiation tactics?

Leave a comment below!

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:

 

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.

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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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Why breathing is important for presentations

Five Reasons Breathing Is The Number 1 Tool For Great Communication

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

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Breathing correctly is the most important thing for great communication

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

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

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

Breathing is Vital for Great Communication

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

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

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

And we tell you this with good reason.

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

So What is Correct Breathing Anyway?

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

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

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

Typically, life happens!

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

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

It is quite simple, but is it easy?

Actually, to do it effectively it takes practice.

Check out this video.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breathing for Great Communication, 2: Think Clearly

Your brain needs fuel to run at its best too.

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

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

Breathing for Great Communication, 3: Obey The Speed Limit

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

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

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

Breathing for Great Communication, 4: Keep It Grounded

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

Breathing for Great Communication, 5: Fight Or Flight

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

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

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

Small Changes Reap Huge Benefits

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

Am I holding my breath?

Am I breathing?

And take a few deep breaths.

A wise man once told me:

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

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

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

About ConfidentSpeak

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

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

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

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Final Word from Max Strom

Watch this TEDx talk by Max Strom for even more

Read More

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Be tech savvy when it comes to presenting with technology

Five Musts to Avoid All Presenting with Technology Problems and Disasters

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

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

presenting with technology - avoid all common technology problems

Do you rely on presenting with technology?

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

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

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

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

It can also go horribly wrong.

Check out this “worst nightmare” parody:

How to Avoid a Presenting with Technology Disaster

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

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

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

Always do a sound check and tech check.

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

Check the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This might seem obvious when it comes to preparation.

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

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

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

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

4. Do a “Recce”

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Presenting with Technology Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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About ConfidentSpeak

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

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

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

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

 

Brene Brown an authentic speaker

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

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

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

How You Can Learn from Brene Brown's Confidence

 

Firstly, who is Brene Brown?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This roughly translates to:

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

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

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

In short, is Brene Brown a wholehearted presenter?  

The answer is “Hell Yes!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which begs the question: why the change?

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

Why do we do it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guidepost 8:  Cultivating Calm and Stillness

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

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

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

Now this is confident presenting.

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

Of course she has researched and prepared her talk.

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

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

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

She laughs at her stories, she laughs at herself!

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

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

Conclusion: How to Gain Confidence from Wholehearted Presenting

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

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

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

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

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

It really does work.

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

About ConfidentSpeak

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

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

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

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

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

Confident communicaton

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

Confident or arrogant? Charismatic or vulgar? Inspirational or embarrassing? Whatever your feelings about Conor McGregor, the Irish combat fighter is without doubt a top-class communicator. But what makes him so? With millions of fans hanging on his every word, it has to be worth exploring further. Here are six things Conor McGregor does right when he gets in front of an audience.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Conor McGregor The Ultimate Communicator

I was in my hairdressers a few years ago, having the “holiday conversation”.

You know the one? Where did you go, where did she go, etc.

So she told me she was just back from Vegas, where she was supporting her friend Conor McGregor at a boxing event. Back then I had no idea who he was, so she explained.

A few years later, and Conor McGregor is probably Ireland’s biggest export! He has made world success, riches, fame and power (and one hell of a swagger).

There is no question he is hugely successful at what he does for a living – although I’m still not sure exactly what that is. Something in a cage with very few rules, which all looks a bit nasty!

In 2017 McGregor got into a Las Vegas ring to fight the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather. Even making that fight was an incredible achievement in itself, given that the American was seen as an all-time great, unbeaten after 49 fights, and McGregor had never fought a professional boxing match before and was moving across from the world of Mixed Martial Arts for the occasion.

Three press conferences with 50,000 people in attendance – it’s impressive!

When was the last time three press conferences had an attendance of close to 50,000 people, with millions more tuning in online?  Not ever, I expect.

I happened to be passing a television during the live London “McGregor v Mayweather” press conference and got lured in. (McGregor gets the microphone at around 16 minutes…)

So, from this press conference, what is it about Conor McGregor from a communication perspective that seems to engage and capture people? Let’s take this press conference and try and break it down.

You might even pick up a trick or two.  You may not like him, but hold the thought.

1. Conor McGregor Shows up Authentically

Conor McGregor is truly and unapologetically himself, unfiltered. Whether or not you are a fan of him, the reality is that any audience will connect and engage with people who are truly themselves.

Yes, there is certainly showmanship, but there is no denying that what you see is what you get. When you deliver a business presentation, how authentic are you with your audience? Or do you drop into “presenter mode”?

Because, from my experience, so many do.

2. Conor McGregor Oozes Vocal Confidence

If you place your personal opinion of his “message to the world” aside for a moment, you cannot avoid the fact that he is incredibly focused on what he is saying.

It is delivered with absolute confidence and conviction.  There is more often than not composure to his delivery.  And dare I say it, with the exception a few questionable consonant misplacements, there is clarity in his delivery!

He has great use of pause, pace, vocal range. Whatever the result of their actual bout in the ring a few weeks later, here on the stage he simply outshines his “co-performer” Mr Mayweather. He “owns his space” vocally.  I’m not saying shouting and aggression makes a great communicator, but I believe there are strong qualities to his delivery that are worth being aware of.

As people presenting in a business context know, vocal confidence is key. How often do you sit through presentations listening to a presenter  delivering a monotonous, lifeless presentation and wishing you were somewhere else?  Vocal confidence is not only key it is essential to succeed in business communication.

3. The McGregor Speaking Equation: Energy + Performance = Excitement

McGregor simply has bucket loads of energy and excitement – both physically and vocally. He understands that for public speaking engagements – he needs to raise his game in terms of energy.  Yes, lots of shouting (which I’m not advocating), but he’s speaking to his audience, and the audience in his case are not complaining.

What can I say, he’s a performer and his has a captive audience. As a communicator, he elicits a state of energy within his audience.

And you know what?

Energy is contagious.  Watch how he can lift his audience into a state of excitement, watch how he can equally enrage them seemingly so easily. He understands that he has the ability (and responsibility) to instil emotion or energy in the audience.

An audience wants to be entertained, and part of the entertainment comes from a presenter’s ability to evoke emotional states within the audience.

There is no denying McGregor can achieve this.

All too often presenters give little consideration to emotion in their presentation, in other words how you want your audience to feel within business presentations is ignored. 

4. He Encourages Audience Participation

Watch how the audience follow his commands.

These commands are delivered very clearly, simply and with passion.  If an audience is ♦following commands from a speaker, it means  they are listening, it means they are  following a presenter, it means the presenter has strong rapport with his audience. McGregor, is in control, he is leading his audience.

As he gives commands to his audience, he builds strong rapport.  It would be interesting to study his language further, from a NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) perspective.

5. He *Loves* His Audience (Almost As Much As He Loves Himself!)

Conor McGregor’s messaging is tailored precisely for his audience. He speaks to his audience in their language. 

He wants them to be part of the show. He includes them. His audience is at the heart of his messaging all the time and they love it. 

Let me ask you this.

How tailored is your message for your audience?

Do you keep your audience at the heart of everything you say?

If you are appalled by Conor McGregor’s message and language and style, guess what?

You are not his chosen audience!

6. He Is Clearly Massively Prepared

I suspect that Conor McGregor practices, rehearses and hones everything he does until he feels confident.

He focuses this mind on a successful outcome and eliminates any self-limiting beliefs.

I have no doubt he prepares for success when he’s communicating too. That is evidenced by everything about his performance above.

When you are preparing for an important sales pitch or upcoming presentation, what is your preparation strategy for success?

Do you have one?  

Conclusion

I would urge you to look at Conor McGregor at little closer.

If you don’t like him, that’s ok. Lots of people don’t!

But you can still learn from him and study what he is doing.

Maybe don’t replicate exactly everything about his delivery—I probably don’t need to say that!—but do create your own unique style by doing the following.

  1. Present with Authenticity
  2. Build Your Vocal Confidence
  3. Bring Energy to Your Performance
  4. Encourage Some Audience Interactivity
  5. Know (and Love!) Your Audience
  6. Prepare for Success

Conor McGregor is captivating millions of people the world over, so he is worthy of studying from a communication perspective.

And have fun doing it!

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